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.