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Cameron's House of Fun

Fatherhood, politics, education, random thoughts (heavy on the random thoughts) and stuff (always stuff).

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Updates etc

Today's post is brought to you from the state of Randomtopia, a place I seem to spend a lot of time (I've got some political stuff bouncing around in my head, I'll make that a separate post):
  • So since I last posted we had the real estate people by, had our place priced (too low, too conservative if you ask me) put in a conditional bid on the place up the street, waited for the other guys financing to fall through and then got the phone call that it didn't. Silver lining time: the house is so clean as to be nearly surgical. All the odd, but useful (don't tell my wife I said that, oh hi Chris... whoops) lumber (MDF, ply, 1x1 etc) has found a tidy place out of site, and we are that much closer to getting all our DIY stuff taken care of.

  • More birch stuff from IKEA arrives today. I am mostly excited because one bit is for my office and will have locks. LOCKS!! This means that things like scissors and xacto knives (I am very old school) etc will finally be handy to me, but out of Lucas' reach. This is a wonderful thing. The other piece is a really nice bookshelf that will replace the one from the old loft that we have been moving around with us for years. It's done yoemans service, but it is, after all, a roughly built pine shelf meant for commercial storage that we painted white. The bonus, besides the much nicer look, with the IKEA shelf is that it comes with hardware to attach it to the wall, so that our little monkey can't pull it over on his head (or other bits).

  • In my constant battle to try and reduce the amount of Cameron that walks this earth I am always trying to figure out some kind of post dinner, during evening work or TV watching snack that isn't basically the fat/calorie equivalent of injecting saturated fat straight into my heart and middle. In one of those moments that makes you want to smash your face against a wall out of the sheer "OMG WHY THE FUCK DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT?" of it all, my sister casually mentioned that she throws low/0% fat single serve yogurt's into the freezer. She also said that this has completely cured her of her ice cream addiction (a genetic problem, apparently). I tried this last night. And lo! It was good.

  • I'm pretty much done my first chapter in my thesis/internship report, so now I move on to the literature review. I kind of freaked because my advisor suggested 5 books per topic. I figured I would have to sell an organ to buy a bunch of books and then not sleep while recovering in the hospital so I could read them all. When I asked him about this he said "oh, did I say books? I meant sources." The difference is HUGE, I can read articles etc (most of them I already have that many sources), I considered going to his office and giving him a big hug.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

House shopping blues

So, the real estate woman came by last night. We'd talked to our bank and figured out the whole process, and were ready to make an offer on the house we looked at over the weekend. But when she arrived she told us that there was a clause in the contract with the seller that meant that if your offer was conditional on you selling your own place then they could keep taking offers. When they received an offer you would have 72 hours to come up with a counter offer, and that this could go on indefinitely until your place was sold. Now in this market, in this neighborhood, that would probably mean 5 days, but today there is an offer being made on the house and if it isn't conditional on a sale of another place it will probably get accepted.

It's a shame really, the place was never ours, but we had started to think about how to reno it and what we would put where etc etc. It's like a little death or mini mourning now that it appears to be out of our grasp. The problem is that in this neighborhood, which we desperately want to stay in, there is a huge gap in the market. Let me explain: there are a fair number of places in the sub $300K range that are totally beaten to hell, in need of total and complete gutting and there are a lot of places in the plus $400K range that are renovated already, but are way way out of our price range. So the places that are sub $300k and not totally beaten to hell are our main goal. We want a bit more space, we've got about 1200 square fee now and would like 1500ish and up, and a backyard. There are other requirements, but those are the main ones. This place had it all. Oh well. Who knows maybe today's offer will fall through and we will get a call from the real estate woman again.

In any case this has kicked us in the ass to finish up the DIY house projects that have been languishing, so now our weekend is mapped out for us.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Out with a whimper

So for all intents and purposes my internship is over, kaput, dead like a dodo. I've been working three days a week finishing up some stuff for them and now I basically have trained everyone to do the production side of my job (note to self: STOP DOING THIS YOU PRAT) and the writing, educational side is now pretty much done. So basically I have worked myself out of a job. Bravo me. It's not like I don't have work, the redesign stuff for the Faculty will keep my busy for at least a year (if not more) and pays roughly the same but all the same it is an odd feeling.

I find it odd how consulting jobs appear to die with a whimper, I don't want the cake and coffee or bad lunch send off, but there is an odd sense of having not really been part of the place and at the same time of having devoted to much time to them. I guess this is something that I have been grappling with for a number of years with freelance writing and graphics gigs, there is no real sense of belonging. I keep joking that I need to start both a Stay at home dads (we're cool, Wired says so) group and a freelancer/contractor coffee break club. That way at least I could have an "office" Christmas party.

The sense of odd is heightened by the fact that my boss wants me to continue working infrequently to help them produce the different language versions they need to put up on the LMS. Basically this will be extremely glamorous cut and paste work, with a bit of SCORM compliancy and loading the package into the LMS. He is suggesting a flat rate per page, which is fine, since it won't take overly long to do, and is something I can do with the laptop while watching TV.

Coupled with this is the fact that I really have to get my ass into gear when it comes to my internship report/thesis like dealy.

OMG will our SF trip ever come?

Oh, in other news, we went and looked at a house up the street from where we live now, it needs lots of reno, but it is totally doable, has a backyard and is relatively reasonable in terms of price. We'll see what comes of it.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

"Appropriate" songs

Lil Jon has a potty mouth. This is not an issue for me, as I to have a potty mouth.

It occured to me, as I was singing along with Lil Jon and Ice Cube (morning commute scene in Office Space anyone?) that this was not neccesarily the very best music to be singing with my 17 month old son. Hmm....

Whoosh, out of the park

I never voted for Jean Chretien. I have never voted Liberal federally. There is a pretty good chance I will die without ever voting for that party. Ever. Certainly not under their current "leader".

But yesterday I watched with mute awe and not a bit of cheering as Jean Chretien basically politely bitch slapped the Gromery commission, it's chief council and Justice Gromery around that ugly little 1970s horror of a room. The opening statement, that no one dared interrupt (set up nicely by the legal attack on Gromery last wee)? Genius. The bit about there being no "liberal" ad agencies but only Federalist ones? Like a mortar attack to soften the ground for the infantry. The various thrusts and blocks? oooh... the work of a master. The final bit with the golf balls? MUHAHAHAHAHAH! The actual close of that bit, the comment about Ogilvie Renault? snicker...

I hope for them that there weren't a bunch of conservatives sitting around Newsworld or CPAC, hoisting beers and believing that there would be some kind TV legal drama moment where Chretien would collapse, crying and admit that the whole thing was his fault. Something like "omg I'm sorry, I'm just a little guy from Shawineeegggaaan ... " Because if they were waiting for this they have no measure of the man.

I may not think he was the greatest leader Canada has ever had, but the man is the single greatest politician Canada has seen in living memory. Period. Basically he could have kept getting elected, with majorities (umm Mr. Martin, paging Mr. Martin...), until the day they found him dead in his office. Yesterday should remind people of that.

OH The best bits of the whole thing are in a story by the extremely talented Christina Lawand from the CBC.

Monday, February 07, 2005


Why is it that whenever I feel domestic I do something relativly useless (and waist increasing) like bake chocolate chip cookies and not something like clean the house or take care of one of a million other projects that we have going on here?

OH! Lucas' passport photo? BESTEST PICTURE FOR ID EVER!

Sunday, February 06, 2005


Can there be any thing finer than Sunday Brunch? We just had omlette, latkas (with sour cream), bagels, gallons of café au lait and OJ. Of course my kidneys now ache and I feel like a week long nap (which I believe is technically refered to as a coma) and I am quite clearly going to have to go to the gym and kill myself to be able to deal with the guilt.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Junkie cool?

Warren Kinsella, aging punk (all love, I count myself in this category), political commentator, scourge of the right-wing blogosphere, lawyer, punk journalist, father and generally bright guy, has a comment up on his site about drugs and the glamourization of drug addiction by the popular press as it relates to people like Courtney Love and Pete Doherty (ex of the Libertine's, a UK band).

I was thinking about my own experiences of watching drug addiction tear through people. First, let's be clear here, you wanna smoke some pot, drink till you fall down, take all manner of drugs and pass them through your system, that's your look out. I drink, not as much as I did when I was full of piss and vinegar, certainly not as much as before we had our son, but I drink. I'm not moralizing about drug use or addicts. I'm just agreeing with Kinsella here, drug addiction, be it to booze, heroin, coke or crack, is not some pretty, romantic, cool thing. It is a fucking mess.

Back in the 90s I worked at a co-op restaurant here in Montreal (about 5 minutes from where I live now). Due to some wired confluents of good poppy growing season, good smuggling network, bad/lax/unlucky policing and dealers working on the "hook them now have them as customers forever (or until they die)" theory heroin got so cheap that it was giving beer a run for it's money. I watched as pretty much one whole shift got into it. Now, these weren't friends for the most part, just people that I knew vaguely from Montreal's punk/art/alt scene but even I, as an outsider on their lives, could see the changes. They lost interest in their other friends, cleaning themselves, work, their art, music, basically they lost interest in life. Some of them got out, moving home to be with family, some moved to more remote parts of Canada where getting drugs wasn't as easy and where they didn't have to be around friends who were using. Others, well others I have no idea what happened to them.

If you are a regular reader of this blog (all 5 of you) you've read about my problems with junkie refuse in the parks where Lucas and I go to play. I've seen dealers smacking junkies and their street dealers around, I've seen used needles, I've seen baggies, I've seen guys looking for used needles on the ground to reuse. All of this to say that I can tell you that drug addiction is a sickness, pretty fucking gross and not at all romantic and glamorous.

I can remember in the 90s when Kate Moss and models like her were part of the whole Heroine Chic look. I'm really hoping that we aren't moving back to a period like that because, in my humble opinion, dying alone, stinky, emaciated and diseased with a needle in your arm doesn't sound all that cool to me.