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Showing posts from October, 2015

E.T. And Me!

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A really good part of my day was riding my bicycle dressed like a 10-year-old boy from California carrying a hooded extraterrestrial in his front basket.

The best part of my day was how I got there.

Rewind.

Last month I was off ill for few days and some friends at work—Aminah, Michelle, Barry, Lana, Stephanie, Brian, et al —used my absence as my tacit agreement for their scheme to raise money for the United Way. If enough money was raised, I, in absentia, agreed to dress up like Elliott from E.T. the Extraterrestrial, put a stuffed E.T, in a milk crate, and cycle to work and then pedal  through downtown Edmonton at lunch in character, with the cute character aboard. Forget for a moment the truth that I was bronchitised to the gills during the hatching of the plan. A good idea is a good idea.

And then enough money was raised by the gang at ATB Financial. Because a good idea is a good idea.

But I don't have a red hoodie, I said. But I don't have a milk crate, I said. But I don&…

John Stetch and Pyrohy and Nalysnyky and Bach

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Outside, the pickup trucks flowed along Stony Plain Road at a predictable pace, announcing themselves with muffled throbs of acceleration. Across the street, the Pizza 73 awning stared in unblinking blue and yellow. Inside, the force came from the piano, and the colours flashed from the piano, and the piano was being driven across the darkness by John Stetch.

That was the wonderful ride we went on last night in our city. Stetch, the Edmonton born and raised jazz pianist now pounding out a living in Harlem, was back home and playing a resto-house concert at The Dish. The menu—the traditional 12 courses of Ukrainian cookery arranged from Stetch's grandmother's cookbook that, itself, now duct-tape bound, sat on the top of his piano—was itself a work of art, and served professionally and reverentially by workers who understood.

Mini Borsch. Lamb Shashlik. Kotlety. Zucchini Rolls. Smoked Trout Pate On Rye. Perohy. Nachynani Yayechka. Smoked Salmon. Eggplant Mezhivo. Nalysnyky. Keb…

FIrst Law Of Emotion

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What makes me stop, I now wonder?

That question was stopped and waiting for me a couple of weeks ago at the intersection of 103 Ave and 121 St in the unlikely shape of a woman stopped in the middle of the intersection while she aimed a smartphone east at the morning sky.

It was the highlight of my bicycle commute to work that day. The woman was evidently so arrested by the swirls of red and orange and blue and pink, so taken by the sound of the sunrise that she did what she hadn't planned on doing, which was stopping to capture the scene, cars on the obsidian streets around her be damned.

That image returned this morning as I pedalled across the 142 St bridge, looked right, and saw this.

And I stopped.

Standing still by the bridge railing as cars and trucks streamed by, I bent back and fished my phone out of the panniers and made it all stand still with a click. Besides the glory of the Turner sky, I noticed how surprisingly difficult it is to actually stop and restart. So much e…

I Just Wanna Hold Onto You

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I can't quite fix the year in my mind, maybe 1995, maybe 1996, maybe a little later, but Blue Rodeo was at The Sidetrack, the live music club that used to be on 104 Ave in Edmonton, and, among the shining songs they sent out that night was Side Of The Road. Shelagh and I were there, we were young parents, and it was a special evening apart from the little ones for a few hours.

Keelor sang wistfully.

I pulled over to the side of the road
I was feeling kind of sad, I was feeling kind of blue

And Cuddy brought a soaring ache to the harmony.

I just wanna hold on to you
Yeah, your eyes
They were in my mind
I just wanna hold
Onto 
You.

(It's a lovely song, and it gets you thinking about the way her eyes save his I's.)

Somehow, I still have a VHS tape of the night. I vaguely remember having sent a cameraman to the concert to record and microwave a few seconds back live into the 10 pm news on ITV, where I worked as assignment editor. The precise memory has dissolved, but the tape is stil…

Field Of Memes

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It's the post season in major league baseblog, so here we go.....


The 7th inning, three-run homeroics of Jose Bautista in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers, and the iconic bat flip shared around the Twitterverse, was the third weird thing with a bat to happen that game.

In the top of the 5th inning, Delino Deshields, Jr, took a 91-mph offering from Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman in the teeth after a #buntfail deflection off his own bat. And into his own face. His pathetic look of bewilderment was recognizable to anyone who hasn't seen that their own meticulously planned move will explode, immediately upon being put into action. In their own face.

Then in the top of the 7th, the bat again took centre stage, as Ranger Rougned Odor came home when Jays catcher Russell Martin's toss back to the pitcher struck the bat of batter Shin-Soo Choo and rolled live into the near infield no man's land.

And then it was Bautista's bat flippant.

Crazy bat shit, yes, in cent…

Designing Times

This morning at The Enjoy Centre I saw a sign that proclaimed Design Is Everything.

This afternoon driving along 96 Ave and its three new speed bumps I remembered that sign.

And I thought those speed bumps were installed because speed limits were not enough to slow down automobile traffic. And school zones were not enough to slow down automobile traffic. And appeals, written and oral, to slow down while driving that stretch of pedestrian-heavy road were not enough.

And, so, enter design, where reason failed.

And, so, design is not everything.