Saturday, July 29, 2006


I have made a discovery which I wish to share with you, dear Reader.

Buffets are the Devil.

It's true. They are beacons of temptation, just waiting to unleash their evil upon you.

We decided to head out for dinner tonight, because neither Tam or I felt any burning desire to cook. In truth, the entire day had been pretty much a colossal waste, so we figured there was no use in trying to salvage it. To heighten the laziness, we just went down the road to the local Chinese place. If you haven't guessed by had a buffet.

I have a habit of overeating in this kind of situation, but I figured this time, I could beat it. I wasn't really that hungry. I drank numerous glasses of water to "fill up".

Unfortunately, it is widely theorized that a male encountering a buffet will instinctually eat as much as possible in order to tip the cost vs. food value scale in his favour. It is deeply coded in the DNA.

I ate until it hurt. Then I ate some more. And squeezed in a bowl of soup. And some ice cream....and a cookie....and some chocolatey-thingie. I felt sick.

It wasn't my fault. It's genetic.

I even got a fortune cookie. You tend to express yourself passionately and courageously. WTF? That's not a fortune. That's a statement. And no lottery numbers.

I guess you get what you pay for.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Two Days on the Prairie

I've been back for a couple of days, but between work and catching up on some much needed rest, I haven't really had the opportunity to post anything until now. My trip out west for the funeral was quick and physically draining. It went something like this.


5:00 a.m. EDT

My alarm goes off. I swing my feet to the floor and rub my eyes. These next two days are going to suck.

7:00 a.m. EDT

After my 40 minute commute, I arrive at work. I doddle around for about 2 hours, checking email, chatting with co-workers, and doing a few housekeeping items. Around 9:00 a.m. I leave the office en route to London, Ontario via car.

11:15 a.m. EDT

I arrive in London. I decide it's a good idea to fill up with gas so I don't have to do it when I get back. After paying for the fuel, I begin looking for a copy of the Globe & Mail to read while I wait, but apparently, they don't read The Globe in London. Seeing as it will probably be a while before I get a chance to eat again, I head for an early lunch at Wendy's. Around noon, I head off towards the RCMP Air Services hangar at the airport.

1:00 p.m. EDT

After waiting around for about an hour, meeting the 4 other passengers and pilot, and loading up the aircraft, we head out on our journey for Regina, Saskatchewan.

5:00 p.m. MT

Six hours, one stop for fuel in Thunder Bay, and a relatively uneventful (but cramped) flight later, we arrive at Regina Airport. I catch a ride to the Delta Hotel downtown and get checked in. My stomach has started to feed on itself as I haven't eaten in about 8 or 9 hours (which usually only happens when I'm sleeping). I try calling my buddy Don, but unfortunately, it doesn't look like he's going to make it to Regina from Saskatoon that evening as his boss has him working. We decide to try and meet for breakfast the following morning. I call another friend, Dean, who already is in the midst of cooking dinner, but will meet me for a few drinks later.

6:30 p.m. MT

I decide to head down to the Cornwall Centre with the intention of just grabbing something quick at the food court. I forget that in Saskatchewan, they roll up the sidewalks at 6 p.m. Everything is closed. I head down Scarth Street and grab a seat on the patio at Alfredo's. The sun is hot and the service is slow. The ambience sucks. I order a lasagne and side caesar salad. The salad comes first, and I start picking away at it. Are those anchovies? Bleah....but I keep picking away at it. Is that a dead, smushed fly on that piece of romaine? Okay....I'm done. When the waitress comes back, I point out the fly.

Do you want another one?
Me: remove it from my bill.
Waitress: Okay.

No apology, of course. Sigh. The lasagne, at least, is edible. I have to eat quickly, since Dean is picking me up shortly.

7:30 p.m. MT

Dean picks me up at the hotel, and we head off to Brewster's for a couple drinks. The place is packed, since it's also wing night, so we each order a pound of those as well. As usual, the place is teeming with cops and cadets, given the proximity to both the F Division headquarters and the training academy. I spot the Sergeant Major, who I know, and share a few words. He tells me I'll be in the #1 Troop for the processional the next day, which is comprised of troopmates and co-workers. I thank him, then return to my conversation with Dean and we continue getting caught up on what's going on in each other's lives. It ends up being a lot of shop talk....but that's what happens when cops get together.

10:00 p.m. MT

We decide to take advantage of the theatre located outside the pub and go see the late screening of Clerks II. I find the first 10 minutes or so a bit annoying, but it picks up, and by the end of it I've had to wipe away tears of laughter on more than one occassion. Crude, but enjoyable. But as with the first Clerks....Dante still gets on my nerves.

12:30 a.m. MT

Dean drops me off back at the hotel. I watch a bit of the Daily Show, then pass out.


7:00 a.m. MT

I wake up earlier than anticipated and before my alarm. I decide there's not much point in going back to sleep. After a quick shower and shave, I take a bit of time to add a few coats of polish to my boots. Don gives me a call just before 9, saying he's almost in town. I tell him I'll meet him down at the restaurant in the mall.

9:15 a.m. MT

I meet Don and one of his co-workers, Brent, for breakfast. It's good to see Don again. We start chatting like it's old times. I remember why I miss working with him. Once finished, we head up to my room so they don't have to change for the funeral in their car.

11:30 a.m. MT

All dressed up and ready to go, we head downstairs to the lobby where I'm meeting my ride. I see a couple guys from Toronto's 52 Division, and say hello. Don and Brent head out, and my ride arrives shortly after. We head over to the exhibition grounds where people have been asked to park and be bused over to Depot for the service. I see a number of old friend's and co-workers there, catch up briefly, and then hop a bus over to Depot.

12:30 p.m. MT

I arrive at Depot to a sea of red and blue. I can't walk five feet without bumping into a former co-worker or acquaintance. It is good to see everyone again, but it's hard to adequately catch-up in two minutes. I head over to the staging area for the processional, and find my old co-workers from Pelican Narrows. We catch up. I learn that there was a prayer service the previous evening, which some of them attended and then had a few drinks after. They tried to call me, but I wasn't in the hotel room. I regret not having known. We stand around for well over an hour as the column is organized and we await the body and family to arrive.

2:00 p.m. MT

The procession begins. We fall in behind the hearse and horses, marching through the parade square and in front of the Chapel. Our troop was told we'd be seated in the Chapel, but with all the Officers, apparently there was no room for us...who knew Marc. So we were marched over to the drill hall, where we watched the service on closed circuit t.v. It was hard to watch, at times. For a time, seated in front of me, was the 3rd Mountie who came on the scene, exchanged gunfire with the dirtbag, and then came upon her friends and co-workers, shot in the head with a rifle. You could see the emotional toll she had been forced to pay etched on her face. There were touching words from the Commissioner, Marc's aunt, and his brothers. Natasha spoke as well. I am inspired by the courage she has shown in dealing with this terrible ordeal....the loss of her husband and father of their 9 month old son.

Following the service, the 1000+ officers in attendance formed a line of honour leading from the Chapel out through the parade square and to Dewdney Avenue. As the hearse passed, each officer would snap a salute. We were then broken off, and I had a chance to meet with people for another 1/2 hour or so, before having to head back to the van, and subsequently the airport for our flight back.

18:15 p.m. MT

We grabbed a couple sandwiches for the flight, then made our way to the hangar where we undertook the task of changing out of our uniforms. Then it was back on the plane, for the lovely ride home.

1:30 a.m. EDT

Six hours, one stop for fuel in Thunder Bay, and a flight outrunning a lightning storm later, we land in London. I have another 2-2 1/2 hour drive ahead of me to look forward to. I stop at a Tim Horton's for a coffee and sandwich, and make the trek home.

4:00 a.m. EDT

Bed. Sleep. And dreams of better times.

Monday, July 24, 2006


I will be away for a couple days, as I head out to Saskatchewan to attend one of these.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


I decided to try and embed a YouTube video on my blog. What better video to use than a video of Matthew Good and Melissa McClelland performing Hurt on his acoustic tour. I saw this performed live, and it gave me goosebumps.

Do you remember?


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Old Cars and Secret Identities

Today the wife and I decided to head over to the Classic Car Exhibition taking place at the Barrie Event Centre. I'm not the kind of guy who's particularily mechanically inclined, so under normal circumstances, this isn't likely the place you'd find me on a Saturday afternoon. However, we were motivated by the fact that my father-in-law was in attendance with the Sudbury Street Rod Association showing off his work in progress, a 1933 Ford Coupe. Here are a few choice pictures from our little excursion.

The black hotrod with the orange engine work is the ride belonging to my father-in-law.


Yeah.....I could see myself in that. when I was a young lad, I decided that the Corvette Stingray was my dream car. I was going to own one. It would be black. The license plate would say SHADOW. Because that was going to be my superhero/crimefighter name. The Shadow. Not like the actual The Shadow with the ghey red scarf. I'd be more like Sylvester Stallone in Cobra. When I was young....Cobra was the epitome of cool.

Yes....I was a geek. Please withhold any comments to that effect. And buy me a I can fight crime in style. can't fight crime in a Toyota Tercel.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

On Proximity

Like a climber
lost in the mountains
i dream
only of sleeping

-Life Beyond the Minimum Safe Distance by The Matthew Good Band-

A confluence of events in the past two weeks has forced upon me a period of introspection and thought. The events in question have set me to thinking about proximity and how it plays on the emotional toll these events have on us.

The crisis in the Middle East is deeply troubling. Afghanistan. Iraq. Iran. Now the Israeli-Lebanese conflict. The region is in turmoil. Hundreds are dying every day. I watch the news, read the papers, see the pictures. It is all very tragic. And yet, as I take it all in, I feel very detached from what is happening over there. While my mind denounces the violence and finds the entire situation appalling, I am relatively unmoved emotionally. It is just another terrible thing happening somewhere else in the world. Over there. Not here. Not in Canada. I care....but it does not touch me. It is too far. The bombs are not devastating my family. What could I possibly do? It is not so much a feeling of apathy, as impotency. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Bringing it closer to home, I received news on July 10th that on July 7th, my former co-worker and neighbour, Constable Marc Bourdages was shot on-duty in Mildred, Saskatchewan. Also shot was his partner, Constable Robin Cameron. On the evening of July 16th, 2006, both Marc and Robin succumbed to their injuries.

I don't know if I can adequately describe what I've been feeling with words. I had not seen or spoken with Marc since March of 2005. I left Saskatchewan in June of 2005, and now live in Ontario. When I heard the news, I felt what can only be described as disbelief. It didn't feel real. As it sunk in, I felt deeply saddened as when any police officer dies in the line of duty, moreso given my personal connection, but I still felt oddly detached. From what sprang this emptiness....this lack of emotion? Was it shock? I feel terrible. I feel a loss. But I am not shaken. I stare at his picture repeatedly, hoping to be taken by some sense of overwhelming grief....but it does not come. Perhaps it is just my way. I have never been known to be especially emotional. I can probably count on one hand the times in my life I have actually cried, and have fingers to spare.

That being said, they held a news conference the morning after they passed. There were no cameras, but I heard the audio, and Natasha, Marc's wife, a fellow Constable, and also a friend and former co-worker of mine, spoke to the media. As I heard her voice, the distance closed. I felt like I had been punched in the gut. In that started to feel real. Since then, I've started to feel a bit detached again. Is it because Marc and I were always friendly, but not necessarily friends? Is it because we parted on slightly bitter terms? Or is it because I'm here...and this happened there? Would it strike closer to home if I were still living and working in Saskatchewan? I think it would.

On Monday, I fly out to the funeral which is taking place at the RCMP training facility (Depot) in Regina, SK. The distance I've experienced for the last 2 weeks will be negated. I will see old friends who also worked with Marc. I will see his family. I will see Natasha. Perhaps I will see his 9 month old son.

I will be a mess.

And then other things strike you closer still. Something that might happen. Something that you never plan for. Something that could profoundly alter your life. Something that will test you and see how strong you really are. The details are personal. Those that need to know, do. All that is left to do is stay positive, and hope that everything will work out.

What else can you do?

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.

-Reinhold Niebuhr-

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Two Mounties shot in Sask. have died: report

Updated Sun. Jul. 16 2006 11:02 AM ET News Staff

Both members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who were shot on July 7 in Saskatchewan have died.

The Canadian Press, citing sources in the Prime Minister's Office, reported the tragic development.

The RCMP has not confirmed the report, but a news conference is scheduled for 12 p.m. ET.

The Mounties, constables Robin Cameron, 29, and Marc Bourdages, 26, were shot near the small farming community of Mildred, Sask. as they pursued a suspect.

Both officers were taken to hospital in Saskatoon, where they both underwent extensive surgery for their injuries.

Curtis Dagenais, 41, is still wanted in connection with the shooting.

The two Mounties and a third officer were responding to a report that an assault had taken place at about 9 p.m. on July 7.

The suspect in the assault fled in a vehicle, and the officers pursued him, but were reportedly fired on when the man stopped.

The third officer returned fire on the suspect, but it is not known if he was struck.

The suspect then fled the scene on foot.

Since then, police have carried out a massive, so far unsuccessful manhunt for Dagenais, the suspected shooter.

Police now suggest Dagenais may have fled the province or died while hiding in the forest. His father, Arthur Dagenais, worries his son may have taken his own life.

In March 2005, four RCMP officers were shot and killed in Mayerthorpe, Alta. by James Roszko while they were on his property to investigate stolen parts and a marijuana grow operation. Roszko then took his own life.

It's a Bird. AND a Plane!

Random shot while sitting in the parking lot at the Radisson by the Toronto Airport. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

To Kill A Stinging Wasp

 Do you see that!? Do you see what happened there?! I got stung by a wasp. A WASP! A guy can't even mow his lawn in peace without being assaulted by the insectoid masses.

Ow! That flippin' hurt.

But I survived.

Know who didn't? The black and yellow banes of my existence who decided to take up residence inside the hollow bar of the gate in my backyard.


How do you like being saturated with "Wasp, Hornet and every other Nasty Bug you can think of" repellent? What's that? I can't hear you. You're DEAD!!

Victory is sweet. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 10, 2006

A Pebble in a Pond

Brother-in-law Steve asks:

"What's the deal with the Eventful Demand for Jessica Mae Stover thing on your blog?"
Steve has already received the short version during a beer and grocery run, but I think a more detailed explanation may be necessary, so here it is.

Have you ever wondered why we're constantly forced to endure endless sequels and remakes at the movies rather than being offered original material that is undoubtedly out there? Why are they making King Kong instead of searching for the next Star Wars? I ask myself these questions all the time, and I'm not alone.

As I've mentioned before, I've taking to reading the blog/website of Jessica Stover. She is a actress/screenwriter/performer from Virginia but currently living in Los Angeles. She used to have a show on America On-Line (AOL) in which she would interview such celebrities as George Lucas, Samuel L. Jackson, and others. I enjoy reading her blog, and even purchased her book Aidmheil which was a collection of blog posts, poetry and short story. She has written a screenplay for a fantasy genre trilogy that requires a relatively big-budget treatment to help bring it to life. Feedback on the screenplay has been good, but Hollywood doesn't like taking chances. They'd rather make The Dukes of Hazard than take a chance on an original idea. Star Wars was an original idea. Can you imagine if Episodes IV through VI had not been made?

So, what is there to be done? The fans of Jessica Stover Dot Com (JSDC) have started a grassroots campaign via Eventful. It is a website where you can make a demand for a performer to come to your community and perform. When enough interest is generated, Eventful contacts the performer and lets them know that there is a big demand for them to go to location X. With JSDC, a demand has been made for a screening of Jessica's screenplay (codename: TSL) in various cities in an effort to show the Hollywood executives that there is a demand for this kind of project and people willing to part with their hard-earned money to see it brought to the big screen. To see the project in Jessica's own words, check out her recent entry on the subject.

Done reading it? What do you think? Pretty cool? I think so. So why don't you help us out. Click on the banner and go and make a demand for TSL to have a screening in YOUR city. Not there? Add it. Then pass it on. Tell your friends. Put a banner on your website. Email your contacts. Can you think of something else you can do? Do it. The goal is to reach 100,000 demands. It is possible. The Internet makes it possible.

This is a revolution. Aren't you interested to see if we, the viewers, can have an impact on what movies are made? Maybe someday all the screenplays received by studios will be posted on a website with a synopsis and we can choose what movies are eventually made. Maybe then, people would start going back to the theatre.

So.....are you in? Ready to help?


<a href="http://not-a-real-namespace/">Demand Jessica Mae Stover in your city with!</a>


"Officials have released the names of two RCMP officers shot in Saskatchewan, while police continue to search for the gunman.

Const. Robin Cameron, 29, and Const. Marc Bourdages were shot Friday night near the small farming community of Mildred. The town is located about 140 kilometres west of Prince Albert. ("


Since I've been away on holidays, I just heard about this three days after the fact.  Marc was my co-worker and neighbour for about a year and a half while I worked in northern Saskatchewan.  He and his partner are currently listed as being in serious condition.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

If I Were On South Park......

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Knees of Flame

At present, my knees are a fabulous shade of red. They look embarrassed. But the truth of the matter is, I sat out in the sun too long yesterday. I trekked up to Honey Harbour to visit some of the family who were staying at the Elm Cove Cottages. My dad and I took a little canoe tour around the bay, and shared some food drinks and conversation while sitting out on the deck. Apparently, I decided not to wear the sunscreen that I brought with me (you protect me from the sun), and ended up with a funny looking sunburn and a mild case of heatstroke. By the time I got home I was exhausted, was beginning to feel a little queasy, and could fry an egg on my knees. I was in good shape.

I've also been fighting some manner of ear infection/sinus congestion/sore throat/hacking cough which helped me acquire a reservation on the basement couch to sleep for the night. (It would seem a hacking cough is even more disruptive than my snoring.) So, after snapping my spine back into alignment, I got up and rustled up some of my world famous omelettes. After breakfast, it was time for some more home aggrevations renovations. We're still dealing with the grouting fiasco, and will probably need to head to Home Depot tomorrow to try and find a solution to our discolouration. On the up side, with the help of the wife's uncle, we were able to get our bathroom door installed and the trim for that door painted and secured. Score.

As I write this, my dog has just come up from where he was cowering alone in the dark basement. It's Canada Day weekend, you see......and he's freakishly afraid of fireworks.....or at least the loud noises associated with them. He's one of the most bizarre and skittish creatures I've ever come across, but that's part of his charm, I guess. I'm just glad he's home and safe, unlike the unfortunate situation currently being faced by popular blogger Magazine Man, who's tragic tale to date can be viewed
here(1), here(2) and here(3).

My boring account of recent events is at an end.