Site Meter .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Cameron's House of Fun

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

Friday, April 29, 2005


There is something oddly mesmerizing about watching this go up.

I like Firefox, I haven't switched totally yet but I really like it and the open source nature means that all sorts of useful things are available for it, things that no corporate browser could provide you in a meaningful way.

Anyway, now you can click and share the zen like climb...

Thursday, April 28, 2005


It has finally happened. I've gotten so annoyed with my weight and size that I am actually doing something about it. Also my buddy Mike and his tales of weight loss made me feel umm.. kicked in the ass.

I joined weight watchers online. Clean interface, simple to understand, large database of foods (a bit US-centric but still) and lots of recipe's. I've done WW before, but the analog way with meetings and stuff. It was good, I lost weight, but too much was dependent on the group leader and the dynamics of the group. We started out with a great leader who had to leave for personal reasons and then we got a not at all good leader who I hoped would have personal reasons. Also, somewhere along the way our group turned into a thing where two or three people with problems other than just weight related issues would monopolize the session. Many of them seemed to be very comfortable with the whole 12 step/group therapy like nature of the meetings (the woman who told us all about her shock therapy and sexual abuse, for instance).

Anyway, as a group of one I have great meetings with myself, I'm very encouraging and I'm able to tailor my support perfectly to my needs ("Eat that cookie you fucker and I'll bash your head off the cabinets" for example).

It's perfect.

I'll return to the gym sometime this weekend. A combination of sick, vacation and too much work has kept me away for far to long.

An explanation

If I sound annoyed and grumpy it's only because the job of weather person has been exceedingly easy in Montreal of late.

It's like living in Vancouver. But with out the Rockies.

It has been raining pretty much steadily for about 7 days. With no sign of stopping. I'm considering stabbing myself in the hand so I feel again.

Or killing the next person who looks at me funny.

Either or.

Doesn't Angry Young Man Happen Later?

So Lucas is going through a new phase. It involves hitting. And pulling.

The tables with toys. The cats with his hand. Our friend Léa's glasses. Me. Christine. His soccer ball. Strangers at the food court. He also pulls cat tails.

I would like it to stop now.

Grab bag part gazillion

Wrap up time:

I've been busy as hell. The first draft of my thesis/internship report left on Monday for my prof to edit. It felt very first drafty so it will be interesting to get his comments. I then transitioned into CSS and web dev hell. I'm working doing some new sites for the faculty and there are a few things that are a bit over my head.

Lucas is growing like crazy (more on him in a separate post), runs, plays, yells and generally terrorizes the cats.

Christine is busy doing tons and tons and tons of design work as well as trying to put together the finishing touches on a proposal for an interdisciplinary certificate for undergrads.

The cats are doing cat things. Oh to do cat things. That would be lovely. Well not the licking your own privates etc, but the sleeping and the lounging... that would be nice.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A long, hot summer

Up the street is a building that houses the workshops and garage of the facilities and repair people for one of the school boards. Right now happy people from the CSN are picketing outside it. For years and years there has been a kind of truce between employers, the government and unions ( la paix sociale in French), basically the everyone tried to bargin in good faith, some union – employer conflicts led to a strike, but nothing all that massive.

As everyone from mainstream pundits to anarchists have pointed out, the social peace is over. Off the top of my head I can think of a bunch of major unions that are in a legal (and justified) strike position. CEGEP and Secondary school teachers, facilities people at a bunch of places, a bunch of University unions and on and on, many of these people have been without a contract for periods of years.

Add to this mix the just finished student strike, last years protests by parents and daycare workers and you can see where Premier Charest may well wish he had a Crawford to run to.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

You dropped the bomb, you dropped the bomb on, you dropped the bomb on me...

This is the song running through my head since I read stuff about Warren Kinsella's testimony yesterday. You can also read a bunch about it at Andrew Coyne's blog (it is really a pretty looking site, not just for reading anymore).

The gist is that Martin may be more involved than previously reported and that the Chretien folks were not as universally complicit as some would have us believe. Paul Well's posted this the other day that makes the same point, but, you know, better and with, whatumacallit, oh yes, authority.

Urban Baby

Lucas is napping right now, he got up very very early and needs his sleep, so shhhhh....

If I were to sneeze right now, he will wake up, if one of the cats yells, he will wake up, if the phone rings, same thing... but street noise? Nope.

Last night there was some sort of small fire at our next door neighbors place, more smoke than fire it would seem. But the Montreal Fire Department did what they always do, they showed up in force. 4 or 5 trucks, 25+ firemen etc. Our neighborhood is made up of connected triplexes, duplexes, single family multi-floor places etc. and if a fire starts in one and they aren't all over it quickly lots of people lose everything. I love them for taking so seriously.

Anyway, Lucas was in bed already when this happened. 4 or 5 trucks outside our door, sirens, radios, firemen chatting etc etc, never even rolled over.

A few hours after they were gone (I was up working on my M.A. stuff) one of the cats made some noise, suddenly there was a great kerfufle from his room.

It. Makes. No. Sense.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Of big noggins and bad reactions

Lucas has been a handful the last week or so, very energetic and in dire need of running coupled with a need to be independent (which presents as "let go of my hand now" dives to the ground and pullings of our fingers) all layered with a dusting of sensitive whininess. It's been fun.

What this means in practice is that holding his hand is almost impossible, either because he is hopping up and down are flinging himself from side to side or because he is trying to break your grip by dangling from your hand.

So yesterday Lucas and I went to the Concordia library and then we met Christine to walk home. He behaved as outlined above, so we got to the section of Prince Arthur Street that is pedestrians only and we let him go and took his hand back when we had to cross streets that have cars on them. At one point he was released and, in his excitement went face first into the paving stones that make up the street. A scraped up nose, blood and a bonk on the forehead followed. My parents always tell me that my large head (which Lucas has inherited – we aren't circus freaks, but it is a fine Scottish Cranium) got me into similar trouble when I was his age. My father maintains that I learned to walk at about 4 years old, but that I started running after my falling head when I was about 10 months old. This appears to be the Lucas technique as well.

Anyway, he's fine, a bit sore no doubt, but fine.

The not fine part was my behavior after this happened. I behaved like I had ownership over him and that Chris was not dealing with him properly. I want to fix him and stop and sit and deal, she wants to distract if the injury is not serious and have him think about other things and get back to playing. In the cold light of dispassion her way is probably smarter for small things and for calming him down post big things, mine is probably only suited for serious emergencies where the "scoop and go" attitude of most Western paramedics makes the most sense. I have no idea where it came from. I do know that I don't deal well with him being sick or hurt when I have to do it with anyone else around. I tend to, what is the term, freak the fuck out...

Anyway, I can't believe how I behaved, Chris accepted my apology, but it makes me wonder, when one partner stays at home with the kid do they always start feeling like their way is the right way?

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Well I've done it now

Christine was talking about doing another round of calling of the various day cares who's waiting lists we are on and I got all anxious. She mentioned it a few times and we were too busy for her to do anything about it.

Finally I put word to the thought in my head and told her to not bother that I would work at home and stay with him till he was in school.

I'm excited and scared and happy and worried and nervous..... but mostly happy.

It will be a lot of work, and it will require a lot more discipline than I have been exhibiting for a while.. but I think it is the best decision ever.

That said, we're going to have to look at getting me some help, a couple of half days during the week or mb a full day and a half day, so I can get some work done in one big shot...

Who knows, mb in a year or so we'll revisit this decision, but for now it just feels right.

Monday, April 11, 2005


I just read this over at the montreal city weblog (put the URL into the box at Systran for a not so very bad [ie: shit] translation). If you're lazy and don't feel like clicking the link the gist of the MUC Police's view is this: We don't care if cameras violate privacy, we don't even really give a shit if the provincial watch dog thinks we broke the rules of using them, who cares if the people saying that the cameras are effective are the people using them and not an independent body, fuck you.

Through out this whole discussion there has been no mention of where the drug dealers that the police claim they have cleared out have gone. Miami? Laval? I'd guess not. Hell I don't have to guess, because I can tell you. They've gone to the parks and back alleys of my neighborhood.

I've talked about this before, and based on how pissed off I am now, I'd bet you my left leg that I'll talk about it again. This is the bit that really pisses me off. The area that they have driven them out of is a very urban, mostly (but not totally) commercial district with lots of good sight lines and with nice wide streets that the police can see down easy (hence the cameras being feasible). The areas they have driven them into are more residential in nature, with narrower streets, with parks where kids play (daycares, stay at home parents like me, school trips etc etc).

Look, get rid of the drug dealers, get the junkies new needles, hell attach a sharps box to every fucking lamp pole, but please don't pretend that surveillance equals enforcement. Also, and I've used this analogy before, driving the drug dealers out of one neighborhood is like squeezing on a balloon, all that air goes somewhere... it's more like herding than policing.

I think I feel a series of angry e-mails and phone calls coming on.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Of dogs and little boys

I like dogs. Quite a lot. We have cats, but I don't consider myself a "cat person", more of an animal person.

I personally don't believe that certain breeds of dogs that are inherently evil. There are certainly some breeds that have been bred so poorly that they now have issues, but that is a breeder problem, not the breed itself. There are also owners that, through training, mistreatment or attitude have taken an otherwise reasonable dog and turned it into something unpleasant.

That said there are certain breeds that you have to understand their purpose and be aware of it. I'm thinking of breeds like Doberman, Rotweillers and Pit Bulls. I'm not saying you cross the street, but you should probably be aware of what they are up to. It's like being in a bar and keeping an eye on the huge ass scary guy that is wandering around. It isn't that you automatically assume that he is going to cause trouble, but knowing where the biggest source of potential damage is, scores high on the "smart idea" scale.

All of this to say that I never ever run away from a dog simply because of it's breed, but I treat all dogs with the respect that they deserve, IE: they are beings that may not like my touching them, or the smell of me or what have you and may well want to express themselves by biting me.

So the other day Lucas and I were out for a walk on St-Laurent (ALL FUCKING HAIL SPRING!!!) and he was in his usual place on the sidewalk, close to the buildings so that if he manages to get out of my grip he has to cross me to get to the street.

So we're walking along and a woman and her Pit Bull come out of one of the apartments that open onto St-Laurent and I immediately jerk Lucas away from the dog.

This leaves me with a huge level of conflicted feelings: have I just implanted the idea that you should be scared of dogs into his head? am I being reasonable? overprotective? (the dog probably had 50 pounds on Lucas and THOSE TEETH) I felt oddly guilty, like I had just called someone of a different race or ethnicity a name. I gave the (what do you call the human on the other end of the leech) a sort of half assed "oh sorry I've just branded your dog a killing machine" smile.

I've thought about this since and I guess, if I had to explain it to her (and I guess the dog as well) that I would say "I know all Pit Bulls are not violent sociopaths of the canine world, I've petted several and found them to be quite nice, but I really can't take the chance of my son getting disfigured or killed to find out if yours is, indeed, a nice doggie."

Just another weird thing that never occurred to me before we had a kid.

Friday, April 01, 2005

SF and Trip Home Wrap Up

So we've been back for a few days, and we're starting to feel normal again. Why did I wait so long to blog the last bit of our vacation you ask? Because I was afraid I would over use the swear words... Sunday in SF was cool, we went to the urban park we love so much and slid, wandered around downtown, bought goodies at the SF Apple Store etc etc....

Then Monday came, we got up, pretty much packed, got into the airport shuttle, and made our way to SFO where we got onto a United flight to Vancouver. Lucas fell asleep as we taxied and slept through take off and for 45 minutes more. When we got to Vancouver (on time) we had to go through Canadian Customs, which meant waiting in a line up, picking up our bags, and then going to an Air Canada booth, getting boarding passes and then going to our gate. The problem was that the Vancouver customs folks (people who do a difficult job and, I'm sure, get tired of being complained about – too bad) didn't seem to understand that the end of the Easter weekend and the end of spring break might mean an increase in travelers. So the line was a mb 1500 people long.

So we waited, and waited and waited.

Did I mention that our layover was an hour and 40 minutes?

So after waiting for about an hour and 10 minutes, a nice guard pulled out us out of the line and put us in another one they were using for groups and people with kids etc. This line took about 10 minutes. Then the customs officer stamped our form, asked where we had been, ignored the answers and let us through in under 45 seconds.

At which point we litterally ran to the luggage dealy. Wonderment of wonderments, the luggage was only just coming out. Except for the kid carrier. Which was at the "special, odd shapped and fragile" luggage dealy. Which was on the moon.

So we got everything and ran some more to the Air Canada booth. We got there about 3 minutes before our flight was to take off. The nice lady called the plane and was informed that no, they would not wait for us (meaning that our seats were gone to people on stand by). She then told us that the next flight out was in 8 hours at 11pm. We then had to explain to her that yes, Lucas had a seat that had been purchased for him, so this "mb I can sit you all together" bullshit was just that. Then we went to tourist info and went into Vancouver for 4 hours or so.

Vancouver is one of those cities that does really well due to it's context. Mountains and ocean and water make everywhere look better. Everyday that fine city should thank god for it's views. That is all I have to say about that.

Then it was time to go back to the airport. We got home at 7am. Lucas had slept 3.5 hours, Christine 1.5 and me none.