Hobbit Wisdom

Last year I watched Lord of the Rings in a marathon, and this year I played LotR Trivial Pursuit. My friend Ariel just shared this, quoting Sam, which is a favourite babbling of mine, which makes my heart hiccup.

It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.

I really like that Tolkien's work is relatively pervasive.


Transient Thought

The road to Sudbury looks sweet in its white dress.


Transient Thought

Sometimes I just never want to go to sleep.


Transient Thought

This is my favourite 404 page of the now:

Transient Thought

The Christmas movie Blizzard has some of the best speech writing for a Santa Claus ever, which is good, because Christopher Plummer makes a great Santa Claus.

"Great balls of tinsel, you can be annoying sometimes."


Today is a soft day.  I've spent a couple hours skimming through Project4Awesome videos.  Project4Awesome is a charity project organised by the VlogBrothers, a popular fraternal pair of bloggers.  I'm alone in my quiet home listening to the gentle humm of the artificial tree (it has fibre optic needles that glow).  I'm not bored, but I don't know whether I want to do anything on this Christmas, except sit and think quietly.

If you never visit my blog itself and just read this through an RSS reader, you might consider dropping by, as I made a seasonal change.  Hehe.

Merry Christmas, you.

It's a white Christmas, at least on my blog

So, please let me know if you experience any technical difficulties reading my blog.  I just made a few changes. :)

Transient Thought

Feet are neat. :D


Christmas Cheer

My father put up the Christmas tree ... this morning. Yah, home is rife with the spirit :) My father is doing well and is in good spirits. Next year, I'll deck the halls with garland and tinsel and litter the tree with presents. This year, I'll try to catch up in my Masters and finish on time. :)

We're off to visit my brother this evening for Christmas supper, the new de facto centre of the family. I'm not sure if my brother was expecting that, the festive seat of Schwartings Ontario. It's nice going up to a cottage, though. Next year will be different, though. There will be quite the coup. A wild, vegan Christmas dinner, und du wirst es mögen!

Boxing day should be spent in the wild woods howling like wolves, assuming the snow stays. (Wow, what a white wintry lawn we have!) And then back on the "bus", continuing my annual tradition of visiting Shamanda. It will be different this year, in part because there is even less I can eat there. :D

Blades of steel

And when I get back?

Yah, that's right. I totally own skates now, $12 courtesy of Bibles for Missions thrift store in Guelph. I'm amazed that I've never visited it before. It's right next to Eggcetera and the Lens Mill Store. I started pricing out new skates, and was dismayed to find them ranging from $80 up. Now that I've kind of learned how to move on ice, I don't want to forget it. Also, the outdoor rink at city hall, a block from my apartment, has just opened!

I think I might try to have a skating party for my birthday, with dinner at the Cornerstone :D.

The new year

Thanks to school, I haven't been in Flesherton as much as I'd like this winter, so I'm going to try to spend more of the start of January down here with my father. I have some psychological changes I'm going to be pursuing in the new year that are scary, and some habitual changes. I don't do resolutions, but not being too fond of 2011, I think a new number will help. Yee haw.


Sorry, readers, for the recent increase in melancholic posts.  My thoughts have been heavily preoccupied by reluctantly having to push away one of my best friends recently.  I'm sorry my writing betrays this, but I think I'll just keep such thoughts to myself going forward. :D  Thank you for your patience.  Unless you already quit reading, in which case, -wait, in which case I won't have thanked you - HA.  Whatever!  MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Melodies of Life, another musical interlude

Here is a favourite song of mine, from a favourite game of mine, that I've been singing to myself and dancing to lately. I used to really enjoy the melody, but now I'm lost in its lyrics.

Alone for a while, I've been searching through the dark
For traces of the love you left inside my lonely heart.
To weave, by picking up the pieces that remain,
Melodies of life, love's lost refrain.

Our paths they did cross, though I cannot say just why.
We met, we laughed, we held on fast, and then we said goodbye.
And who'll hear the echoes of stories never told?
Let them ring out loud till they unfold.

In my dearest memories, 
I see you reaching out to me.
Though you're gone, 
I still believe that you can call out my name.

A voice from the past, joining yours and mine,
Adding up the layers of harmony.
And so it goes, on and on, melodies of life,
To the sky beyond the flying birds, forever and beyond.

So far and away, see the bird as it flies by,
Gliding through the shadows of the clouds up in the sky.
I've laid my memories and dreams upon those wings.
Leave them now and see what tomorrow brings.

In your dearest memories, 
Do you remember loving me?
Was it fate that brought us close
And now leaves me behind?

A voice from the past, joining yours and mine,
Adding up the layers of harmony.
And so it goes, on and on, melodies of life,
To the sky beyond the flying bird, forever and on.

If I should leave this lonely world behind,
Your voice will still remember our melody.
Now I know we'll carry on, melodies of life,
Come circle round and grow deep in our hearts, 
as long as we remember.

Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/n/nobuo_uematsu/melodies_of_life.html

Transient Thought

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies BAKED.

Transient Thought

Con-G pre-registration complete. :D

My Goal

I share with you The Big Picture's "50 Best Photos of the Natural World", courtesy of the Boston Globe.  (#37 is my favourite.)

This is what I want in life.  This is how I want to spend the next half of my life.  I don't want to sit in front of a desk forty hours a week living in a big urban city.  I can imagine a life like that that would be tolerable.  But I want to be in the world before die.  I want to feel it and feel it overwhelm me.  I want to see a bit of what's been around for millenia.

I've gotten closer.  One of the most moving experiences was assisting a Masters' student in New Zealand studying birds.  I developed my own plans for an all-natural Wizard's lore walking to and fro nesting sites.  Living in New Zealand in itself was great for this.  Regrettably, I didn't get far away from Dunedin as much as I would have liked, if I'd known my stay there was going to be as short as it was, but I did a bit, and that was a treasure.  It beats in my memories and my dreams.  So do adventures out in British Columbia and busing across Canada, visiting northern Ontario and the east coast, with family and friends, over my decades.

There is something distinct about natural splendor, like I catch in the above, and the human wonders I encountered in, say, Germany.  There is a lot of overlap, but I suppose I want to see things that are less manicured and directed by human interests.

So, why am I a computer scientist?  Why am I working on a Masters even when motivation drags?  Mostly because it seems like a path to the freedom I want.  I didn't have the heart for biology in high school (and not because dissections made me queasy) and my mathematical mind probably would have found me stuck in genetics anyway.  Computing is kind of special, though.  I think it's the profession with the greatest freedom to work from home and define your own schedule.  It's relatively in demand, portable, and pays well enough to cover travel, I think.  I mostly need that mobility and control.  I need to not be anchored to a desk.  Sure, I can give 35 hours a week, dedicate it to solving problems to help someone in exchange from money, but from a mobile connection, anywhere on the planet, next to my tea pot steeping, in my well-insulated camper, as the sun rises outside the window on barren tundra.

That's for me.

Furthest east I've ever been (on this continent)


Christmas Miracle Part 1

The radio has said ALL WEEK how it was going to be a GREEN CHRISTMAS.  HA!  They should move up to Grey County.  Part 1 of the Christmas Miracle: obtained.

Christmas Miracle Part 1: White Christmas

More about numbers and nature with vihart

A friend once lent me a book on Chaos theory, which was fascinating. This video is a bit fascinating for many of the same reasons:

The spirals in your pinehead are Fibonacciac.


An Edible Tradition

This happens weekly, but I've discovered another traditional food that I'll forego as long as I remain vegan: Goodfella's Pizza over a winter break in Flesherton.  A few years ago it started, dropping in one late New Year's Eve to get a fresh vegetarian pizza made for us, and I've tried to keep it up since.  Perhaps they can make one without cheese, though?

Transient Thought

I've been driven through Fergus hundreds of times, and to-day was the first day I was driven through its downtown.  There are old stone buildings, a waterfall, a gorge, bridges.  It was pretty neat, and worth exploring with a friend some day.  I marvel that I can be so close and yet so far from wonderful things for so long before I take the time to act and investigate.  Weird.

Seeing through friends

Something I've become interested in of late is seeing my friends in less flattering conditions.  I mean when they're tired, exhausted, empty.  How do they react when their patience runs low, when they can't think quickly anymore, when their minds go blank.

I think it's kind of important.  Most of my new friends only know me as up-beat, optimistic, bouncy, and sometimes a bit witty.  I'm not comfortable being less with them.  They get a nice, fun facade and are politely barred from things that trouble me, my fears, me when I just want to give up.  I don't want to bother them.  I don't want to tax them.  I don't want to bore them.  I don't want to exhaust them.  I don't want to share the lows, but I want to see them in others.

There was a while where I showed too much to some people, perhaps.  When I was drained, I drained them too.  My patience tired, and it did not tire gracefully.  It's catastrophic letting that happen, so I don't any more.  I don't abuse old friends who I expose myself to now.   I'm inspired a bit by the persistent interest from a few friends in my well-being even despite reported lows.  I think my presentation of and perspective on them helps make it more palatable, more something normal, that a friend can actually care about.  Not a helpless situation.

It helps having a lazier perspective about a lot of stuff, giving up on things that don't matter, and giggling at scary things.  I want to see how other people handle that state, whether they get short like I used to, whether they shut down, or whether they flop mentally and physically.  Experiments, commence!

Transient Thought

I am amused that, even without watching TV for a while, the concept of the Christmas Miracle finds its way into my dreams.  I don't mean the birth of the baby Jesus, but just the notion in media of the improbable happening because it's Christmas.  But in reality, my life isn't really horrible, my father is doing fine, I am scratching by in school, and my credit is not exhausted.  I suppose I can hope for good company and warm smiles?   Hehe.

Homeward bound

Finally off to Flesherton for a week.


Transient Thought

What with Blockbuster gone and Rogers closing 40% of its video rental stores, perhaps now is the time for me to start opening my arcade + game rental business!  Leave video to Netflix and friends and bring back the arcade, mwahaha.

Transient Thought

I used to like the unpredictable, uncontrollable nature of dreams.  Now that I find them more and more haunting, I think I can respect them a bit more, even when I don't want to have them or don't want to wake from them.  Dreaming is a potent reminder of what my mind is thinking, even if I don't want it to.

There and back again


Muffin Films!

Here is a 1m24s stop-motion animation on growing muffins.

In my first blog, I wrote a couple posts extolling the wonders of Amy Winfrey's Muffin Films. She's still making muffin-based animations, and I'm now following her YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/fancymeats.

Learned how to skate


Transient Thought

When you feel comfortable doing whatever with a person and when you just can't tell what to do: the distinguishing factor in human teddy bears.

Transient Thought

Escalators, dirty streets, grey buildings, sour people.  Cities want for a friend to be truly enjoyed

Pack only what's necessary

I travel lightly.  I am portable.  I aspire to go many places, dragging relatively little with me.  I dislike accumulating lots of useless items, as they limit my mobility.  I am going to see a lot of places, man.  Just me, my shoulder bag, and a change of clothes.  Some things are too important to leave at home, and one of those things is tea.

Going to a cottage this past weekend, I opted not to bring my laptop or video games, but instead to bring tea!  I brought my common flask, three teas, and a teaspoon.  Thanks yoghurt container!

The flask,and two visible tea sacks
a teaspoon
I brought Keemun Congou Deluxe (my favourite), Earl Grey Cream, and China Gunpowder (awful once cold and oversteeped).

I also brought my old writing book, so I could get away from my computer.
There are stories between its pages
It even contained an old letter from the last time I used it, which sure was something.

Transient Thought

I suddenly felt like a grown child in the winter of my youth, swinging on these at a wintry beach.
I should just grow up and stop day dreaming

Star, star, teach me how to sparkle

The original lyric requests "shine", but I think I already talked about that Frames song.  I'm actually referring to sparklers

I spent the weekend with friends at a cottage, and one of them at the bon fire wished she had sparklers.  Naturally, I had sparklers.  Fun was had, and sparklers thrown into a fire aren't super spectacular, but they do sparkle out really fast!
The fire was quite bon.
Sparklers mean a lot to me, and have been a big part of my life.  First, one of my favourite things in the world is light.  I remember being in a van with a youth group and one of the adults asking me what I was staring at out the window and I just said "the lights". 

In particular, I have incredibly fond memories of being outside, on the sidewalks of Flesherton, with my mother and sister, playing with sparklers.  They were amazing.  They weren't as cheap as they are today, as we had to get them from a convenience store and the rise of the Dollar Store had not quite begun, so they were a rare occurrence.  In retrospect, I find it awesome that my mother who struggled with things could still pull together fun evenings for us kids with something as simple as sparklers.  We'd use those and the "worms" that burn up on the sidewalk to celebrate events that other people used fireworks for.  I don't think I missed the big bangs and ka-booms (we saw those in Priceville once a year).  I just loved watching that intense light live out its short life wild and free.  I think I found it a little scary too, as I'm often wary of the chance of fire (did I mention I watched a neighbour's house burn down in New Zealand? :o), but I suppose I felt safe with my mother around, and never did manage to burn myself.  Like everyone else, I loved writing things in the air.  Back then, I wrote things I wished would stick so everyone could read them in their brilliant fiery strokes.  Last night, I rather hoped people couldn't make out the embarrassing message I scrawled as quickly as I could to fit in all the words, and was a little glad it faded invisibly into time.  Getting back to the past, my mother was cool.  I wonder whether others have such strong associations from their youth with sparklers?

Another notable incident was also on the mean streets of Flesherton, years later, when I was perhaps freshly out of high school.  I was celebrating something on a summer's night with two friends, and we were twirling around like kids with our sparklers, when a police officer pulled up, and insisted we let them extinguish and refrain from doing it further.  It's sadly not the most ridiculous thing a police officer has asked of me in Flesherton, but in general I have a positive opinion of them.

I have lots of other strong sparkler memories and associations and am always pleased to discover another enjoys sparklers as much as me.  They're now more a part of silly play than pure celebration.  I guess I'd like to learn how to sparkle as memorably, but hopefully more permanently, than my favourite crackling stick of fire.  (Oh, I love their fizzling sound!)


Losher Cookie Recipe

My friend Lauren has special dietary restrictions that makes baking for her special.  Losher food needs to avoid refined sugars and wheat gluten and a bunch of other things.  Here is a recipe for losher cookies; it's actually just my 3-2-1 cookie recipe with ingredients switched to ones she can take:

  • fat (½ cup vegan margarine)
  • binder and sweetness (one banana)
  • sweetness (1 or 2 tablespoons honey (I would skip this if I was going to partake, as I'm current avoiding honey for vegan reasons, but the left over honey should go somewhere!))
  • flour (¾ cup kamut flour, ¾ cup barley flour) 
  • flavour (1 teaspoon vanilla)
  • goo (¾ cup carab chips)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°C.
  2. "Cream" the banana and the margarine
  3. Mix in half of each flour.
  4. Mix in honey.
  5. Mix in the remaining flour.
  6. Add vanilla (bonus moisture) and 
  7. Then the carab chips.  Add more or fewer to your preference.
  8. Mix, mix, mix, and hopefully it will become a gooey, muffin-mix-like clump in your mixing bowl with a thousand chocolatey eyes. 
  9. Apply to baking pan in glops.
  10. Bake for 10 minutes (this is for my oven) for gritty, delicious cookies
  11. Let cool to allow them to solidify a little.  

This is a photo of another batch of cookies I took that day,
only because I forgot to take a photo of the losher ones :D


Transient Thought

What do you do when your neighbours are incessantly hammering away while you're trying to concentrate? Get annoyed? No! Jive to the beat!

Transient Thought

The clouds are moving faster than the birds today.

Transient Thought

Highlight of my day: having a towel fall over my face. Like living in a blanket fort.


Transient Thought

I demand that the world stop spinning right this instant!


Transient Thought



The Frames are weird.  They've been my favourite band for years, but it's hard to say why.  I don't understand a lot of their songs, not that understanding is a pre-requisite.  I've heard music that I thought had better vocals, better concepts, better instruments, better stories.  But here I am, listening to them for a stupid reason and letting them eat me alive.


Transient Thought

I just want to spend Christmas with sparklers in the snow making animal noises at the moon.

Transient Thought

My 2013 tramp through the NZ wilderness with nothing buy my backpack just got a little more real. :D


As Mr. Gaiman says,

If the wolves come out of the wall, then it is all over.

Liking Sad Songs

"I will follow you into the dark" by Death Cab for Cutie:

One of my favourite songs ever came up when talking to a friend last night about depressing songs. I got acquainted with this one while I lived in Victoria in 2006 on a co-op work term and it was on the radio a lot. (So was Kasabian's Empire.) The song has a sad aspect to it, but I'm not sure if there's anything to actually be sad about. Fate and finality and companionship and a strong bond. She sometimes sings Gary Jules' "Mad World", too; how cheerful :)

Transient Thought

Amazing people are found in the strangest places.


What a wonderful natural world

David Attenborough speaks "What a wonderful world".

I really enjoy his narration across documentaries and how effortlessly he draws me into natural worlds.

Normal people

What do normal people talk about?  What is a normal conversation?  I used to wonder that all the time.  I would be riddled with anxiety when I sat next to someone normal, and would be expected to communicate.  It often resulted in me trying to literally act normal.  Act, taking on a persona, making up stories even.  I'm better now.

Now I wonder: what do normal people think?  How did I think once?  What occupied my thoughts after waking up, while washing dishes, while cooking food, while showering, while walking home with groceries?  I know what I think about now, and I don't think it's quite normal.  I can't really remember what I used to think about, even a year ago in those private times.  What was the private dialogue about?  Does anyone know?

Transient Thought

Every time I go over my resume, I marvel at all the small errors I missed the previous time and wonder how I get by. :)

Quiet Thrill

Getting to use "Super Hyper Random Graph" in a research seminar's title. Serious Business.


"And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."

Hillary Clinton spoke to the United Nations in Geneva on behalf of the United States strongly in favour of gay rights.  Hooray!

A video of the speech and the transcript can be found here:

Transient Thought

To the devil with reality, live like I dream!

Feeling dumb, and feeling good about it

When I practise jodo, iaido, and kendo, I feel dumb.  I am surrounded by much more competent people.  My jodo and iaido sensei makes what I'm doing wrong seem obvious.  I am definitively inferior in these situations, without a grey area or the need for any Pareto frontiers.  And it feels really good.

I constantly walk around with a sense of inferiority in many things I attempt, of relative inadequacy, and that has sometimes motivated me to try very hard, to sometimes be relentless, and to live up to expectations.  Often I've just wanted to give up and have people stop expecting things from me.  But that's incredibly hard when the people you admire most keep encouraging you, supporting you, cheering you on, reassuring you.  I've sometimes pushed myself beyond reasonable limits to try to live up to their expectations, even if it's not what anyone wanted.

This semester has been a lot better in that regard.  I didn't want the stress anymore, so I traded it in for some disappointment.  I think my research supervisor is a bit disappointed with my thesis progress.  I think my TA supervisor is a bit disappointed with the lag time in marking assignments.  I think a couple friends are disappointed with my reduced availability, and others with my lack of apparent cheer: I'm not always as happy or energetic as I seem.

Best have been jodo and iaido, I think.  Because there, I do not even feel actual disappointment.  I welcome cutting remarks because they're always constructive, supportive in a way that doesn't set unreasonable expectations.  And no matter how poorly I do, I'm always welcome back.  I like going there, and I like getting to feel dumb.  It's not that I try less; perhaps I end up caring more?

Anyway, I'm not a prodigy in academia, at programming, at kendo.  I don't know everything, I'm not certain about all my beliefs, and I don't want to understand everything.  I just want to try and be happy.  (But hopefully not completely fail out!)

Transient Thought

I wish that every evening could have something like Iaido, Jodo, or Kendo.  They're a great distraction. :D


The Strangest Dream

It was a bit of a nightmare.  I went to visit friends for the weekend, a family I know too well.  They were involved in exploratory digging out in the woods, so I was there helping and exploring the caverns.  However, it turned out that an old friend was doing other research in their own nearby caves and we ran into each and started blaming one another for all the problems in the world and stubbornly neither of us listened to the other, and it got worse and worse.  I never want to argue like that again.  Finally, my first friend's sister offered to just drive me home.

I had a nice e-mail waiting for me when I woke up, though. :)


Transient Thoughts

For iaido, I've had trouble with my swings due to my kendo technique (which isn't perfect anyway).  I've been working on it for the last little while and today I sort of discovered the 'sound' and accompanying feeling that I should get when I swing, and I was like "woah".

Transient Thought

It's oddly satisfying finishing off food belonging to my temporary housemate.  I think it's because of the "I didn't pay for it, suckers!" perspective, though I guess I should return the yoghurt to her.


A new season and a new style

Hello!  I am soliciting suggestions or help for a new ghetto apartment decor for the winter!  (My apartment is not in a ghetto, but I am cheap and wish to spend less than $10.)

Wanted: I'm interested in hearing themes (e.g. an older Japanese aesthetic) or specific ideas (like black stars to go on my creamy white walls). Most new supplies will come from Value Village and Dollarama.

The space: there is one large, main room with a tall stucco ceiling, all white. The carpet is a flat (not fluffy) grey. The furniture is mostly light and dark wood.

The past: I've sometimes gone through magazines and cut out interesting pictures and advertisements and posted them in grids on my wall, or I've used chalk on dark walls to draw cool things, or dangled paper snow flakes from the ceiling, or cut out leaves in construction paper to give an autumnal feel.

Also, if you are near Guelph, you are welcome to come over and help me do it (e.g. cut out shapes from construction paper or draw things) and enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, music, etc.  Just don't eat the materials.

A Dialogue* On Moss

*soon to be a dialogue

A friend bemoaned the dearth of meaningful and interesting conversation today.  I've had a couple friends who have complained about the nature of common conversation and expressed a preference for deeper banter rich with meaning.   To be sure, in daily life I've felt that the abundance of casual, friendly communication sometimes a little shallow, and have missed having friends around with whom I could explore any topic at any time and really share myself (with the exception of this past week and a few occasions with the odd new friend :D).  However, we make do.  (The preceding reads a little pretentiously, mwahaha, but just wait!)  So, this:

My friend
I have been having the same 10 safe discussions about the same 10 controversial but sad things for over 10 years now and I am so sick and tired of them.  I would rather have a frank conversation about what someone else thinks about moss than to talk about God or politics again.
I like reading beatnik literature sometimes because it rambles and dwells deeply on otherwise mundane things. I'm not sure why people don't discuss moss more. It does mean a lot to me. It's a favourite life form of mine but I don't Google Image search it much. It's obviously comfortable and adds a rich visual complexity to rocks. I suppose I'd kind of like to have moss in my house, but then there's the concern of ants or other bugs. I wouldn't like fake moss because of the modern revolt against tacky indoor synthetic nature replicas. Having living homes would be a delight, but it's easy for me to say that without specifying how to make maintenance sufficiently light so I'd still have time and energy to pursue irrelevant matters like school.  Instead, I just dream about it and Better Worlds without worrying about their feasibility.
    But back to the ants, it's a bit weird that if we're just animals, we've gone to such great lengths to isolate ourselves from other animals. It's nice. It simplifies and enables other things. Living in homes where nature has been excluded or controlled (in plant potters and with mouse traps in our cupboards). Should I just grow moss and not worry about it? Have a stream trickle through my living room and let squirrels naw on my clementines? It would bring another meaning to the lyric in the Beatle's song "I am the Walrus" "sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun to shine." Perhaps fake moss that was suitably stylised (like clearly two-dimensional paper cut out and pencil coloured green and then layered on the wall for fake depth) would be amenable to me.
    Do you like moss? Would you mind if it was done away with, or would you like it promoted in more public places? (Grown on buildings in downtown Toronto say.)
I suppose that might be trite to you, assuming you're a moss expert, tired of hearing the same thoughts on moss all the time, wondering whether any of the 7 billion people near you have a remotely novel or irregular insight to squeal.  And yes, there are more words on moss that I could share, but they're a bit personal, and a trust has to develop before I can really comfortable reveal my innermost mossy feelings to another.  But at least I didn't go "Derp."  I miss having random and meandering conversations on silly topics.  (Side note: I love the relationship between depth and meaning and mundanity of topics; some of the best conversation I've held have been on the matter of crates of mandarins and the eating thereof.)

(Oh, and the questions at the end are open to all.)

Transient Thought

Lovely December rain wets my face and feet.

Sombre Days

The 3rd of December is usually a sombre day for me, but others kept me distracted the whole time and I didn't have time to dwell on it.  :)


Transient Thought

My father is cute.  He filled my inbox with empty voice mail while I was away.  I suppose he cares. :)

Here, there, and everywhere

I may have finally secured a stationary base of operations for the future.  As an aspiring globe trotter, owning a home of my own may not be sensible.  Even now, most of my money goes towards visiting friends, with myself currently in St. Johns, and plans for Toronto, Sudbury, Timmins, and New York (!) now underway.  (If you'd like to engineer serendipity, let me know.)  It's kind of rough being on the move a lot, but people matter a lot to me, so I go to special lengths to make sure I get to spend a little time each year with them.  (If I've missed you, I'm sorry!  Try to coordinate with me for late winter!) 

Visiting friends usually constitutes an adventure for me, and y'all know how I love my 'ventures.  Long rides on buses, ghetto food, dirty subways, sleeping out of a shoulder bag.  Couches are some of my best friends.  I've always prided myself on being mobile, portable, easy.  I know some people feel compelled to plan all the details of a trip, but I generally require broad strokes and flexibility enough to adapt and flow.  I think that's what helps keep it an adventure instead of an ordeal.

I'm kind of proud of myself making my sojourn in Germany with nothing more than a carry-on roller packed tightly with a few days clothes, and my standard shoulder bag (lightened of everything slightly superfluous).   This past week fit inside my shoulder bag (though a suitcase mostly full of someone else's gifts was ultimately required).

All that remains in annexing my newest territory is to create a suitable sign reading "The Richard's Room" (others are welcome to stay therein, but they should really know it's name).  And perhaps pay cookie-rent.   Mmm, cookies.

Transient Thought

I've at last discovered the voice for my novel, right after the month of NaNoWriMo and the accompanying several thousands of words.  Rewriting just means perfecting earlier drafts, right? :)

There be treasure at the VV Boutique

I have now visited 11 Value Villages.  It's momentous.  Guelph, Victoria, Vancouver, Vancouver again, Vancouver yet again, Windsor, Timmins, Ottawa, London, London again, and most recently St. John's.  It could actually be more.  I'm not sure whether I've visited ones in the GTA or K-W anymore.  And maybe I ran over to one on a Greyhound trip across Canada once?  I remember passing several, and I vaguely recall a snowy day and running across the highway to what might have been a VV?  Ah well.

It's a magical, romantic place, and today I introduced a couple of friends to it.  For an upcoming formal I found a spectacular and well-fitting vest but still no tailcoat, the only piece of coveted fancy wear that still eludes me.   It will be mine, some day!



I was left charmed.  There was so much beauty.  I was delighted by the magic.  I was moved.

That's my way of saying I found the film Hugo charming, beautiful, magical, and moving.  Those sound so trite.  They get recycled a lot across many things.  So, I apply them to my reaction instead of the source itself.  Does that make my reaction more real?

Obviously, I was delighted.  It's never a good idea for me to reflect on a film the night I see it, so I'll refrain from suggesting it could be a favourite in the future.  I last dared to predict a new favourite to a friend immediately after seeing Scott Pilgrim, and that was right, but that was exceptional!  I can just say that Hugo did have some aspects that reminded me of one of my favourite films, Amélie.

It was another ideal viewing circumstance.  I actually had never heard of it before my friend Tammy suggested it, and the only second clue I had about it was when my friend Frank and she noted the poster on the way in to the theatre, and even that was just a photo of a single obscure item.  I like entering films and stories in complete ignorance of what might transpire.  I sabotage attempts by trailers and advertisements to spoil plots for me.  (I shut my eyes tight and hum to myself.)  I know the first 15 seconds of the new Tin Tin film's trailer, which is too much to start with, but I've preserved the mystery of the rest.  Shh. 

The world of the film was quite real and quite wondrous.  It had so many elements I adore, where high technology was still defined by mechanical clockwork and silver nitrate film.  Oh, and old people!  Old people that mattered!  And sweet kids!  Kids who aren't inherently selfish.  It makes me dizzy. 

Two points of the night out are being asked to not put my feet up on the seats ahead (could I ask them to give me more leg room?) and the distinct absence of popcorn in the theatre.  I was still full on vegan pepperoni pizza and a couple Japanese dishes, and half a crate of mandarins.  Nom nom nom.

What do you want?

Hello anonymous goon. 

What do you want with your comments?




Now dear planet, if you'll give me a moment or two, I would like to remember you, as you'll always be to me.   Magical.

Holy Guacamole!

I have a rough time with avocados, but my friend's guacamole!  Wow!

Transient Thought

To deprive yourself of sleep sometimes requires motivation to do so, motivation to work late or to wake early.  I wonder if I lack the will or the focus.  Some mornings I just want to return to my dreams.   Even my nightmares are pretty awesome. :)

Sleep deprivation

I used to glamourise it, but it's really not for me, I guess.  At least when other's rely on me.  I've avoided it very well for months now, except this past week.  A familiar pattern as time gets tighter of shorter and shorter nights, including a one hour nap the other Wednesday.  The sensation is a bit amusing, but running empty on mental energy does not work well for me.  Attempts at conversations with people where I had to think or consider something new end up hitting walls.  I can't think.  I can't consider that right now.  Please ask me later.  I even managed to sleep through three alarms and miss a couple obligations.  I quite regret disappointing a friend that morning, and the class I TA, but they both seem very understanding. :D

It's a situation I'm not willing to entertain anymore.  In many ways, my Masters has slowed down a great deal as I refuse to accept unreasonable deadlines and insist on full sleep.  Accomplishments don't feel quite as epic when they're not at 7AM in the morning, an hour before a due date, but life is much sweeter and my brain, my happy brain!  It's nice not working on a burn-out-and-recovery cycle.

And my mood.  The change was gradual since the summer, but getting to exhaust myself again for a couple days last week helped me see its affect on my ability to tolerate the unusual, new stimuli, and little inconveniences.  I'm more aware of my reactions these days and better able to manage them, but having the initial urge is still uncomfortable, and a good argument for proper sleep.

And now a fond good night from a borrowed bed,

Can I stay just a little longer?


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