Neil Gaiman says:

Neil Gaiman says:
pic by Allan Amato

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Cafe Press for the Poet

Just finished working on setting up a Cafe Press shop for my good pal T. Anders Carson. He is currently running for Council in Bastard & South Burgess County (out near Portland ON) and wanted to get some product put together for it. So please check it out and buy buy buy!

Anders is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We had similar beginnings (both starting school at Stephen Leacock Public School in French Immersion & on to the Earl of March in Kanata,) though never shared a class!

We have had many adventures together; from following the Grateful Dead in the early 90's to helping him move house several times (and he in turn helping ME) it has been an accumulation of amazing joy, stress, peace and solid friendly experiences. We have seen the mountains of Kentucky, the plains of Texas, while Spare Ass Annie chuckled through the speakers. We've slid into New Mexico in the dark, then out into rainy Southwest evenings, creaming into a tumbleweed we thought was a stray cow!

We passed the Stallion's Gate 5 miles N. of Trinity Site, crossed the Rio Grande and twisted our way up into the mountains looking for Soccoro and the Radio Telescopes. We stayed in Taos and chilled, and then parted ways; I headed North to home and Anders stayed on for a month to write poems at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation.

We've gone to Lilith Fair, eaten greasy breakfast at Rockin' Rodney's (*grin*) and cleaned lead & cement flaking paint-encrusted pantries while rocking to Tom Waits, Lou Reed and Charles Bukowski.

We've scraped, painted, sung, smoked cigars, swum, cursed, shook fists at the sky, relaxed in the glory of sunsets, pines, Zen and shooting stars. We've dragged garbage across country miles, lurched ancient stoves across backyards and driven merrily in the gas fumes of an ancient LTD.

It's been some times, times times! So the least I could do when T. called yesterday to ask for hep was to get some images together for him for the campaign. If you want to, you can check out some streaming poetry from the Canadian/Swede HERE. You can also read a review from Broken Pencil of "The Dawn of Silence", his first chapbook, illustrated by moi, wayy back in 1995.

So, hopefully the stuff will arrive quickly and in one piece, in time to help promote Carson for Council Ward 1!

Now, to sleepy-time.
Goodnight Sugar Monkeys,

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Rattle & hum

(Above, me & my belly-dance teacher Lisa-Marie aka Sha'Vega Malibu, dancing it up at the end of year show in the summer! Whee :-)

Hmm, you know when you look down at your belly and think.. there *should* be abs under there somewhere (ok, everybody except EricB, KeithA & LeahH who all know perfectly well that there are abs down there..) You KNOW you have abs when they hurt! I may be more of a keg than a six-pack, but man-oh-man those babies are aching.

As you can tell, I must have excersized at some point to create the pain. Bellydancing classes started yesterday! Hurray :-) I signed up for Beginner's Class (again.. this time I swear I will practice more and try and remember ALL of my traveling steps. Right now I remember hardly's annoying :-P) I also signed up for Intermediate Class too, which is a bit daunting, but I do know a few things & it is to be a drilling class where you go over specific moves. Should be a blast!

I'm taking the dancing at Sir Guy Carleton HS near Centrepointe with Sha'Vega Malibu aka Lisa-Marie Serafin, Belly-Dance Diva Extraoridnaire! She is also doing Tarot Interpretation classes too; if anyone's interested... There is still room in the bellydance classes, and at $79 for 10 weeks (ok, it would be 9 if you signed up now :-) it's a deal.

It feels good to be moving around; even though my heel is still giving me some pain (I do believe there is a hidden sliver in there..haven't been able to find it yet.) Not fun :-P The new gang last night was enthusiastic and really into shimmying, trying the traveling steps and having a good time. I didn't recognize anyone except my teacher, but that was fine. They all were quite friendly.

The music kicks butt; the rhythms of the Middle-Eastern dance are infectious.. I found myself doing little hip twirls and figure-eights in-between our shimmies and snake-arms. Yay; it feels good to move about again. For anyone interested in joining up; a lot of the info can be found in my previous entry from the Spring! (Just remember to adjust the time and rate to reflect the fact that it is September/October and not April and that it is now $79 per session :-)

What else?
I think we're getting to the end of our time keying the HRSDC (acronym for "hellish, rotten, stupid, dorky, crap" we have to type!) Yay! I'm glad that it's ending and we're going to be doing a mail-out in the next couple of weeks. That's basically organizing surveys, stuffing envelopes, keeping track of everything and trying not to lose material. At least it will be different & not as mind-numbing.

Although tunes at work have been helping. Everyone trades CDs, listens to MP3 players, the radio or (thanks to JohnG here,) listens to MP3's saved on the computer's hard drive. I borrowed Bob Seger from my buddy MyraW which was awesome and also got to hear some great Johnny Cash, (a new sound for me :-) Some Trance, re-visited the Offspring and of course my old standbys, Colores Andinos and Conan the Barbarian. There's something oddly ironic about keying all this crap while Conan is thundering about in your imagination decapitating snake-priests. Yay!

This afternoon there was a big Census meeting for everyone who participated as a NRFU Enumerator in the Jean-Talon Conference Room. I debated about going. I didn't go to the luncheon at OID because I didn't feel like talking about the Census, or my involvement and my experiences. Everyone else had such a great time; I didn't want to be there to kinda drag it down. But, for the afternoon meeting there was supposed to be a big group photo and certificates handed out and such.. so I thought I should go.

It was strange seeing all the faces in the conference room again; the SOD NancyW was right, it all started here, wayyy back in July and here we all were again. We were officially thanked, officially recognized for our contribution (minor though it is!) to Canadian History by our assistance in collecting responses for he last question on the Census forms (YES you all have done your CENSUS, RIGHT??) anyway, if you haven't, take out a form 2A and give it a look. Inside the cover under all your made-up names and such there is a question that asks if you give Statistics Canada permission to release your personal info in 92 years for geneology and historical studies. Cool eh? Yes, that is a NEW question, and apparently the impact on generations will be very exciting.

heh :-)

I still have noticed that most men in Statistics Canada wear shirts that look like graphs. In 90% of the cases I have observed, apart from t-shirts and stuff, this holds true. Check it out :-)

So, I got my certificate & my name was spelled right. We gathered in the Jean-Talon Rotunda and the photographer squeezed like 66+ people into this leetle space, people sat, stood, lounged, knelt on the floor and grinned. I had NW squished against me to the left and my buddy LianneG to the right. Some head honcho was kneeling in front of me. It was kinda neat. We all mugged for the shot & laughed, compared notes and trundled back to the conference room for more chats.

I'm glad I went; it felt good to wrap it all up--the closure that we need when we've gone through an experience (traumatic or not!) Plus I'll be able to look at the certificate years from now and reminisce on my adventures in the wilds of Britannia :-D

So, tomorrow's Friday & ya can't be sad that it's the end of the week. I think Susie & I will go to Thyme & Again and have coffee (tea for me because of ye olde gallstones :-( but I might have half a cookie too! Saturday I want to go to the Forest Fair in Kemptville to see LianneG's photos & the other North Grenville Arts Guild people too! It should be fun; hopefully the weather will be nice.

Sunday, might do a brunch with some buddies at a Japanese place; if we can git organized for it! And of course Clay & I will try and see Mr. Savage. He has promised not to feed me deep fried brain or strong coffee laced with chocolate and whole milk. Well 1 out of 2 ain't bad!

Cheers & hope everyone has a good weekend.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Grinding through the week

Wahull, another Friday, and so sweet it rivals maple syrup :-) My upper teeth on the left side are hurting and it's going right up into my brain like a nail. Wonderful. I get over one pain or cold or what-have-you only to be thrown into another one. As I told MW at work, "I'm falling apart!"

It was a day; we were on HRSDC which are those leetle travel cards you fill out when you come back from a trip abroad. I think I raged about them a few posts ago. The music I've been listening to really makes the work go faster though. Today I listened to Sheryl Crow & Friends (live in NY), The Clash "Combat Rock", Colores Andinos and the soundtrack to "Farewell to the King", courtesy of Doc Savage and Basil Poledouris :-) The day flew by, and I rolled out at 3pm feeling dazed and experiencing nasty eye-strain. Yay! Another debilitating condition :-(

Speaking of conditions; I went to the Doc Wednesday, and as my previous post stated at the end, I have gallstones. Apparently I come by them honestly, as my Mom and her folks all suffered from gallstones. Even my brother mentioned he gets pains in that area. Whee! For educational purposes, here is a picture of the gallbladder (although, it's not MY gallbladder..and usually gallbladders are not a bright blue in colour..)

Pictures of gallstones are too gross to post. Go Google Image them yourselves if you want to see them. Yick.

So, I have to change my diet. No more fatty foods, red meat, dairy or anything remotely tasty like onions. The only things on the list that I think won't be a problem to give up are the banned organ meats: brain, kidney, tongue, sweetmeats (!) and whatever else you boil up to make head cheese. So NO deep-fried brains for me :-P

Other areas on the net have funky home remedies for gallstones and strange diets that include vats of oil to flush you out, or mega amounts of beets. I do like beets. But the idea of chugging vegetable oil is kinda icky. Anyone got any good ideas out there? The consensus at work was to forget the whole "control with the diet" idea and get surgery. My friend MW actually showed me her scars and they looked not too bad. In fact they were barely noticable.

Surgery??? :-O

Well, Enough o' that. After work, I drove to Bells Corners and dropped in on Mike, Shelagh, Bronwyn & Kiara! BABY :-) I got to hold her and everything. And she didn't barf on me (I like my new niece.) I gave her a soft Gund terrapin and a Winnie the Pooh letter "K" & some bday presents for Shel too. Mike put on some classic Sesame St.--lots of great, hypnotic 60's influenced animation *whee*. Took some pictures; hopefully they'll turn out!

I also got to see footage of Kiara RIGHT outta the birth canal. It was amazing; she was all brand new and howling her little lungs out, thrashing her little arms--the nurse was swabbing her down. You could even see the cool umbilical cord. Wow! It hit me right in the chest, I choked up--amazing :-O Whew.

Short post, but my eyes and teeth are killing me--I must medicate & then make some kind've dinner. Hope the weekend is good for everyone--

PS--Anyone know the significance of the # 5318008 ???
There's a lolly in it for whoever guesses correctly :-D

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Birthday bonanza

Geez, the week's going going and almost gone. Where's it off to in such a hurry? Where'd September go? Whatsis? October fallin' on us already, with that nip of frost in the air and the skirl of orange papery leaves blowing across the cracked pavement.

Last Wednesday, it poured rain, but I didn't mind. I was going to meet LH and Vix at Pub Italia for 5:30pm, so since I knocked off at 3, I had some time to kill. I browsed at Holland Cross, drove to Island Park and got gas at the retro Esso, swung around to the fantastic Ottawa Bagel Shop on Wellington and grabbed some sesame seed bagels YUM, then stopped near the Parkdale Market.

You know how if you try and pack a pile of shit into 1 hour, you can never finish anything and you end up running late?? Well, I kept piling stuff into my free time and because it was pouring rain, nobody was out and about..and consequently, it took no time at all for me to accomplish my stuff. The Parkdale Market was a ghost town. I bought my beets, zucchinni, garlic braid and stuff in about 5 minutes. Headed back to the car and vegged, as my windows steamed up. I listened to "Dark Side of the Moon" on my MP3 player.. yay--I'm moderately technologically catching up!

I waited in the car as the rain pattered, misted and poured on the windshield. Wrote 11 mini pages of a letter. Ruminated over turning 37, then thought "the heck with it" and headed to the Pub! Traffic was annoying because of the rain, but I parked in my usual spot on Norman St. just in front of the Lada dealership. Heehee! I always kid that I park there so I can pass my secret documents to the Russians who work there.. :-D

I got to the Pub and it was packed. A nice waitress (they're 98% nice at Pub Italia) took me DEEP into the back of the place, where I'd never been. I didn't have to wait long for Vix to arrive, a huge yellow bobbling flower under one arm! Yay :-D LH came next and we settled in for brews (LH loves the Trappist Beers, especially the ROCHEFORT “8" (BELGIUM) 9.2% Chestnut coloured, fruity aroma, malt and chocolate finish and the ROCHEFORT “10" (BELGIUM) 11.3% Dark brown in colour with lots of chocolate flavour and aroma) food, chatting and divulging of presents :-) LH gave me a cool Buddha statue & incense and a pile of books with a beautiful oriental card. Along with the flower, Vix gave me a great card that actually had rats on it! She also gave me some home-made plum jam and a dragon visor for my car. Hurrah!

After lasagna, beer, jalapeno poppers and laughter, we broke it up; dropped LH at home and then headed to Kanata to enjoy some maple tea in the livingroom. Vix put Swandive on the stereo and we chilled with the kitties. Hollee.. Arlo has also aged; he's now 16! So, time for the old grey dude to secure his driver's licence, eh?


I birthdayed on Thursday, attended work and had a big fuss made over me, which was sweet :-) Nhoj got me a very cool dragon for this DragonGrrl's bday and a cool card that *everyone* signed (even some big cheeses in there :-) And lots of cool little cheeses as well. Skywindcat got me a very cool glitter-flower card that stands up by itself. Everyone was super nice and I left work with a light heart.

Drove to the Stitts and hung out with my Mom. She was finishing off the preparation of Thai chicken and salad, as well as topping the home-made cheesecake with peaches! "Millions of peaches...peaches for Sue"! Mike, Shelagh & Bronwyn came out for supper too and we caught up. Bronwyn was so cute and chatty, she's utterly adorable. Clayton appeared, having successfully caught the Goulbourn bus from Bayview. After dinner, I opened prezzies: more cool cards, some moolah, insence holder shaped like a dragon, a Spongebob Pez dispenser, a wicked weird wine holder that looks like a Klingon battle weapon (now I have to get me some wine...) and other goodies.

We didn't stay too long, cause I had to work the next day, but we finished with lots of hugs and mooshy goodbyes (the best kind.)

FRIDAY! Everyone at work was in a pretty good mood (no kidding; it's Friday yo.) The day flitted by, accompanied by music. I listened to Tom Waits, Bif Naked, Pink Floyd and the radio. Afterwards... I hooked up with my animation pals at the Prescott (also on Preston) and parked in my usual spot. Mik, his wife Isabelle, Grant, Moira, Shivan, Jane and Craig were there, so it was a swell party. No sign of Terry though! Dude, you missed out on some good beer, convo and presents :-) We also passed Mik's little notebook around and drew caricatures of each other in it, which was fun. It was great getting one of Mik's super hugs in. It had been too, a year??

Suu arrived around 8:30pm and whisked me away to the Market to catch up with the Bi-Grrls. We were supposed to meet at the Honest Lawyer for drinks and pool. It was the oddest feeling; although I'd never been there I got a sweeping sense of deja vu! I then realized that the place had had another incarnation in my youth: Grand Central! Wayyy back in the early 90's I'd seen Spirit of the West there, danced my ass off and got my first real kiss with a girl. Wow :-o Talk about a barrage of memories.

We had fun; I played ultra-lousy pool, but won through absurd luck, since honestly, the game could've gone either way. Although my pal CT and I had an audience, I tried not to let it rattle me and just have fun. I spent a good amount of time chasing the balls all around the table; and discovered that I am in dire need of lessons. JOSHAWA, where are you? I just remembered that the last time I played pool was like 2 years ago in a Legion near Summerside PEI with Troy's sister Judy and her son Josh. He was awesome at giving tips to sink the balls. All the trick and bank shots I try (and sadly fail at) were inspired by him :-)

It was great seeing my gals and catching up on news. It was the first time Suu had been out of the house without her baby since Niamh had arrived on the scene, so she was having a ball. Our waitress was awesome. She was so friendly, very cute and helpful. When we were about to split for cake she looked half-interested in coming with us when I explained that we were heading to the Oh So Good! In retrospect, I should've picked her up some mousse cake or something and given it to her. That would've been swell :-D

Man, this post is taking forever! I think I'll wrap it up and continue tomorrow with more news.

Oh yes.. and for those waiting with bated breath; I have *&%# gallstones :-( There will be an expository on THAT soon..

Cheers & thanks for reading.

PS--WELCOME to the world: Kiara Lynn Marsden! My new niece arrived safe and sound Sunday, September 17th at 2:04 am, weighing in at 8.6 lbs Hurrayyyy!!! Congratulations to my Bro, Michael and my Sister-In-Law Shelagh. Great job guys!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Feed your head

Yay! Sue wins! I've been playing a Scrabble-like game at home and at work (at lunch occasionally.) It's fun. I don't get to play as often with my Mom, or Fiona or my good buddy Kerry T (now in London!) so, this not too bad version of the game is good for the old brain pan. The only problem is that it has an odd dictionary. I have to ADD words to the dictionary, like: gloam, gib and ret so the computer will know what I'm talking about. Then it'll throw out words like Elvis and Tony. Those words I get to REMOVE from the computer's dictionary. Slowly, I'm making it think more like *me* heehee hee....

Apart from that, I've been hammering keys at work, still at STC, switching between the Dwelling Survey and the interminable ITS cards (travel cards you fill out if you were out of the country.) Someone has to type all that sh*t into a computer, so barring turbulence, dudes can you PRINT a bit more neatly? Thank you :-D

For some reason, this chillier weather (which I love btw, brings out the need to cook. I figure it's the gather-nuts-and -store-for-winter actioned by the hind brain taking over. So far I've made spaghetti sauce, noodles, lasagne (with said sauce), bran muffins and stove-top chili (which even included a sweet potato.) I *hate* sweet potatoes! But, this particular recipe is fabu.. thanks to Vicki for introducing it to me. Anyone else finding the urge to cook, stew, bake, eat and begin hibernation preparations?

Yes, yes-- I know a few people at work will get a guffaw over that picture :-D It's a TUBER!

Tomorrow it will be ONE WHOLE YEAR that I've been employed. OMG can you believe it? I think it has only happened once before, at Dynomight Cartoons a few years ago. But holee.. it's unbelievable. Our little 2 1/2 month contract extended not only for a year, but will stretch all the way to November 2nd. Unreal. So, I'm making my patented Cranberry muffins tomorrow to bring in to celebrate. And, I might also pack some of my bran muffins in as well (in case there are not enough cranberry ones.) I know, muffins aren't the Halleluja Chorus of WOW we've been here a Year celebratory Fare.. but... some of my buddies have only been there 11 months (cuz they got laid off in December of '05 and were recalled in January of '06.) So; maybe we'll have *another* celebration in October. We'll see :-)

Any excuse for a pahhty, eh?

Speaking of which.. I VISIBLY AGE this week. I know, I know, it's not that amazing--keying for a year in front of a computer for 8 hours a day will age you of course. Those wrinkles and grey hairs popping out everywhere are no surprise (*GACKKKkk*). But, well, Thursday I officially will be able to quote "Monty Python & The Holy Grail" honestly and say: "I'm thirty-seven ... I'm not old." Thankfully, I'm not called Dennis :-) Now go watch MP&THG in honour of my special day & age thingie. Here's another Dennis sound bite :-D

Anyway, enough of that silliness. The week looks good; getting together for drinks Wed with VS & LH if all goes well. Thursday, off to my folks for Thai Chicken and peach cheesecake...MMMmm! Friday night, the Grrls are whisking me out for drinks and pool! Hurrah. The weekend will be filled with visits with the ex-Aylmerites (now Carleton Place-ites) and Mr. Savage, hopefully!


Who knows?

Friday, September 01, 2006


This is a picture of where I work. When I'm not suffering from mysterious maladies, or wandering Bayshore with a clipboard as a NRFU Enumerator, Tunney's Pasture is my usual demesnes. I snagged this pic from a "John Lennon & Yoko Ono" tour of Ottawa photo thingie circa 1969, so that's why the pic is a bit funny. Weird to think the old Beatle was hoofing it where I work... he was actually visiting the Health Canada building at the time, not Statistics Canada. Anywho, that's the not-so-exciting history of the picture.

So this was my first week back in a long while. Monday, we worked on keying PISA bubble sheets using the Verifier. That was fun, and all too soon, it came to and end, and that was the last of the PISA project (that we've basically been working on since like February!) It was weird finishing it off. BT brought in strawberry short-cake as a celebration on Wednesday to thank us all for a job well done, which was nice.

I have to say that the strawberries involved were delicious. She'd hoofed it up to the Parkdale Market at lunch and had returned with huge baskets of fresh summer berries. MAAN. You could taste the sunshine still vibrating from them, bursting on your tongue with juicy goodness. MMmmm! No wonder Vicki & Carol L. decree that they are their favourite berries :-D [Pic by Glen Gower.]

After we completed PISA, we turned our considerable data-capture talents to keying the Dwelling Survey; which reminds me a bit of the Census, except it is in a bit more detail. It ain't bad keying it, a bit boring (although not as boring as the Terrible TAMs!!) At least you get to type in actual information, instead of just bluntly pounding the "enter" key!

I have amused myself by writing emails at work, catching up with my friends, enjoying good coffee, taking alternate routes to & from home in the Echo (which still needs to get that farty gasket repaired! *sigh*) The fastest & less stressful route home is from Tunney's Pasture to the Ottawa River Pky West, picking up Carling briefly, turning up onto Richmond and hooking to the 417 at Bayshore, then sailing to Moodie Dr., turning West onto Timm and catching Eagleson Rd. at Katimavik where you head South.

Sounds complicated? But consider.. The Ottawa River Pky is beautiful, and although you're only going about 70 kph, you get to see the river (I saw a gang of deer on Monday, browsing.) When you get off the 417 at Moodie and go West on Timm Dr. you're in pastures with trees and wildlife too; very pleasant and soothing for the soul.

Compare that to grinding your car South up Parkdale (which is ALWAYS a mess, even if the construction is finished) finally getting the 417 where it's stop & go (the buses whip past you insolently!) When it finally opens up, you only sail along for a little bit before you hit the Bayshore/Kanata bottleneck.. And I timed it. It took almost the same amount of time to get home--in fact, going Parkdale to the Queensway to Terry Fox and South to my place took an extra 5 minutes. So why bother?

Between working, getting to work, coming home, cooking dinner, taking care of animals and doing all that routine stuff that you have to do, I have been playing "NeverWinter Nights" with Clay on the computer. We picked this game up a few years ago and never got a chance to finish it (or really give it a good "go" for that matter.) It has been sweet getting a chance to play, but fried too. Time goes by so quickly when you're playing; you look up and it's like midnight! Then you crash and get up at 5am to go to work. Duh! Anyway, it is a blast though. It's put out by Bioware which is where my animation buddy Mark How works slavishly making fun games for us to enjoy. Hurray :-D

Got together last night at the Green Door for supper with my friends LH, and my Bi Grrl gang. It was wonderful--I hadn't seen the gals for ages nor been to the Door ( months?) The only sad thing was that they didn't have beets. They had carrots though, and the great Greek salad with the chunks of feta in it. And the triple berry pie. YUM! If you've never been to the Green Door, do yourself a favour and get out there for supper. You'll spend about $20 for a full plate of delicious organic vegetarian fare, and your tummy will thank you. If you have a spare $5, pick up an organic beer too (St. Peter's English Ale)

Well, I must prepare to go and visit Mr. Savage! I must get clean, pack my stuff, feed the cats and tangle with traffic. Whee....!