In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Category: travel Page 2 of 4

After a long day

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IMG_0305.CR2: 30D, EF 400mm 1:5.6L @ 1/40, f/5.6, 800 ISO

A LearJet 60 about to touch down on YOW runway 25 at dusk.

Thank you, angry Buick man

I’m grateful to all of those people out in the world who brighten my day, whether they know it or not. Today it was an angry man in a dark Buick.

I was driving my mother home from an appointment. As we neared home, I stopped at a red light a block away from the point at which we’d turn off the last major street before delving into our neighbourhood. Mom was talking about the local pizza place on that last block and how we should order from them again. The place came under new ownership some five years ago and pies suffered because of whatever changes the new owners made. She thought that perhaps they’ve learned their lesson and the only way we’d find out is by trying. The light turned green as she mentioned that they don’t send out flyers anymore so she had no idea what the current prices are. I pointed out that the prices were on the window, which wasn’t much use as we couldn’t read it from the road.

As you might imagine, I was driving a bit slower than normal as I cast the odd glance toward the pizza place. Two doors down, I signalled, braked, and began my left turn into the neighbourhood. Wanting to maintain my situational awareness, I looked around the car, predominantly toward the left. I noticed that the car behind me was following very closely. I glanced at the driver-door mirror just in time to see the driver stick his arm out the window and give me the finger.

What did I do? What most anyone else would. I burst into laughter. So thank you, angry Buick driver, for brightening my day with your assholeishness! I drove perhaps 5 km/h under the limit for 60 metres and I’ve committed a sin so bad that this angry man feels the need to open his window (it was –8ºC at the time) and give me the finger when he must know it’s exceedingly unlikely that I’d even see him?

Yes, I did happen to see him, but it’s so ridiculous that I found it hilarious. It may get me into trouble some day, but when I see that another driver is visibly upset with me for what really amounts to nothing, I can’t help but laugh.

Thank you again, angry Buick man!

A semi-local library adventure

So many things changed when I moved back to my home town some 18 months ago. I expected differences. Any move to a new city will cause all sorts of changes, but moving to a place with less than one-tenth the population of the city to which your accustomed will only intensify the required adjustment.

One of the bigger changes, though admittedly of comparatively little importance, is that my CD borrowing from the library has dropped to less than one-tenth the amount it once was. It makes sense given the population difference. There just isn’t the money to stock a library to the same levels in a smaller city. So my eyes went wandering. I looked into nearby cities and their universities. Earlier this week I finally took the plunge. I laid down $33 for a one year membership with the St. Catharines Public Library. I feel silly paying for a library card when I already have one for free, but the selection! Oh, the selection! I’ve yet to reserve anything, but I thought I’d go look through the available CDs. I learned in Ottawa that all the most popular CDs will rarely appear in the library branch. Rather, they’re reserved, often with more than a hundred people waiting.

As a result, I was impressed that I came away from that first visit with eight CDs:

  • John Coltrane — Interstellar Space
  • John Coltrane — Soultrane
  • Miles Davis — A Tribute to Jack Johnson
  • Miles Davis — Aura
  • Miles Davis — Miles to Go
  • Bill Bruford’s Earthworks — A Part, and Yet Apart
  • Herbie Hancock — Empyrean Isles
  • Janine Jansen — Inventions & Partita

And I stopped looking at that point because the borrowing limit for CDs is ten, and I didn’t want things getting out of hand.

The only fly in the ointment, and I feel petty even mentioning it, is the St. Catharines Public Library does not subscribe to the on-line version of the Oxford English Dictionary. A personal subscription is $295 per year, which is not going to happen. No city I’ve lived in has had a library subscription. I checked and was excited to see that the Toronto Public Library has a subscription. The problem is that getting a Toronto Public library card as a non-resident costs a reasonable $30, but rather than annually, it must be renewed every three months. That removes it from the realm of reasonable, for me. In case you’re wondering, yes I would go to Toronto once a year and pay the fee for a library card just to get access to the OED subscription! As it is, $120 makes me hesitate, and having to go four times a year is a definite deal-breaker.

As far as the CDs go, I think this is going to work out just fine, thank you!


If you haven’t heard, I’m moving.

Part of the reason is with my dad having passed away last year, my mom needs more of a hand. My siblings help her a great deal, especially my sister and her husband, but my mom has three children, not just two. In addition, my job search in town hasn’t worked out as well as I had hoped so maybe a renewed search in a new area will lead to better results.

So I’m moving back to my old stomping grounds … the city in which I grew up and left 24 years ago.

I’ve commented before, not entirely in jest, that I’d rather the water go out than lose Internet connectivity. In a surprising turn of events, I cut off my own Internet. On purpose! It started with the germ of an idea Lori planted during a chat late last week…

Rick: I’d be embarrassed to explain how far away from being done [packing] I really am!

Lori: Can I make a seemingly harsh suggestion?

Rick: You can suggest, yea. But I think I know what it will be…

Lori: What?

Rick: No computer?

Loti: hah. turn off internet. get it disconnected. all together.

Rick: Oh! Yeesh. That’s a thought!

Lori: there’s no option but to wake up and face the stuff.

Rick: I know it!

Lori: Interwebs suck my life away.

Rick: …with their awesomeness!

Lori: guh. you see my point.

And I did and do see her point. I hadn’t yet arranged for an Internet connection where I’m moving so I got on the phone with Teksavvy. They’ll be out to make the required connection on June 11, and the required modem is already in the mail to my new address.

I then asked when I could have my current service cut off. She explained that I could have it active until they activate the new service, or if required, I could even have an overlap. I said, “No, you don’t understand, I want my current service terminated as soon as possible.” Then she understood. She said I could have it cut off that very same day. I told her that’s exactly what I’d like, thank you.

Unfortunately it didn’t happen. Most of the time, having the service too long would be fine, but all it did was have me use it even more and neglect packing because it would be gone any time now. It turns out that it was finally cut off almost four days later.

It’s not like I’m completely cut off, however. My smart phone has wireless Internet connectivity and I can use it to provide Internet access to my iPad or iMac, but it’s far more limited than a hard-wired connection so my packing is coming along nicely, now.

Not to say that it’s entirely without issue, however. My problem now is my complete lack of exercise. I’ve really let myself go and the packing is work. If you’ve seen my books, you know what I mean. I’m also disassembling my book shelves for transport to save space and also because I hope not to need all (nine) of them when I set everything up again.

So now, I pack and take a sort break, and pack again. Rinse and repeat. My current favourite break is reading. I started book three of A Song of Fire and Ice a few days ago and I’m now nearly half-way through it. In fact, I’m just about at the point the Game of Thrones television series has reached.

I can handle muscle aches, but I worry about my back. I’m careful to lift things with my legs and not my back, but my back is still making its complaints felt!

This is how things appear at the moment. All but a few of my books have disappeared into the dozen grey bins, and my CDs are all packed away. I’ve disassembled two of the book cases as well. The work continues.

I can’t wait for this to be over!

Keep Calm!

Don and Jen went to the UK recently. Among their activities were seeing Rush at the O2 Arena, visiting the Macallan distillery, and stopping by the Sherlock Holmes Museum, located at (you guessed it) 221b, Baker Street, London. There, he thought of me and brought me back what is definitely not a lousy t‑shirt:

The wrinkles are because the shirt’s been living in a bag since he bought it but a quick trip through the washer and dryer will fix both the wrinkles and the ‘new shirt’ smell.

Thanks again, Don!

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