Sunday, June 27, 2004
The middle-aged man, who police said was mentally disturbed, had planned to carry out the shooting spree on Wednesday to ensure he would be put in jail permanently, Toronto police said.
He had set himself up in an east-end park to load his weapons and then planned to drive around shooting. He later told police that a dog then approached and started playing with him.
The encounter melted the man's heart, and he then went in search of police to give himself up, police said.
"He happens to be a pet lover, and decided that since there was such a nice dog in the area, that people were too nice and he wasn't going to carry out his plan," Detective Nick Ashley told reporters.
Police found 6,000 rounds of ammunition, two rifles, a shotgun, a semi-automatic pistol, a revolver and an air rifle in the man's car, along with a machete and a hunting knife. The car also contained a throwing knife, a camouflage mask and netting.
He had recently arrived in Toronto from New Brunswick.
James Paul Stanson, 43, has been charged with a variety of weapons-related offenses and appeared in court for a bail hearing on Thursday.
Saturday, June 26, 2004
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Thursday, June 17, 2004
a great life comes to closure
time to go to sleep
Man, that's just about the worst haiku I've ever written, if I even got the seventeen syllables right. But I'm tired, my temper's pretty short right now, and I've got to be up in six hours or so to take my dog to have his balls excised, which sounds like an altogether unpleasant process to me, unless I am woken earlier than that by a telephone call, which will probably be even more unpleasant, so I'm going to bed.
Lodge Honored for 50 Years in ChoirWhat the article doesn't mention is that in those 50 years, I don't think PopPop missed a single Sunday. (It also doesn't mention that this 50-year honor was a surprise for PopPop, nor how he started his impromptu speech: "They say the key to a short, concise speech is to have a long, long time to prepare it. Since I've had about 30 seconds, boy are all of you in for it. . .") The Chisholms visited him today, by the way, as did his Minister.
On June 17, Thomas Lodge was honored for 50 years in the Chancel Choir of New Methodist Church. Mr. Lodge joined the church in 1951 and has sung in its chancel choir for all of those years.
Henry J. Chisholm, choir director, and his wife, Ruth Ann, organist, invited over 25 former Chancel Choir members back to join in celebrating this man's service of faithfulness. Former choir director John H. Benson, commented on Tom's service, and senator Dorinda Connor presented Mr. Lodge with a citation of congratulations from the State of Delaware.
The extended Chancel Choir of 50 members combined to sing Tom's favorite hymns and anthems.
A reception was held in Fellowship hall after the service. Former New Castilian, Frances Haut, long time vocal coach and music teacher, and Newell Duncan, former choir member, paid tribute to Mr. Lodge's tenure in the choir.
Tom was presented with a scrapbook which contained cards, poems and letters from present and former Chancel Choir members and friends.
He does like to hum his hymns and songs, though, still. Sometimes he manages to hum along with whatever music we have on in the background, sometimes he goes his own way. He's rarely awake enough or able to talk, but occasionally gets a few words out. Often there were seven to nine people in the room with him, but at one point when the room had emptied momentarily, he managed to ask, "Where's the talking?" When we put some iced tea or root beer (I don't remember which, but those're his two favorite drinks) into his mouth through a dropper, he managed to mutter something about That's what he's been wanting (or wondering). And apparently this morning he managed to open his eyes and actually focus them, and was aware enough to give my mom and aunt who were in the room kisses. Will he live until his birthday next week? I have no idea. But I do know we've found some lady who gives geriatric massages, and he seemed to loosen up considerably after that, so we're getting her to come back.
I finally got some time alone with him today, when the room spontaneously emptied just as I walked in (I don't smell that bad, do I?), and found that I was stuck somewhere between not being able to say all I had, and not having anything to say. I tried to chatter a little, just so he'd know I was there, and said something, but I'm not a very vocal person and it was hard to say anything at all. Much of my family (and they get it from him, he loves to talk, has the ability to go on and on and on about anything at all. Usually I do not, although I have been known to start running at the mouth every once in a while.
I need to go take care of Caleb and get ready for class. Have a wonderful summer at camp, Michelle. And thank you for the e-mail.
One thing that's definitely making a comeback is foxes. There've always been foxes in my neighbourhood, but usually I'd see one once or twice a summer at best. But now they're up at school -- walking at night I'd see the same couple foxes nightly, and eventually they got used to me enough that they no longer barked at me. And home, I guess they must've had a big litter, because the things are everywhere. Always skulking around in the distance. Last night as I was walking Caleb, one stood in the middle of the street and started screaming at us. I don't know how else to describe it. I don't think that's normal behavior for a fox, either. Unless it was protecting it brood, or sick, in either of which case it's probably better to stay away from it. I basically shouted it off and then continued on my walk.
Today my aunt's dog Sparkey is here. It's half lab, half something. German Shepherd, maybe? He was fine while she was here, but once she left he panicked a bit, started crying and howling. It's also a problem that he's got a problem with men. So for a while he was fine with me petting him and so forth, and then he started growling. And not just a little growl either. This was a full-bodied, hackles raised, stay-the-fuck-away-or-I-will-tear-you-to-shreds sort of growling. Now, I'm good with animals, and I'm not afraid of being bitten -- I've been bit by more than my share of animals, and it's a thing I know how to deal with -- but there are certain times when it's just better to leave well enough alone. So he's out in Caleb's kennel right now, and Caleb's in the house with me. I'm going out every few minutes to talk to Sparkey, try to calm him down, but I'm not going into that kennel with him until he's significantly calmer than he is now.
I'm guessing that PopPop has no more than a day, two at the outside, left. Seeing him, I simply can't believe otherwise. And it just occurred to me that I don't think I have a suit that fits. Not really anything I can do about that at the moment, though. I'll deal with it when the time comes.
On a more positive note, one of the books that I've been looking forward to very much, Catherynne M. Valente's The Labyrinth, just got an excellent review over at The Agony Online. Check it out. Other books to which I'm most looking forward are Sean Stewart's Perfect Circle and Liz Hand's Mortal Love. And if you're a Star Wars fan, starting five months from now and wrapping up in ten, I guarantee three of the best reads in the entire saga: Sean Stewart's Dark Rendezvous, Jim Luceno's Labyrinth of Evil (despite its terrible title), and Matt Stover's adaptation of Episode III. And Karen Traviss is no slouch, either, so there's a good chance her SW novel'll be nothing to scoff at, either.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
But always I'm aware, in nursing homes and hospitals, how many people there are who don't have that support network. There are the people who have kids who may be paying for the care, but are never around to visit, and there are the people in the state's care who literally have nobody. Nobody visits. Nobody really cares. At least 99% of the nurses don't get personally involved with the patients on any level for the most part, and I can understand that. But these people are so sad, and so lonely, and pretty much know that they're just waiting to die. And die they do, usually faster than the others. The people who have family, visitors, love tend to live longer, whereas those who are alone are in, die after a few days or weeks, and then are gone (it also interests me that studies show that people who attend religious services or read scriptures frequently tend to be significantly longer lived, less depressed, less likely to smoke and overall have lower blood pressure). In and out. Nothing left to live for, I guess.
I always try to make the time, when I'm at a nursing home, to talk to a few of the people there, to at least give them some conversation and some, any, level of connection with another human being who cares, however fleeting that connection may be. Hold their hands, look them in the eye, take them seriously as people and not just patients. They seem to appreciate it, although for all I know it makes it worse once I'm gone.
But I'm aware that it's not just people in nursing homes. I know that the young woman we've employed to keep my grandfather's house clean has talked to me how lucky he is that he always has family around him; that she also works for a woman, ninety-some years old, who lives at home, but has no family, never has any visitors, doesn't have anyone but herself. If something happened to her, would anybody notice until her bills stopped being paid or the cleaning lady came and found the body? Probably not.
It's mind boggling, and, because of the nature of my own family, pretty much inconceivable to me the sheer number of people out there, especially, I would guess, elderly people, who are alone.
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
My grandfather is the most charming man you can imagine. Last week in the ER, when we asked how he was doing: "I'm doing just fine, thank you." Do you want anything? "No, thank you." He is utterly unable to ask for help. He can be sitting there wincing in pain, and if asked will say he's fine, just fine, thank you. It's made it difficult over the past years, because no matter how bad he was, when the doctors were around, he'd just turn on the charm and the doctors wouldn't believe what poor condition he was in. Even now, when he can barely open his mouth to grunt out a few words, he consistently gets out the Thank Yous and Good Nights and so forth.
It's a little wierd, because he's always got his children around him these days, and often other people as well -- friends, nurses and so forth. But I really need to be alone with a person to say my piece and all that; I really can't do it with so many people around all the time. What I have to say to him is between him and me, and that's it. I mean, I can tell him I love him, I'll see him soon, all that in front of other people. But I need some privacy with him as well. I don't know.
It's incredible to think that in another few decades it'll be my parents in the position my grandparents are in now, with the big difference that the world economy'll just have probably crashed to an all-time low. But that's a different issue.
Anyone who's been reading this blog knows that women have been on my mind a lot lately. Which is kind of an understatement. I've know for years that ultimately, eventually I want to get married, rear a family, but mostly that's all been just an abstract, long-term goal. Not that I want to get married right now or anything, but this current thing is something new. I've been obsessed with a girl before, and once, a couple years ago, thought I was in love (and in a way, I guess I was, but I'm not going to get into that right now), but I've never before had this overwhelming urge, this compulsion to . . . well, I don't even know what, exactly. Find myself a girlfriend, maybe? And is this a reaction to recent events, or is it just that time? Beats me. Also beats me what if anything to do about it.
I'm also doing my best to keep on top of things. It's easy when family members are dying to just let mundane shit go, hard to make it seem important to get the dishes and laundry done, to make sure appointments are kept or cancelled in a timely manner, to get groceries, to remember to feed Caleb and play with him and walk him and not be neglectful, make sure telephone calls are returned, trivial bills are paid, homework is done. My message board is moderated. 8Þ Not to mention that as difficult as it is for the rest of us, it's more so for my mom, and providing the TLC she needs. All the little things that are almost habitual from day to day seem to go right out the window when stressful things pop up, but it's important to keep on top of them, isn't it?
Boy, am I tired. It's not even midnight and I'm freakin' exhausted and it's, as usual, going to get worse before it gets better, and I feel like I'm really running on here, sorry 'bout that but I don't have the energy to shorten this or tighten it or even proofread it, so I"m just going to post it as is and get some sleep.
I'll be back tomorrow, probably feeling stupid for posting whatever i've just written tonight.
And as I was writing that last line, the phone rang. It was mom, and she won't be coming home tonight, because through the pain and the morphine and the weakness apparently PopPop has just managed to request her continued presence there.
Monday, June 14, 2004
Anyway, I just figured I ought to provide an update for all my loyal readers. Over the past couple weeks of walking Caleb between one and three times a day, for an average of an hour per walk, quite a few young women have entered visual range, and a very few have even come within hailing distance. Most of those who have been relatively close, though, have been of the sort that absolutely refuse to make eye contact and sort of ignore you and pretend you're not there until they're past and it's not an issue anymore. The type who are not swayed even by the exceedingly cute dog factor. Oh, well. Che sera, sera. Or is it que? I've seen it both ways. . .
There is one incident I thought worthy of mention, though. Usually when a car or a bike goes by, when a runner passes us, Caleb gets a little excited; his ears perk up, he speeds up for a few steps. But there was one instance, a couple days ago now, when I was walking him down the sidewalk, when I glanced back and happened to notice a jogger coming up behind us. Being a considerate person, I try to stay out of the way, especially when I'm with a dog -- you never know who's going to be afraid of dogs. So I shuffled off onto the grass to the side, keeping Caleb by my side. As the jogger moved closer, I glanced back again, and couldn't help but notice that she was a very striking young woman. Nondescript, but somehow very attractive. Anyway, as she passed, instead of ignoring us like most people, or offering a monosyllabic greeting like a few, she actually looked over and said, "Thank you very much." Five whole syllables, people. But while that was friendly and appreciated, that's not what was strange about the situation. What got to me was the degree to which Caleb got excited afterward. Fortunately I'm still enough bigger than him to keep him going at my pace, but the way he was straining against the leash, I'm sure he must've shaved his pads and nails down a centimeter or so, I'm surprised that he didn't decapitate himself with the choke, and it's a miracle my boots weren't leaving skidmarks on the pavement. I told him to calm down. He ignored me. I commanded him to sit. He just kept going. I told him it would be creepy, having been walking, to set off at a run right behind this woman. He payed me no heed. Eventually, when she was a block or so ahead of us, I relented for fear he would strangle himself to death, and we set off at a run. Normally he's not terribly fast, but golly his adrenaline must've been flowing, because we were catching up with this woman fast. Fortunately, we passed my yard before we got embarrasingly close to her, and I turned off and dragged him home . . . but, I've got to say, not only is Caleb a babe magnet, but he's selective, and he knows how to pick 'em. I mean, that last girl was hot, but I can't honestly remember what she looked like. Something about this one that got him all excited -- something besides the fact that he got all excited about her -- sticks in my mind. Maybe I'm just crazy. Or desperate. But Caleb . . . if you're reading this: Good boy.
My grandfather, over the past week, has taken a dramatic turn for the worse. More as I know it.
I'm almost done Richard Morgan's third novel, Market Forces. It's a very political near-future thriller that's kind of The Firm meets Rising Sun meets Mad Max, with all kinds of silliness that's written well enough that, unbelievably, it actually works. Almost every character in this novel is unlikeable, they're all selfish arrogant bastards, even the ones we're supposed to feel sympathy for, and it's his weakest novel, but it's jam packed with violence and gratuitous sex. This, and the tremendous amount of dialogue, are no doubt results of the fact that this novel is adapted from a screenplay by Morgan. As I said, his weakest novel, but still great fun.
Speaking of Morgan, I've recently acquired and am about to read the three Black Widow miniseries written by Devin Grayson and Greg Rucka to familiarize myself with the character before Morgan's take on her hits the stands in September.
I'm a couple stories into Jeff VanderMeer's new collection, Secret Life. VanderMeer is one of the big names in the field these days, and this collection looks to be brilliant. I've read several of the stories in here before, but most of them are new to me, and Scott Eagle's cover is beautiful. This one I'm going to read slowly so I can better savor it.
I recently finish Sean Stewart's Nobody's Son. This novel about "fathers and husbands and sons" is incredibly enjoyable, and one of those I expect to stick with me for quite a while. Highly recommended.
I'm reading Elizabeth Gaskell's Gothic Tales, written in the early 1800s sometime. They're not really to my taste, but they're of some interest.
My copy of Nick Mamatas' Move Under Ground should arrive today, so that's probably the next novel I'll read -- Kerouac vs Cthulu, what more could you ask?
As you may or may not remember, Kirsten Bishop's The Etched City was, along with Paul Witcover's Waking Beauty, my favorite read last year. If you're interested, Matt Cheney has posted a conversation with her on his blog. Read it.
Now for my predictions about the various upcoming summer "blockbusters," and other selected movies:
Saved!: will suck
Around the World in Eighty Days: will suck really badly
Two Brothers: The Bear is one of very few movies ever to make me cry, so this one might not be so bad.
Garden State: Why's there so much buzz about this one? Maybe it'll be good.
The Notebook: As Justin said, "It's like Titanic without the boat and Pearl Harbor without the planes! This movie is going to rule!"
Open Water: Looks tense and scary. I'd hit it.
Dodgeball: One of few movies that doesn't pretend to be more than it is. I actually think it looks funny.
The Terminal: Spielberg and Hanks are at it again, and Zeta Jones is hot as ever. If you like it laid on thick and schmaltzy, this one's probably for you.
Fahrenheit 9/11: If you're a cynical bastard like me, chances are you can't wait for this one. If you're going to hate it, you already know.
Spider-Man 2: Probably the best blockbuster of the summer. If you liked the first one at all, I guarantee this one is better.
King Arthur: Jerry Bruckheimer gives you the "real" Arthur, and a mostly naked Kiera Knightley. If you liked Pirates of the Caribbean, chances are you'll like this. I'll see it, because I'm a sucker for psuedo-medieval sword epics.
I, Robot: Will suck. A lot. But I'm a fan of Alex Proyas, so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and see it anyway.
Catwoman: The worst movie of the summer, by far. Probably the worst movie of the decade.
The Bourne Supremacy: Haven't seen the first, so have no idea.
Donnie Darko (director's cut): DD is among my very favorite films. I can't wait for the director's cut.
The Manchurian Candidate: Did it really have to be remade?
The Village: Schyamalan, would you please stop already? Please?
Princess Diaries 2: Anne Hathaway, the walking smile with boobs, is at it again. Wasn't she trying to get rid of the kiddie image?
Alien vs Predator: Great. Perhaps the worst action director in the business, who brought you such pieces of shit as Mortal Kombat, Soldier, and Resident Evil, gets to ruin both of Fox's best franchises. Just put a bullet in my brain.
Exorcist: The Beginning: They fired the director and started from scratch. They should've just scuttled the project there.
Anacondas: Hunt for the Blood Orchid: Do we really need another Anaconda movie?
Vanity Fair: Is it me or is Reese Witherspoon perfectly wrong for this role? I like her, but this is just . . . wrong.
Sky Captain and the Worlds of Tomorrow: Most likely going to suck, but the trailer has me sold. I'm there.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse: Wasn't the first one terrible enough?
Shark Tale: May just work.
And I guess that's about it for the summer's movies.
Sunday, June 13, 2004
Saturday, June 12, 2004
I found it interesting how many people commented how much like my father I look; I've always thought, and frequently used to be told, that I look very much like my mother and nothing like my father. My guess is that I really look like neither of them, but people are so desperate to find resemblances within families that they'll latch on to any similarity at all just so they can say how much someone looks like a parent.
I found it very interesting that I honestly enjoyed talking with these people for the short time I did so, and even more interesting than that how many of them seemed genuinely to enjoy talking to me as well. It felt good.
But now, I'm off. There's much leftover sushi to consume.
EDIT: My mom set all the clocks today, and now this room sounds like the opening scene of Back to the Future. I'm actually finding the sound quite pleasant.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
In bars frequented by colossal death robots,
you're always the quiet guy at the back who
no-one ever bothers. And for good reason.
You've fought in several nuclear wars, could
beat the sun in a staring match, and have a
chin larger than many articles of furniture.
Morals are not a concept you understand, but
strangely enough, nobody ever questions your
judgement. Usually because they're dead. Even
Judge Dredd wets himself when you turn up. Grrrr.
Which Colossal Death Robot Are You?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey
Which OS are You?
Congratulations, you make it until the end! You
are the strong, modestly good looking man or
woman who doesn't take it from anybody.
How fast would you die in a cheesy zombie flick?
brought to you by Quizilla
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Am I the only person to have no interest at all in this Chronicles of Riddick movie?
Monday, June 07, 2004
2: Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?: A dust particle?
3: What is the last thing you watched on TV?: The Devil's Backbone. Or Poltergeist. I honestly don't remember which.
4: WITHOUT LOOKING, guess what the time is: 8:55
5: Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?: 8:56
6: With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?: A truck, probably a garbage truck. The computer's fan. (hah! How's that for following rules?) The whine of its monitor. The pounding from where they're working on the art museum. A jet overhead. Birds chirping. The rustle of cloth as I tap my foot. A weedwhacker. The squeak/rattle of the pipes as they draw warm water upstairs. The wind.
7: When did you last step outside? what were you doing?: I fed and walked the dog, went out to get the newspaper, and saw my father off to work, probably in that order. Did I step out after that? I believe I did. Probably around 7:30.
8: Before you came to this website, what did you look at?: Oddly enough, I was about 4 lines into the 18th page of the book I'm reading as I was waiting for this page to load.
9: What are you wearing?: Black pants, mildly discolored right now from the liberal dollops of dog slobber; gray t-shirt, also mildly discolored, this time from my deodorant; underwear, mildly discolored from . . . nevermind.
10: Did you dream last night?: Yes.
11: When did you last laugh? Out loud? I don't know. Inside, I laugh frequently. Much in life amuses me. Heck, life amuses me.
12: What is on the walls of the room you are in?: Red paint. A coathook sort of thing, on which is hanging a solitary tennis racquet. An "applause!" banner made by my sister. A collage of photos of my and my siblings and Tilly at the beach. A painting of a woman. A painting of our house, by one of our neighbours. A painting of a house, by my sister. A painting of a flower, cover the fusebox. A couple of speakers for the stereo. A knob to adjust their volume. A plaque sort of thing with biblical verses about mothers. Probably some dust and grime.
13: Seen anything weird lately?: Define weird. Seen anything mundane lately?
14: What do you think of this quiz?: I'm not thinking too much of it, nor am I think of it too much..
15: What is the last film you saw?: Refer to question #3. Unless you mean in the cinemas, in which case it's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
16: If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?: Love. Happiness. Freedom. Oh, wait. Umm . . . probably some books.
17: Tell me something about you that I don't know: I'm a loathsome, pathetic creature.
18: If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?: Institute Swift's Modest Proposal.
19: Do you like to dance?: When there's no one else around, yes. Otherwise, no. Too self-conscious.
20: George Bush: Gorge smush.
21: Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?: Elizabeth, maybe. Perhaps Raina.
21b: Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?: Little bastard. I don't know.
22: Would you ever consider living abroad?: Yes.
23: What do you want to do now more than ever?: Make someone smile.
24: now: Later.
Saturday, June 05, 2004
The Fortified Bulldozer
Yesterday as I was watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, something odd was happening in Colorado (don't odd things happen there with surprising frequency, come to think of it?). A fellow in Granby, Colorado welded armor plating to his bulldozer and went on a mission of destruction. Anyway, he took care not to kill any people, but he demolished the town hall, the newspaper building, the library, the energy building and more. Cop cars were crushed. He also was shooting at gas tanks and so forth out of turrets in his 'dozer. Police and SWAT tried to stop him with armor-piercing bullets, which failed in the face of his superior engineering: armor plates consisting of two sheets of half-inch steel with a layer of concrete between them. Eventually, his radiator blew, and he was blocked in with earthmovers, and he comitted suicide in there before they could cut him out. According to the mayor of Granby, the buildings he destroyed were buildings owned by city council members. They voted against him on an issue about land and I guess he decided to take action.
"This man is my new hero. This isn't one of those boring "pick off random people with a sniper rifle" rampages . . . those are so played out. They're passe. But going all super villain on a small town? INDESCRIBABLY AWESOME."
For reports more reliable and up-to-date than my memory, follow these links:
In other news, for the first time ever, my father was pleased with a transcript/report card of mine. That may not sound like much, but believe me, it's a beautiful thing when you've come to dread transcripts arriving as much as I have.
Friday, June 04, 2004
Gary Oldman, that wonderful overacting hack, was criminally underused. David Thewlis was also a bit underused. And I hated what they did with Scabbers.
On the plus side, John Williams' score was one of his better ones of recent years, and I loved Buckbeak.
A definite improvement over the previous two, but still not very good, which does not bode well for upcoming movies.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
I know I'm not exactly the fashion king, but all other guys I've talked to about this agree with me: the things are ugly. And kind of nasty. So ladies, what's the appeal? Are these skirts somehow particularly comfortable? Have you been lied to and told they look good or sexy or some such? Perhaps you're sick of guys drooling over you and are trying to drive them away?