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Steverino ex machina.

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Location: PEI, Canada

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Well, my Mrs. wants her sister's dog. Her sis offered it to her. It doesn't shed, but her hub and son are both allergic to its dander. It's a shih tzu (the most commonly and funnily misspelled item in the Buy, Sell & Trade). I don't know if we're really ready for a dog. Well, I guess it's more like I don't know if I really want a dog at all right now or not. We already have a cat and a couple of fish. My main worry is the cat and how he handles it. Secondary and tertiary concerns would be how much extra time, money, and upkeep the little guy will need, as well as how he's going to react when we go back to school in the fall, or if we ever go on a vacation. Apparently he's already house-trained, and only ever chews on one pair of sandals. I don't like what I read this morning, though... how they're not great with little kids (maybe bad if we ever have kids), and how they have separation anxiety and can get destructive when you're away for a long time during the day. Maybe since this guy's about a year old, and hasn't exhibited these behaviours makes him an OK candidate, though.

A shih tzu never would have been my first (or any number) choice of dog. I had a black lab years ago, a perfect dog. I like dachsunds, pugs, jack russels, etc... I'm just not much for the little sissy toy dogs. You know, things you could put a bow on.

On the plus side, though, he's free, and he comes with all his accesories (carrier, clippers, etc.). Shih tzus are also reportedly sturdy little dogs that hold their heads high. They also don't have to be walked outside, which is a plus in terms of how much it would affect our daily routine.

I kind of feel like it's a done deal on my wife's side, but I'm more apprehensive about it. I don't know if I really want a dog right now, and if I want a shih tzu at all. Who knows... maybe he'd be easy to care for, he and the cat could become best friends. Maybe he won't be yappy here (he isn't at his current home), won't make a mess, and won't chew stuff. Maybe we'd both love him to bits. I guess that's why I'm cautious about it. All there is to deal with are maybes. We've never even met the dog, and it's a big change (no matter what) for us.

What do you folks think? I think my Mrs. wants to call her sis back either way tonight, but I'm curious as to what other folks think (about the breed or the situation).

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Friday Five

(not to be confused with The Furious Five)

Anyone that knows me knows that I know a lot of "useless" stuff. You know, trivial knowledge that's really only good for playing trivia or making conversation (both very useful and potentially fruitful things). So, allow me to introduce what may be a recurring feature here, "The Friday Five". It'll be five interesting things that you hopefully didn't know about before you came here... things that can let you be better at trivia, and make better conversation!

  1. There are only four Shakers (a spin-off of Quakers) left, and all of them live in Maine.

  2. Weezer's current bass player, Scott Shriner, used to play bass for Vanilla Ice.

  3. Wooden paddle spankings are still legal in 21 American states, and an average of 1,350 school paddlings happened each day in 2003.

  4. There are more Subway restaurants in the USA than any other fast food chain.

  5. Katharine MacPhee, of American Idol, was bulimic during the Idol process. She had gone through rehab, and recovered by the end, dropping 30 pounds with healthy eating. Take that and stuff it, eating-disorder people! Ha ha! (I guess the acid in her throat from heaving 7 times a day was part of why I didn't care for her vocals)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Well... guess who I met on Sunday?

Of course, before we went to see Dr. Suzuki speak, I thought, "Maybe I should bring a camera... naw, we won't be buying a book, so I won't get to meet him... enhhh... I'll just leave the camera home." Well, wouldn't you know it... THE David Suzuki was out signing books before (and after) his presentation and speech, just out in the hallway, outside the room. AND, he wasn't just selling his new autobiography (which does look interesting). He was selling several different books. So, after walking right by him and getting a seat, we decided I'd go out and pick a book, so we could get him to sign it. I picked out "The David Suzuki Reader", 'cause it looked more varied in its topics. It's a collection of theories, ideas, and writings from the Suz, from over the years. Lots of different topics and subjects, from aging to family to Auschwitz to zoology. So, I did get to meet him. That was pretty cool. Brief, but cool. He's one of a handful of Canadian/CBC legends, and although I'm sure he has his faults, he's done some pretty incredible things in his life for the world. After he signed the book,

"To Stephen & Carolyn
For a Mindshift
David Suzuki"

I extended my hand to shake his. Ginny Nicholson (who was like the Suz's assistant, on behalf of The Bookmark) just about freaked and was like, "No! He doesn't shake hands!" She was like some kind of secret service agent protecting the president, which was weird. Suzuki just said that he doesn't shake hands because his arthritis is so bad now (after all, he IS 70. 70!!). I thought it was a little weird, but I just basically told him I have a pretty strong handshake, too, so it was good we didn't get to shake. I still really wish I'd gotten to shake his hand, though. Ah well, I still got his autograph and got to briefly meet him. I just wish I could sit down with him somewhere some time and talk about science and the world.

At any rate, he gave an awesome multimedia presentation and speech. Many people left feeling pretty under-achieving, given the stuff he's acomplished in his life. Towards the end, he got really animated and passionate. Partly about the environment, and partly about Stephen Harper. Basically, here's the gist:

The Kyoto Protocol agreement, when signed and ratified by Russia, became international law. Its intent is to stabilize greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. You know, since in the next 100 years, the world's average temperature is going to rise by 1.4-5.8 degrees Celsius. Already, since water expands when its temp rises, water levels in the world are rising. Places are flooding, the odd little island with, perhaps, unique species, is disappearing every now and then. Imagine what happens when the temps go even higher than now and the icecaps melt even more. More flooding, more drought, loss of plants and animals... it's gonna get ugly within our own lifetime. The nice thing is that we can change that. The trick is just that it's going to take a lot of people to do it. At any rate...

Chretien signed the Kyoto agreement as a Canadian, and on behalf of Canada. Then, Harper came in. Harper withdrew our country from Kyoto (he never asked me!) , and said we were going to go our own way. Where the heck does he get off thinking he can just break international law with no consequences? Stupid android prime minister. Suzuki figures that for Harper to give a damn, well... for Harper to at least do something about the environment, it needs to become a top priority with voters (that's us!). So... put it on the top of your list, would you?

There are some other things we can do to make the environment a top priority again, and help out in the process. Here are three you can do right now:

Send Harper an email.

Educate yourself and others. (you know, like this)

Join the Nature Challenge (which, by the way, is deceptively easy!), and don't forget to sign up on Suzuki's site.

For more info on these items and a plethora of others, click on the link below to visit the site of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Wow... how the time's gone, eh? Where have I been? Why those regular and frequent posts and then nothing for three weeks? Well, dedicated readers, I owe an apology to you all... both of you should know that I'm very sorry.

In short, the last few weeks have been pretty crazy. School's winding down, and kids are winding up. There's regular life stuff on top of that. Most importantly, though, and the real reason for my absence, is the fact that someone very dear to me passed away a week ago Friday. My grandmother on my mother's side, who was fine, even just those few weeks ago, is now gone. I had something very long written up, with an account of her condition over her last couple of weeks, and how I dealt with it. However, it was long, and really personal, so I decided to save it for myself. I'll also not put her picture up, as I'd planned. Just know that she was a beautiful lady, 89 years old, who played the fiddle and lived the cleanest and most humble life. She'd never complain, and would always help anyone out. She really was (is) a pillar of our family and her home community. She was a quiet pillar of strength and all that was right in the world, and an example of the good in people that seems to be going away.

So, instead of my write-up, I'll leave you with something short and simple, with a somewhat-appropriate lyric from a currently-fave song:

my parents and us there
it was so quiet, so peaceful, so natural
with shorter gurgled breaths
until one last small one
like she was already gone and her body just slowed down
until it unabruptly stopped
like a clock that keeps losing time until it forever pauses
like any other living thing
it was such a natural end to life

I played with my 3-year-old niece that evening
she showed me the marigolds she planted in her own little bed that day
there were painted snailshells in it that a friend gave to her
she was full of life and joy
although she pretended that our imaginary person we'd visit was sick and may die
she brought them medicine (blueberry punch) and it made them all better
such an innocent, lovely, natural start to her life
sunshine in her hair and a future in her eyes she can't see
that will eventually have a natural end

It was as if I saw the whole cycle of life within a matter of hours

"Now I’m down I’m just hanging on the corner
I can’t help but reminisce
When you’re gone all the colors fade
When you’re gone no New Year’s Day parade
You’re gone
Colors seem to fade"
- Amos Lee