Sunday, December 25, 2005

Not exactly on the Christmas list, but...

For some of Kim's holisticky friends, the Winter Solstice is a time to get together and do some celebrating. Obviously, I wouldn't have mentioned this if we weren't part of this year's celebrations.

Dinah, a friend of Kim's, hosted a Solstice party (and incidentally had some kittens free, to good home). Short story even shorter, we got a cat. It was my early Christmas present.

It's amazing what people will do to be polite. I named the cat fingers, and person after person has paused in the dilemma of 'That's a really stupid name but do I hurt the guy's feelings?' and decided against it by saying, "Umm, yeah, that's a real cool... name?"

So, without further ado, here is Fingers (despite what Nicholas decides to call her):

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Lillian's Baptism

For those of you who were not there (and who were not aware), Lillian had her baptism today. I have to say, she handled it like a champion. The only part where she cried was during the pictures - and when three flashes go off in quick succession, I want to cry too.

A big thank-you to all those who showed up. It was nice to see you all and it meant a lot to have you out. I hope everyone had a good time afterward.

This is not a picture from the baptism but she was wearing this outfit for part of the day. There will be pictures of the big day sometime fairly soon, though I imagine they'll be on Kim's site as this here place doesn't get many pictures (or updated very often, as I constantly hear)

Despite being non-Church-types, I have to say I am very proud of the Leduc-Johnstoneses for coming out and taking part. Especially Meghan who stood up and agreed to be a Godmother to Lillian. She kinda freaked me out when she said "If you guys die, I'm taking her." You know, Meghan, that comes with Nick, too, and I'm holding you to that.

My thoughts on baptism: I didn't know, before today, that baptism was a ceremonial death and rebirth. I guess it makes sense. In the end, it doesn't hurt Lillian because if she grows up to believe in the Catholic church, it will be good for her, because it's her express-ticket to heaven and if she doesn't believe in it, then it's just a trickle of water over her head - although that would make it two baths in one day.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another oldie

This is something I started around the same time as the last one I posted. I like the opening. I've discovered that in the time since I wrote it, I've come to like the rest of it, too. There are pretty obvious areas where it could be improved but that just means that it's a work in progress.
Some day, I'll finish the story, maybe. We'll see.

We were at coffee. While this comment, coming from one in my social circle, may seem commonplace, and indeed it is normal for our group to spend many hours at restaurants, annoying the clientele, and residing on the fringe of regulars, peering into the abyss of permanent banishment, this was not a regular meeting of the minds of Sam's so-called revolution. Granted, coffee has been known to slip into the morning hours where the sun has put in an appearance, sometimes for the second time, but to start coffee at this ungodly hour? Completely unheard of. Cliff and I had associated at this time of day, merely because he was my ride to my own personal hell for a time.
Another time that some of us had met early in the morning was when Alana's uncle needed ultra-cheap labour to help in moving his father-in-law to another house. To say he needed us is likely a gross exaggeration. Al Lawrence, all 300 pounds of him, could likely have, with the aid of his big brother, picked the house up and moved it with the furniture still in it. The house was, however, to remain in place, so it became a matter of repetition rather than brutish strength, hence the aid of his niece's mensch-like friends. At that event, Kelly, Cliff and I slaved over couches, work benches, and the like from the ungodly hour of seven in the morning. Hilarity ensued from the lack of sleep in any of us. This coffee was nothing like that.
Kelly, the same Kelly who giggled over Tibor and his beads on that fateful moving day, sat hunched over his coffee, looking at everyone as if they would steal his beverage, the very thing which, in its porcelain vessel, seemed to be his only tenuous link to sanity, lucidity, or whatever it is that prevents a person from grabbing the nearest chainsaw and making messy with people's intestines.
Cliff looked like I remembered him in the morning. He was more together than Kelly, but still, the grogginess had not yet worn off. It usually didn't until around noon. He mumbled a response to a question from the server, who asked him to repeat what he had just said. He grunted, and that seemed to be answer enough for her. His coffee, doctored with many packets of sugar, and a creamer, still seemed to displease him, though whether the displeasure came from the bitterness of the drink, or of the man at having to drink it, left me at a loss.
James, at least, seemed to be a little aware. He had been a truck driver, and used to having no sleep. He drank his coffee with a near-determination. As if he knew what he had to do, and the coffee was merely a tool to get where he needed to be. James didn't dislike coffee, but in this instance, it wasn't the taste he needed, it was the caffeine. He delivered his request for food to the waitress with a laugh, which seemed to delight the young lady to no end. With Cliff and Kelly playing the part of the death-warmed-over squad, it was a relief to see James treating her like a human being.
Monique proved to be the non-morning-person she'd claimed to be a few weeks ago. She drifted from half-asleep to wide awake to fading fast with almost seamless transition. She clung to her tea desperately, believing it to be her salvation in a time of need. And indeed this was a time of need. She looked around the table, and started, seeing Kelly for what seemed to be the first time. He must have really taken her aback, because she was completely distracted by him as she ordered her breakfast.
I'm not a morning person at the best of times, but my bouts of insomnia mean the same thing to me as James' job meant to him. Well, except for the whole "making a living" thing. I am thankfully able to deal with being up any time of the day for as long as I need to be. My coffee was a beverage, nothing more, as I waited for whatever it was we were waiting for. I declined to order anything when the waitress turned to me. I may have been a little brisk with her, but hey, I said I wasn't a morning person. Food in the morning gives me a stomach ache that doesn't leave until halfway through the day. Mentally, I took roll-call. I wanted to know who wasn't here, so I might dispense my wrath upon those who were too important to make it today.
Sam, whose dilligent work lent itself to our being chosen for this. He would be missed, but there was an unavoidable reason for his not being here.
Dave, who was with Sam, would not be missed as much, simply because his devious nature was so far beneath that of Sam.
Janine was supposed to be there, and there was no explanation for her absence. At last contact, she had told me that she would be there. My irritation picked up at her absence.
It was probably better that Atti wasn't there. Granted, his company was great, but his brashness was ill-suited for what was to transpire. Cliff wasn't a whole ton better, but he at least knew when to keep the comments to a minimum.
Jake was the one that flabbergasted me the most. He came in from BC with the sole purpose of this meeting, and yet he was a no-show. While it is true that Jake cannot be counted upon in the best of circumstances, this was one time when he would be sorely missed.
Aside from those mentioned, everyone had shown up. As I sipped my coffee, I pondered what was about to happen, and how it would change things between us. Mainly, however, I thought about how we came to be in this situation.
The hard work I praised Sam for earlier was the advertising he'd done to promote Two Sleuths Inc., the latest private investigating firm to come up in Edmonton. He'd done such a good job of promoting us as a top-notch firm that nobody would touch us. My guess is that potential clients saw the advertisements, and figured that we were too high-class for them. I can still taste the irony on my tongue. Especially considering the humble origins from which Two Sleuths arose.


I sat at the computer, staring intently at the screen, occasionally moving the mouse across its pad, and clicking, double-clicking, or whatever the situation demanded. Finding a job on the internet was a lot less leg-work than actually leaving the home, but unfortunately, it yielded the same results. It wasn't that people weren't hiring, it was just that I had recently graduated university, and I wanted to find something in my field. The distinguished field of computer science. And they WERE hiring in that field, but whatever it was with me, they just didn't want anything to do with me. So, I continued to apply, looking high and low, but there was still nothing.
I am not ashamed to admit that at this point, I was still living with my parents. Unfortunately, they saw it as something that should be a point of shame to me. Especially since I wasn't working. It came to pass, that fateful day which found me searching on the internet, that my father came into my room to find me looking.
"So, boy, you don't have a job, and you're playing on the computer." To my dad, anything that doesn't involve back-breaking labour isn't really work. Thus, my looking for a job on the internet wasn't really looking for a job, it was playing. "We need to have a talk. Come to the kitchen." My blood froze. The last time anyone needed to have a talk in the kitchen was when dad's credit card was charged to the max with phone sex bills. Only his threatening to fight the charges in court had gotten them taken off. It was still unknown how those charges got there, but that was a matter for another day. Still, my dad had gotten in all of our faces that day, and nobody was left with a dry eye. Granted, I was ten, but he ground my brother, sister and I into dust, and blew us away. Now he wanted to talk to me in the kitchen again. Needless to say, I took myself into the kitchen with more than an ounce of reluctance.
"Yeah, dad?" I asked, my most innocent look on my face.
"We're waiting for the rest of the family." was all he said. Sure enough, within the very minute, my brother, sister, and mother entered the room, the feeling of dread being shared on another level between my siblings and I.
"We need to talk about where your lives are heading," my dad began. "It's not as if we haven't been generous with our home. We made it your home. Still, the only one of you to even make an effort on your own was Liam. And he made a piss-poor effort of it indeed." as he continued to speak, I could tell what was happening. And it was the Johnstone mass-exodus of 4401 that saw me with a small savings, and nowhere to go. As always, in times of domestic distress, I found myself at Cliff's house.
Cliff, through some weird coincidence, had found himself on the end of a rather rough tongue-lashing from his parents, as well. He hadn't been kicked out, but it seemed that his days in the house that backed onto Notre Dame Elementary School were as numbered as mine were at Casa De Bob. As we pondered what we would do, the thought came to Cliff first.
"When I was working at Paladin Security, they brought up the idea of becoming a PI. They said that there was this really cheap school where they teach you everything you need to know. All we have to do is go through the training, open up an office, and we're set." Glossing over the particulars is a big favourite of Cliff's, and with the simplicity of his plan, I was drawn in. We discovered the location of the school, and enrolled. We also rented out some office space in Edmonton. This would serve as our home while we went to school, at least until we could afford our own homes.
When we graduated from the school, mere weeks before the gathering at coffee, Sam became obsessed. He was sure he could turn our little firm into a booming business. "It's all in the advertising," he would continually tell us as he begged us to let him in on the action. We finally relented, as it became clear that clients were not simply going to fall out of trees, and money was getting awfully lean. He agreed to take a small cut from what we made, telling us that it was only fair for his pay cheque to rely upon his efficiency as an ad man. So, he went to work, and we did too. The first week we were open, Cliff and I got some fairly standard cases, wives cheating on their husbands, a little surveillance... nothing too great, but money was finally coming in. And then, Sam's advertisements hit.
The great thing about Sam is that he is incredibly enthusiastic. The not-so-great thing about Sam is that he believes everything should be targeted to the rich. His reasoning is that the rich have more money to spend, so they're more likely to buy whatever it is that he is advertising. This has cost him more than one job, and it certainly didn't to a lot to boost our client list. Until the Thursday before our fateful meeting.
That morning, the phone rang. Cliff answered, expecting the usual phone call from the power company, the water company, or some other creditor, looking to shut us down. But it wasn't.
"Two Sleuths," Cliff always answered the phone briskly, believing some nagging collection agency would just go away if they realized just how impatient he was.
Only hearing Cliff's end of this particular conversation, while frustrating, was quite an event.
"Yes, we would." His voice rose an octave.
"Yes, we could." His face brightened.
"Really? Of course, we will. You can be sure."
"Discreet?" He looked at me. Always the moral majority of our firm, I nodded.
"Of course we're discreet." He sounded wounded at any thought to the contrary. He grabbed a pen and a pad of paper, and began to write.
"Yes, I have the address. When is good for you? Next Monday? Yes. Definitely. Thank you, too. Okay. Bye." And he hung up the phone.
"Without going into detail, what's the word?"
"Man with job for us."
"More than that, Cliff. More than that."
"Sandy Traverse, from..." he looked at his pad, "Data Information Technologies wants us to meet him on Monday. He said some things that lead me to believe that this has something to do with corporate espionage."
"Ooh, reads like some kinda spy book." Despite my sarcasm, I was interested.
"Yeah, Tom Clancy meets Sam Spade. The Maltese Briefcase or some such." Always one to reach another level, that Cliff. "And we get paid."
"Any idea how much?"
"He mentioned Sam's ad, and it was in a positive light, so hopefully we'll get some kind of payday."
"Well, I hope we get SOME kind of payday. We're gonna be working afterall." Such a wit, I should have been a comic.

And now we found ourselves in the Denny's restaurant, prepared to both share the good news of our job, and to ask the help of those who would give it.
"So why the fuck are we here?" asked Monique.
James was quick to point to her and nod, his mouth full of "Moons over my Hammy".
Cliff turned to me. I figured I should say something, since I was the one who decided we should ask them for help.
"We had a meeting with Sandy Traverse at Data Information Technologies. Apparently, they received a manuscript in the mail. They tried replying to the person who wrote it, and there was no response. That was six months ago. Now they want us to try and find this... Gillian Tait. The reason Cliff and I are here is because we found Ms. Tait's home, but it was abandoned. We would like to ask your help in locating her." I could see I had attracted every eye at the table. Even Kelly perked up a bit for the story.
"What do you need us for?" James asked.
"That's a good question, James." Cliff replied. "We need you guys for different things. Kelly, we need you go scour the internet and find out everything you can about everything on this list." Cliff handed Kelly a folder. "We were going to get Janine to use her connections at CSIS to try and track Ms. Tait down. Monique, we need you to man the phones in the office. We've been leaving regular messages at Ms. Tait's home and place of work. If she gets the messages, we're going to want to be there to talk to her. If we can't, we want you there. Jake was supposed to help you there." Cliff turned to James. "Why are you here, James?" He paused, turning to me. I nodded. "We want you with us."
"What's in it for us?" Kelly asked. "It's not like this stuff is going to be easy." He shook the folder menacingly."
"You'll all share in our profits. From all that Sandy said, there's going to be quite a bit of money coming in from this." At this, they all nodded, and went back to their breakfasts. I sat back with a sigh, and finished my coffee.

The compound for Data Information Technologies lay sprawled out about the River Valley like an ant colony. Offshoots climbing the side of the hill, disappearing into it, only to reappear somewhere else.
As James, Cliff and I descended into the valley for our appointment with Mr. Traverse, I could see that my allusion was not entirely inaccurate. Through several windows could be seen flurries of activity, almost in chorus. Broadway dance numbers flitted through my head, but none of them had the hectic fervor required for this act.
Cliff pulled us into the visitor's parking lot, and the three of us made our way, excitement in our hearts, to the building that served as the brain centre for Edmonton's largest and most compelling example of capitalism in action.
Entering the building, we were instantly accosted by the Viking warrior, poorly disguised as a receptionist. Looking to the name on her desk, expecting to see Broomhilde, I was somewhat shocked, though greatly relieved to note her name was Ann.
Her disguise was better than I thought was the realization as she asked us without accent, in a voice that dripped helium to state our business.
Cliff, using his best Joe Friday "Just the facts, ma'am," stated our purpose, while James overtly avoided looking her in the eye, or even looking in her direction, for that matter. Maybe he went to a catholic school.
Directing us to the anteroom where we were to wait, Ann the Viking warrior receptionist pressed some buttons, seemed satisfied, and looked up at us in cold dismissal.
Fighting the urge not to run, I calmly turned from the reception desk, and walked to the anteroom, my cohorts in tow.

Fifteen minutes found us in Sandy Traverse's office. In one bold stroke, all of my high-corporate fantasies were dashed. In a word, Traverse's office could be described as stark. In a compound word, near-empty. The walls stood bare of any adornment, lacking even the usual concession to ego that was the University degree. The surreal effect continued as I realized that his desk, while holding a computer, phone and lamp, had nothing else. No paper, no pens, no pictures of the kids... nothing. I found myself looking forward to a time when I would once again be among people who made messes, had interests, and lived lives.
Traverse himself was as I remembered him. A slim man of average height, the man moved about in a manner that would put shame to a hummingbird. However, rather than seem panicky, or nervous, his movements had an efficiency about them, as if not a motion was wasted.
"Hi again. I won't waste any of your time. We have a dossier of Ms. Tait's information. What we were able to gather. The personal information is encoded with red tabs, professional with blue. Her curriculum vitae is in orange, though that doesn't really matter, since it's all at the back. You can pick up the dossier from Ann when we're finished. Do you have any questions?"
I could think of several thousand questions, none of which pertained to the case, and all of which would likely alienate Traverse toward us to the extend of terminating our contract. I kept my mouth shut.
"Without going over the dossier, there's nothing to discuss at this moment. We wouldn't want to waste your time with questions you may already have answered in the dossier." James seemed to understand the way this guy's mind worked.
"I like the cut of your jib, son." and with that, and without hurrying, Sandy Traverse herded us out of his office, promising to answer any questions we might have in the future.
"A cup of coffee." I said, once we'd had our showdown with Ann, coming away unscathed, richer by one dossier.
"What's that, Liam?" Cliff asked.
"That's what Traverse reminds me of. The human equivalent to a cup of coffee."
They stared at me in uncomprehending disdain for awhile. I never claimed to be insightful. It was just an observation, anyway.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Blast from the Past

Okay, I was rummaging through my old floppy discs yesterday, trying to find one that I could use to transport a file from one computer to another computer (the very reason floppies exists to this day, I suppose), and I found this very angry piece of writing. If any of you saw, the place where I stored my writings, you might have come across this. If not, then you might remember the stuffed-narwhal-toting woman who was my five-year first-love. Well, this is about the end of that whole thing. Keep in mind, this was written almost seven years ago (good GOD what happened to the time?).

End of an Era

Rage fills the core of everything that I am. I walk the streets of Edmonton, and all I can think is, 'That BITCH! I can't believe I let her do it to me again!' Crossing the street, I think of ways that I can avoid seeing her forever. It's obvious that I'll have to quit my job. What is equally obvious is that she fucking did it to me again. Walking is about the only physical activity I can emotionally endure at this time. Keeping my breath at a normal rate is a labour. I still find myself wheezing as I fume. I've been walking for an hour, and I still can't calm down. I hope that by the time I get to my car, I've calmed down enough to drive. While I expected to feel hurt, all I can feel is shock and rage. Here comes the high-level bridge. Can't be much more than a twenty minute walk to my car. Time to start thinking of other things. But I can't. The only thing I can think of is the way that that bitch turned around. Last night was the greatest night of my life. Unfortunately, every night turns into morning. All nights have to end, but for normal people, with the day comes clarity. An epiphany. Maybe this is for the best, but all I can think of right now is, I can't figure how she let herself get that close AGAIN! I know, you're all thinking, 'again?' Well, I won't go into that now. What I will go into, however, is the 'this time'.

Ignorance and night are bliss

The bar wasn't exactly bustling, but neither was it dead. Most of the pool tables were open as Nicky and I entered. I've never been one to pass up pool, and hey, the chance to play pool with a girl that I thought I might be falling in love with all over again tempted me beyond all normal reason. Things had been culminating to this point for awhile. It sounds cheezy to me, thinking of it right now, but that night, there was something in the air. While I can't explain it entirely, there was an expectation, like there was going to be a big change in my life. Nicky was still beautiful, the semi-mischevious twinkle in her eye far from diminished. I had seen that twinkle extinguished for a time, and at that time, it spoke of such a deep suffering that, in its absence, those eyes caused me pain. Still, that night, she laughed, her eyes shining majestically. Her laugh was my reason for hearing, her smile my reason for sight. With the right look, she could make my heart skip a beat, and this night, she was free with her glances. And I had her to myself. Too many nights, the two of us would only be part of the triad sitting at a table with the man I considered to be my rival. Matt had known Nicky's love, and, I was sure he screwed it up. And still he was a welcome addition to the group. Not tonight. We laughed, we shot pool, and we talked. A friend of Nicky's was at another pool table. He looked at me as a challenger to his territory. He must have felt that he lost the challenge, because he left. What he left behind were another friend of Nicky's, and that friend's boyfriend. They were a sight, the boyfriend draped all over the girl. Things from that point got a little hectic. We played pool with the leftovers, and agreed to meet them at Rosie's for karaoke. An evil thing, Karaoke, conducive, certainly, to madness. Merely the mention of singing in a bar left Nicky quite strange. The mention also saw the last of the leftovers. At least at this bar. We were alone. And she was talking. There was no laughing. She leaned in close and started talking about her dead fiance. The man who had killed himself. My pulse actually quickened. I could feel my face start to sweat. She started talking about how nobody could ever replace her John. With Nicky, I had become accustomed to making no assumptions as to where her conversation was headed. She brought up marriage, asking if I ever thought about it. I said I had no trust. (this was the truth) She said that not all girls were game players. I think now that she must have been talking about other girls. Especially given our history. I wonder also if it is the girls who say that not all girls are game players who are the game players... else why would they get so defensive about it... or maybe all girls ARE game players. But she said that the idea of marriage was becoming more attractive to her all the time. Get this, I was so programmed not to assume anything that I failed even to see this blatant hint. I can laugh about it now. Eventually, we finished that pool game, my aim being somewhat off, with the weight of Nicky's soliloquy throwing my mechanics off. Considering what Nicky had just said to me, you probably already guessed that she had been drinking. So, I took the reins of her Volvo. On the way to Karaoke,(also known as "the killer of all that is good... or not") Nicky turned to me. Since we were stopped at a red light, I felt safe enough in turning to face her. "You know I want you to ask me, right?" was all she said. I considered playing dumb, but I couldn't find the will. Her eyes were twinkling, afterall, and she was smiling. Granted, it was a nervous smile, but the very reason I was given eyes, nervous or not, was not a thing to be trifled with. "Y'know, Nicky," I began, my breath catching as I did, "I kinda made a promise to myself before I started hanging out with you again." She just sat there, so I took it as my cue to continue. "I promised that I wouldn't ask you out again. Still, when I made the promise, I knew I'd break it." The nervous smile became one of genuine pleasure. "But," again, the nervousness found its way to the surface. This did not make me happy. " if this doesn't work out, I promise YOU that I'm not going to ask you out again." This finally provoked a response. "I don't think that's fair. Just because I..." Somehow, my voice managed to cut her off. "Nicky, you have to understand, I've asked you out what, five times?" A shocked look crossed her face, sending the smile to oblivion. "You never asked me out. I was wondering what was going on... you must never have been an asker." An asker... what a strange title. "Don't say that. Please don't say that." and I proceeded to list the occasions on which I asked her out. That's right, I asked her out five... six times. The sixth time, she said yes. And she smiled, and she laughed, and her eyes twinkled with merriment. All was right with the world. My heart swelled with the potential of our relationship. Was there anything we couldn't do? Was there any chance that this night could get better? I didn't think so. We arrived at Karaoke, and the leftovers became the main course. Songs were sung. Of the notables, My Sharona, Everybody Must Get Stoned, and Blowin' in the Wind were sung by members of our table of four. One song that will not go away is Never Ever by the All Saints. It played as we left, and for that, it will stick in my mind forever. We did leave, though now I wish that night had lasted forever. And we did get to Nicky's apartment, where, unfortunately, there was no couch. I can't stop wondering what would have been different if there had been a couch. Still, she insisted that if I behaved, I could sleep in the bed with her. I agreed, and we slept together for the first time. And I did behave. Though it kept me up all night, I behaved. I think I have have slept a total of a half-hour that night. At one point in the night, I put my arm around Nicky, just to convince myself that it was real. Then I felt foolish twice over. Once for what I was doing, so I moved it again. And then again when she called me on it. So, I lay there, with her back to me, feeling no tenderness. It was like my salvation lie on the other side of that person, and there was no way I was going to get to it. I still wonder what might have happened differently if I had kissed her, if I had made love to her. Would we still be together? Would we be married? Would my parents approve? Would that matter? I can answer that one... no it wouldn't. But I was faced with her back, and it felt like I was trying to ram my head through a wall that didn't even exist. Is it that I want closeness too badly, or is it that I fear it? If I didn't fear it, I would have held her or something. But that night in the bed quite accurately caricatures the entire relationship. I tried half-assed and more than half-scared to get close to her, and she kept turning her back. Whether she was turning her back in fear or in disdain, I don't think I'll ever know, but the itching in the back of my head which isn't new hair growing in tells me that it was fear. The very fact that she had a fiance die on her tells me that Nicky is afraid of losing the one she loves if she ever vocalizes that love. And maybe that's where I get my particular hang-ups. I want to say that it doesn't matter, but it obviously does, because I'm walking through Edmonton, swearing in my head at the woman I'm in love with. But that night was wonderful compared to the morning.


The high-level bridge moves underneath me as I mull the events of the day so far. It's obvious that the bridge must be moving underneath me, because the recollection numbs me and dumbs me past the conscious ability to walk. I throw change over the edge of the bridge, hoping it will land on someone rowing. Rowing... another area to which Nicky pertains. Can I not escape that bitch? What the fuck went wrong?

Night and day, and the big one-eight-zero

The half-hour I slept was obviously the last part of the night. I wake up, feeling partly frustrated, partly relieved. The one thing I want in my life is happening, if in a way that I felt it not happening over three years. The barrier (her back) was so frustrating, but she finally accepted me. She was finally accepting the fact that she loved me. If she could only tell me. But right now, just the fact that she accepted it was enough. Pteri was awake too, beginning to squawk. Nicky stirred. My heart beat faster. I remember spending all those nights on her couch before, hoping she would wake up, so I could spend more time with her, but loving her too much to wake her up. As she rose, I rolled over and lay on the middle of the bed. I stretched. She watched. That obvious interest made me self-conscious. I wasn't wearing a shirt. And she accepted me. I got up and followed her to the kitchen, where we talked about nothing while she brewed some tea. Maybe my self-consciousness was getting to me, but I felt the need to call my mom. Damn, Freud would have a field day with me on his couch, but I'd just tell him to kiss my ass. I felt bad because my mom didn't know I wasn't coming home that night, that wonderful night. And I think I wanted everyone to know what was going on. Mom just seemed like a rational choice. To everyone in the room but Nicky. I hung up. Nicky turned on me. "You had to call your mom?" "I just thought it would be polite. I mean, I told her I'd be home last night, I just didn't want her to worry." I got defensive, Nicky got offensive. "I didn't know you still had to answer to your mom." "I think the tea's ready." Non-confrontational me. We drank tea. She started to make lunch. "Can I help," I asked. "Sure." She didn't tell me what to do when I got to the kitchen, and I retreated to the sanctity of the living room. Time came to get more tea. Her patience was short. Pteri wouldn't shut up. "SQUAWK!" "Where's your cup?" "I'm not" "SQUAWK!" "Entirely sure. I think it's in your" "SQUAWK!" "room. I'll-" She was off like a shot to her room to retrieve the cup. Her patience continued to shorten. I began to realize something was "SQUAWK!" wrong. Or maybe it was "SQUAWK!" everything was wrong. Why didn't Pteri "SQUAWK!" just shut up? I couldn't think straight. Dinner was ready and I ate. Nicky watched me eat from the kitchen. "Are you done?" she asked, Pteri's SQUAWK piercing my drum. "Yes. What's wrong? It just feels like-" "Well, it's one day into the relationship and I feel like I need space already." "Well, if that's the way you feel" my world came crashing down as I admitted "maybe it's not going to work at all." "Maybe you're right." I cleaned off my plate into her chicken by accident. "That's the stuff I was going to eat." I smacked myself in the head. Why wouldn't Pteri shut up? If that fucking bird woulda shut up, I could have figured something out, some way to salvage something, but I was getting a head ache, and I had only had about a half-hour of sleep, and I really couldn't think. I cleaned my bones out of her chicken, and threw them in the garbage. By then, I knew everything was wrong. Nothing would ever be right with Nicky again. I got mad. "Maybe I should go." I said, anger bubbling inside me. All I was thinking was 'hold it in. Hold it in. Just a couple of minutes.' "Can't you wait until I've eaten?" She was happy to be put out by the big bald guy who wanted a ride to his car. I didn't give her the satisfaction. "Maybe I'd better walk." "Are you sure?" again with the honeyed tongue. The twinkles came back. I didn't give a fuck. All I wanted was to be gone. I wanted no more games. I wanted to release the volcano, but I didn't want to give her the satisfaction of seeing the effect she had had on me. "Yes. I think it would be a good idea." She backed up two steps. I grabbed my jacket and walked out.


I didn't think it would happen, but I'm starting to calm down. Which is good, because there's the sunbird now. I'm still pissed off, and in shock, but now I've got a game plan. It's obvious I can't go on working at the University. I've got to get out of there. Nicky still works there, and since I won't ever see her again, I can't work there. So, I'll need another job. So, I'm a young immature guy, am I? A real mama's boy? I'll show her, I'll .. I dunno, but I'll do something. And I'll move out. I need some release. If I don't like, pump weights or something, I'm going to go nuts. THAT'S nuts. I haven't lifted weights since high school. The closest thing I've done to that is the bleach factory. FUCK! That's IT! The bleach factory. A job, and a release. I guess I should probably apply at Miller's too, but FloPak is what I need right now. Into the car, and off to Nisku to apply.

Emails, a personal visit and closure, sweet closure

I wasn't home ten minutes when the phone rang. It was Wayne. "You understand, of course, that you'll be at the end of main line." he started right away when he discovered that it was me. "I wouldn't have it any other way." Another wonderful new beginning. The conversation ended, and I found some more loose ends to tie up. Nicky still had my UofL back pack, and the University extensions center still had my CDs. Oh, and I had to quit. The trip to the University seemed to last three seconds. A fast three seconds. Maybe two-and-a-half. Still, before I knew what was happening, I was at the International Institute for Qualitative Methodology. Up the stairs (I usually used the elevator, but I was light on my feet on this day), and I was in my old office, collecting my CDs. At this time, the director of the good ol' institute was in my office, a concerned look on her face. "Is it Mubina?"(my immediate boss) I had already terminated my employment before coming in to tie up the loose ends. "Nope. I don't want to go into it." "If it's Mubina, you can tell me. It doesn't have to end like this." "It isn't Mubina, you can trust me on that one. If it WAS Mubina, I would let you know, to be sure. but it isn't." "That what is it?" She was getting upset. "Well, I really don't want to go into it." "Please tell me." "It's Nicky." And she went away, somehow still convinced it was Mubina. I was continuing my way through the institute, collecting stray CDs I had used on the many computers I operated. Mubina confronted me. "If you had a problem with me, I thought you would at least have come to ME with it." "If the problem I had with you was such that it would cause me to quit, I would have come to you well before it reached that." "If I'm the reason you're quitting-" "You're not. I promise." "Well tell that to Jan." (the director and mother of Nicky) "I did. I promised, just like I promised you." She had been crying. "Well, tell her again." She always had to be tough around me. I couldn't figure it out, but I didn't have to. I was done. "I'll tell her again, but I already told her once." "Why are you quitting?" she got past herself, (something I gave her great credit for, honestly) and looked at my situation. "I don't want to go into it." I guess we both always had to be tough around one-another. She accepted that. I crossed the hall, and there was Nicky, working at her desk. Was it her that told everyone that Mubina was the reason I was quitting? Could she not see? "I thought you said it wouldn't come to this, Liam." She said. "Well, it did." "You said quitting wasn't an option." "I was wrong. Where's my bag?" "Oh, it's right here." Honey voice once more. Didn't work a bit. I took my bag, with a promise to Mubina (which I gave a half-hearted effort to complete, but never did), and no intention of ever returning.(a promise to myself and I have heretofore kept unbroken) I still had to tie up loose ends. My life has always seemed to be about tying up loose ends that most people are content to leave loose. Still, it was about closure for myself, and I needed to let Nicky know what happened, and how it affected me, and where I was going from there. In a three page long email, I let Nicky know that the way things had happened at her place, that Friday, had made me lose all faith in her, and in any possibility of a relationship. I told her that what transpired was the reason for my quitting, not any friction with Mubina, half-hoping that she would fulfill my promise. I told her about the night and the day, and how they both made me feel, and I told her good bye, and that I would not see her again. And I felt like a piece of crap. But that wasn't the way things ended. In a response that I never expected to receive, Nicky torched everything about me. She went some places I didn't even believe were there. Aside from calling me irresponsible, immature, and other such things, she told me I didn't know how to take care of her bird. That message, fortunately, struck no chords. I found it so utterly absurd that it gave me the boost I needed to start the healing process.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Boys, We’ve Hit the Jackpot

I discovered, this morning, that my creamer does not have an expiry date. This made me think.

Things to think about a creamer that has no expiry date:

1) I could really cash in on this! Sit the creamer on the counter for a couple of weeks, drink it down, and in the ensuing stomach ailment, bring Lucerne to its KNEES with a lawsuit that will see me into a bigger house and early retirement.
2) What if the spoilage of the creamer is linked causally to the expiry date… I could really cash in on this! I could market my own “never-spoilz” creamer that would last forever, and bring Lucerne to its KNEES by providing a product they never realized that they had all along.
3) I am really too easily amused.

In other news, I’ve been programming work-related things (a fix for the fix that fixes the problem with the papersize) and stuff for an online programming contest. Currently, I am ranked 20406th out of 63502 (although, really only 34976 people have submitted answers). So, I have my work cut out for me but I’m working on it. So far, I’ve done a mathematical formula string, a robotic arm program and a bin-packing problem. Who knew that after university, I would actually get to program?

My little piece of programming history. Look for the pink link 24843

Turns out, Houston sucks. From what I hear, the Texans might be planning on tanking the rest of their games so that they can have a crack at the top spot in the draft. I’d hoped that after their inaugural season, I would not have to see them pick #1 overall again. Looks like I was wrong. But what happens when they play the nearly-as-crappy San Francisco 49ers? And how do you convince your players to roll over for the other team? What does the Coach or GM say?

“You know, fellas, we have a crack at a running back who is a lot better than Domanick or a quarterback who is a lot better than David. I want you guys to go out there and make it look convincing. Hey, you can even hold a lead for awhile, as long as you don’t have it when the clock reads three zeroes. Can you get behind me on this? There’ll be a little extra something in your pay envelopes if San Francisco beats us.” Pathetic.

Stupid Texans are making my season hell. Ah well, at least they cut Crash Riley.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Well, it's official

There is now, officially, no way that the Houston Texans can match their record from last year.

Not that I was terribly excited to see another 7-9 season but I was hoping that the Texans would at least be competitive.

Yesterday's game was very competitive. It shouldn't have been. 24-3 at the end of the half. 27-17 with 29 seconds left. How can it get any worse than that? Houston is inventing ways to lose.

Ah well, at least they're creative.

The positives:
-7 sacks by the Houston defense
-2 sacks allowed by the Houston O-line
-293 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and only 1 interception against
-Big game for Andre Johnson

The negatives:
-Rookie 3rd-string quarterback throws for 300+, 3 touchdowns and only 1 interception
-110 yards rushing, 1 TD for Steven Jackson
-Fumbled our only interception
-10 points against in the last 30 seconds
-yet another loss.

Obviously, the season has been over for awhile but it's frustrating to see that they just CAN'T win a game.

Ah well, on to Baltimore.

If God were a typist

He would, in His infinite wisdom, use this keyboard. The Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 is the single-greatest keyboard I have ever used. It has a split keyboard (all wavy-like to be comfortable on your wrists). It also has shortcut buttons for homepage, email, search, volume control, play/pause, calculator and 5 “favourites”, as well as a back and a forward button (probably for internet navigation).

The real kicker is the zoom slider which zooms in and out of documents at the nudge of a finger.

Yes, maybe God is a typist and that’s why we have this now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Lest We Forget

Remembrance Day has always been a very emotional time for me. My grandfather fought in World War II and, especially after having read some entries from his journal, the horror, the end of innocence for so many and the torture of those who were at home, waiting for their loved ones really hit home. So many of those who went over came back changed. You can't shoot someone dead and expect not to change, whether you buy into the us-versus-them mentality or not. Alcoholism, post-traumatic stress disorder, physical disfigurement. These are things that real people took home with them as a price for stopping a madman. I, for one, am thankful that they paid that price. It's hard to know what we would not have, never having to do without it, but the thought of not being able to live my life as I choose scares me.

As part of Beavers, Nicholas and I walked to the Butterdome at the University of Alberta, yesterday, and marched around the track to the applause of the multitudes of onlookers. I felt like a bit of a dork because I didn't yet have my Beaver Leader uniform, but everyone seemed to take that in stride. What really got to me was how Nicholas behaved. Not in a bad way. A lot of the kids, whether they were Cubs, Beavers, Scouts or even the Cadets that were seated in front of us, were jumping up out of their seats, talking and laughing, even during the two-minute silence that happened at 11:00. Nicholas sat quietly in his seat when we were sitting, he stood quietly when we were standing, he took his hat off when he should and he was patient, interested and well-behaved. Last night, I told him how proud I was of him, and I explained why Remembrance Day was what it was.

He laughed a little bit when I told him about crazy Adolph Hitler, until I explained that he wasn't like a TV bad guy, that he was hurting and killing people and that a bunch of people went over the sea to stop him. When he understood what I was saying, and he understood why it was important to remember and honour the people who fought in the war, I was proud of him. I was proud of myself, too, because I could make him understand why it was important to me.

When they had the veterans in the wheelchairs, being pushed by current members of the Armed Forces, it felt like I'd been kicked in the stomach. To think of what they had been through, the life-changing events that brought them to where they are now, I imagine it must have been a real honour for the younger men and women to escort them around the track.

I don't usually make any grand claims to patriotism. I realise that we're a country, and we make mistakes. We're not better or worse than anybody else, but when we were called upon to help out, we went, we sacrificed, and we succeeded.

For that, I am thankful.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Hank Ilesic

This particular bit of dementia came from a piece of news that Sean sent me. Hank Ilesic had been a punter in the CFL for many years. Recently, he tried out for the Ottawa Renegades when one of their kickers (or do they just have the one) went down with an injury. The interesting part of this newspiece was that Hank Ilesic punts recreationally.

What does that mean, you ask? Well, a normal person would just assume that Hank was lying, padding his resume. Something like:

“So, Hank, you keeping in shape?”

“Sure, (coach) Joe (Paopao)! I … um… punt recreationally!”

This reminds me of a time, just about ten years ago, when I was living in the city with Jake. Atti and I applied for jobs as security guards and Atti decided to sweeten the pot by adding “3 years martial arts training” to his application form.

That’s what a “normal” person would assume. Between Sean and I, however, we managed to twist Hank Ilesic into some mythological figure whose lot (and only joy) in life is to tote along a bag full of J-5-Vs (the old football standard of the CFL), punting. This would have been enough, so we had to continue.

I believe the big turn came when Hank didn’t make the Renegades. See, between Sean and I, we reasoned that Hank didn’t make the team because he hit Paopao’s kid with a ball. Upon being escorted from the practice facility, Hank could be heard screaming “I got one in here for you too, Paopao!” [punt](the [punt] being the sound of Hank punting a ball AT Paopao.

From there, Hank became a twisted, bitter man. His only joy, punting, had been transformed into a malicious, havoc-wreaking passion. “F#ck that! F#ck you! F#ck everyone!” [punt]

After causing some damage, Hank was forced into community service as a Big Brother. Bobby, a little orphan boy, came to love Hank, but Hank’s heart of stone would not turn.

“I love you, Hank.”
“F#ck. Whatever.” [punt]

His indifference has not changed Bobby’s heart. And Bobby’s continued devotion has turned Hank malicious.

“Do you love me, Hank?”
“Yes, Bobby.”
“No. Haw haw.”

Of course, you’ve learned by now that we cannot leave anything where it is. We decided to add a science-fiction twist to Hank’s adventures.

As we did with Dorian Boose (which is the subject for a future posting), we inserted Hank into a part in Flash Gordon. Unlike Boose, though, we made Hank the jealous Prince Barin.

Lines such as “We certainly welcome you all to stay,” became “I welcome you to f#ck off!”

Hank also saw time in place of Kurt Russell in Big Trouble in Little China:

"Six Demon Bag? F#ck your six-demon bag. I got a bag of J-5-f#cking-Vs here." [punt]

"No horse-sh!t, Jack?"
"F#ck you, Wang." [punt]

"You know what Jack Burton always says."
"F#ck you, Lo-Pan." [punt]

Most recently came Hallowe’en , when Hank took Bobby trick-or-treating as part of his community service.

“Gimme that candy.”
“You gonna check it for poisum, Hank?”
“F#ck that. I’m gonna eat it.”
“You MUST love me. You’re keeping me from eating candy that would be bad for me. Thank you, Hank!”
“What? F#ck. Whatever.”

If this seems stupid to you, well, you’re probably not alone, but it’s kept me amused this long, and it will probably continue to, well into… um… December?

Hank will always have a place in my heart, even if he is a cold, unfeeling bastard who is only happy when he’s punting recreationally.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Required Cognates

Before I start on the next few things I have planned for In The Now, there are some things you need to know. I guess you could call them precognates, if you were designing a scholastic program, so here they are:

- I know I have no life. I have a baby. Fortunately, I have Microsoft Word.
- Hank Ilesic is a former CFL Punter
- Dorian Boose played for the New York Jets at the same time that Brad, Sean and I enjoyed our three-player franchise in John Madden 2000.
- I am a fanatical Flash Gordon enthusiast. That is not to say that I would go to a Flash Gordon movie dressed in appropriate regalia. But I do love the movie. I believe that this was caused by a combination of things, including, but not limited to:
- My dad took me to see Flash Gordon when I was very young and impressionable.
- Queen did a very good job on the soundtrack, the memory of which haunted me through my youth. “FLASH!”
- When Rob and I finally chased a copy of Flash Gordon down, it was on a night when his mom gave us FREE PIZZA.
-I have found support and camaraderie in my devotion.

- The cast of Flash Gordon includes, but is not limited to:
- Flash: Our hero. Does nothing wrong. His motives are always pure – mostly.
- Emperor Ming: Tyrannical ruler of Mongo. He sows mistrust among his princes “Outside his own kingdom, the hunter becomes the hunted” is Ming’s Law.
- Prince Barin: “Official” heir to Ming’s throne. Also, “Official” boyfriend to Princess Aura. I say “Official” because these things are subject to change without notice.
- Princess Aura: Seductress – she aims at her target and hits whatever she aims at. She aims at Flash and that makes Barin mad.

I’m sure there are other things you’ll probably need time to catch up to, but Bloggers are fairly intelligent people for the most part, and I’m pretty sure you’ll figure it out.

Or just get disgusted and not read this.

Nicholas Johnstone: Game Designer

One evening, the family was sitting down to supper when Nicholas came up with the following:

“Blast-on Blaster Sunshines”

I know where he came up with the thought to make a game of his own. We had played around with RPG Maker a little bit and he’d had fun with it, but his imagination took some ball and ran with it. What follows is what I was able to write down (and remember) from this conversation:

“You start off walking, then you find a rocket and blast off and you shoot the thing and it explodes and there’s a giant monster inside, and he’s bigger than Pluto, bigger than ANYTHING (which is obvious since it’s bigger than Pluto).

“Then you get a gun and-“

Kim interjected at that point, “Does it just stun him?”

“No, it’ kills him. And then you go to the next level.”

I added, “Next level? That sounds like a whole game by itself!”

“Nope. There’s a MILLION levels.”

I asked, “Who has the time to finish a million levels?” then answered my own question. “Anyone who plays Everquest.”

Kim added, “Boys.”


Nick changed his mind. “Um, actually, there’s only 2.”

Then he went on, talking about Super Mario Sunshine for awhile, imagining that he was creating it, and ended with: “And then the monster blows up.”

My son, the creative genius.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Super Mario Bros: The End

Chapter 1

How long since they had turned? The question burned in Princess Toadstool’s mind. She could not remember the exact date that Mario and Luigi Mario, the saviours of the Mushroom Kingdom had been turned by their once-nemesis, the dread dragon Bowser.

For countless turns of the calendar, Mario and Luigi had been heroes, sacrificing themselves time and again in an effort to save her. She truly did not know which one she would have chosen if she had had to, but they were twins and willing to share everything – including the platonic affections of the young princess.

However, some indeterminate time ago, Bowser had shown up in his air ship. Mario and Luigi had fixed their faces in masks of determination and set out to battle the never-successful villain. However, instead of lobbing Bob-ombs from his vehicle, a single scroll, attached to a rock, dropped from the zeppelin, landing with a crash between the brothers.

Mario, ever the leader, bent to pick it up. Unrolling it, he mumbled as he read the note from his greatest adversary. The brothers exchanged words – it turned heated. Finally, Mario put his hand on his brother’s shoulder and they looked up. There were tears in Mario’s eyes as he signaled that Bowser should lower the rope-ladder. A short climb and the plumbers were out of Toadstool’s life.

The ensuing weeks had been Hell for the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom. With nobody to fight off the combined forces of Bowser and the Brothers, simple mushroom people were being conscripted into Bowser’s evil army under the pretense of “Freedom for all” when it was just an attempt to topple the monarchy that had reigned in peace over the kingdom up until the time that Bowser had arrived. She knew that her subjects could see through the thin veil of Bowser’s deception but they had little choice in the matter – it was enlist or prison and few would take the one over the other – especially when it seemed that there was nobody to stop the Bowser Army.

It was a mere matter of time before the army attacked the palace – there was no chance for the Mushroom army the way things stood. Mario and Luigi had tilted the scales a little too far for her comfort. Old King Portabella was well into senility and he would hear nothing of raising an army of loyal mushrooms. His time is done, Toadstool thought to herself. If I don’t do for the Mushroom Kingdom, nobody will. With her first true act as a ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, she decided to even up the odds.

“All right. Thank you very much. I will see you soon? Perfect. Thank you.” Finally, her super team was created. They would form the task force that would save the Mushroom Kingdom from the forces of evil. Toad, the omnipresent administrative aide looked upon her approvingly.

“Who are the chosen few, your highness?” the short mushroom squeaked.

“Well, Toad, I had to keep several factors in mind. First, I needed strength. Where better to find strength than in Mario’s oldest foe.”
“Donkey Kong?”

“That’s right.”

“It that wise? He’s kinda a wildcard, isn’t he?”

“One thing that you can guarantee about Donkey Kong is that he hates Mario. If we’re going to be fighting the plumber, then we need to have the monkey. Next, because of his tenacity and his speed, I enlisted the aid of Jonny Excitebike. He will not only get off a horse after falling off – he will run to the horse. Next, I have added more strength, in the form of two men, named simply ‘Big Derek’. Yes, both of their names are ‘Big Derek’.”

“I remember them. They are not particularly smart but they are certainly strong.”

“That is correct, Toad. They will have someone to do the thinking for them. Her name is Samus. She will direct the ground forces. She seems to be instinctively able to communicate with the Dereks.”

“And the rest?” Toad was smart enough to know that there would be more.

“You are sharp, Toad. The rest are to be used for Espionage. Alex and Ryan, two crusaders, will be able to penetrate the deepest levels of the gangs of Koopa Troopa and Paratroopa, using everyday items as weapons. They will be directed by a man simply known as Blue, the Bionic Commando. He will coordinate subterfuge from within the system, using the enemy’s communications devices to keep in contact, both with us and with Alex and Ryan.”

“There has to be one more, Princess.” Toad said expectantly.

For the first time, the small mushroom saw uncertainty cross the face of the young Princess. “One more? I have one who will coordinate the frontal assault and one to coordinate the covert operations. I believe I have chosen the best for those jobs, as well as choosing the best for those units. Who am I missing?”

“I will guarantee you that the primate will chafe to being placed under a woman and the Bionic Commando does not get along with Samus either.”

“I had not anticipated this. So I need…”

“An over-commander, one to smooth over problems and see the bigger picture. His will be the final say.”

“Ah. Carlos.”

“The slime-slayer. Excellent, Highness. The only better thing would be if we still had the plumbers.”

A pang of regret, coupled with pain, jabbed the princess as if a physical blow at the memory of the wonderful days she, Mario and Luigi had spent together. The two Italians had a keen sense of humour and extremely deep insights as to the ways of the world. How would she continue, knowing that those two, the two that had given her so much, including her freedom on numerous occasions, had turned against her?

The princess steeled herself, knowing that such thoughts might make her soft for what needed to be done. The Marios were gone and there was nothing she could do about that. She could, however, do something about them. And she would.

“Hello, Carlos?” she began, as a male answered on the other end of the phone.

Chapter 2

Explosions tore up the neon-green grass below Samus’ feet as the Bob-omb went off. Fortunately for the space-marine, she had launched herself twenty feet into the air.

Bob-ombs were the easiest to deal with. They walked for a time before going off. Executing a flip in midair, Samus fairly easily avoided a Bullet Bill who would have lowered her armour rating.

Things had sure changed over the last couple of weeks. Mario and Luigi had gone from happy-go-lucky plumbers with some dragon-busting skills to cold-blooded murderers. With the flowers they’d plucked from secret boxes, they had rained fire down upon the castle until Samus, Dereks, DK and Jonny E. had come along and fought them back. Pulled from her musing by a cannonball, Samus did a mid-air somersault and landed on the cannonball, knocking it from the sky. She had met Mario and Luigi one time, at a Nintendo function – they were polite, if not too bright. However, there did seem to be something missing from them… Enough, thought Samus, it’s hard enough to fight with my mind on what I’m doing. Switching to missiles, the space marine took aim at a cluster of red Koopa Paratroopas. She hoped that the covert-ops team was making more progress.


Blue, the Bionic Commando, crawled on his stomach underneath a platform suspended by… what? Magic? Alternate physics? The warp-zone he’d passed through had given him a funny feeling and he knew that there were a number of large changes but he didn’t know that the impossible would exist here.

The sound of a Goombah rounding a corner brought Blue to his feet. Careless! A raw recruit would have seen this coming. He had no recourse but to go up. A quick dip into his pouch produced an extend-o-grapple, a device of his own creation. There was no time to marvel over his own ingenuity, however. Pointing the device upward, he pushed the activator and sent himself toward the roof.

The Goombah seemed oblivious to the sound of the grapple hitting the ceiling and, having no neck, he could not have looked up if he’d wanted to. Exploiting this vulnerability had been Mario and Luigi’s key to the constant defeats of the Bowser Army. And it was one that Blue was not above using either. Timing it perfectly, Blue pressed the release on the mechanism and dropped toward the ground, stopped only by the head of the mushroom foot-soldier. A satisfying “pweep” sound emerged from the flattened Goombah as he disappeared from view.

Now, to find that radio and communicate Bowser’s movements to the Slime Slayer.


Donkey Kong found himself alone on the battlefield. The Dereks had done a great work but they had retreated when the call was sounded. Samus didn’t like it when people didn’t listen but DK didn’t care. His only concern was destroying all of these insignificant gnats that pestered him. Blood coursed from a dozen wounds but the gorilla had been through much worse, hunting Krool. Sending a troopa-shell skyward, he knocked Lakitu from his cloud and, looking around, realized just how massive the onrushing army was. A slow thought (which was all there ever was for Donkey Kong) sprouted in his mind. Why were there no mushroom soldiers fighting on the side of the princess? He could find the question but the answer was a little too quick for him so he let it get away. Realizing that he would not likely make it out alive if he didn’t leave now, he leapt straight up in the air, grabbed onto Lakitu’s cloud and flipped himself into the seat. It didn’t take a genius to figure out how to fly it and it was even easier to launch the four remaining Spinies into the crowd of Bowser’s ground troops, delivering a painful spiny end for any soldier not clad in a shell. Goombahs hardly slowed the projectiles down and an entire brigade of the evil-looking mushrooms was mowed down in short order. Chuckling evilly, Donkey Kong flew off to Mushroom Palace.

Chapter 3

From the highest tower in the Mushroom Palace, Carlos could see the ravening hordes of Bowser’s army. They were held back for now by a spell cast by Toad, who had an amazing array of magical spells. This would not hold them back for long, however, and when they broke through, Toad would die. Such was the price to pay for the time that was needed. It all came down to time, now. Time for Blue, Alex and Ryan to do what they had to.


Ryan dropped the wooden stick he’d been using to fight off the guards outside of Bowser’s castle. It blinked for a time and then disappeared, its usefulness at an end. Fortunately, there was another garbage can, the third such that he’d used in this crusade. Turtle shells had been his primary weapon – that and the bricks that he’d been able to dislodge from the treasure boxes that were surrounded by nothing. One good yank and they came free – they flew really well too. Alex was currently laying about him with a Shy-guy, enemies being a valuable weapon to the two River-City boys. Finally, Alex and Ryan were alone, any enemies that remained blinking – their disappearance imminent – or BARFing, after which they started blinking. Looking around for anyone who might betray their whereabouts, Alex motioned to his buddy and they continued toward the castle which loomed large over the entire vicinity.


Blue swung from the suspended blocks, releasing the grapple at the end of his swing to gain maximum distance. If he timed it right, he could – there – the next set of brick blocks came within range and the Bionic Commando aimed and fired. With a satisfying crunch, the grapple bit, seeing Blue safely to the next objective.

From behind him, a hammer whistled by his head. Blue turned and fired without stopping to see who had thrown the weapon and silent death tore its way through the air to the lone Hammer Brother. As the armoured turtle disappeared, Blue resumed his journey to the castle. Carlos had been quite adamant in his orders for Blue to rejoin his covert ops team as they made the final assault on the castle.


“FULL RETREAT!” Samus called, pulling back from the fighting. It was amazing – none of her people had died and they were still going to lose the battle. She’d decimated an uncountable number of enemies and yet the horde continued inexorably forward. It was then that she had understood what her part in this was. Saying a silent prayer for the assault on the castle, she returned to the castle, all of her soldiers in tow and her delaying action successfully completed.


Realization came upon Carlos in a flash. Without knowing numbers, it was hard to say for sure, but it looked like… no, it couldn’t be the case. There had to be more, somewhere. He would have to talk to the princess.

Chapter 4

Mario jumped down from the floating platform, the high-pitched tone of his jump subdued. He hadn’t been the same since things had turned out the way they did. How could he have been so blind? All these years, and never – not once – had Mario run into a commoner in the mushroom kingdom that was anything but hostile toward him. Then that note from Bowser that made everything so clear.

Making Luigi see reason was the hardest part. He had never wanted to say anything, but his brother’s feelings for the princess had always been a little inappropriate. They did their job, they saved Toadstool on several occasions. But it was not right for him to push his feelings on the woman.

And now they were at war with the same person they had saved time and again. The woman who had kissed Mario on the cheek when he’d saved her in the floating castle. The woman whose hair shone in the sun like the mozzarella on a fresh pizza-pie.

No. I won’t let myself think of her in that way anymore. She’s responsible for where we are.

She and her father had been responsible for the oppression of the mushroom people since well before Mario had appeared. Bowser’s message to Mario had outlined that, but countless interviews with mushroom people of all stripes lent hard evidence to Bowser’s claim. Goombahs, Koopa Troopas, Lakitus, all of these creatures had suffered under the thumb of the Mushroom monarchy.

In a way, Bowser was a hero. He’d shown up just before Mario and taken the people’s plight into his heart. He’d fought for them, using the dirty tricks that they were not willing to. He’d shown them the way, and then when Mario came on the scene to save the princess, the mushroom people had finally decided to attack.

Why else had Mario never found a friend among the entire populace?

That was in the past, though, and Mario had nothing but the future to look forward to. Bowser would send Mario and Luigi home once the princess was taken down, by way of the secret warp zone, and the people of the Mushroom Kingdom would become the Free Peoples of Mushroomistan, and live in peace and prosperity.

That was what Mario hoped – if only he could trust the dragon who had been his nemesis for so long.


Luigi’s heart was breaking. He didn’t know what to do. He’d argued with Mario, but couldn’t get him to see the same thing. They were brothers. But the princess was the princess. She’d had that same hold on him since the day he’d gone down the drain in his bath tub and ended up here, in the mushroom kingdom.

Those eyes, that hair, the slim figure, so like his own. He and the princess had even shared a dream. A wonderful dream where the two of them had teamed up to defeat the evil Wart. (Mario and Toad had been there too, but that was immaterial.)

Where did Mario get off, telling him to turn on his one true love? Hadn’t he carried the team to new heights? If it were Mario all by himself, he would never have gotten so far. They’d been together since the very beginning, stomping crabs for gold, and now Mario expected him to follow when Mario called.

Forget that. If Mario wanted to go rogue, destroy all that the brothers had worked so hard for, betray the love of Luigi’s life, that was his doing. Luigi would do what he had always done. He would lead with the heart, and do what he had to do to get the job done.

Chapter 5

“But Princess, I don’t understand.” The slime-slayer’s voice hit the edge of plaintiveness but he recovered quickly. “Why can I not see the general population of this kingdom? Where are they all?”

“They are in seclusion. This war is extremely hard on them.”

“Take me there.”


“Are…” the next question gave Carlos pause. This would determine his course of action and possibly decide the fate of the Mushroom Kingdom. “Are they on your side?”

The look in Toadstool’s eyes said it all. The uncertainty and fear were confirmation of his suspicions.

The seasoned campaigner turned from the princess and grabbed his comm. “Pull out, all units. PULL OUT!”


Blue, the Bionic Commando, looked down his scope at the soon-to-be-late Mario. One tap to the back of the cap, and the pasta-boy would be down. He eased into his crouch and suddenly the shot was there. ‘Say goodnight, goombah,’ Blue thought, because at this range, any noise would-

“Pull out, all units. PULL OUT!” Blue flinched, wincing. That would pull the entire Dragon-guard down on him. He opened his eyes to see Mario staring straight at him. It didn’t look good. He would have to shoot before-

It was too late. Before Blue could even think of pulling the trigger, a bouncing ball of fire caromed off his face. As he fell to the ground, the Bionic Commando was oblivious to the irony that his position was betrayed by the call to tell him that the man who eventually killed him was not his enemy after all.


Alex and Ryan were surrounded. Turtles, turtles with wings, some cute little shelled things, a couple of mushroom-looking things with guns loaded with Bullet Bills – there really was nothing they could do. They’d used up their stone hands and dragon feet just getting this close, and they could get no closer.

“Looks like we’re done for, Alex.”

“It’s the big barf in the sky for us, Ryan.”

You wanna be a prisoner?”

“Not me. You?”


“Then one last time. DO IT!” Alex’s final two words resonated as, somehow, both Alex and Ryan simultaneously picked the other one up and threw him at the enemy.

Spinning through the air head first, Alex bowled over fourteen turtles and a shelled cute-thing before he was squashed by a fat turtle with wings. Three blinks and a coin sat where once there was a neighbourhood crusader.

Ryan didn’t have time to say goodbye, as he landed on his feet, in a fighting stance.

“Pull out, all units. PULL OUT!” Carlos began in the comm unit. “Mario and Luigi are not our enemy. The Bowser Army is not our enemy. It is all a lie. Pull out any way you can. Get back here safely.”

Putting up his arms, Ryan did the last thing he ever expected to do. He surrendered to the Bowser army.


Throughout the Mushroom Kingdom, word from Mario spread quickly. The mercenaries were bugging out. They’d caught on to the injustice of Toadstool’s reign, and were now leaving the Kingdom for good. If any were caught, they were to be released, and if any were seen, they were to be left alone.

The hordes advanced on the Mushroom Palace unimpeded. The thirst for vengeance was overwhelming. Slower mushrooms were trampled by some behind them, and disappeared without a trace. The advance became a sprint and righteous anger became bloodlust. Ascending the steps required the tide to narrow to four mushrooms abreast. The lead mushrooms rounded a corner and were sent, sizzling, to Hell.

The blue overalls and green hat were stained, the face was wet with tears, and Luigi stood over the dead form of Carlos the Slime Slayer. No more would the valiant Spaniard protect the city of Aliahan from slimes of every stripe.

Ball after ball of fiery death bounced into the rows of mushrooms. until the slaughter caused them to reverse course. Uncounted multitudes of mushrooms were crushed as the mushrooms in the back continued to try to reach the castle and those who witnessed the horror pushed the other way.

A small fraction of the horde that had reached Mushroom Palace limped away from it, their hunger for death ruined in the extinguishing of so many of their compatriots.

Chapter 6

“I should have known what you would do, Luigi.” Mario stepped out of the shadows.

“And you did nothing to stop me,” Luigi replied, turning to face his brother.

“You broke the Bowser army. I would not have them reach the princess either.”

“But you’re on their side.”

“I am. But it is not for the people to pull the despot from the throne. It is for their champion. If they were to do it, they would have no need of Bowser, and then they would overthrow Bowser when he did something they didn’t like, and it would be anarchy.”

“And you?”

“I’m what you might call Bowser’s proxy. I’ll do the dirty work, and then they will turn to Bowser for protection. He can rule, and the Mushroom Kingdom will be in peace once more.”

“You believe that the Mushroom Kingdom will be at peace under that murderous dragon?”

“No. I am not that foolish.”

“Then?” Luigi’s confusion was plain on his face.

“I killed Bowser.” Luigi did not flinch at the lack of emotion in Mario’s voice, but it was an effort.

“You… killed him?”

“I had to. If he were to rule, it would be no better than if Toadstool were to. Worse, in all probability.”

“Then …” Luigi’s eyes widened as he realized the repercussions. “You would rule in Bowser’s stead?”

“As long as people believe Bowser is still alive, they will pay their tributes to him. And I will run the show.”

“But what about the princess?” Luigi was pleading.

“She will have to die. She wants to rule, and her way is not the way of peace.”


“No more, Luigi. Stand aside. I have a princess to kill.”

“You will not kill her, Mario.”

“I have no choice, Luigi. It’s the only way to peace.” Mario stepped forward. Luigi stood in his way.

I’ll stop you, Mario. I swear it.” He readied a fireball.

“You wouldn’t dare.” Mario took another step and was incinerated by the ball that flew from Luigi’s hand.

“For the princess, I would do anything.”

“Then die, plumber.” A blade bloomed from Luigi’s chest and around it, his green coveralls darkened to a black as the lifeblood fled from him.

Princess Peach Toadstool, uncrowned queen of the Mushroom Kingdom, lowered Luigi to the ground as he slowed and was still in his death throes.

From behind her, the familiar squeak of Toad could be heard. “There will be peace.”

Toadstool turned, the front of her dress covered in blood. “Let’s go to bed, Toad, dearest.”

“I’m the best!”


Phenobaby no more!

So, today is Lillian’s last day of Phenobarbital. Who cares? I do. I’m thinking that she’ll be okay. We started paring back the doses on Thursday and she hasn’t reacted at all. It hasn’t affected her sleeping, she hasn’t been overly grumpy, and there have been no more convulsions.

In other Lillian-related news, she’s started smiling and reacting to sound. Grampa Bob was all-too-willing to make an arse out of himself in order to facilitate the smiling. Thanks Grampa Bob!

One more Convulsion-related appointment (with a neurologist who wants to know about my family history) and then, if all is well, we can put this behind us and move on into a new, unmedicated future with Lillian.


Battle of Alberta

The first game of the NHL’s version of the Battle of Alberta is over and Calgary looked GOOD. A powerplay goal, no goals against, and Flames fans can thank Mikka Kiprusoff for bragging rights, at least until Thursday. To Shaun and Shaun I say Pbbbbbbt!

It looks like Kiprusoff is back in playing shape and ready to play. Phaneuf has sure looked good too. Iginla finally got back into it. I guess it just takes a rivalry game for that.

I just hope they don’t celebrate this win by dropping their next three or something.


The Houston Texans did not turn the ball over once. David Carr was sacked sacked a season-low three times. Jabbar Gaffney set a personal best with 10 catches. Centre Drew Hodgdon saw the field for the first time and did fairly well. The Texans converted a fourth-and-10 on a fake punt. Domanick Davis scored from 27 yards out. The defense got three sacks of their own. Oh, and their first turnover.

That’s the good.

320 yards rushing. Oh my GOD! The comments I have read so far are: “Shaun Alexander looked like he was doused in grease before the game.” “Alexander made C.C. Brown look like his girlfriend on that play.”
How does that happen? Sure, Alexander only ran for 141 yards, but Maurice Morris (who?!) ran for 100+ and Hasselbeck had as many yards as Houston’s leading rusher on 14 fewer carries.
Carr was knocked around all evening. Comments: “They’re going to ruin him (carr).” (Like they haven’t already ripped his legs off and replaced them with “Happy feet”.) “If you can’t stop your man one-on-one, you don’t deserve to wear the jersey”.
I’m not too surprised about Carr getting knocked around. But only three of the hits were for sacks, and one was roughing the passer.
40 yards rushing by Davis. What the heck? I guess the line was so geared up for preventing sacks that they forgot how to run block? Or maybe there were 9 in the box. If that’s the case, then why weren’t there more audibles into passing plays? I understand sticking with the run, but what about adjustment?
13 penalties for 95 yards. Who are they? The Oakland Raiders? Two illegal formation penalties on Chester Pitts (one negating a 24-yard run by Davis)? How does that happen? Do they not go over the formation in practice? Sure, Pitts hadn’t played tackle in a season and a quarter. That means that there’s going to be an adjustment. Shouldn’t they have made sure he was good to go before the game?
Kailee Wong gone for the season. Nobody’s fault that he got hurt, but GM and Coach must be to blame for a lack of depth behind him. Where’s Jay Foreman now? He’d look pretty good. Or Jamie Sharper, for that matter. (Derrick Johnson, anyone?)

That's the bad.

A lot of my anger for this loss is directed at the coaching staff and the front office. You can’t control injuries, but you can plan for them, and the lack of quality depth (C.C. Brown at Safety, Troy Evans at ILB, Milford “F#cking” Brown STARTING at guard) has me scratching my head.
At this point, I would LOVE to see Art Shell come in and be the coach of this team. I know it’s not going to happen, (Al Davis is, after all, still alive) but a boy can dream, right?

Next up, the Indianapolis Colts. If Phillip Buchanon can pull his something out of his something else, and Faggins can stop interfering with the receivers, there might be a chance. Especially if Andre Johnson is back. This may seem wildly optimistic to you, but I look forward to all the games, especially the ones where there's a chance to beat a much more successful team. Why should a professional team cringe from a chance to win? What am I, a Lions fan?

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Team BisonWeb took a major step forward today, as my magic word on a comment on my blog was bisalo. The bisalo is obviously a cross between bison and buffalo. Someone is trying to tell me something. What they're trying to tell me is that BisonWeb is inevitable.


The question is: Where does BisonWeb go from here?

Obviously, word must spread.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Back at work

Time flies when you're not getting any sleep.

Twelve working days after the birth of my daughter, I'm back at work and ready to go. Things have changed so much for me in the past two-and-a-half weeks that it's going to take a bit of time for me to figure out my new role.

Not only am I a sleepless father of two but I am now officially the new Data Management Supervisor for Sperry Nisku.

Money aside, what does this mean? It means that all the things that I was doing before, I am now expected to do. All the things that they appreciated before -- overtime, training, mentoring -- these are all part of my job.

Does this mean that my job got harder? Probably not. I was able to do these things and get them done properly and on time. It just means that upper management's expectations of me just got a lot higher.

I know, I know, serenity is inversely proportional to expectation. Normally, I live my life by this. I try not to have any expectations of anyone else, but in this case, serenity is theirs, not mine, and the satisfaction of their expectation is directly tied to my continued employment. So, I'll have to find some new tricks, work harder and try to live up to their expectations -- with my serenity hanging in the balance.

It's a great day for work!

Sunday, September 18, 2005


On Friday, Lillian had her first seizure. We took her to Emergency at the Grey Nuns and they said it wasn't a heart thing, and that if there were more, we should take her in. I didn't say anything here because we were kinda just hoping it would go away.

She had two more yesterday, and now she's had two today. The second one today was in front of the pediatric resident at the Grey Nuns. When I was a baby, I had convulsions, and my brother and cousin both had them as well. The neo-natalogist (I didn't even know there was such a thing) called it "fifth-day fits". He can't rule out infection without testing, though, so they drained hooked my daughter up to monitors for her heart rate and oxygen saturation, as well as hooking up an IV to her. Nothing has ever broken my heart like seeing my baby's blood run down the nurse's hand, onto the blanket, hearing her scream and knowing there's nothing I can do about it.

The pediatric resident told us it would be a good idea to take a walk while they poked at her spine for some more fluids. We took that advice.

The good news is, now we know why Lillian has been having seizures, coupled with 20-30 seconds of apnia(not breathing, for you non-medical, non-scrabble types). It's most likely going to go away with semi-regular doses of phenobarbitol (a mild sedative) and if the tests come back negative and the seizures don't return after two days (which is getting off relatively light, since I was in there for a couple of weeks as a baby), she can come home again.

I'm just home right now to update this, get some things for Kim since she's staying at the hospital, and to get stuff ready for Nick's school-day tomorrow.

Speaking of my amazing Kindergartening son, he's staying with Gramma while Kim and I are with Lillian in the hospital.

Come home soon, Lillian.

A study in contrast



These two shots made me realize how much Lillian looks like Preston did a couple of years ago.

If only I'd gotten that shot of Lillian as a profile.

Still, they're both babies, so they look alike, right? Right??

At least they're cute.

I'm just about even with those bastards

Six months ago, I was riding the bike in the morning, and still getting to work plenty early to earn extra money. Then the bastards stole my bag, with my shoes, sweats, a t-shirt and Deadhouse Gates, a book that I was thoroughly enjoying.

I've since replaced the shoes and t-shirt. Tonight I took another step against the bastards and bought Deadhouse Gates again.

It's the second book in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. It's fantasy (don't lynch me) but it's written by a Canadian, and it's good.

The first book, Gardens of the Moon, drops you in the middle of the action and gradually explains some of the background. It was a little hard to get into, seeing as how most of the Fantasy I've read puts you right in the beginning, when the hero is still a modest farm-boy, and then all hell breaks loose.

This one is nothing like that.

Now I have the book. All I need is some sweats and a bag and I'm back at even (even though I'm down the cost of replacement).


Saturday, September 17, 2005


Kim will tell you she knew it was a girl. My sister will tell you the same thing. So will various people around my office.

Well, they were right.

Saturday morning was supposed to be a day of sleeping in, with Nick at his grandparents’, and the morning to doze. That dream was shattered, however, when Kim came back to bed around a quarter after seven to tell me that she was wet.

Holding pee-jokes back, I asked if her water had broken. “I dunno” was the reply (which had been the reply to countless “Was that a contraction?” questions I’d asked over the past two weeks). I suggested that we go to the hospital to get it checked out, since they wanted her in nice and early for some antibiotics against a group-b strep (whatever that is) that they’d discovered some time earlier.

Three hours later, I finally had Kim convinced and we were off to the hospital.

After an interminable wait in what I will call the “four-to-a” room, where up to four pregnant women can wait to be taken to a delivery room, we learned that Kim’s water had indeed broken and that they would eventually want to hook her up to an IV to get the clendomiacin into her.

After another interminable wait in what I call the “four-to-a” room, Kim got her antibiotics, and we went for a walk, trying to get the baby to re-engage the pelvis, a position that the kindly Dr. Evenson had told us the baby had already reached. Apparently, it’s not likely that a baby will disengage the pelvis, but our Lillian is up to many impossible things. She re-engaged (or engaged for the first time, depending on whether or not you believe Dr. Len) and we headed home.

We spent the afternoon fairly restful and Nicholas came back to us fairly early on. Four games of Pokemon-Sorry later (I won the tournament, 3-1), Howard and Mary Jane (or Mr. And Mrs. MacPherson, if you prefer) returned to take Nicholas and bring us our doula. For those of you not in the know, a doula is a childbirth facilitator. Kinda like a midwife, but not quite as technical. Kinda like a birth-coach (me) but more technical. As a side note, Kara did an amazing job, and if any of you bloggers ever need a doula, I would recommend her.

We returned to the hospital around eight-thirty for the second round of antibiotics, and the nurses talked Kim into keeping the needle in her arm. This turned out to be a mistake, as the needle bent and sent a bunch of saline into the part of Kim’s arm that isn’t vein, and puffed up the arm painfully.

We left the hospital after spending another couple of hours in the four-to-a, convinced that Kim was not in labour, despite some contractions that had seemed to be leading somewhere.

The night was spent for Kim, trying to start labour. I helped when I could, but the rest of the time was spent playing solitaire and waiting.

5:30 saw us back at the hospital. We knew that it was getting close to the time they would want to induce labour, and that was something that Kim had said she wanted to avoid. She got the antibiotics, and by the time the doctor was ready to see her at 10 or so, she’d already decided she’d be induced. She didn’t want to be too tired to give birth, so it wasn’t too much of a blow when Dr. Corbet came into the room and told us that induction would be happening now.

With this stunning piece of news, and the oxitocin drip started, I was so excited I fell asleep for a half-hour. Kim and Kara did – well, whatever it is that expectant mother and doula do when labour is imminent.

When Kim was allowed off the fetal monitor and could get up and go, we went walking the halls of the third floor of the Grey Nuns hospital. Kim had wanted to walk through her labour and, while this was not the off-leash area, Kim was walking. When the contractions started, I didn’t know what would work best for Kim, so I just walked up to her and gave her a hug. The next few contractions allowed us to fine-tune our technique and before too long, Kim would allow me to support her weight with my knees while I held her.

We walked for a good half-hour, circling the halls, looking at baby pictures, contracting (well, Kim was contracting. I wasn’t.) Kara was there, talking Kim through her contractions, helping Kim to learn how best to manage her pain. I started taking a more active role as well, talking to Kim while she breathed through the contractions.

When walking was over, Kim and I stepped into the shower (once I figured out how to make the thing work) and continued the process. She felt the baby drop and had to start squatting during contractions. She hung off of my neck while I stood there and told her she was doing a good job. At one point, she wondered if she was doing any good at all – if she should find some way to deal with the pain. I talked her through her uncertainty, and pretty much immediately, she said she needed to push. We got her out of the shower, and into bed where they told her she was 8 cm dilated. 10 cm is fully dilated and time to push, so I figured it would be pretty soon. I dashed into the bathroom and changed back into my underwear and pants (not socks, though, Sean) and returned. After that, she was in bed the rest of the way.

Fifteen minutes of pushing saw the birth of my baby daughter.

She was born at 6 pounds, 14.2 ounces, and 21 inches long. She enjoys sleeping, eating, pooping, shrieking (Cry your rage, Lillian), and plotting to take over the world with Jack.

She is very, very cute, despite a disturbing resemblance to grampa Bob, and I think she's actually trying to be cute when she yawns. It works, though.

Welcome to the Johnstones, Lillian. We're all wack-jobs, but we all love you.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Johnstone House

This is the Johnstone House. May, 2004, I took possession of this townhouse with the intention of living here a couple of years and then moving on to bigger and better things. The most alluring thing about the place (beside the fact that we could afford it!) was that the entry faces away from the street. Carrying groceries in can be a pain but it's worth it.

The kitchen is far from ultra-spacious but what it lacks in space it makes up in lack of counter-space.

My only complaint about the dining room is that the floor is carpet.
NOTE: We elected not to keep the For Sale sign in the window.

I took these pictures when Kim and I finally got the chance to look the place over together. At the time, I'd thought that they were decent pictures. What the hell was I thinking?

This is a great closet-shot of the computer room.

NOTE: Realtor's leg sold separately.

Another prize-winning shot. This time, of the bathroom sink. I could really do something as a professional photographer.