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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The ultimate meaning of life is to embrace that which compels you to act in spite of fear.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Timmy the Morkie

This is our Morkie puppy, all three pounds of him. We call him ... Timmy.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I came, I saw, I voted

Another federal election down. For me, at least. Around 2 o'clock this afternoon, at a local middle school, I went into the booth and marked an "X" beside... Well, I won't say. I will say, however, that my choice would please some friends and family members and would no doubt piss off others. I'm being vague, but my choice at the ballot box was clear. Such is the beauty and power of voting: It's you, a piece of paper, and a pencil. It's not about what your friends and family will think. It's about the country as a whole, and the stranger on the street. I watched as old voters shuffled past a gymnasium filled with kids too young to vote. Our votes are for their future. I know, this all sounds pretty platitudinous. But who the hell else do we vote for, ultimately? The squirrels in the trashcan? Well, I suppose that depends on which party you vote for.

Speaking of furry little animals, we're getting our puppy this afternoon. Maybe that's why I'm so sentimental.

Puppy. National election coverage. The excitement is almost too much to bear.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Morkie

In anticipation of the election, I've been reading about the parties and their platforms. All that stuff. I'm too tired of it tonight to post any thoughts on the matter. Not that my blog is terribly political anyway. No, I've decided to keep my subject matter small in scope.

Our Morkie (I've discovered they're called) will look something like this:

Except ours will have white markings instead of brown ones. My partner Louise says he has a sturdy and determined look about him. (Our politicians try to appear this way.) Now we just have to decide what to call him. I'm sure we'll come up with a name for the wee pup when we pick him up in a week. I'm starting to warm to the idea of a little hair ball watching me while I work at my computer. Maybe I'll even get used to scooping poop (as much as I hate poo). Yeah, you could say I'm looking forward to next weekend.

Now, I'm not sure if we Canadians will have a new government by next weekend, but here in our house, we will have a new member of the family... who will proudly poo in the back yard...

But then, so do many politicians. Maybe I didn't have to blog about the election after all.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


We're getting a puppy. Which is different than having a puppy. For one thing, an entire household of people having puppies (or a collective puppy) would be quite disruptive and upsetting. I mean, how would you know whose puppy to focus on?

No, we're getting an actual canine, in two week's time. He's part Maltese and part Yorkshire Terrier. So, that makes him a Morkie, I guess. Or would that be a Yorktese?

Anyway, I understand he's tiny and very cute. I suppose many beings start out that way. In his case, he'll never be very big. Which is fine. Though I like big dogs, it's not as if this Etobicoke neighbourhood needs more dog. They seem to be everywhere. Four doors up the road is a house where the dogs empty their bowels freely and the owners never pick up after them. My god, their front yard is a festival of poo. We call it Casa Caca. Believe me, you step carefully after a strong wind or heavy rain.

Well, it's our turn to make our canine contribution to the neighbourhood. Actually, I'm looking forward to it: I haven't had a pet since I was in high school. They always seemed to be so much trouble. When I was single, what I valued most was the mobility to enjoy my social life. A pet would've screwed that up. But now I'm happily rooted, so I think I can deal with an animal.

Yup, we're getting a small puppy. And we'll all focus on the little guy. Which I'm sure will really trip him out and make him bark at us. We'll all go "awww" and handle him with rough affection. Given his breed mix, he'll look like a little mop, or maybe a four-legged wise man.

But if he poos in my office, where I write this blog ... then I'll have a puppy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I've been tagged

Matt Watts has tagged me with this Fun Joel meme.

What was your earliest film-related memory?

When I went to see Pinocchio with my older brother. It was in Haileybury, 1971. I don't remember much except that I really liked the popcorn and just wanted the little wooden boy to get the hell out of the whale's stomach.

What was your earliest cool film-related memory?

When I saw Jaws at the Towne Cinema (Markham's only theatre in those days). It was the summer of 1975. I was eight years old. The buzz around the movie had spread to my day camp. (I only went to day camp for one week as a child, which suited me fine.) Kids had been talking about this HUGE shark. The counsellors wanted to get us into crafts with beads or dried corn or something; I just wanted to talk about the shark.

Favorite lines from movies?

(With possible/likely inaccuracies)

“Ah yes, Juicy Fruit" - Chief's first words to McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
"And Del ... when you speak, have a point!" - Steve Martin to John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Anything from This is Spinal Tap. And lots of lines from Monty Python.
"I'm a hustler. Didn't I tell ya?" - Joe Buck to Ratzo in Midnight Cowboy
"My man is so cool, sheep count him." - from David Mamet's Heist
"Coffee is for closers." - Alex Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross
Rutger Hauer's lines during his character's death scene in Blade Runner.

Jobs You’d Do if You Could Not Work In “The Biz”:

Teacher or historical tour guide
Firefighter (I'd have to beef up)
Pilot (or anything to do with travel or motion or speed)
I considered being a lawyer once. Before that I considered being a surgeon.
Detective work has always held some allure for me, but I couldn't do it. Let's be real: I interview people for stories, not to put them away.
Druid would be cool. Oh wait, we don't have those anymore. It's tough enough being a Bard.

Name jobs you have actually held outside The Industry.

Credit rep for an oil company
Lab worker in the food industry
Front desk in an marketing agency
Painter, dishwasher, landscaper, and a shipper/receiver - at different times, mind you
One fall I worked in the factory of a Scarborough display company, assembling the entire Santa Claus house/yard for the Scarborough Town Centre.
Many more jobs....

Book authors I like:
H.G. Wells, Ian McEwan, Roddy Doyle, Jonathan Lethem, Thomas Hardy, Edgar Allan Poe, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Heller (Catch-22), Douglas Coupland, Stuart McLean, Evelyn Waugh, Frank Herbert (Dune), Dostoevsky, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Stephen Fry...

Name two movies you would like to remake or properties you’d like to adapt:
At this moment, I honestly don't know. I've never really considered doing a remake or an adaptation. Not enough to have two answers at the ready.

Name one screenwriter you think is underrated:
I’m stealing Matt's answer … All of them.

Three people I’m tagging to answer this meme next:
Not sure... I don't know any other bloggers in "the Biz". My old friends are regular, non-media folk. So I guess that's it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Being Quoted

In my part-time gig as a writer for a community newspaper, I've quoted a number of people. I love it. I enjoy asking questions and getting answers. I love telling stories - whether they be news stories or works of fiction.

But being part of the story is something entirely new to me.

When you're used to selecting quotes and shaping stories, you can't help but feel a little uneasy when you're the one being quoted. Seeing your words in someone else's work for the first time is as strange as it is gratifying.

Recently I did a phone interview with another newspaper reporter. As the interview drew to a close I felt my stomach churning. I wasn't pleased with my answers. I wanted to say:

"Don't use that bit. That was a bad word that doesn't jibe with the spirit of the show's press release. And that other stuff isn't germane to the story; ignore it. What's your hook? And where I am positioned in the piece? You aren't going to screw around with the context, are you? I mean, I wasn't really making fun of those people. Glibness is a bad habit of mine, especially when I get nervous. That's off the record; don't quote me on that. Okay, let's just redo the whole thing. Better yet, just send me a transcript of the interview and I'll sent you my notes..."

Of course, she would've been well within her rights in telling me to go fly a kite. Actually, she seemed very fair and decent. I'm not too worried.

People trust me, so I guess I'll have to trust others.

...Or maybe I just won't answer the phone.

I'm kidding. Mostly...

Update (January 11): I've just obtained the article. It's fine. I worried for nothing.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


I looked in the mirror yesterday morning. Staring back at me was a mug from the mid-1970s. My wavy (bushy) hair was like something from Welcome Back Kotter, and the 4-day stubble on my face said "Hoodlum #3" in the credits of some cheesy cop drama from that same era.

Actually, the look was more like that of Ronald McDonald after being "voted off the island" in Survivor. Yeah, that's it.

So I rushed down to see to Mario, my awesome downtown hair guy. He worked his magic and now I look all spiffy and preppy again. It's a look that seems to work for me; and I don't like to spend too much money or time on my appearance.

Besides, the only other free time for a cut was this morning, and I didn't want to miss Steve the Second, the second set of "Steve" radio plays by brilliant comedy writer Matt Watts, and well produced by Joe Mahoney. If you haven't heard this show, which airs on CBC Radio One, I highly recommend you tune in. And pick up Steve the First if you haven't heard it. You can order it on the CBC website.

The acting is superb. And the material is highly intelligent, playfully layered, and very, very funny.

Even funnier than my hair before I go to visit Mario.