Thursday, November 29, 2007

Forget lolcats

Let's start a new meme, my friends. Lock up your citrus trees -- 'cause the Innertubes are clogged with lemon-eating babies. The horror...the horror...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mind The Gap

I'm loathe to re-gurgitate someone else's re-gurgitated story on the Net, but this one is too good to let go unacknowledged. The voice of the London Underground, Emma Clarke, was recently let go from her job after 'management' discovered she was keeping a personal blog of spoof Underground announcements.

Listening to her MP3's will evoke much chortling, I guarantee. A few of my favourites:

"We'd like to remind our American tourist friends that you are almost certainly talking too loud."

"Would passengers filling in answers on the Sudokus please accept that they're just crosswords for the unimaginative and are not in any way more impressive just because they contain numbers"

"Do not drop litter on the train. Please use the tramps provided"

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

CanCon Despair

I read today that CBC has a few new made-in-Canadaland TV series lined up for January 2008.

Now, sit down. Comfy? Good.

One of the new series is a 13-part serialization of Coupland's JPod.

I'm not kidding.

The good news - I guess - is that Coupland, himself, is executive producer and wrote the scripts. Maybe the visual medium will translate Coupland's story better than print. But I'm not real hopeful.

The bad/weird news is that Alan Thicke is in the cast. Now, William Shatner would be sort of hipster-casting. But Alan Thicke?

I'm from Missouri, but you know I'll watch an episode anyways.

Oh, and another new series is MVP. A hockey-meets-Desperate Housewives soap that was shot in London over a few months earlier this year. I can't wait to see the JLC and Convention Center on my TV.

Oh wait, I can. Guess I better head to Chapters soon.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Now, Where Were We?

It cost a few extra coins, but I've ferried back across the River Styx and have left Death behind for awhile. After a week of visitations, funerals (two of them, actually), long-lost relatives, too many death certificates, and a quiet spot for ashes under a leafless Magnolia - it's time to cast these eyes back towards the Living.

Today was Winter Preparation Day at Casa Crazylegs. The lawn got one last trim, the pump has been pulled from the pond, the deck chairs and bikes have been crammed into the shed. I can, once again, fit the van into the garage.

Now - we wait.

I hate Winter a little bit more every year. Sure, all you glass-half-full types might have said something like, "I like Winter a little bit less every year". Not me, though. My hatred for Winter just grows.

It's not that I don't like snow. I like snow just fine. And cold? Bring it on, man. It's just that Winter has become much too ambiguous for me. Winter in Southwestern Ontario is decidedly an under-achiever these days, and someone ought to do something about it.

What has happened to the Winters of our youth? When was the last time we had to call out the army to rescue stranded motorists? Anymore, Winter is nothing but nothing but feast-or-famine snowfalls and a continuous cycle of freeze/thaw. We have a whole generation of kids who've never had that sense of entitlement for Snow Days.

So come on Winter. Show us what you got, or I'm calling Al Gore.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Surreal Life

So now it's over. Last night, surrounded by his family, Dad passed away. It was the oddest experience I've ever had. I've known death before, but I've never watched a person actually die. But that's what we did - just watched him cling to life, all the while telling him it was okay to let it go.

There were tears. Of course there were tears! The seven of us huddled around Dad's bed just kind of watching him, holding his hand, murmuring sadness. Soon his breathing slowed and we suspected the end might be near (the will of the body is impressive).

There were a few laughs, too. Dad's wife made a teary jest about 'the Energizer Bunny' that lie before us. I shared a secret dread that we might be living a sitcom moment - fast-forward an hour or two where Dad is still hanging on while our collective deathwatch succumbs to tired legs and hidden boredom.

At 7:10pm Dad's breathing stopped. He winced once, twice - his lungs drowning, giving up. And with JediBoy holding Dad's hand, he was committed to oblivion.

Not knowing what one does in these situations, we stood around the lifeless body and we told each other funny stories about Dad. The weight had lifted and a few of us dared to admit we felt better, somehow, someway.

We packed up Dad's things and the detritus of several days worth of living in a hospital room. We hugged the nurses - the amazing nurses. Then we drifted into the night without looking back. Dee, JediBoy, BandGeek and I - having not eaten since lunch - made our way to one of those interchangeable roadhouse joints and ate ourselves silly. There was little talk of Dad - just the happy-chatter of a family together.

The funeral arrangements are pretty much taken care of, so I now just await word on the when-and-where. Today I will write a eulogy. And it will be a happy one, I think.

Monday, November 05, 2007

When Did You Last?

True to my somewhat cynical nature, I tend to consider the darker side of things. When someone says, "What's the worst that can happen?", I'm usually the guy who can answer the question. I'm great at parties. To my credit, I can usually figure out a way to avoid the Worst. A footnote: This is not to say that I have no sense of humour. On the contrary, I chuckle and guffaw on a daily basis - and, in fact, there is no topic in which one cannot find humour - at least in the right company.

So where's this headed? I may in the minority, but the topic of Last Times has invaded my moments of lucid dreaming on more than one occasion. It's usually on those sleepless nights, in the lonely hours, where I ponder about the 'last time' I might do something before I die. Some examples:

When will be the last time I kiss my wife and kids?

When will be the last time I eat in a restaurant?

When will be the last time I am in complete control of myself and my dignity?

When will be the last time I see my beloved DisneyWorld?

You get the picture.

If that isn't morbid enough, I consider whether I would know - or would want to know - when these Last Times occur. Would knowing it's a Last Time be harder on your psyche? Would you do anything differently if you knew it was your Last Time? Do you do anything today with an actual realization that it may well be a Last Time? The excercise always leaves me felling small and melancholy - and I suspect it's all about becoming middle-aged, with a dim understanding that you're not immortal after all.

Things do end. Life is not fair, nor is it unfair. It simply is.

My Dad, all of 64 years old, has been fighting cancer for a little over a year now. We've know for quite awhile that the prognosis is terminal, and we've mentally prepared ourselves for the inevitable conclusion. This past Saturday we took one more final step together and admitted Dad to the Palliative Care Unit at Parkwood. Realistically, we're probably counting time in weeks before the rounds of chemo, radiation, morphine, tumours, pneumonias, and a hundred other Dreads finally collect the price they've sought for these past 15 months.

And then it occurred to me as I thought about the ambulance that took him away on Saturday afternoon. This a Last Time. This is the Last Time he will ever see his home: his own bed, the deck he loved to sit on, the walls he painted, the workbench he built, the turkey dinners he hosted, the once-happy woman he married some twenty-odd years ago.

I've been wondering what he thinks of all this, but I cannot bring myself to ask Dad about Last Times. I think such a question would belie a selfishness in myself - like looking into the eyes of a dying man to catch a glimpse of what lies beyond.

Things do end. Life is not fair, nor is it unfair. But sometimes I wonder.