26 September 2007


One of the crappy things about getting old is that your friends start dying off. When you hit around 70-80, you start to look like last man standing. This I've seen first hand from my grandparents.

There's a crappy step in between that I forgot about until recently - when your mates' parents start dropping off. C's dad died in 99, R's dad died back in 2001, and now F's mum last week and I just found out about L's dad today.

I'm always in shock when this happens, as a) it's a crappy thing to happen to my mates, b) I knew their folks and it's a loss and c) it drums home that it could happen to me (or you).

The most shocking thing I think is that I've kinda prepared myself to be the Last Man StandingTM when I'm 84, but this death of a mates' parent thing sorta sideswiped me.

Preparation is all well and true I guess for the expected, you just gotta handle the curve balls when life throws them at you.

25 September 2007

Hockey Night In ... England??

When I moved back to the UK in 2000, I wanted to re-embrace my heritage and discard all that was North American. How foolish. Britain in the naughties is more American that probably even Canada now.

Having shed that idea, I decided not to turn my back on several decades of Canadian upbringing and actually relish the things that I held dear to myself over the years. This went from music - like Platinum Blonde, Pursuit of Happiness, Chalk Circle, etc. to Tim Horton's coffee and even hockey. I used to be a mad hockey fan, watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday on a small 10" black and white telly in the family room.

It was a colliding of lives when the NHL announced that for the first time ever, two of their teams would play regular season games outside of North America. Where oh where would they go? To a hockey loving, NHL feeding country like Sweden or Germany or even Russia? No. They're playing in England, the country where the word hockey evokes images of girls in skirts and curly sticks. To be more precise, they're playing at what used to be called the Millennium Dome.

The two teams involved are both West Coasters - the LA Kings and the Anaheim Ducks (nee Mighty Ducks). The Ducks just won the Stanley Cup in June, so we get to arguably see the best hockey team in North America.

I'm pretty psyched, a lot more so than I would have been in 2000.

Goes to show time doesn't just heal all wounds, it also makes you grow up.
Now playing: The Pursuit Of Happiness - I'm An Adult Now
via FoxyTunes

20 September 2007


Sometimes when the demons aren't taking up all my thoughts, I wonder why we are here and what the point of it all is.

Bear with me.

Everyone know that global warming, climate change and an incredibly dumbfounded apathy on most people's behalf is going to turn this planet into Venus' SLIGHTLY cooler neighbour sooner than later. The fact is I feel my hands are tied and any changes I try to make are a drop in the bucket when colleagues leave PCs on for extended periods, the rubbish bins in parks are full or recyclables and supermarkets just over package like crazy. Still I plod on.

Also entering my consciousness is a worry that the economy is eating itself from the inside. In another generation or so, people will wonder why there was ever a high street or shopping precinct when everything is either downloadable or purchasable off the internet. This came roaring home during a rather limp walk around Virgin Megastore today. There's nothing inspiring there, no "wow! gotta have it". There's used to be. All the time. Now everything's moving to the internet and these shops on life support limp on, blissfully unaware that their time is almost up.

The thing that got in a funky mood today was an article in the The Ecologist magazine about soft drinks and bottled water. Basically, whatever goes in my mouth is going to kill me. From sweeteners like Aspartame (which breaks down into some amazingly carcinogenic ooze) and Sucralose (which is better, just) to the fact that reusing plastic water bottles (you know, recycling the home way) is liable to get you ingesting all sorts of evil chemicals that were present in the making of the plastic bottles.

Here I thought the do not reuse warning was a sly attempt at bottled water people to just get you to buy more bottles. I wonder, as I reuse the same bottle about 4 times a day at work, what the option is. I guess pint glasses.

Stopping to wonder why I get out of bed sometimes, I guess the only solace is that as much as I try to better myself, I am slowly killing myself.

11 September 2007

What's the story, mourning tory

I originally became a Tory because I believed their core principals - laissez faire economics, small government, lower taxes, let the market sort itself out, etc. etc.

It was with a stunned and dropped jaw that I was reading the Times today where the Tories, under David Cameron, want to impose more legislation and taxes onto shops and stores, infringing on their core beliefs all the way to the bank.

"Firmly committing the Conservatives to raising taxes..."

The first headline grabber was the imposition and creation of a car park tax for large out of town supermarkets. Tories and tax creation do not go hand in hand - EVER! Then there was public scolding of shops like Tesco selling goods below cost. If they're taking a drink every time they sell a product, that's their bottom line and their problem.

I know it impacts on the little guy and his ability to shift product, but the more specialised shops will always come out trumps over the shop that has a spotty 16-year old as the most knowledgeable person in the place.

Having said that, society today doesn't cater much for the person who can't buy all their needs at one shop. We don't have time to go to the bakery for our bread, the butcher for our meat, the green grocer for our veg. Those of us who strive to get home to our families before 8pm are already having a hard enough time of it.

"The Tories are at sixes and sevens on tax."

We've suffered years of Labour's regime, promising us a better place, yet raising taxes each and every year (with not a lot to show - better hospitals, lower crime, better road conditions? Nope).

The only light at the end of the tunnel has been the intrinsic Tory policies. Sadly, with Labour shifting more to the right, it looks like the Tories have shifted a bit too far to the left.

Times Link

10 September 2007

Spam as real email?

Perusing the spam folder in my gmail account, I couldn't help but wonder what life would be like if those 650 emails were actually legit.

I think I would have quit my job ages ago, as I've been offered free houses on most continents, luxury cars and loads of get rich quick schemes, mostly from Nigerians.

Who would I spend my time with? Well, as I'd be hung like a horse and gagging for it ALL THE TIME (thanks to what seems like an unending supply of viagra), I would apparently have an unending supply of hotties who are also continually gagging for it to choose from.

Odd that most of the spam plays upon most of the seven sins - avarice, lust, vanity, and most importantly sloth. Who wants to work for a new home or that new CD when you can win a lottery or a luxury island for nothing? Get everything you ever wanted and the only movement required is that of the mouse button.

Nope. I think I'll keep the spam right where it belongs, even if "Paris Hilton is hot for me right now".

Now playing: John Taylor - I Do What I Do (Theme For 9 1/2 Weeks) (7'' Version)
via FoxyTunes