Entries from June 2004

Annoying Neighbours: The Rave Kids


Lots of action (no, not hot, steamy action) at the BeatnikPad these days, action which has left me feeling discombobulated, exhausted, but at the same time exhilarated and giddy. More as the news develops - now get your mind out of the bordello.

But this post isn’t about my so-called life as much as it is about the lives of other people. Neighbours, actually. Something I read on a friend’s web site this evening reminded me of when I used to live in this beautiful, gigantic old apartment here in Winnipeg called The Roslyn.

» Annoying Neighbours: The Rave Kids continues...

New G5s on the way released!

First, Apple released the Airport Express, which looks totally swank and very useful, and now this morning, I noticed this:


Methinks new G5’s are on the way. Oh where art thou, fairest chequebook?

Update: Yup. Here there are, and liquid-cooled, too - how incredibly geeky!


Tumblin’ Tumbleweed

Now that I’ve informed work and my students, I can finally post my news here. Renée and I are moving back to Toronto this summer - in fact, Renée is out in Toronto right now apartment hunting, and I should be out East by the end of July.

I’m sad to say good-bye to this chapter in my life, but looking forward to getting back out East. It has been three years almost to the week since we moved back home from Toronto, and as much I was worried about coming back, Winnipeg has been good to us.

Teaching has been a constant motif throughout our time here, for both Renée and I. Leaving the college is both an exhilarating and bittersweet moment for me. In many ways I think I must be completely insane to be leaving such a great job, but at the same time I recognize that this may not be exactly what I was meant to be doing.

“A man’s true delight is to do the things he was made for.” - Marcus Aurelius

The adventure continues; where will we end up? I don’t know, but I’ll see you when we get there.

Seeking Reliable Roustabouts & Muscled Movingmen

bumpyWith the forthcoming move back out East comes a necessity that I’m dealing with for the first time. In the past whenever there was a change of residence, I would madly dump all of my worldly possessions into large, decaying cardboard boxes, cram them all into a friend’s car / truck / moped, and lurch down the street to the new home, hoping for the best. Copious sweating and sounds more suited to a porno were often the result, not to mention some very unsightly underarm stains.

After the nearly disastrous Move Of ‘01, where I suffered nigh-fatal implosions of the trapezius muscles, and sweated mightily in places I didn’t even think I had sweat glands, I decided no more. We had sent our things via Air Canada cargo, which meant packing, transporting, and moving everything ourselves. This time, it’s packing, yes, lifting and displacing of heavy objects, a resounding no.

Thus, we need a moving company.

The big problem here is that there are just so many companies and options to choose from. As excitingly folksy as it sounds to get our underwear and disco pantaloons transported by a company with the words “Amigos”, “Guys”, or, “Buddy” in their name, the pragmatic part of me says, “this, you may regret.”

So, folks: can you recommend a national moving company that can whisk all of our possessions from the smog-free, sleepy canopy of Winnipeg to the olfactorific, bustling skyline of Toronto? We actually don’t have tons of things - there’s a fair number of books, CDs, and the requisite kitchenware, but only a handful of furnishings, so it shouldn’t be too crazy to move.

Here’s what I’m hoping for:

  1. Reliable: I don’t want to put our things on a truck, only to see half of them again come Thanksgiving Day, and the other half in a Crimestoppers ad.
  2. Speed: It would be nice to get our things within a week of saying goodbye to them in Winnipeg. I think that’s reasonable.
  3. Insured: If a fumble-fingered palooka drops my TV, or if the Wawa goose falls on top of our truck as it’s in transit, I want the company to pay for or replace our stuff.
  4. Reasonably priced: I’m willing to pay a bit more for top-notch service, but I don’t want to break the bank, and I don’t want weird, wonky hidden fees to crop up at the most inopportune times.

Also, if there’s anything I should know about using a moving company (and I’m sure there’s endless things I haven’t even begun to think about), please post in the comments and let me know. My scrawny pectoral muscles and worrywort nature thanks you profusely.

Doing the Shuffle

Here’s the results of my shuffle (not that you don’t already see my musical tastes, warts and all):

  1. Wait Until Tomorrow - Caetano Veloso
  2. Deer Spirit Song - African Head Charge
  3. Saturday - Yo La Tengo
  4. Lebanese Blonde - Thievery Corporation
  5. Riot - Joe Bataan
  6. Se Formó El Bochinche - Arsenio Rodriguez
  7. Learning to Fly - Foo Fighters
  8. Cool in the Pool - Holger Czukay
  9. The Best of Jill Hives - Guided by Voices
  10. Bring it On - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
  11. Martha’s Mantra (For the Pain) - Neil Halstead
  12. The Warnings - David Axelrod
  13. Hard Life - Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
  14. Ice - Sarah McLachlan
  15. Suzanne - Hope Sandoval

The State of Things

sausageI’m not sure what to talk about these days, except to say that I must be pregnant, because the kinds of food combinations I’m craving are completely, utterly irrational. I’m convinced that anyone suddenly struck with the urge to eat pork sausages with honey mustard while riding the bus is obviously under a delusion that only rampant hormones can bring on.

All of this from a wavering (but generally firm) non-red meat eater, too. I must be going to a hell reserved for mattress-tag ripper-offers, people who fart in public and blame it on their boy / girlfriend, and fallen vegetarians who were once smug in their self-righteousness.

I feel a bit shell-shocked these days, what with the most unbelievably kind remarks that students have been saying, and the rapidly growing to-do list that the move is spawning. I generally do not like compliments at the best of times, but being complimented on one’s teaching ability is extra painful. Now that I’m no longer a teacher, I can safely say this without the threat of someone using it against me in class: I know pretty much nothing.

Here’s a secret for you folks taking classes: every single teacher that stands in front of you is either:

  1. Completely full of him or her self,
  2. Completely full of shit,
  3. Scared to the core of being found out as being full of the aforementioned shit, or
  4. A combination of the above.

On most days, #3 would probably fit the bill, though there were days when #1 took over - these were undoubtedly red-meat-in-the-morning days. This is my confession: I would often find myself standing in front of a class, with the only thought in my head, “I am full of shit, and these people will soon find out and rip me to shreds.”

Teaching is not a good career choice for those prone to bouts of self-doubt. Need I repeat the obvious?

This isn’t why in some way I feel relieved to be leaving my position as a teacher, though I guess it’s a side benefit. The truth is that teaching is this cavernous black hole that swallows up all sense of time and proportion. Apparently it gets easier after three or four years, but the amount of time I threw at teaching to avoid giving away my secret (that I knew nothing) surprised even me. 14 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, for eight to nine months. It was draining.

But, the summer stretches in front of me like a barcalounger with an extra large cup holder clamped to the side. There’s a gigantic stack of books piled nearby, and a sticky-note on top that simply states, “Read”. I truly will miss my students and my teaching life, but for now, it’s time to get caught up on some reading.

Now where did I put that package of bratwurst?

Fruity loops and Nerdish tendencies

One of my favourite things about moving is how it forces you to run every single possession through the “to move or not?” filter. Everything is up for grabs - old books, music that hasn’t been listened, unworn clothes that reek of a funky combination of dust and that alienlike new smell, geek tools that seemed like a good idea at the time (and now seem, well, geeky) - all is vulnerable to trashing.

powerbookIt’s in this spirit, and heavily aided and abetted by a very generous Apple developer discount provided by a client of mine that I decided to go for broke. It’s time for my big, heavy tower to go, and for portability to swoop in and save the day. In the process of lightening my geeky load, I’ve officially ordered more Apple gear than I ever have before.

Replacing my beloved tower (which was briefly for sale but snapped up the day I posted it) is:

I’m really hoping that the build quality with these 2nd generation aluminum powerbooks is improved over the first release. We had 32 of the first-gen albooks at the college, and the quality just completely sucked: white spots on all of the screens, dark, back-light problems, superdrive failures and tons of RAM issues were commonplace.

I’ll post a review of the new gear once it arrives. <Sigh>. I am such a nerd.

Importing Contacts into Gmail

Gmail, gmail, gmail. Everyone is going gmail nutty. What’s worse than elitism? Nerd elitism, that’s what.

Ah well. For all of you lucky dogs that have gmail accounts, here’s a little tip. One of the things that has annoyed me is how to get my Mac OS X address book contents into Gmail. I’ve heard about the trick of redirecting email with all of your contact’s addresses in either the To or CC fields, but that means sending everyone in your address book an email - not a very polite (or efficient) method.

It turns out that Google does provide a way of importing contacts into Gmail, but it’s a bit strange. This only works for Mac OS X users - sorry Windows folks, but I have no idea what might work with Windows. If you do, please post it in the comments.

» Importing Contacts into Gmail continues...



I just got back from seeing Renée off at the airport. She flew out to Toronto today, and starts her new job on Monday.

A mountain of packing, cleaning, organizing, paper cuts, softly uttered curses, and 21 sleeps in a giant, empty bed separates me from the day when I will join her. The next three weeks aren't just 21 days before I move - each one represents a task that must be completed and stroked off of the list before I can step on that plane.

Let's get this party started.

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