Ink & Paper

Friday, November 19, 2004

As the good folks of southern Alberta fight with icy road conditions....

There are no roads here
There are no signposts
To guide a man thru this dark land
There are no roads here
There is no history
No written law to stay one's hand

From the song "No Roads Here" by the Corb Lund Band

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:48 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


And thus ends a ten day break of monotony, back to work I go on Saturday. It's a mixed bag, as most things are, for time off is nice yet boring, and work is stressful, yet ticks the clock a little faster. Oh, will I ever be happy? Relax, I'm just being dramatic.

So the phone that Monday 'used' is not the top end one, so that was a relief, although it will still cost me some coin. But such is life. Richard, the guy who lent me the phone for the break, came by today and summed it up simply: "Shit happens." So he's cool about it, which I figured he would be, but still nice to hear it from him.

And tomorrow, Saturday, is another "20", November 20th, which means that it is less than 2 months time to Londontown, and I'm happy about that. I think I'll be going a little batty, a little case of cabin fever, by the end of December, but as long as the days roll by, I'm gonna be okay.

I haven't done much this break, just writing, reading, sleeping (a lot), and walking the dog. Kinda feels like I'm retired, even more so cause my lower back and hips have been killing me lately. But enough whining. I am glad that I had this break, I cannot remember a time when I had 10 days entirely off, with no part time job or school work or leaving the country chaos hanging over my head. Probably not since the summer between Grades 11 and 12. But I am also glad that the next two breaks I have coming up (January/February and April) will see me outside of the country.

So back at it tomorrow, and this week promises to be a hectic one, with a meeting after school tomorrow, parent/teacher interviews on Sunday (or Monday, whatever), new teacher starting with the Gr 6 class Monday, plus a professional development day on Thursday, which is my Saturday. So it will be a busy one, although I can say that not having to teach that extra Grade 6 class will be a nice re-adjustment.

Anyway, I hope this weekend finds you well and safe. Mind your way.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 4:48 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Oh those fiscally conservative Republicans!

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 3:27 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Oh give me a f**king break.....

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 3:27 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Not too much new to report, I just wanted to send a public, blog-famous thank you to all the blokes that are helping Megan move this weeked. I appreciate it a lot and may even buy a round when I return in June. Thanks lads.

And a happy birthday to Marc "My Black Book is Bigger than Yours" Cadrin as he turns 26. Ladies, this fine gentleman is a world traveler, a part time rally car racer, and always brngs back a few stories from every weekend. Happy birthday Cadrin, now go move my furniture....

Ah, I'm such an ass.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 1:19 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

"An Ireland of storytellers, called seanchaithe. These seer-like figures would repeat the stories of old Ireland round the fire during winter nights, braiding poetry and prose in a stream-of-narrative invention...."

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:08 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Another month almost past means it's time for Jay to get a haircut.

The guy doesn't speak any English, but he's two for two so far, so I'm almost over that. Now he doesn't even pretend to ask me, he just starts cutting. All business, this guy. He could have plans to give me a sideways mohawk, I'll never know until the end. Anyway he's cutting away and has one, maybe two, of his eyes on the TV as there is some soccer, sorry, football, match on the tube, featuring two teams I'll never hear of again. So I'm sitting there, blind as a bat without my glasses on, and he's cheering and yelling at the TV, for which side I can't make out. His arms are waving around, he's gesturing to his coworkers and the TV, and I'm just sitting there with half my hair cut, waiting for a slide tackle to ruin my chia-pet head.

But he's under control now, as it there is an ad on TV. Then he leans down and starts looking really closer at my goatee. I mean really, 1-inch-away close. "Tsk tsk" he says in Arabic. "Shave, clean face," he asks, or at least I think its a question.

"No it's okay," I reply trying to save pennies, or fils.

"Ok, ok," he says and proceeds to lather up my face, pull out the straight razor and start shaving away. Then he looks real close at my goatee again, pulls out the trimmer and proceeds to run it all over my goatee, evening the length out. I realize that I should have just said "No" as he probably heard the "okay" and that is what sent him going. Anyway, I try not to think of terrorism (Damn you CNN!) when he is shaving my neck and soon he is done. He slaps on some aftershave, puts the standard 12 pounds of gel in my hair, slaps me on the back with a big smile and says "Done!" And so we are.

Cost me about $20 Cdn with a generous tip, which is a little much for the amount of hair that I actually have, but I got a shave out of it, meaning I am good for another 5 days, and he seemed happy. And if there is one person you'd best keep happy, it's the guy that cuts your hair. Especially when he doesn't speak English.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:24 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Another bored-outta-my-mind day. Here is how it went. Got up at 6am, walked dog. Read paper and book, as well as surfed the net until 12:30. Had three hour nap. Got up, walked dog. Reading and surfing until 8pm, then bed. Wheeee....

But I do want to tell you all about an interesting phenomenon that occurs in Kuwait. I have dubbed it the "White Guy Hello Phenomenon" (WGHP). It goes a little something like this.

I am out walking, perhaps with the dog, perhaps at a mall, wherever. Sticking out like a sore thumb, us white guys do. If I perchance to pass by another white guy (or 'western'-looking, if I could be so general) there is always the eye contact followed by a "Hello" or "Hey." Very few western women are in Kuwait and those that are tend not to be seen as much as the guys, so this phenomenon is pretty male dominated.

It's like, "Hey, your skin! It's not brown! Neither is mine! Hows it going?" Happens every single time, doesn't miss. I think it is something to do with being a minority when white males are so used to being the ones in control. Here, not so much, and it seems that almost all of us need to reassure each other. Of what, I'm not sure.

We could be from anywhere, Canada, Germany, France, the US, wherever, but even if we don't speak the same language, we always at least nod hello. It's the WGHP, and it is part of life here in the sand.

Monday is back in the good books, or at least moving herself towards them, after her attempt to make a cell phone call yesterday. Plus it helped that Cadrin sent me a list of how life is kicking him around real good. That made me feel better. Anyway, I'm treating this extra expenditure as nothing more than what I would have had to deal with if I was in Canada and had kept the truck.

Oh and one last thing. I want to wish my Mom and happy birthday. 39 and still going strong. Happy birthday Ma!


A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 6:49 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Monday, November 15, 2004

I almost forgot. On a cultural note, Neil and I went to the fish/bird market today. I saw a live chicken get it's head chopped off. That was rather interesting, as the guy just reached into the cage full of a thousand or so birds, grabbed one unlucky soul, slammed it on the block and held it there as his partner pulled out an axe and swung. Man those birds sure do kick after they die.

Then we went to the fish market, where you can haggle over the fresh catch of the day, which can be almost any type of fish. And I saw a guy chopping a huge fish up (looked like a marlin type) with an axe, big lumberjack swings. Loving the axe action, I must say. Smelled pretty ripe in there tho.

So yeah, this was a cultural kind of day. Next I get to discover and explore the culture of cell phone shopping.....

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 10:10 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


"Monday Monday, so good to me/ Monday Monday, it's all I hoped it would be"

Actually that is a total lie, but it is a lie that will make you smile. This week, I had borrowed a cell phone from one of the teachers who had gone on vacation, a guy named Richard, who thankfully, is a really easy going guy. I'm thankful he's easy going because when I was out and aboot today, Monday my oblivious dog, decided that it would be fun to turn his cell phone into a chew toy. So I come home to find that the dog has managed to cost me about $200 Cdn.

Now, as some of you know, I can have a bit of a temper. Well, Monday now knows that, as I hollered at her good. I was freakin mad, let me tell you. Still am, but I went and had a nap, and as you all know, life always looks a little brighter after a nap. Sure it is money that I didn't want to spend, but such is life. So I'm over it, so is she, and we are back to regular life. But for a brief few minutes this afternoon, she was lucky that I didn't have a car, otherwise someone would have gone back to the pound.

So now I have to wait until I see Richard, explain to him what a dumbass dog I have, and then buy him a new cell phone. I was actually considering getting one myself, so maybe if I wake up delusional tomorrow I can convince myself that is what I am doing. I can only hope. Sigh, sometimes you're windsheild, sometimes your the bug....

And on top of that, the exchange rate is continuing to fall, as one Kuwaiti Dinar is now worth $4.06 Cdn dollars. When I came here it was at $4.35. So I'm poorer in two ways. Hooray. I hate this fucking country...

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 7:22 AM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

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Sunday, November 14, 2004

Sorry, it has been awhile. I hope you'll take me back.

Well this is day five of my ten day break and I am officially bored out of my mind, and thus am in a foul mood. I have done nothing, nothing at all, during this break except read, write, and watch TV at other peoples apartments. As sad as it is, I am looking forward to work starting again, just to be busy, as sitting around doesn't do much for clock watching.

But Ramadan has ended, the month of fasting, so this means that I can now walk around chewing gum without the risk of visiting a Kuwaiti jail. Because Ramadan is guided by the phases of the moon, it's always a crapshoot to figure out when it starts and when it ends. Thankfully, there is a Burger King across the steet from my apartment, so I figured Ramadan was over when I saw the line up of cars at the drive through window at 2pm yesterday. Back to the old habits, I guess.

It is also cooling down here quite quickly. I can still wander about in shorts and a T shirt, but it is cooler, maybe 10-13 degrees in the early morning, no higher than 25 in the afternoon. It's funny, today I was out walking the dog at about 530am, and one of the security guards was sitting at his post all bundled up in a ski jacket and tuque. And there I go, in my shorts and T shirt. I resisted the urge to call him a sissy.

Anyway, today is much of the same, although Neil and I are going to zip around the city, doing what, I don't know. But it will be better than bumming around here. And last night I went to a potluck supper, which was good and social. So that got me out of the house. But still, I am glad that my next two breaks will see me outside the country, as this one is more than long enough.

That is about it, I don't have anything too interesting to say today, just a lot of bitching and moaning. Pretty much par for the course, wouldn't you say? Later.

A sovereign thought, delivered to your door at 8:21 PM ~~ 0 bonsai trees

shout out out out out out


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