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48 Questions

February 16, 2013

I got this from Kelly who got it from Violet

1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Not that I know of, no. And honestly I’d rather not know. I’m not quite sure how to explain that.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
I get a tear or two at movies a lot. But I think the last real hard cry was probably May of last year. Real crying is rare, to be honest I think I’ve become a little numb and it scares me.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
No, it’s horrible and in fact almost illegible if I’m not careful. If I write things to quickly I sometimes  can’t even read them myself.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Shaved smoked maple flavoured ham.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
No. There was a time, briefly, where I thought I might like to have some. I was young. I soon realized I could never handle the work and responsibility of it. I don’t even want a dog because they are too much work. We have a cat. Cat’s are cool.  They mostly want nothing to do with you unless they need/want something. Then they go off  and do their own thing.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON, WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
I don’t know. Would I be a nice person or a jerk? This question has way too many possible variables.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Yes. But not as often as I used to.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yes.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
It would likely kill me. And I’m somewhat attached to not being dead, so no, I would not.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL?
I like all kinds of cereal, but I most often eat Honey Nut Cheerios.

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Yes, I do.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Yes.

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ICE CREAM?
Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Physically it would be the face. I like warm smiles and eye contact. But when I meet people I tend to zero in on how genuine they are.

15. RED OR PINK?
For what? Grapefruits? Thongs? You’ll need to be more specific here.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Lately it’s been my complete  lack of motivation. I’ve just recently discovered a possible medical reason for this. Remains to be seen but I am  encouraged.

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Someone I didn’t even know all that well, and I didn’t know how much he meant to me until after he was taken suddenly. Like many other things in my life, I don’t understand. Some things cannot be understood. They just are.

18. WHAT IS THE TECHNIQUE THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?
How to make perfectly crispy bacon, every single time. And the perfect soft boiled egg. But seriously, I have only been in my new job for a little over a year. There is a lot at work that I still want to improve on. That is where my focus is now.

19. WHAT COLOUR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Brown hiking style running shoes. Probably 10 yrs old. Shoes last forever with me. These might actually become fashionable again soon.

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
A stale cookie found in a cookie tin, leftover from Christmas. Oh shut up, you would have eaten it too.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The hum of my desktop computer and the TV way off in the back room.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE?
Barbara? Is that you?

23. FAVOURITE SMELLS?
The forest. Spring. Bread baking. Bacon. Sun tan lotion.

24. HOW IMPORTANT ARE YOUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO YOU?
I like to think they aren’t but I can find myself getting quite frustrated at times, so clearly they matter more to me than I’d like them to. My recent stint of unemployment served as a healthy reminder of my left leaning views. Having been so financially stable and comfortable for so long had shifted me slightly to the right, and I wasn’t even conscious of it.

25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?
Yes please. Mostly mountain, but the beach would be nice too because I love to stare at lakes.

26. FAVOURITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Hockey.

27. HAIR COLOUR?
Blonde

28. EYE COLOUR?
Bluish grey.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Yes, I am blind as a bat.

30. FAVOURITE FOOD?
That changes with my mood. And with age. My tastes have changed so much in the last decade. Much of that is thanks  to Kelly introducing to so many new foods.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Not a fan of scary movies. Happy endings, sure.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
The Impossible, just now. It completes the list of movies I wanted to see before the Oscars next week.

33. WHAT COLOUR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Dark Green.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Winter can be beautiful and there are aspects that I enjoy, but I much prefer summer.

35. FAVOURITE DESSERT?
I would have to think about this for hours. And it would make me hungry. For things I can’t eat during lent. Next question.

36. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
Strength training.

37. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
That line is becoming quite blurred. I’ll say Computer. But I might be on YouTube watching clips of TV shows.

38. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
I am not. I wish I could make more time to read.

39. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Detroit Red Wings Logo. See question 26

40. FAVOURITE SOUND?
Wind in the trees and nothing else. And one of the most amazing sounds ever was one I heard last summer while up at the cottage in Muskoka. One of the owners of the property I was staying with took a few of us out for a wolf howl. After a few attempts with no luck, she tried one last time before we were to turn in for the night. And suddenly, the whole pack responded. First one wolf, then another, and soon the whole pack. It gave me chills, and was truly something I will never forget. So, yeah, that.

41. FAVOURITE GENRE OF MUSIC?
Rock, but I like most types of music with a few exceptions.

42. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Lyon, France.

43. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Meh, I don’t know. Maybe.

44. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Northern Quebec, Canada.

45. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
Southwestern Ontario

46. WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR HOUSE?
Various shades of beige brick.

47. WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR CAR?
Greenish Grey, But some exciting news, I am close to buying a new van. It will be Maximum Steel Metallic  (it looks black in the shade but blue in the sun!!)

48. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 48 QUESTIONS?
Yes.

Shopping Cart Rescue

April 8, 2012

Sometimes you see something and realize you can fix it. Easily. No it’s not your responsibility, and you certainly don’t have to do it. But it’s easy, and you can, so why not?

That’s the short explanation for this photo.

Kelly and I were in a nearby park, birding.  We came across an abandoned shopping cart next to the path near a creek. We both recognized it as one from a store at which we both shop, and it was nearly new. How it got here, over a mile from the store, roughly a 20 minute walk, is not certain. But we were sure that it wouldn’t be long before a passing kid would decide to push it off the path and into the creek, just because he could.

So, being that I drive a van with a ramp, returning it to its home seemed like the right thing to do. We agreed and Kelly began pushing it back to the parking lot. But on the paved path, the cart made a TON of noise, so Kelly decided to push it across the grass instead.

As I raced around the the paved portion to meet her on the other side, this is what it looked like. I passed a couple of teenagers who were clearly laughing at the crazy lady pushing an empty shopping cart in the park.

Years ago, the fear of embarrassment would have prevented me from participating in this good deed. Now I couldn’t care less. I laughed right along with them, hurried over to meet my crazy lady, and we returned the cart safely to its home.

 

My Picks for the SuperBowl of Film Fans (2012)

February 26, 2012

Kelly and I will be watching the Oscars tonight. As you may know, we see MANY films every year, particularly anything with an Oscar buzz about it.   We have seen all the movies up for Best Picture, except for War Horse, and that was by choice. I just can’t watch animals suffering for two hours. Thanks but no thanks.

Anyway, just to make things more exciting, I thought I would post my picks. These are a combination of gut feelings and also, for those where I had no clue, a bit of research. (short films for instance)

My picks are highlighted in blue.

UPDATE: The winners are in RED unless I was right, in which case they remain Blue

My score is 15/24. Kelly got 17/24. She wins this year. :-)

BEST PICTURE

  • ‘The Artist’
  • ‘The Descendants’
  • ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’
  • ‘The Help’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘Midnight in Paris’
  • ‘Moneyball’
  • ‘The Tree of Life’
  • ‘War Horse’

 BEST DIRECTOR

  • Woody Allen, ‘Midnight in Paris’
  • Michel Hazanavicius, ‘The Artist’
  • Terrence Malick, ‘The Tree of Life’
  • Alexander Payne, ‘The Descendants’
  • Martin Scorsese, ‘Hugo’

 BEST ACTOR

  • Demian Bichir, ‘A Better Life’
  • George Clooney, ‘The Descendants’
  • Jean Dujardin, ‘The Artist’
  • Gary Oldman, ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’
  • Brad Pitt, ‘Moneyball’

 BEST ACTRESS

  • Glenn Close, ‘Albert Nobbs’
  • Viola Davis, “The Help”
  • Rooney Mara, ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’
  • Meryl Streep, ‘The Iron Lady’
  • Michelle Williams, ‘My Week With Marilyn’

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Kenneth Branagh, ‘My Week With Marilyn’
  • Jonah Hill, ‘Moneyball’
  • Nick Nolte, ‘Warrior’
  • Christopher Plummer, ‘Beginners’
  • Max Von Sydow, ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Berenice Bejo, ‘The Artist’
  • Jessica Chastain, ‘The Help’
  • Melissa McCarthy, ‘Bridesmaids’
  • Janet McTeer, ‘Albert Nobbs’
  • Octavia Spencer, ‘The Help’

 BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

  • ‘A Cat In Paris’
  • ‘Chico & Rita’
  • ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’
  • ‘Puss in Boots’
  • ‘Rango’

BEST FOREIGN FILM

  • ‘Bullhead’, Belgium
  • ‘Footnote’, Israel
  • ‘In Darkness’, Poland
  • ‘Monsier Lazhar’, Canada
  • ‘A Separation’, Iran

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • ‘Midnight in Paris’
  • ‘Margin Call’
  • ‘A Separation’
  • ‘The Artist’
  • ‘Bridesmaids’

 BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • ‘The Descendants’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘The Ides of March’
  • ‘Moneyball’
  • ‘Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’

 BEST ART DIRECTION

  • ‘The Artist’
  • ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘Midnight in Paris’
  • ‘War Horse’

 BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • ‘Anonymous’
  • ‘The Artist’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘Jane Eyre’
  • ‘W.E.’

 BEST ORIGINAL SONG

  • ‘Man or Muppet’ from ‘The Muppets’
  • ’Real in Rio’ from ‘Rio’

 BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

  • ‘The Adventures of Tintin’
  • ‘The Artist’
  • ’Hugo’
  • ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’
  • ‘War Horse’

 BEST DOCUMENTARY

  • ‘Hell and Back Again’
  • ‘If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth
  • Liberation Front’
  • ‘Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory’
  • ‘Pina’
  • ‘Undefeated’

BEST FILM EDITING

  • ‘The Artist’
  • ‘The Descendants’
  • ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘Moneyball’

 BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • ‘The Artist’
  • ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘The Tree of Life’
  • ‘War Horse’

 BEST MAKEUP

  • ‘Albert Nobbs’
  • ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’
  • ‘The Iron Lady’

BEST SOUND EDITING

  • ‘Drive’
  • ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’
  • ‘War Horse’

 BEST SOUND MIXING

  • ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘Moneyball’
  • ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’
  • ‘War Horse’

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’
  • ‘Hugo’
  • ‘Real Steel’
  • ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’
  • ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’

BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT)

  • ‘The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of
  • the Civil Rights Movement’
  • ‘God Is the Bigger Elvis’
  • ‘Incident in New Baghdad’
  • ‘Saving Face’
  • ‘The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom’

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED)

  • ‘Dimanche/Sunday’
  • ‘The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris
  • Lessmore’
  • ’La Luna’
  • ‘A Morning Stroll’
  • ‘Wild Life’

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION)

  • ‘Pentecost’
  • ‘Raju’
  • ‘The Shore’
  • ‘Time Freak’
  • ‘Tuba Atlantic

Perspective

February 12, 2012

A week ago I noticed that there was a open spot in the family room where the Christmas tree had been. I’m not sure what was there before, I don’t remember.  It seemed weird to me that I had never really, or at least I didn’t remember, having been in that spot. I backed my chair into it, and with my back to the wall, looked back at the family room.

The same, and yet different. It’s the same room, but from an unfamiliar perspective. Twelve years I have lived in this house, and I can’t remember seeing it from this angle.

It reminded me of the time my van had been in the shop and I decided to drive my chair home. I was working downtown at the time. Driving home in my van took me along Riverside drive every single day. I swore I knew every single inch of that drive. Every house, every tree, every landmark. Such a beautiful drive had become routine and often boring.

Driving my chair home along the same route was a surprising experience.  I remember thinking “Wow, that house has a beautiful garden, how did I not notice that before?” and “Hey look at THAT house, I never noticed it before hidden amongst those trees”.  The entire ride home was filled with new discoveries, and the only difference was that I was moving more slowly and sitting a little closer to the ground.

In late November,  I was blessed to find a good job in a great company. There are aspects of it that are worse than my last job. There are many aspects of it that are much better. I truly enjoy what I do now, and I enjoy the contact with customers, which was not an element of my last position. I know I am incredibly lucky to have found something when so many are looking without success.

The experience of being unemployed for almost two years, and being very close to having no income at all, has given me perspective. It’s so much easier to accept even the most negative aspects of this new position, and my appreciation for the positives, which are many, is so much deeper.

This will fade over time I’m sure. Routine will creep in. I’m already wishing there were an alternative route to work. But the experience with the open spot in my own home has reminded me to keep looking for that different perspective. To not be fooled into believing things are the way they are and that’s just the way they are. There’s always a new way to look at it,  I just have to get myself to that spot.

Coming out of hiding to attend a Ball

October 12, 2011

As you know, I’ve been away for well over a year. But I’ve been coaxed out of hiding with an invitation to the Willow Manor Ball.

This gorgeous young lady has asked me to be her date for the evening.  True, I am her third choice, but after being turned down by Vincent van Gogh  (is that guy nuts or what?) and then also by Tom Waits (he prefers Jersey Girls) she realized that the only man for her was right there beside her already.

So what does one wear to such a special occasion? I’ve decided to stick with a classic black tie look. I’m sure I will impress with this:

And of course, when one has such a stunning lady by his side, you want make sure you arrive to the affair in style. I toured my garage this morning and after much time, selected this to be our vehicle:

My 1923 Deusenberg Model A Roadster.

See you there!!

From Kelly and Olivia

April 13, 2011

The bold ones are the ones I’ve done.

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyland

8. Climbed a mountain (more like a hill, but I was 5, so it felt big)

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch: knitting, painting, drawing…

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (not physically)

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie (no, but I am helping to produce one)

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter (better, a Lear Jet!)

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (a speeding moped?)

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a lawsuit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day

 

 

Parking SuperHero

April 3, 2011

Violet recently joked about wishing she had a super power where she could instantly know if someone who is parking in a handicap spot is doing so legitimately or not, and if not, she could make it so they were. This would make her my favourite superhero by far.

In saying that, I am keeping with the light hearted nature of her comment. OF COURSE her comment is meant to be humourous, since to my knowledge superheroes and super powers don’t really exist.  I wouldn’t seriously want anyone to be beaten to the point of paralysis just for being an asshole or simply ignorant.

I can’t speak for Violet, and by the time I post this she may have explained herself a bit, but I would suspect the reason behind her comment is that she was witness to several incidents recently where the person parking was clearly not in need of the spot.

If you don’t know me personally, let me clear up the fact that I myself use a wheelchair, a power chair. I have a van with a ramp and I need the double wide spots for my ramp.

I have blogged about this issue before. I don’t really care about WHERE the handicap spots are. I have a power chair, I can be there before you, even if you are jogging. But I NEED a double wide spot. When I can’t find one, I have to park on an angle across two spots, and even though I choose two spots that are the farthest possible from the store, I often get angry notes left on my windshield and I fear one day my van will get keyed for taking up two spots. Because, of course, anyone using to spots is just a prick right? Never mind that I have a handicap permit and a large magnetic sign that says “Wheelchair Ramp” which I stick to my side door.

So you can understand my frustration when I see someone park their car with a handicap permit, and then sprint into the store because it’s raining. If you can sprint, how is it that you need the handicap spot? I have a neighbour who has a handicap permit. He has a giant SUV that you almost need a ladder to climb into, and I have seen him walking his dog a full 2 miles from our block. Explain to me why he can’t park a few spaces farther from the store.

Also, my latest frustration is at my dad’s nursing home. There are only two handicap spots. The rest of the spots are tiny. My only other option here is to park in the “no stopping, fire route” zone. But I have to. The handicap spots are usually being used. Sometimes legally, but often it’s clear that the son or daughter has inherited mom’s handicap permit. But they are visiting their parent, so that makes it legal right?

But here is my biggest issue. People who have legal handicap permits do not need to be assholes about it. Use your head, read the damn rules. And for crying out loud, just because you have a permit doesn’t mean that’s the ONLY place you are allowed to park! If at all possible, why not leave the spot for someone who needs it?

I’ll give you an example: Many little shopping plazas have only several rows of parking, with only one or two nice and wide handicap spots. If you pull into that plaza in your little Honda Fit, and you have a handicap permit, and the handicap spots are empty, but so is the SPOT RIGHT NEXT TO IT, can you kindly park in the spot next to it please? WHY do you NEED to park in the handicap spot? It’s not any closer, and you don’t need the width if you are a walking person driving a Honda fit, so WHY? Why do you take the handicap spot? Because your doctor said you can?  Leave it for someone who truly needs the wide spot. Someone with a ramp or a walker.

Also, I am fed up with disabled people with permits driving their kids to the store and sitting in the handicap spot having a smoke while waiting for them. You don’t need to be there. You’re not getting out of the car, so why don’t you leave the spot for someone who needs it.

And lastly, even if you have a permit, it isn’t legal to squeeze your little car in between two legally parked vehicles in handicap spots. Yes, I know there is room, that’s because I have a ramp asshole.  If you do this, rest assured I will lower my ramp and scratch your car. Oops, sorry, I didn’t see you.

Someone on Violet’s blog got offended by her comment. I understand that it’s difficult for people who have an invisible disability because they may not look like they need to be parking there. Let me assure you that I always give people the benefit of the doubt. As someone with a disability, I know how hard it can be when people make assumptions. I rarely challenge anyone directly.

Maybe the person sprinting into the store is going to get grandma who’s waiting inside. Maybe the person sitting and smoking is just about to go inside, right after they finish their smoke. You never know for sure. So I say nothing. But does that mean it’s none of my business? No, sorry, I have to disagree. If I can be certain, somehow, that the person is committing fraud, I WILL say something. It IS my business. I’ll call the cops (but they generally don’t care), I’ll call parking enforcement, and I’ll even have you towed if you are blocking me from getting back into my van. (yes, I’ve done it)

So IF Violet truly did have this super power, she DID say she would KNOW who is parking there illegally, or unnecessarily. So with that, there would be nobody being harassed needlessly by my new favorite super hero. Only those truly deserving of her wrath would be made to pay.  It’s a perfect plan. And I can see no reason for anyone to get their panties in a bunch about a perfect plan.

Now the only question is, what outfit would this super hero be wearing?

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