In a struggle to be happy and free

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Wolfie at the Falls

IMG_9886.CR2: 30D, EF 17-40mm 1:4L @ 30mm, 1/100, f/8, 100 ISO

IMG_9886.CR2: 30D, EF 17 – 40mm 1:4L @ 30mm, 1/100, f/8, 100 ISO

I have a young friend with an interesting assignment that spans the school year. His task is to choose a stuffed animal, and any time a friend or relative goes on a trip, he asks them to take his stuffed animal along, take pictures, write a diary entry from the stuffed animal’s point of view, and send a postcard to his school. My nephew suggested a similarity to the traveling garden gnome prank when I explained the project, which is exactly what I thought when I first heard of it.

So my friend chose Wolfie, his Gund wolf, and Wolfie is travelling with me over the holidays. He’s a seasoned traveller, having been to England and all over the Ottawa Valley. As a consequence, he’s no trouble at all as a travelling companion.

Today we went out and saw the sites. You can see him at Niagara Falls in the photo above. He’s on the railing that prevents tourists from tumbling into the falls. The falling water creates all kinds of mist, and in the winter, the mist freezes when it lands. The frozen mist on the railing is about 10 cm (4″) thick. Wolfie was standing, but he slipped on the ice and fell into his behind. That’s also why he’s not really looking at the camera. He’s busy trying not to slide off! Rest assured that he’s safe and sound.

I’ll tell you more about our adventures later, but I’d better go now. I think someone has managed to get into the garbage!

Merry Christmas

I wish you a happy holiday, no matter what you celebrate and believe.

I hope you are able to spend the holiday with the people you love. They are the most important, most incredible gift you will ever have.

Hug them and make sure they know how much they mean to you.

The Night Before Christmas, 2001

When I was young, I read Omni Magazine. It was billed as the magazine of science fiction and fact. Unfortunately, it presented UFOs and paranormal investigation as far more factual than the topics deserved. Even at that age, it annoyed me. But on the plus side, the fiction was often very good and the art was always interesting.

The December 1979 issue presented a reworking of the classic Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore called, A Visit from St. Nicholas, first published in 1823. You probably know it as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, but that wasn’t the name at the time it was first published.

Yes, I know 2001 was eight years ago, but this was published thirty years ago, now.

The Night Before Christmas, 2001
by David A. Tarr

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through my home
Not a creature was stirring, not even my clone.

The test tubes were hung by the burner with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The androids were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of mc2 danced in their heads.

My wife in her jumpsuit, and I in my vest,
Had just settled down to some drug-induced rest.

When, out by the labs, there arose such a clatter,
My bed woke me up to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I hastened my mass,
Tore open the blast shields, and threw up the glass.

The refraction of moonlight through smog-ridden air
Gave a luster of midday to everything there.

When what to my bionic eyes should appear
But a mass-driven sleigh with some strange landing gear.

With a quick little pilot, a company man,
Who did what was asked and followed the plan.

More rapid that phantoms his coursers they came,
He impulsed the crewmen, then called them by name.

“Now, Redox! Now, Hewlett!, Now, Quasar and Photon!
“On, Laser! On, Xerox! On, Pulsar and Proton!

“To the top of the dome, by the air intake vent.
“Now dash away quickly before our fuel’s spent.”

So, up to the air vent his coursers they flew,
With a craft full of toys and Saint Nicholas, too.

And then, in a flash, on the dome I did hear
The scratching and scraping of stout landing gear.

I steadied my blaster, my chest to the ground,
And then, through the air vent, he came with a bound.

He was dressed in a three-piece he’d rented near here.
(Why purchase an outfit you wear once a year?)

A life-support system he wore on his back,
While toys for the ‘droids he took out of his pack.

A bottle of synthroid he held in his hand
(He was quite overweight from a poor thyroid gland).

He brought out the toys that department stores sell;
The elves at the Pole could not make them as well.

He checked with the base ship, while doing his work,
And filled all the test tubes, then turned with a jerk.

His anti-grav belt was secure, I suppose,
And, pressing the keys, up the air vent he rose.

He sprang to his craft, to the crew gave a shout;
The ship heaved a shudder, then blasted them out.

But I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good flight!”

Easy as ABC

Here I am, on the last day before I have to go back to work after the holidays. Part of me would really like another week off. Most of me is looking forward to getting back into my routine. It’s not that I’m chomping at the bit to go back to work, mind you. It’s just that I’m restless here at home.

I went tobogganing yesterday and it was really fun. But then I managed to bash my tailbone pretty good so my runs down the hill came to a premature end. Lori arranged the outing and what started as a plan for just a handful of people ended up with more than twenty on the invitation list! The weather was beautiful, except perhaps for the biting wind.

One of these days, I’m going to have to get myself a Wii. I was at Lori’s and we had a number of four player games of Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party. Games like this really prove that the people looking for the highest resolution and most lifelike games can sometimes really miss the point. For most people, the most important thing is fun. It’s no wonder the Wii is outselling the other game consoles despite not having high-def output. Oh sure it’ll work with a high-def TV, but it’s limited to plain old 480p. Given how enjoyable the games are, that’s just fine by me! In the meantime, I’ve got Britney Spears’ “Toxic” in my head with the vocals by a rabid rabbit. And I feel like I know how to play the entire keyboard portion of the song, too.

I was getting things done this morning. Up at 8:30 a.m. and to the grocery store by 9:30 a.m., I loaded up on supplies, got myself a latte at Starbucks and deposited some Christmas money at the bank on my way home. Once back safely at home, I continued with dishes, vacuuming, thirty minutes on the health rider, cleaning the bathroom, another shower, and more cleaning. And that was all before 3 p.m. today. Definitely a good day!

Kellemes Ünnepeket!

The card my nephew bought to accompany his gift for my parents is in Hungarian. I was really surprised to see it. The entry title is what appeared on the front of the card. The inside said:

Kellemes Ünnepeket és boldog újévet!

The direct translation is along the lines of “pleasant holidays and happy new year!” Nice.

Merry Christmas to you all!

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