Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

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Tripping

September 21, 2011

How many more sleeps? Just 4.

Now with this trip on the doorstep I’m so distracted that I don’t want to even go to work. I just want to pack, drive to the airport, hump my bag to the counter and get the heck gone! Really looking forward to spending time with my kids and their kids. Don’t really care if we do anything special or not…… just be with them.

Sorta wishing I had another day to spend in Vancouver cuz if I did I’d likely arrange with Lea Kelley to meet up in Bellingham over coffee. Looks like it would be just an hours drive each way but there is always that border crossing to consider. That would make two blogbuddies I’d have had face time with since my first and only meeting with Kel and Mr X last New Years eve.

Anyway, at work the strike has been settled and the workers back at their desks, smiling. The contract still has to be voted on and ratified but there aren’t any foreseeable problems. Seems they’d all rather be inside working as opposed to walking the picket line even though they had great weather 95% of the time.

The weather has cooled off somewhat. The crab apple tree and weeping willow’s leaves are thinning – likely because of the extended drought through July and most of August. Grapes are heavy on the vine. Grass has returned to being green and lush. A month ago you could hear it crinkling as you walked on it, it was so dry. We still have a few late blossoms pushing out their last petals.

this morning's bloom

I’ve a couple of loads of laundry to do in preparation for this trip – some warmer clothes – and that’s about it. Pack it up and go. Oh yeah… how to get to the airport? Park & Fly? Works for me.

Latest book – ‘Tales From The Vinyl Cafe’ – Stuart McLean. Very good.

Tunes – Leon Russell & Elton John album ‘The Union’. Very good

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29/07/2011

July 29, 2011

How’s that for a catchy title, huh?? A real eye-grabber.

What’s new…. hmmm…

Well, my grand-daughter Madison turned 3 the other day. If you didn’t catch this post on FaceBook here is the link to a photo session that her parents arranged: http://video214.com/play/O​5eCA4jJ7Y394cYFdiecSw/s/da​rk . Such a sweetie. I sent a message to my daughter-in-law Melissa saying I wish I could visit way more often so I could see the changes in Madison as she is growing. It is also less than a month before Melissa is due to deliver baby #2, ‘C’ section scheduled for Aug 25. They had some prego pics done as well, here: http://video214.com/play/DMyKs0m4wzgJVdj2360mUA/s/dark

Oh, glory-be!

Last week I marked off another successful year of ongoing sobriety through working the miracle which is the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. I know I have thought this previously in this my twisted life’s journey but….. if I can stay sober through this past year I can survive anything. One day at a time and all that good stuff.

straight around

I’m glad I keep book review columns that I see in the newspaper otherwise I likely would have missed out on reading Rodney Crowell’s ‘Chinaberry Sidewalks’. I finished reading it last night and it was a terrific piece of memoir. He had me hooked from the first page and didn’t let up till it was all done. Highly recommended – 5 stars.

rush

Lynda and I enjoyed having g’son Owen with us for all of last week – he’s quite a character. We’ve also been getting out doing a few social things due to the fact that I have my weekends off (PTL). Tomorrow night we’re heading into Toronto for an evening with some of the folks I went through my Addiction Studies course with…. probably be a dozen or so of us. We haven’t done one of these get-togethers for a few years so it ought to be interesting.

 

lazing around at the flea market

Have a good weekend, folks. Time to get cleaned up for work tonight.

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Science – Fact and Fiction

May 15, 2011

It looks like I’ll have a bit of time on my hands this week so I might just slash off a couple of posts. (Especially if it continues with this sodded rain…. it is now Sunday night; it’s been raining since Friday evening and is supposed to continue until Wednesday.)

Anyway, this won’t be the ‘big’ reading post I promised to do some time ago. No, I just thought I’d show the strange range of books I keep on the go at any one time. Way, way over HERE at one end of the range is Stephen Hawking’s ‘Brief History of Time’. Having read Bill Bryson’s ‘A Brief History of Nearly Everything’ a few months ago my appetite had been whetted for more science. Bryson’s book fascinated me as he lead the way through the developement of the modern sciences. Hawking’s book is surprisingly accessible and readable considering the concepts he is conveying. (My concept of time must be a little warped because I find it hard to believe this book has been out for over 20 years.)

Now, if you look way, way down that-a-way you’ll see Douglas Adams’ second book of his ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ trilogy, ‘Restaurant at the End of The Universe’. This carries on brilliantly with its sardonic, acerbic, compelling spoofing of science fiction literature. It’s a grand farce that stands up well after about 30 years.

The pace of my recent reading has dropped back a few notches so I’m not plowing through 2 or 3 books a week anymore.

Beady-Eyed

This has nothing at all to do with science but what the h*ll, eh? Lately I’ve been listening to this CD again – Aerosmith’s “Honkin’ On Bobo”, which is mostly covers of songs that had inspired the band. All done with verve & muscle. Here’s a live version of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’. The only science at work here is they make my gas pedal foot heavier, blind me to red traffic lights and make me corner way too fast. The whole album is best listened to real frickin’ loud. nuf sed.

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A Little News

December 3, 2010

… nothing special, really.

Did a 400 km trip last Saturday in order to attend my uncle’s 90th b’day celebration (BJ’s dad) and it was great to see him so happy and looking especially healthy that day. The drive down was a bit wicked through a mix of rain, sleet and a little snow; took 2 1/2 hours. The drive home was somewhat better tho still wet and took just 2 hours. Mom kept telling me I didn’t need to be doing 130 to 140 kph but no harm, no foul.

BJ & I

I can’t recall how long it is since BJ and I got together – must be 2 to 3 years now – and she must have one of those Dorian Gray portraits in her closet. She doesn’t change!! BJ was kind enough to supply me with a big bag of books to keep me going through the work nights ahead, including a couple I’ve been looking forward to laying hands on.

We had our first ‘stay-on-the-ground’ snow the other day and it is just about gone again now. PTL!! I’m hoping we don’t get any amount that sticks until Xmas.

Back pain update – much better now & thanks for askin’. I’ll try not to do anything stupid enough to aggravate it again.

I know I’ve posted a couple of similar pics in the past but I found myself in similar circumstance – stuck in the car waiting for the rain to let up – and I sorta like these two.

coolbluewaves

pox upon hand

Anyway – you never know what you’re going to get here, do ya?

Books – Gave up reading the Dalai Lama’s book; it read like a textbook… which is actually what it is for those studying Buddhism. I found it a tough slog because I really don’t know the basics.

Grinding away at Hunter S Thompson’s Gonzo Letters II – I’ll be reading in small doses. I don’t find most of it that interesting anymore….. and it’s a l-o-n-g book.

Had Nic Sheff’s book on reserve at the library and picked it up today – ‘Tweak’. Ah, life on methamphetamines. Should be a ‘speedy’ read. (Groaner)

Music – from library…

Jeff Beck’s new release ‘Emotion and Commotion’.

Lucinda Williams ‘West’.

Cassandra Wilson ‘Thunderbird’.

Leonard Cohen ‘Live in London’.

That’s it; that’s all…. gotta go have a nap before work tonight. It’ll be a busy weekend with 36 hours to do between tonight and Monday morning. Wish me luck.

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Long or Short…. of it

November 24, 2010

Not too sure how long I’ll be sitting here. My back has been grinding and seizing up for the last few weeks… then I guess I screwed it up yesterday raking, bagging and carrying the last of the nice, wet, heavy leaves. Gotta have a little lay down soon before working tonight. Heating pad, ibuprofen, rest, la-la land…..

Frosted

I’ve read a couple of memoirs lately by a two Toronto musicians (and writers) – Dave Bidini formerly of The Rheostatics and Paul Quarrington of Porkbelly Futures. Dave’s book recounts his adventure as a solo act touring the world following the Rheostatics break-up. He hit London England, Scandinavia, Russia, China, a couple of African countries and a few Canadian dates… the book’s title is ‘Around the World in 57 1/2 Gigs’. Paul’s book ‘Cigar Box Banjo’ is a blend of thoughts on music and life during his final year following a diagnosis of Stage IV lung cancer, which proved to be terminal. A downer of a read this definitely ISN’T. He stayed busy writing the book, a screenplay, writing songs and recording right up to three days before he died early this year. Paul grew up not too distant from where I did and we were about the same age so he mentions a number of places I’m familiar with and events we both attended.

Now I’m better than half way through Bill Bryson’s ‘Notes from a Small Island’ recounting his tour of Britain before moving back to the States (having lived in Britain for about 20 years). He definitely appreciates the ‘best of Britain’ but doesn’t hold back on his criticism of what he sees as ‘the worst’ either. Next up – and how could there two such divergent choices, anyway? – is either the Dalai Lama’s ‘The Middle Way’, or Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Fear and Loathing in America: The Gonzo Letters II’. Have to see how I’m feeling later and make up my mind then.

Had an interesting email from cuz BJ in response to that last post regarding John’s advice. Noted dear cousin; I’m not committing myself to anything fast and foolish. More like sober consideration.

Also re Kel’s comment/ question….. would have been tracking down courses except my back has kept me from the computer. Pretty much anything ‘Human Services’-wise would do. There’s a post-grad Addictions specialty degree offered at the local university so I’ll look into their course load.

bye-bye peonies - hack & slash

Nap time for Bonzo…..

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Boot Up The Arse

November 19, 2010

… but in a nice way.

Spent an enjoyable couple of hours yesterday having lunch with my former boss and talking, talking, talking. (John, manager of the treatment centre) We hadn’t had much contact over the course of this past year since the big layoff. I think I had him speak at my home group early on there and a few emails have flown their way back and forth but little else.

Funny, while we covered a few topics related to our former employer and some of the rest of the staff we didn’t dwell there. No sense in eating poison while noshing, what? No, mainly we talked about recovery and the work John has engaged in since his departure from ‘the house’. Then we got into a discussion, spurred by some of his recent reading, regarding the ‘disease concept’ of addiction. Privately / individually, we had both come to have some issues with it and it was good to hash that out and get fresh input regarding the topic. He’s to forward a list of titles and authors for me to follow-up with.

Then, that dispensed with, he launched into a blind-side attack on me for giving up on my job search in the addiction, mental health, social / human services arena. He, like me, feels my abilities, talents, and experience are being wasted by working away at my brain-dead pay-the-bills job of 6 months. So he has spurred me to get back into the fray of the job search and scanning area agency’s websites. Must overcome previous disappointment, frustration and hopelessness and continue to slog forward settling for nothing less than contributing where I can be of most value. We shall see.

John was nice about it but didn’t pull any punches either. Damn, just when I was settling nicely into the routine, too. My main problem is that I’m completely resistant to the idea of commuting into Toronto on a daily basis again. I hate adding a minimum of an hour each way to my working day. Been there, done that, hate it. So my focus will continue to be local though the number of places where I could work is limited. C’est la vie!

tats

Reading: hmmm…. this part disappeared. One night this week I forgot to take my books with me so I spent the night reading a variety of newspapers and doing upteen crossword puzzles. The next night I reread Monty Roberts ‘The Man Who Listens To Horses’. Yesterday I reloaded at the library and borrowed 4 books, 5 CD’s and bought a Bill Bryson book at their ongoing book sale. That, along with my Toronto Star, National Post and New York Times Saturday edition, should get me through these next 3 nights. 36 hours of reading on-the-clock.

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Words and Music

November 15, 2010

Music: Lately as I’ve been reading the daily papers (Toronto Star, National Post, NYT) I’ve been clipping items from the entertainment pages that contain ‘tinyurls’ which lead either to audio versions of songs or sometimes the opportunity to download them. Mostly I’ve remembered to hang onto them and when I have some time at the computer check them out. It did get me curious about tinyurls as I’ve really been out of the loop for a long time now and know nothing about them (God bless my tech challenged head.). Yesterday I came across a site strictly for songs and you can plug in a song title or artist / group and listen to it or share it via Twitter, Facebook or email. The main site is http://www.tinysong.com/ (We’ll see if it works here…. ahem, lemme see…) http://tinysong.com/rFWZ Ta-Dahhh!!!! This is the Johnny Cash song which accompanies ‘The Johnny Cash Project – an open source compilation of various artists works for an animated video of the song….. found here. (Be patient; it is large and takes a few seconds to load) http://www.thejohnnycashproject.com/. (Scroll down to watch the video.)

A few others – Neil Young’s new one ‘Walk With Me’ produced by Daniel Lanois. Scroll down to video screen. http://www.speakersincode.com/2010/09/jam-of-day-neil-young-walk-with-me.html

New one by The Cars – ‘Blue Tip’ http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=445115559565

The Decemberists – ‘The King is Dead’  video preview http://www.decemberists.com/

Tired Pony – The Place We Ran From – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC68mAQYstE

(These are the pages which the tiny urls took me to.)

Words: So, since last time around I have read…

actually reread both Jeannette Walls ‘Glass Castles’ and Malachy McCourt’s ‘A Monk Swimming: a Memoir’.

A powerful memoir by David Sheff titled ‘Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction’. I have his son’s book on hold at the library which covers the same ground from his point of view… Nic Sheff – ‘Tweak’.

Bill Bryson’s ‘Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid; a memoir’.  I have a couple of his others on hold too…. ‘A History of Nearly Everything’ and; ‘At Home’.

I don’t typically read many novels but I was glad I bought this one at the library’s sale, ‘The Secret Lives of Bees’ by Sue Monk Kidd. Beautifully written… transporting.

A collection of Shel Silverstein’s poetry called ‘Light in the Attic’ which was as entertaining for his illustrastions as his words. (Also bought at the sale – a steal at $2) On the same trip I found a tribute album of Shel’s songs performed posthumously by a variety of artists, including Kris Kristofferson, John Price, Nanci Griffith and Lucinda Williams. It is called ‘Twistable, Turnable Man- A Musical Tribute To The Songs Of Shel Silverstein’.

I’m currently reading a mystery by Harlan Coben which helps pass the time until I make it back to said library.

Other news – Cousin BJ and I will see one another at the end of the month for the first time in 2 to 3 years. The occasion is a celebration for her father (my late father’s eldest brother) who is turning 90 years young. So, barring any screw ups in my work schedule we should get some face time.

Other, other news – Looks like (same proviso) long time blog friend Kel and I may have a face-to-face meeting along toward New Years. She and her hubby are celebrating Xmas on this side of the Pacific and doing a bit of a road tour which will bring them past our front door. This is one of those ‘once in a lifetime opps’, so count me in.

Must get on with the day, accomplish something, have a nap and then off to work for the night. Bye.