Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category



September 25, 2009
I am plant classification-challenged

I am plant classification-challenged

Bad, bad, bad…. I have a terrible memory where it comes to plant names but these above have leaves that look like they belong to the succulent family. The flowers originally come out green and resemble broccoli before eventually turning pinky-purply red. Nice, eh??

Anyway it has been a quiet week; getting things sorted out here on the homefront, some yard work, helping the brother-in-law move in. Hallelujah! My boarder DID move and I don’t expect to be hearing from him or seeing any of the money he owes. But he is gone, T.G.

Yesterday I had a message relayed to me through an A.A. friend to say that my group’s longest serving member was in hospital and his condition was grave. This fellow, Terry C is one of the primary reasons I joined the group I did – The Grace group. Terry has a long history of diabetes and for the last year has undergone  for cancer. About 6 weeks ago his throat went wierd – like laryngitis – and for the last month was on a soft diet. A few days ago he found he was unable to keep solids or liquids down and his system went kablooey. Sugars off, electrolytes wacky – so he was admitted to hospital. On receiving the call I was immediately full of fear but decided I’d best rest in faith until I had a chance to check in with him myself. Within 2 hours I was there with he and his wife and Terry is being well taken care of and stabilizing. He will be fed for a few days through a nasal tube, then have a permanent feeding tube straight into his abdomen. Terry has been a terrific positive example and influence during my recovery; he’s my mentor (as opposed to A.A. sponsor).

Last night I started in reading Annie Proulx’s ‘The Shipping News’ (Attn: Susan) and from the first couple of chapters don’t know if I’ll be able to get into it. I will persevere and see if I can’t latch onto it.

Happy Friday!


Rambling On

September 15, 2009

First off a flower for a friend:

a rose for Robin

a rose for Robin

If I’m not mistaken you said you liked the peachy coloured ones.

Yesterday was my late father’s birthday; he would have been 83.  Six years gone now. I miss him, too.


I spent Friday helping with Mom’s move from the house to her new condo and everything went incredibly smooth. The movers were done in 6 hours. A girlfriend of Linda’s, along with Linda and I put in a couple more hours getting the necessities put where they needed to be before clearing out so Mom could relax. Brother Dave came down for the weekend and helped unpack and hung a bunch of stuff for them. Speaking on the phone with Mom today she sounds more herself, more rested and less stressed. Their internet is yet to be connected so Mom has me downloading crossword puzzles and printing them off for her to do with her morning coffee.


A couple of enjoyable shows I’ve caught lately – a re-broadcast of ‘Dylanesque’; the in-studio video documenting Bryan Ferry’s project recording a selection of Bob Dylan songs. Highly recommended viewing (and available on DVD). My only complaint is the sound mix isn’t as good on the show as it is on CD; small potatoes whining.

– an art show called Celebrity Portraits. 3 artists are brought in for a sketch / photo session with a celebrity and are given 2 weeks to finish a portrait of them. The episode I saw had Elvis Stojko (Olympic skater) as the subject. It was interesting to see the differing approaches the artists took, the variety of techniques applied and the final results. The time slot could easily have been expanded to a full hour instead of 30 minutes and still held interest.

– less enjoyable but…. I’ve written several times about Elvis Costello’s show ‘Spectacle’ and how I liked the format and various artists he had interviewed and performed with. During the run of the show I missed a few episodes and have just caught a couple in these last couple of weeks. The most recent one, which featured Lou Reed, was a real disappointment. The interview wasn’t at all interesting and the performances were awful. Lou’s voice has gone. In the episode previous to that Elvis had Jakob Dylan on and it was much better – good revealing interview; solid performance. I just found that a DVD of season 1 will be released in November.


I don’t know how but I’ve messed up my back again during these last couple of weeks and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It’s about time for some anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants. The long muscles running up my back feel like slabs of wood and are in constant spasm. Turning certain ways results in sudden gasps and red clouds across my vision. My left leg alternates between shooting pain and numbness. Stretching and rubs provide little relief and it doesn’t last any length of time. Low end pain relievers aren’t cutting it. C’est la vie – time to take it easy for a while. I had forgotten how uncomfortable this can be because it had been in good shape for quite a while.


I’ve had a little mp3 player for 5 or 6 years and used it only for the first year or so. I came across it today, hooked it up to the computer, uploaded about half the playlist and downloaded a bunch of newer material. I don’t know individual tracks from most of the CD’s I have saved so it was a pretty much random selection. These last few hours have been spent listening to some old faves and potential new ones.

Speaking of music – on my most recent trip to the library I borrowed:

Bob Dylan’s latest – ‘Together Through Life’;

Dylan’s 2008 release – ‘Tell Tale Signs; rare and unreleased 1989-2006’;

Jeff Buckley (2000) ‘Mystery White Boy’;

John Mellencamp (2003) ‘Trouble No More’;

Elvis Costello & The Imposter’s ‘The Delivery Man’ and ‘Momofuku’ – (2004 & 2008 respectively)

Books – Almost finished Margaret Atwood’s ‘Moral Disorder’ – loving it! On a recommendation from blog-friend Susan M I picked up ‘The Shipping News’ by Annie Proulx. A reading list circulated by cousin BJ has been printed off for future reference.


Enough rambling, already? Maybe so, but first what else do I have stashed away in the photo library??

another rose for Robin

another rose for Robin

That’ll do. Ciao.


Whew! Nice Knocker

September 9, 2009
who's there?

who's there?

(a nod to Stevo)

So, what’s new?? We attended that wedding on Saturday. Ya know when you’re all revved up for something and looking forward to a night out…. and then things don’t turn out as planned?? Yeah, a bit of a let down, it was. Lynda was feeling a bit off & I was still resetting my clock to regular hours. The ceremony was nice but then there was a big block of time to kill while the wedding party and family had pictures taken. Dinner was late, toasts and speeches dragged on and the dance didn’t start until 10. By then the enthusiasm for the event had seriously waned. Ah, well… c’est la vie.

Mom took possession of her condo apartment the other day and Lynda and I got over to see it last night. Nice space! I think she’ll settle in there very nicely. The movers come Friday and then she has an additional week to clear her present house of anything left.

Most of my time spent these last few days the computer have been devoted to a renewed job search. (I know it’s ongoing and has been going on forever but…) The official jobless stats for this area are pegged at just over 10% but don’t include those whose unemployment benefits have run out and those who have given up on looking for work through gov’t channels. I keep looking and hoping that my skill set can be put to use elsewhere.

I’ve been reading for pleasure more lately. Finished Hunter S Thompson’s ‘Rum Diary’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. Now I’m into Canada’s ‘lady of letters’ Margaret Atwood’s “Moral Disorder”; a collection of stories exploring a family history. It has been some years since I read anything of hers but as I was reading I felt I hadn’t enjoyed reading anything so much for a long time. I could likely use the aid of someone parsing the stories and showing me the devices she uses so well in the telling of them. Good stuff.

Time to head out into the yard with the dogs before it gets too hot for them. We still have that high pressure system hanging about and keeping this run of fine late summer weather happening. The grass and flowers are getting sunburnt but that’s okay by me.


Revisiting RSS + SEO Info

September 3, 2009

Despite the fact I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years now (already!) I’m not really very tech-savvy. On the geekdom continuum scale I’m probably a 3.5 out of 10. Some of you know that from questions I’ve asked via email ( Robin, Amuirin, Stevo…… et al). On the plus side I did change blog platforms a few months ago from Blogspot to WordPress and I continue to work on my resistance to try new things. Like checking into RSS feeds…..

Now I’m sure, as with most computer matters, there are many ways to skin this particular cat but having done some reading and tried a few things this is how I’m working this out…. and I’ve done it this way because I don’t have the use of my own computer. (At home I’m using Lynda’s.)

1) For friend’s WordPress blogs I’m using the ‘Readomattic’ tab under ‘Dashboard’ and have added both of Robin’s blogs – ‘Life in the Bogs’ and ‘Bountiful Healing’, as well as Amuirin’s ‘Stop & Wander’, lazy buddhist’s ‘Stumbling Along The Path’, ybonesy and Quoinmonkey’s ‘red Ravine’, and Sue’s ‘What Really Happened To Meg’.

2) For blogs on other platforms or whose authors have their own domain I’ve built an iGoogle page and added their feeds to my page content. From Blogspot I have Kel’s ‘xfacta’ and Sue’s ‘Discombobula’. With their own domains I have Stevo at ‘Asian Ramblings’ and Ron at ‘Ron Dubin Photography’. I’m planning to add more from my blogroll as time goes on.

I understand that if I was using my own computer I could be using the ‘Favorites’ folder and the ‘Feeds’ tab for automatic updates.

Yeah, I’m a slow learner but a little progress is better than none at all. (BTW – if you have any input or corrective suggestions / info; I’m all ears.)


If I ever get serious about the content I’m posting and wish to make money from blogging I’ll be doing more reading about SEO in order to increase traffic. I’d likely start all over and begin with an entirely new blog from the ground up. One on-line reference I found is here: – scroll down to mid-page for the box titled ‘Popular at Problogger’. Under each of the 4 tabs there are a number of headers related to SEO. Via a query I sent to Stevo at Asian Ramblings I found out about Nomadic Matt’s ebook which contains a wealth of info on SEO. While it is geared to Travel blogs much of the info would be universal or tailorable to specific uses. Find out more here: . One day Matt I’ll be ordering a copy… I just can’t predict when that may happen.


shadowcast clover on cabinet door

shadowcast clover on cabinet door



August 29, 2009

cell2 140

It has been a mixed up, muddled up week which has included far too much time on my hands, too many things which are outside my control and as a result a little too much stress. On the other hand, I have had some time to get some things accomplished around the house and stuck my nose in a book from time to time… I’m reading Hunter S Thompson’s novel “The Rum Diary”. Quite good; I’m enjoying it. It differs quite a lot from the writing style in his other books and reportage. I haven’t had the focus or inclination to get my drawing materials out lately.

Last evening I sent a video link to a bunch of American blog friends for one that was mentioned on our national news. It contains some Canadian perspective on the current debate stateside on where the American healthcare system may go in upcoming times. Whether it eventually is modelled on our system or not isn’t important – it will have to be tailored specifically to American needs. We’ve enjoyed the benefits of our system for 40+ years so there may be something contained here that will be thought provoking and engender more discussion.

Freedom update – It is 5 weeks post-surgery (the second one) and she continues to come along slowly (as in; not as quickly as we would like for her). We had her up for a check-up with the surgeon on Thursday and he attributes the lengthy recuperation to Freedom’s age and the fact it is a second surgery. He is unable to find anything wrong with the knee joint….. and so we wait, and exercise her, and do physio, and keep her quiet and still as much as possible.

That’s it for now – enjoy the weekend & I’ll be back Sunday evening for another week of work.


Food for Eyes and Ears

August 19, 2009

During a very rushed visit to the library on the way to work tonight I picked up more books and music; to whit:

I renewed ‘The Autobiographer’s Handbook’ – edited by Jennifer Traig; a Holt paperback.

For reference I snagged the 2007 edition (17th) of  ‘The Canadian Writer’s Market’, basically to see what’s out there. Published by McClelland & Stewart.

For sheer enjoyment Hunter S Thompson’s novel ‘The Rum Diary’. A Simon and Schuster publication. Highly recommended by Martin at


In the music section I found myself in front of a section containing all Canadian folk artists and bands so….

— Buffy Sainte-Marie’s 1996 compilation ‘Up Where We Belong’

— Soundtrack to the film ‘Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man’. Songs performed by various artists including Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Nick Cave, U2. (2006)

— k.d. lang’s 2008 release ‘Watershed’.

— Jeremy Fisher’s 2008 CD ‘Back Porch Spiritual’.

— ‘The Duhks’ 2008 ‘Fast Paced World’.

— Nanci Griffith’s 2005 ‘Hearts In Mind’.

I’m familiar with all these artists except Fisher but am looking forward to checking out all these releases.


Read. Buy a newspaper. Get informed. Buy a book. Support your local library. Spread literacy.