Ink & Paper

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

"The key to being a good manager is keeping the people who hate me away from those who are still undecided." ~~ Casey Stengel (1890 - 1975)

I was trying to mow the green on #11, waiting patiently for golfers to tee off on this par 3, before motoring across the green. And I was tucked away on top of a hill, about 30-40 yards from the green, when Joe Idiot tees off. I drop my helmeted-head, just in case. And I hear a whistle go by my left ear as the ball smacks down about 1 foot from my mower. I wait. Finally, I look up, three seconds later. "Fore" echos weakly from the tee box. Yeah, thanks pal, it really helps me after the ball has almost shattered my shoulder. Idiot.

I was thinking deep thoughts today as I motored around the course, dodging golf balls and trying not to put my mower into the pond on #14. And one of the darker thoughts I had was that somewhere on this watery blue planet there is a child, or perhaps a teenager, who will grow up to become a ruthless dictator, responsible for suffering and death. That is pretty dark, eh? But it's kind of a mind-bending thing to think about. This kid could be playing soccer or going to violin lessons or a multitude of other 'normal' things. And yet, he/she (most likely a 'he') is out there.

I was also thinking about that missing Regina girl who has been in the headlines lately. I'm pretty sure she is dead. Now I am a pretty lefty kind of guy, but when it comes to people who hurt/kill little kids, I'm as redneck as they come. Hang 'em high and in the hot hot sun. And give me 10 minutes, a lead pipe, and a closed room with the villian beforehand.

A major report out of the UK suggests that the intelligence (and I use the term loosely) for going to war in Iraq was erroneous and full of holes. Just like the one that was released in the US a few weeks ago. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but is a trend developing? Slowly, the governments are admitting that they really screwed up and may be on the road to someday admitting that they lied to the populace. Someday, maybe. I can't wait until I'm 60 and can read all the accurate historical accounts of this period in my life. Plus I'll be retired, which seems like a nice idea right about now.

Oh yeah, there is also a good comment by Todd, my coup-planning cohort from Calgary.

I'm tired, Megan made me drive all over the place today. So I'm signing off for today. A poem by Pablo Neruda to remind you that the real beauty in life, the things that matter to our collective souls, isn't a new car or a fancy sofa; it's hidden in the works of great artists.

Three triangles of birds crossed
Over the enormous ocean which extended
In winter like a green beast.
Everything just lay there, the silence,
The unfolding gray, the heavy light
Of space, some land now and then.
Over everything there was passing
A flight
And another flight
Of dark birds, winter bodies
Trembling triangles
Whose wings,
Frantically flapping, hardly
Can carry the gray cold, the desolate days
From one place to another
Along the coast of Chile.

I am here while from one sky to another
The trembling of the migratory birds
Leaves me sunk inside myself, inside my own matter
Like an everlasting well
Dug by an immovable spiral.
Now they have disappeared
Black feathers of the sea
Iron birds
From steep slopes and rock piles
Now at noon
I am in front of emptiness. It's a winter
Space stretched out
And the sea has put
Over its blue face
A bitter mask.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:27 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Tuesday, July 13, 2004

"I'm gonna shine up my boots/ I'm gonna go into town/ I'm gonna scrape up twenty dollars/ But I'll probably just drink it down." ~~ Corb Lund

So Klein declared Alberta debt-free, even though he hasn't actually paid the debt off, instead just holding the money in trust until 2005 so as to not get dinged with creditor penalties. But with the Edmonton Sun trumpeting the "Debt Free" headlines, most of the populace will dance with joy. Their life won't change at all because of this announcement, but it is a feel good story for Ralph as he looks towards a provincial election this fall. Plus he needed a mark in the old win column, after all that plagarism/insult exiled Chileans/possibly screwed the Conservatives chances of winning by opening his big mouth. And Alberta, redneck and ignornant, will re-elect him yet again. Just an editorial note: A shaved monkey could have paid off the debt with the consistently high oil prices that Alberta experienced during the 1990s. Just a note.

Much to my worry, I read in the paper today that the Bush administration has begun legal proceedings that would allow them to postpone the November election in case of a terrorist attack against the US sometime during the election run-up. If, if, if ,if this is being done as a means of ensuring the terrorists don't affect the election outcome like they did with the Madrid train bombings, I think this may be a good idea. But because I am borderline paranoid, I also considered the idea that the US government may let a smaller attack go forward to ensure they remain in power. Far fetched? Maybe. But remember that less that 4 years ago we hadn't heard the term 'enemy combatant' and everyone who was arrested had the right to a fair judicial hearing. That basic right, that cornerstone of founding US democracy, has been shoved aside. So things, dark things, do happen.

On a lighter note, good ole Dar Heatherington is refusing to step down from her post on the Lehtbridge city council. You all remember her right? The lady who disappeared while in Montana, only to turn up 3 days later in Vegas. Claims of a stalker and sexually explicit letters forced the police to investigate, only to eventually have her found guilty of mischief-like charges for leading the police on a wild goose chase, as she had written the letters to herself and invented the stalker. The council has asked her to step down, but she is refusing, claiming she isn't really convicted until she is sentenced. Council rules stipulate that a member must step down if they are convicted of a crime that is punishable buy more than 5 years in jail. Dar, listen to me. Step down. You have already run your name into the ground, no need to drag it around in the mud. Let it go, get some help, and deal with your issues without the prying eyes of the media. I'm watching this story unfold and I can only feel despair, as this woman obviously needs guidance.

Okay, that is your edition of the Tuesday Political Roundup. I wish you good day and good food.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 3:44 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Monday, July 12, 2004

"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." ~~ John Wayne (1907 - 1979)

"Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction." ~~ Aesop (620 BC - 560 BC), The Frog and the Ox

Well today was kind of a letdown in the ole' adrenaline department. I cut grass on the golf course. Whoo-hoo. Although I did have someone's ball land within 5 feet of me, so it wasn't a total bust.

Many might be wondering what exactly the previous mentioned Theory of Invincibility (ToI) actually is, so in today's blog, I will explain it from my point of view. The co-founder of the ToI, Marc "Malaria" Cadrin, may have a slightly different take on the ToI, and I suspect that he will comment if need be.

The ToI was founded in either our late high school days or perhaps early university, and it's origin is foggy at best. Alcohol foggy most likely. The basic foundation of the ToI is the simple belief that, up to a certain, yet-undetermined age, one can successfully handle pretty much any dangerous situation that comes along, dealing with it through smarts, physical ability, and will.

This is not to say that death is beatable, moreso it indicates a belief that if one were to die, it would be because of an unforeseeable event, one that happens in a split second, leaving no time for reaction. Car crashes, lightening strikes, and the like would qualify. But because such calamities are rare, the ToI becomes a factor.

Not anyone can join the ToI secret society; to date only myself and Cadrin are true believers. Above all, one must have total self confidence in the their ability to think, react and emerge victorious, if a little scarred, from a potentially deadly situation. A few steps short of a cult, the ToI demands total dedication to the founding rule.

Some examples:

#1. Jay falling 100 feet down a 45 degree glacier in Mt. Robson. Emerges rattled, cut, but walks away with only a broken camera.
#2. Cadrin's headfirst endo wipeout in the Edmonton River Valley. Wearing a helmet helped, but he too walks away with minimal damage.
#3. Jay's battle to save Megan's car in the Great Flood of '04. (see blog below)
#4. Cadrin travelling to Africa, getting mugged 2-3 times, contracting potentially fatal cerebral malaria and making it to Greece and eventually back to Canada without the consistent aid of modern medicine. (This is the #1 ToI story)
#5. Jay hitting a deer with the Beautiful Blazer at 2am on Christmas morning on the way how from Beaumont. Truck is dented but Jay is unhurt.
#6. Fourteen year old Cadrin crashing his uncle's truck headfirst into a tree and walking away.
#7. Jay's developing fearlessness of golf balls. Close calls continue to occur, yet he grows more confident everyday that he will not be hit.
#8. Jay and Cadrin, while driving to Montreal, experiencing car trouble in rugged and unpopulated northen Ontario. Using their collective smarts, a cracked exhaust pipe is repaired using a piece of tin and some hose clamps. Journey ends successfully.

These are but a few examples. For more examples, one could consult Cadrin's childhood biography, which details scores of risky/stupid/what-the-hell-was-he-thinking types of activities.

One might say that the ToI can be disproven by Jay's performance in the recent paintball excursion. This otherwise weak performance wherein Jay was killed in all five of the games played does not apply to the ToI simply because it was under artificial conditions, unlike all of the above examples. The ToI does not concern itself with trivial human games, it only appears during times of real crisis, and only then to the true believers.

Originally the ToI was due to expire when we both turned 25. However, recent events have led to a re-think of this original assumption and growing evidence suggests that the ToI might actually be increasing with age. Further studies, including trips abroad, will no doubt prove this emerging hypotheses correct.

So now you know the origin of the Theory of Invicibility and why Cadrin and I have not only cheated death for the past 25/26 years, but have taunted it, mocked it, and emerged with a healthy collection of stories. I understand if you are reluctant to believe in the ToI, and I do expect that some will mock it. To do so is to ignore dozens of solid, verifiable cases of it's existence. One can only wonder if a higher force is using the ToI to ensure that we survive, as we are obviously destined for great things.

Thanks for reading, now back to your regularly scheduled programming....

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:32 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Sunday, July 11, 2004

"I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex." ~~ Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

I saw Al's new apartment on Saturday, on the 25th floor, with about a 220 degree view of Edmonton, including the downtown core. Nice apartment, good balcony, and a great view. I struggled to resist the urge to throw something off the balcony. I managed to behave myself, but next time I'm over there and Megan isn't around, look out below.

And for those of you dying to jump on the sierra bandwagon before the band members all have to go into rehab, you can now only buy the EPs at Megatunes on Whyte, as they need the remaining copies to sell at their shows. Prices at Megatunes are $7 for the EP, so it'll cost you an extra 2 bones. But, like a wart, the music grows on you, so it's a purchase that keeps on giving. If you ask nice, I may make a run down there to pick up a few copies, no charge. Let me know.

My comments section is still acting up, so if you have something to say, try again if necessary. Sorry, but you get what you pay for with this blog.

OK, Now for the Main Event!


You may have heard about the biblical sized rainstorm that hit west Edmonton about 230pm on Sunday afternoon. Megan and I were at West Edmonton Mall and left the mall just as it was starting to rain and hail. We got out to the Whitemud and were heading east when the heavens decided to give humanity a little comeuppance. The skies opened up, rain and hail coming down at a insane rate.

I was worried about the hail damaging Megans car, so I tried to get under an overpass. It was the 152-ish street overpass and I was in the right hand lane, eventually moving onto the right hand shoulder. We were packed in like sardines, other cars having the same idea. We couldn't get under the overpass, as it was too crowded, and we were quickly boxed in. It was raining/hailing too hard to drive, simple as that.

So we're sitting there, cursing the hail and waiting for it to stop. It is now 325pm and it's still coming down like crazy. Past the overpass, we can see the Whitemud is getting to look like a rather large pool, a pool that is steadily climbing uphill towards us. The water was past the bottom of the door when we decided that we'd better abandon ship, like the people in front of us were doing. We climbed out into a mountain stream that was roaring along at a pretty good clip, enough to make me focus on my footing. We scrambled up the side of the underpass and watched the water creep slowly higher. Other people are starting to join us.

I'm starting to worry that the engine is gonna get swamped, which would be an expensive fix, if it is possible to fix at all. The car is still boxed in, but then the cars behind us started to slowly back up. I ran back to the car, through the rushing water which is now up past my knees. It is sooooo cold. I get into the car and start backing it up. Seeing room to my left, I start working my way across the Mud, heading towards the meridian and higher ground. I manage to get across the traffic, and do about a 26-point U turn so that I am now up against the meridian, on the shoulder, facing the parking lot that is oncoming traffic.

I shut the car off, leap out and work my way back across to the underpass, where Meg is still waiting. While I was breaking traffic laws, Megan was helping people evacuate their soon to underwater cars. She helped pull two pregnant women up onto the embankment. Everyone (and one dog) was safely on the embankment and I grabbed Megan's hand, pulling her back towards the car. She was freaked out by the river, as it was easily up to her waist. But we made it through, frozen solid as we were only wearing shorts and T shirts.

We are back in the car, which has about 4 inches of water and ice on the floor, having flooded in when we escaped the first time. I start it up, thank every major supreme being, and beging moving up the shoulder, into the still unmoving oncoming traffic. I got some funny looks, a few questions and lots of help as people pulled over to let me and a rather large caravan of cars get past.

We manage to cut across the Mud, going up an on ramp and crossing over the Mud on 170th street. While doing so, I looked down on the Mud, only to see the roof of a swamped car. That's it, just the roof. Suddenly the ice around my frozen toes isn't so bad, considering. We make it back to WEM, where we find out that there was a partial roof collapse because of the weather. Park in a non-flooded parking lot after seeing the washed out road that was 170th street northbound.

We get out of the car and go into McDonalds for coffee, something we both need rather badly. I am cold, shaking like a leaf. I dunno what hypothermia feels like, but I may have found out, my teeth chattering and shoulders shaking like crazy. We wait in McDonald's for a bit when Megan goes to get a bucket, which I then used to bail her car out as best I could. We started home about 545pm, making it through downtown and home by 630pm. I just heard on the news that the Mud is closed down from 149-178th streets. I'm not surprised.

I must say, I had a big shit eating grin on my face once I warmed up, as I can't remember the last time I felt so alive. Pure adrenaline, but now I am coming down hard. I'm bagged. But considering that the car could have been underwater entirely, wet floors and a few dents from the hail aren't so bad. Megan is gonna take it to get detailed tomorrow and we'll see about the hail damage, which is pretty minimal considering.

So that was my Sunday afternoon. Cadrin, it is obvious that the Theory of Invincibility is not only alive, it appears to be getting more powerful. I'm home now, having a beer and wearing dry underwear. Sweatpants have never felt so good. Alls well that ends well, and if nothing else, I got a good story out of it all.

G'night, stay dry.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 9:48 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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