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Steverino ex machina.

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Location: PEI, Canada

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Well. What a year it's been here, at Steverinoland. A friend of mine described me, this summer, as being like oatmeal. I didn't like it, but I couldn't argue it. For someone, like him, that doesn't know me very well, I'm pretty safe. I'm pretty normal. Dependable. Like oatmeal.

On the outside, I can see how one would think that. I don't come off as overly dynamic. I'm more the kind of person where you really have to talk with me for a while to see what I'm like. I'm very much a mental (double meaning?) person. Verbal. Literal. Punny. I'm all about the music and language. People would never know, just from looking at me, that I was, say, one degree of separation from The Rolling Stones. You'd never know I was once on national TV. You'd never know that I had (partially) roots in a German part of Russia.

So, as a year-in-review kind of post, especially for those of you that don't know me that well, or are new to my blog... here's a wee year in review.

Definitely a year full of some BIG (and not so big) things. Who knew, eh?

As you may well expect, I'm thinking about top songs and albums of the year. Lists will come soon! Tonight, it's the cuz's for NYE. Happy New Year, fellow bloggerinos!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Post-Christmas shoppin' time!

When it comes to money, the Scottish part in me really comes out. My birthday was last Sept. 29th, and I never spent any of my Future Shop or Mark's Work Wearhouse cards. I saved 'em up 'til I found something I really wanted to buy. I think I must get off on self-denial and saving cash. I often feel guilty when I spend, especially on big things. Like, if I spend more than double-digits, I'm almost crushed.

Anyhoo, before Christmas, MWW had no clothes I liked, and I assume that's the same now. I'll continue to save those b-day and Christmas cards. However, Future Shop had some good sales on our Boxing Day (the 27th), so my FS cards could finally get spent. Now, aside from my fiscal responsibility, I also research and analyze things a lot before I buy them. I hunt online for reviews from various sources, check prices, everything. This is also a reason why it can take me forever to spend money. I've been wanting an mp3/media player for a while now. I really liked the iPod nano when it came out, and the new wee-clip iPod Shuffle. There were other ones I saw, researched, liked, but I really liked the look, feel, and features (what there were) of the economically-priced iPods. I'd like an 80GB video one, but that's several hundred dollars I could put towards a new computer or something. Plus, it wouldn't hold all of my music. If I was going to spend that kind of cash on a portable library, I'd want it to hold everything.

After more hunting, I came across the SanDisk Sansa line of media players. They're about the same size and price (or cheaper) as the iPods of comparable size, but they have more features, especially in the smaller models. Even a 2GB Sansa does pictures, slideshows, videos with sound, FM radio, recording FM radio, and voice recording. Oh, and a slot for more memory. Pretty much all stuff an iPod of that size could not do. I liked it. More bang for the buck. So, for a couple (few?) months now, I've been watching these players and their new Rhapsody versions. I didn't buy one before Christmas, because I was hoping for more FS money, which I got. I was also hoping there may be a sale on 'em at FS on Boxing Day.

A couple of days before Christmas, I saw some ads on the FS site for the Sansa players on sale. The 4GB version was on sale for $149.99, down from $219.99. I made up my mind. I was going to buy one. I'd still need an FM transmitter for the car, and maybe a carrying case, but I was gonna get the player on B-Day. My only worry was that FS opened at 6am, there would be a line of people started in the night, and I wasn't willing to get up toooo early. I made my mind up, but I also told myself that if I couldn't get it, no biggie.

We woke up around 7:30 or so, to get ready to go a-shoppin'. I wanted my one thing, and C wanted one thing at Canadian Tire. She wanted one of those red tool chests on wheels, and a good one was on sale for $50 - $130 off! Her mom also decided she'd like one, so her dad was sent to town to wait at Cdn Tire to get them if he got there before us, and to maybe help us take it home. He called around 8am, while we were taking the short drive in, to say there was a big line at Cdn Tire, plus people waiting in cars, and that we may not want to bother coming in. We were on our way, though, so we forged on. We wanted to try & get out good deals.

Action time. We parked at CT and C went there while I went to FS. I anxiously walked into FS, and it wasn't too busy. I walked over to the area on the right where the media players are. I looked. I couldn't find my 4GB player. I asked one guy (mostly notorious, these FS guys are, for being stunned) if any were left. He said there weren't, and some other guy on the other side of the aisle said that they went pretty fast. They offered me the 6 and 8GB versions, though, which were, like, in the 2-300 whatever dollar range. I think not. I asked another guy if any 2GB iPods were left. Nope. I was a little disappointed.

I went to Cdn Tire, and found C and her pa in a long line. They got one! One. Ugh... would he keep it? Nah, of course not. He let daddy's little girl have it. Apparently, there were 75 of the things, and they were all gone in less than 20 minutes. One guy had five! After we finally got the thing out of the box so that it'd fit in the trunk, we went back to FS. We looked at computers, CDs, cameras, stuff like that. I went back to look at the media players, just in case. I told C of my previous episode, in the aisle where they should be, and... what's this? Two 4GB Sansas on the rack? I don't remember seeing them, and I was told there were no more! FS bitches! No matter, I snagged one and went on my way. Wohoo!

I'm still learning all its bells and whistles, but it's pretty friggin' cool. It works as a mass storage device, so stuff I record can be put on the computer, which is nice. The video's pretty slick. So far, so good!

More posting and pics later... sometime.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Hi diddly-ho-ho-ho there, fellow bloggerinos!

Wowzers! Christmas has once again come and gone in a whiz-bang flash, like some wee eruption of a Canadian Tire Christmas cracker in a neighbouring room unexpectedly. It's somewhat of a startle, almost, and you hardly got to experience it!

I see a couple of peeps still checked me out yesterday and today. Bless ya, you net-lovers, you. I appreciate it.

A sign at a nearby church has some pretty thoughtful / amusing sayings each week. This week's was something along the lines of "God so loved us that he sent his only son". It got me to thinking... if this was some mob movie, that wouldn't cut it. The world would be insulted. We'd be like, "What the Hell? Things are pretty fucked up down here right now, man. We need YOU. Why'd you send us your son? You could be waking up tomorrow with a horse head on the cloud next to you." Of course, God isn't a mob hitman, and things don't work like that with him. It was all about the humbling, with Jesus becoming human amongst us, helpin' as much as he could. But, still... it was a thought I thought.

Last year, my folks' new parish priest (who loves kids and lives for gettin' them involved) brought out a birthday cake with the kiddies and led the congregation in a singing of "Happy Birthday, dear Jesus". That was a first. This year, he did it again. He also one-upped himself, by (after the birthday song) saying to the kids, "How about three cheers for Jesus? Hip-hip... hooray! Hip-hip... hooray! Hip-hip... hooray! That wasn't loud enough... I think we can do better. Hip-hip...". I shit you not. I think it's pretty unorthodox and funny. I figure, next year will bring "For He's a Jolly Good Saviour".

So how did y'all make out this Christmas? I'll do a whole list some other time, with pics (what with the faster, normal blogging-computer being a 'net Nazi lately... "No 'net for you!") and all. Sorry there's no pics in this one. I miss 'em, too. For now, though, I'll tell you what I got music-wise (perhaps the usual most-important part of my haul).

Brett Dennen - "So Much More"
Jim Cuddy - "The Light That Guides You Home"
Ron Hynes - "Get Back Change"
Amos Lee - "Amos Lee"
Dayna Manning - "Folkyo" (signed to me, with a little note wohoo!) ;)
Raul Midon - "State Of Mind"
The Joel Plaskett Emergency - "Down At The Khyber" (so I don't have to get the vinyl of it out to enjoy it)
The Joel Plaskett Emergency - "Make A Little Noise" CD/DVD combo
Ron Sexsmith - "Time Being"
The Super Friendz - "Mock Up / Scale Down"

Lotsa musical goodness!

Like I said, I'll tell you 'bout the rest of the haul and anything else that needs telling later. Thanks for stoppin' 'round, and Merry Christmas! (I wonder if anyone ever tried to marry Christmas... probably not. Then Christmas probably wouldn't be merry... ba-dum-ching! Just kidding. Marriage is fine!)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cold Hard Cash.

I've had a cold all week. It's no fun. I've soldiered on, though I don't know why. Lots of kids are sick in school. Maybe I figure nobody'll get whatever I have. Most kids (that are sick) have some kind of flu-thing, with up-chucking. As many as 20% of kids are out on some days this week. I don't have that, which is good, I guess. I still feel like crap, though. Stuffy nose now, tired, weak, aching body, cough, etc. It never fails. I get sick at Christmas (damn you, lower stress / cortisol!).

It's hard to believe Monday is Christmas. I wish it were a month away, so that I could anticipate it longer, and so that we could have some snow with it!

There was an item on the news tonight about a city employee who stole $40, 000 in cold hard cash from the province's largest city. She was a clerk, and pocketed water / sewer payments, etc. I can understand theft, stupid as it may be. What I can't stand (or understand) is her lame excuse. She claimed she stole all the money 'cause she was abused as a child and the rush she got from thievery filled the void left in her from her so-called abusive childhood. Pardon me if it sounds callous, but I don't care if, each night, her mammy belt-whipped her behind the shed twice before bed. Her stealing has got nothing to do with being abused in the past. That's just a stupid lame-o excuse. I hope she enjoys paying back the cash, the 11 1/2 months of house arrest, and the 150 hrs of community service. I like to imagine that the house arrest and hours of service are just for the whack excuse.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

OK. Si... wait, you're already sitting. Good.
Stick out your right leg.
Rotate your foot at the ankle (where else would you rotate it?) in a clockwise direction.
Stick out your right hand and make the number six in the air a few times while you rotate your foot.


Now try making an eight with your right hand while still rotating the foot!
Freeeeeaky, man.

Monday, December 18, 2006

OK, it finally came to my mind at a time when I'm sitting here. This is something that's been bugging me for a while, and I've wanted to blog about it. What I'm talking about is bowing. Whether it be celebrities or common-folk (but mostly celebrities), bowing with your hands in front of you - palm to palm - is wrong. They look freakin' stupid and arrogant. Are they trying to look humble? Do they think they look like the friggin' Dalai Lama all humble and gracious and thankful & shit? Well they don't! People sportin' popped collars is bad enough. This is like some freakin' religious identity theft or something. It's even worse than gangsta rappers winning awards and then always thanking "ma Lawd-n-Saviah Jesus Christ" first. Lately, for me, out of all the behaviours that make people look stupid these days, it's bowin' like a freakin' Buddhist when they're not.
Who's to blame? I'm not sure. I'm thinking maybe Madonna. It could also be linked back to the Beastie Boys and their "Free Tibet" stuff years ago. I dunno, but, for now, Madonna is my guess. She acts all humble and gracious and is into freaky casual "Urban Outfitters" religions... like Kabbalah.
I mean, wearing those red bracelets is just the fashion equivalent of Lance Armstrong's "Live Strong" bracelets. But I digress. This whole bowing like a Buddhist bullshit is bullshit and it must stop. So there.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A company, with the support of the UN, that sells bottled water to help get fresh water for those in the world that really need it. What a good idea. Buying water before was stunned. Now it can be brilliant.

The Earth Water site

P.S. - 4 posts in a day... BAM!

Saddest. Carol. Ever.

The cat wanted in to the warm warm house,
but no one would let the cat in
It was cold outside on Christmas Eve,
She meowed and meowed by the door.

The cat was not let in the warm warm house,
And her tiny cries were ignored.
'twas a blizzard now, the worst of the year,
There was no place for her to hide.

Just then a poor little mouse crept by,
He had lost his way in the snow.
He was on his last legs and was almost froze,
The cat lifted him with her paw.

She said "Poor mouse do not be afraid,
because this is Christmas Eve.
"On this freezing night we both need a friend,
"I won’t hurt you - stay by my side."

She dug a small hole in an icy drift,
This is where they would spent the night.
She curled herself 'round her helpless friend,
Protecting him from the cold.


When Santa came by near the end of the night,
the reindeer started to cry.
They found the cat lying there in the snow,
and they could see that she had died.

They lifted her up from the frozen ground,
and placed her into the sleigh.
It was then they saw the little mouse wrapped up,
she had kept him warm in her fur.

"Oh thank you Santa for finding us!
"Dear cat wake up we are saved!"
..."I’m sorry mouse but your friend has died,
there’s nothing more we can do.

"On Christmas Eve she gave you her life,
the greatest gift of them all."
Santa lifted her up into the night sky,
and laid her to rest among the stars.

"Dear mouse don’t cry you are not alone,
you will see your friend every year.
"Each Christmas a Cat Constellation will shine,
to remind us that her love’s still here."


Evel Knievel does not like Evel Kanyevel. Evel just started a sue-job on the ever arrogant (but talented) Kanye West. Apparently, Evel thinks that the "video that Kanye West put out is the most worthless piece of crap I've ever seen in my life, and he uses my image to catapult himself on the public." He also thinks it's "vulgar and offensive." Kanye'd have the cash and better lawyers... but just from looking at them, I'd still bet on Evel. He's got a haggard Dirty Harry look goin' on.

It's happened again... and I loves it, I tells ya. Loves it. Now, I know that I just finished our section in school that dealt with oil exploration and climate among other things. Despite this, and the fact that some people take exception to the content in Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, I decided to show it in our last two science classes.

Now, the movie runs a bit slowly, and the little personal scenes about Gore between the movie's chunks of info are a bit quiet and snoozy. Despite this, my 7/8 class remained relatively quiet and interested. Imagine... junior high-age kids... quiet during a movie of a slide show about science. Wild, ain't it? I figure that could be because of, perhaps, two main things:
  1. The photos, graphics, and stats are pretty interesting and impressive on their own.
  2. This whole global warming thing is friggin' serious (and maybe we'd better learn some more about it so that we can do something about it)!
I would be naive to think that every student would be converted after watching one movie. However (you should never start a sentence with "but"), if they are all given the chance to see information about it every now and then, and are allowed to make their own conclusions and ask their own questions, maybe some long-term awareness and interest will be taken in the subject.

A few students, with their questions (some are concerned we/the world could just die very soon... common response for folks to fear for themselves now, I guess) really did convey their interest and understanding that what is going on is very serious. I make sure to reassure them, so they won't go home all scared, but to try and reinforce the point that, yes, it is serious. Also (you should never start a sentence with "and"), that they will see some real changes within their lifetime. Some examples of these things could be: more invasive species, worse storms, or the disappearance of birch trees (inability of them to reproduce in warmer temps) on our little island. It won't all happen tomorrow, but it will happen.

That's about where the real kicker comes in, too - that they can change it. They seemed surprised when I told them that making what they saw change was up to them. The graphs and scenarios don't have to end up the way they do. If they take it upon themselves to care, help others care, and do small (and not too inconvenient) things, large changes will happen (it's kind of like Scrooge and the ghosts in Dickens' A Christmas Carol). I hope they all understand that. I think that's the most important part - that great changes can start with small ones.

I get great encouragement from what some kids tell me. A couple of them told me, that after watching the first half of the movie on Friday, they talked about it with people at home. One of my students - a typical rural Islander (like me in some ways)... thick accent, sense of humour, loves stories, paintballing, 4-wheeling, etc. - told me about how his dad and another relative were talking about this topic (a surprise to me to start with), and about Gore. Their thoughts on it all were perhaps more on the negative side, and my student told me that he joined in and defended Gore and the subject. Isn't that awesome? To me, it just floors me that I can create change like that... that I can enable a young student to talk about something like global warming with adults. That they can be informed and back up their opinions on it. That's amazing. For all the headaches and frustrations the job may bring, it's stuff like that that will always stick with me. It's the kind of thing I hope students will remember me for.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Three posts in three days? Bam! Take that, Bovaird!
Actually, take that, Paige, 'cause she may appreciate this most of all. It's a wee compilaiton of some terrible book covers:

There's some doozies, like "Satan Burger", complete with classy photo which I won't post here.

There's the seasonal Spock, Messiah... what, no manger?

I actually remember this one from my house growing up!

And this one is just messed up. What's with the witchy Thing from the Addams Family with a cat head?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sweet merciful crap, in less than three weeks, Christmas will be over. I've been doing lots of online shopping and browsing. I made an order at Amazon, and I may have to do another tonight for my bro in BC. After I made my first order (book for C, book for ma for C, and Crash Test Dummies CD for me), I found that some good Ashley MacIsaac CDs were re-released recently. Of particular interest to me was his just-about-impossible-to-find (I know, 'cause I looked before) "A Cape Breton Christmas". Amazon wouldn't let me add it to my order, but they took the blame for it. So, free shipping on it... wohoo! Get this: I ordered it yesterday at school, online, and it arrived TODAY. That's insane! I'm most impressed. It's a great Christmas CD, all simple and traditional and lively in spots. Just what I wanted and expected. Can't wait to get the Dummies' CD!

Also, thank goodness for Limewire. I haven't used it in ages, but it pulled through for me again just now (though it'll never be as good as Audiogalaxy). I searched for a tune in my ever-growing Christmas tune library, and was shocked I didn't have it. I needed this tune from my childhood! Thank you, Limewire, for helping me get the "Christmas Bells" version of Snoopy vs The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen. No Christmas is complete without it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Just for the sake of putting something up (ahem... thanks, Colleen). This roadside sign, near the Seaweed Pie Cafe in Mimenegash, struck me as interesting on our tour of western PEI this summer. Must be pretty indicative of the folks up there. That, and 4-wheelers. I swear, it seemed like everyone had a 4-wheeler. No wonder you hear about so many accidents. It's just the laws of probability at work. There seemed to be more of 'em than cars!

Ten other western things of note:
  1. Their roads are worse than eastern roads. They even have signs I'd never seen anywhere that warned of the severity of bumps. The funny thing is that the Minister of Transport is from that area.
  2. There seem to be almost as many liquor stores as 4-wheelers. Coincidence?
  3. Road crews on Lennox Island don't know what to do when traffic comes (have to get out of car and pick up stop/slow sign).
  4. Lennox Island (the "metro" part) is smaller than I'd thought.
  5. Seaweed pie is more like angel food cake with a pale-green pudding that almost has a flavour.
  6. North Cape is pretty as ever.
  7. Road signage is bad / lacking.
  8. The bottle houses are pretty cool, and I saw a cool hummingbird moth there for the 1st time.
  9. Every community up west is small.
  10. If life on PEI is slow, life up west is almost seized up.