Recent Entries in Local

  Beautiful Sunday Noon

It's a beautiful Sunday noon, and I'm sitting in the shade at 1842. I'm sharing the table with a grotesquely large Americano served in a bowl with a handle on it. I'm pretty sure an average human would die trying to drink it all. That much coffee would reach toxic levels in the bloodstream. Actually, after testing the waters (so to speak), it turns out that this Americano, in a cup which I could comfortably plunge both fists into (without the steaming hot liquid in it, of course), is mostly water, with perhaps only one shot of espresso. None the less, coffee is coffee.

There's a couple of "baby families" here today -- somewhat of a rarity. Of course, both have strollers, and of course, both strollers are choking the aisles between the tables, forcing the wait staff to navigate the room like ordinance removal specialists in a Bosnian minefield. (sigh) One of the children is now screaming uncontrollably, but at least the mother has the good sense to remove the baby from the area). Unfortunately, now she's brought the child to within mere feet from my table, and she and the child are engaged in an embarrassing "calm the baby" dance.

I got a morning page today; one of our servers went offline, and our office manager (who is always at work) wasn't able to get her accounting done. I needed to go into the office anyway, so I helped out, then took my car to the GTO station at King and Northfield for a $3 wash. Now I'm just chilling at the coffee shop, wondering what to do next on this fine sunny day.

Yes, sunny. Sunny and warmish. The perfect day to do nothing at all, as long as it's done outside. We managed to get some more yard work done yesterday, and finally replaced the tacky white newel post from the front yard. We replaced it with an iron lamp hook (or shepherd's hook, or something), and put one of the solar lamps on it. Now we have a lamp in the front yard, without all the fuss and muss of hooking in an electrical cable. I think the house is the only one on the block with a lamp.

Many thanks to S+A for picking up a composter while they were at the dump yesterday (they're free, folks). Now we've got two, and we can start composting all that yard waste we (mostly R) cleaned up this week. As an aside, I think these would make some pretty cool dog houses, if you don't mind your dog smelling a little loamy.

The baby families left en masse, and now a cute punk/hippie/grunge couple has replaced them. That's nice. Much quieter.

Friday was pretty cewl. Clevermonkey and I went out with some friends and relived the past for a couple of hours. We started off at A's house, drinking vodka on the rocks (we need to get A to the liquor store, and perhaps to the grocery store too). We then walked over to the Starlight for a little while, but A's new squeeze, the delightful Fiona (and her friend), wanted to go over to Abstract. Well, we got the impression that they wanted to be alone, because we lost track of them as soon as we got inside, and CM and I spend the rest of the evening waxing poetic about the old days (since it was 80s night -- it's always 80s night at Abstract). Mostly we talked about Toronto and the different cool places to drink on Bloor, and on Queen. I drank Cuba Libras and he tossed back a bunch of G+Ts. Afterwards, we walked back to uptown Waterloo, and parted ways around 3:30am.

I remember back to the 90s at Call the Office in London -- they had a retro night on Sundays, called Raygun. A bunch of us used to fill the small club up. We'd hang out and dance to new wave stuff. The DJ borrowed my friend's 8 volume Rhino Records collection of "New Wave Hits of the 80s". Back then it was ironic to dance to 80s tunes. Now, I don't know what it is. Derivative, maybe.

(sigh, again). Just got another page. Looks like I have to get back into work and setup some kind of test environment for a critical bug that just came my way. So much for Sunday.

Took advantage of the Boxing Day madness and went shopping. Actually, it was more like taking a longdrive through the congested streets of Kitchener, remarking on how many other people were driving themselves crazy, looking for a bargain. We drove past the parking lot at Best Buy down on Fairway and saw cars packing into the parking lot, parked illegally on the street, and strewn just about anywhere else you could fit a car. It was as if some well-connected fundamentalist had found an image of Jesus in a DVD case and spread the word. All these pilgrams flooding into Best Buy as if the future of the free world depended on them being there.

Needless to say, we didn't hit Best Buy, but instead found the nearest store which had no cars in its parking lot. This, as it turned out, was a Moore's clothing store, which must have overestimated the need for suits on Boxing Day. There were between 8-10 staff, and only two customers -- us. Not that we were actual customers. Just after entering, we were swarmed upon by this mob of salespeople, including several teal-clad women (I don't know what the deal is with teal), who asked me if we were getting married, and if that's why I was looking for something formal. We fled the place as quickly as we could.

Eventually, we came across Natural Sound on Victoria (strangely uncrowded), and I was able to grab a sweet deal on a Yamaha receiver and a pair of Paradigm rear-channel speakers. Next on my list is to get a good pair of fronts, followed by a centre channel and a subwoofer.

This morning, I'm heading to a buddy's house to watch 11 hours of Lord of the Rings. There's going to be lots of beer, hobbits, CGI-effects ... and maybe we'll even play a little RISK. Lord, am I nerding it up today.

  City Cafe Gelato Paintery

Went to City Cafe Bakery this morning for some grub, but couldn't get a table. Not too surprising, since they do a brisk business on Sunday, and they only have 8 tables, but we were a little disappointed nonetheless. I bought a dark roast cup of coffee, a butter tart (which I ate while waiting by the toaster), and a toasted bagel. We paid up (rather, R. paid, and I just looked confused by the large crowd), and took off for some stores. Some guy was really interested in my hat, but stole my plastic knife, so I guess that evened things out. I'm sure he didn't mean to steal my knife, but it still seems weird, since it was on my plate, and he was watching me while I used it to cut the bagel in half. Maybe he couldn't find any other knives...

Caught up with Elbie for some late lunch: some gelatos and coffee at the gelato place in Waterloo. I sampled some dill pickle gelato (yeesh!) and washed my mouth out with an Italian soda and a cup of coffee. Later, Clevermonkey stopped by (I know, small world), and we hung out for a bit, then went to look at books.

Started priming some boards, getting ready to paint again. That's a big step for me ... means I'm getting back into the painting mood again (huzzah!). Buying a table-top easel was the real trigger for me -- I picked that up last week (?) while decogrrl was still in town. Picked it up for $54, and its list price was about $159. Pretty swank deal, if you ask me.

  Starlight de Soleil

Hung out at the Starlight last night. Pretty kewl time. DJ Charless was spinning disco tunes, and everybody (mostly University chicks -- lots of them) was getting down. There was a bit of a mix-up earlier, so I ended up being the designated driver for the night -- only cranberry juice and sodas all night. Too bad -- I was getting geared up for a night of some good drinking.

Afterwards, for some inexplicable reason, we all went (girlfriends in tow) to Roxanne's -- a Waterloo strip-clup. These aren't my thing, and I find nothing sexy about being in a club with a bunch of white trash thugs (men and women), watching women strip and dance around brass poles to distorted blaring, tinny music, and being narrated by a loud foul-mouthed MC. Have to say, though I was quite impressed by the athleticism of the dancers -- kind of like a dirty version of Cirque de Soleil. Or some kind of obscene Olympic gymnastic event. Still pretty cool -- but just not very sexy, especially not for a designated driver.

  London Bashing

Heh heh. I love the chance to bash London, and I do it whenever I can. I was born in London, went to school there, and after a few attempts at moving away, found myself coming back. Luckily, I've broken the chain, and am happily living in Kitchener, the midway point between London and Toronto, and the center of the high-tech world in Ontario (possibly Canada).

My friend sent me this list, and I was laughing out loud after the first three entries. It's terrific, but only makes any sense to Londoners. And yeah, I do miss the 'S' curve on Dundas St. just east of Adelaide.

You know you've lived in London when:

  1. You know not to go to the Galleria, unless you want to buy drugs, see a cheap movie, or work out at Good Life

  2. You go to Masonville because it's the "good" mall

  3. You know what E.O.A means

  4. You steer clear of E.O.A as best you can

  5. When people ask you what part of the city you live in, you first explain you don't live E.O.A.

  6. You originally thought the Aquatic Centre was either an aircraft hanger or a bomb shelter

  7. You wish you lived in the Masonville Area

  8. You know that Beal, Clark Road, Banting, and Ross are the ghetto schools. Oakridge and Lucas are the snobby schools where the students drive better cars than the teachers ever will, Saunders once had a shooting, a stabbing, and once caught fire and no one's ever in class anyways because they're all hanging out in the parking lot over at Westmount Mall

  9. As far as the catholic schools go you know the hicks all go to RMC, the Snobs all go to STA, the slutty girls can be found at CCH, and the new Canadians all go to JPII. And you're vaguely aware of that new one out in the middle of no where in the north of the city where all the rich kids go.

  10. You feel that while SilverCity may be really expensive, it's right in Masonville, and where else do you really want to be?

  11. You listen to FM 96, BOB FM and 6X-FM. If you're bored, you'll listen to CHRW 97.7FM, but you're not crazy about it because "the shit they play is too random for me, man".

  12. It's taken you up to 2 hours to get home using the LTC.

  13. (When it was around), you mocked the police helicopter and wondered why it was always flying over Byron and Oakridge? What could possibly be going so wrong in Byron or Oakridge?

  14. You've marveled at the freakishly short grass at London Life and have been compelled to walk on it.

  15. When you're bored, you phone a friend and say "let's go get some coffee at Starbucks or William's", but inevitably, you wind up at Timmy's.

  16. You get really excited over those giant store openings, and immediately applied for a job there

  17. You've dragged raced anywhere

  18. You liked the old Storybook Gardens better, they didn't need to sink millions into the place, just bring back those jack and Jill slides that were apparently a "liability."

  19. You're sitting in a Tim Horton's and outside the window you can see another Tim Horton's.

  20. You mock people from Sudbury, Stratford or Port Stanley for not living in "real cities" and loath anyone from near London who says they're from London when they're really from St. Thomas or Alsia Craig or someplace equally as lame.

  21. You revere Toronto. A day trip there makes up for a month of sitting in your backyard at home

  22. You feel The London Free Press seems to change its logo, look, contents, and political allegiances on what, a weekly basis?

  23. One of your class trips once involved going to any of the following: Sifton Bog, Eldon House, the Children's Museum The Fanshawe Pioneer Village, Farmer Jack's Apple Orchard or Longwood's

  24. You got all excited and had a superior feeling when you realized that in 1992, when Canada turned 125, London was already 200 years old

  25. When The Covent Garden market re-opened, you were sad the mechanical pony didn't have more of a place of prominence and what happened to the pet store? That was the best part of going to the old Market (certainly wasn't wandering though the basement of a parking garage.)

  26. You marvel at the longevity of the Mascot diner at Dundas and Richmond, hasn't it been there for like, ever?

  27. You venture downtown for few things amongst them: to get tattooed or pierced (though you wish Backstage Pass would open up their own studio so that you would never have to leave Masonville) the only other reason to go is to get drunk at one of London's 600 bars.

  28. You're shocked that London is actually getting big acts to the John Labbatt Centre yet pissed you've got to go downtown in order to see them, and furthermore you don't have a good excuse to go to Toronto anymore!

  29. You dare your stupid friend from out of town to jump in the Thames near that spot where that fisherman discovered all the toxic coal tar deposits

  30. You get confused when you go to McDonald's in other cities and they don't have your favourite new burger.anyone remember the one outside of London has ever heard of this bastardization of meat and bread. If we don't like it, no one will, this is what someone at head office has decided. We're guinea pigs! You feel used, yet oddly flattered.

  31. Only under rare circumstances will you enter the Embassy. (It is EOA after all) You affectionately call it "the rat's nest". You prefer Call the Office.

  32. The cops have come to at least one party you've thrown at your house. Bonus if you've called the cops on the party going on across the street

  33. Every bar in London accepted your fake id, even though it's someone's G1 and gives your age as 27, and the person in it is not the same race and a foot shorter than you

  34. Prince Al's seems to be open 24-7. You've eaten there after the bar too many times to count. Mmmm.milkshakes!

  35. You miss the 'S' curve on Dundas east. Wasn't the removal of that supposed to increase business down there.didn't work did it!

  36. When you say, "oh this is Paul, he went to Central", instantaneously all of your friends will rattle off the names of 30 people that they think went to Central, or are friends of people who went to Central. Amazingly, Paul will know all of them. He will also know all of your friends before you've introduced them.

  37. You've wondered when the New PL will just be called PL, plus the new PL isn't all that different from the old PL and what the fuck does PL stand for anyway?

  38. Jenny Jones is a Londoner. That doesn't makes her cool, but so few famous people are from London you've got to take an ironic pride in her, the dad from Alias and the guy who was married to Jessica Tandy.

  39. You've walked through the sea of people at the forks of the Thames to watch fireworks that will inevitably irritate your eyes

  40. You can still sing the old London Tigers theme song: The crack of the bat, The smack of the glove, It's the sounds of the game that everyone loves It's London Tigers baseball Tear 'em up tigers, let's go! Tear 'em up tigers, play ball!

  41. You miss the old Knights logo. This new one makes them look too much like the Mighty Ducks

  42. You think going to Grand Bend only seems cool during May 24.

  43. You celebrate May 24 more than any other part of Canada, because you live in London, a big city where NOTHING EVER HAPPENS.


Going to see Hellboy at the Princess tonight. C hasn't seen it yet, and I figured it'd be worth another 6 bucks to see that film. Everytime a friend calls and said "Let's go see Hellboy," I'm right there. This will be the third time I've seen it, and I get a chance to pick up on several things I may have missed in the previous screenings. I'm really not a big follower of the comic, but I used to collect some Darkhorse titles, so I'm fond of the publisher.

I don't know what it is that I enjoy so much about that film. I suppose Ron Perlman's the biggest draw for me. He has a way of bringing character to a latex mask that few other actors have. Perhaps it's because he's no stranger to makeup, or that he's played in so many odd roles over time. The film's also got this dry sense of humour, and Hellboy's reactions to his world are some of the film's high points (like where he jealously throws a rock at FBI agent John Myers when it looks like he's making a move on his girlfriend). Maybe I should just buy the DVD when it comes out, and save some money on these theatre trips.


  Tornado Golf

Was thinking of hitting the driving range yesterday after work, but the weather started getting rough. I drove along Northfield Drive towards King St. and saw dark, heavy clouds overtop of lighter sky. The clouds were ominous and misshapen, looking like proto-tornado funnels. Since that was where I had to go, I decided to head home instead.

CBC news came on with some tornado warnings from Windsor to Toronto. "With funnel clouds touching down just north of Kitchener," they said. That convinced me. I was not about to drive around in a Tornado, much less stand in an open field, hitting golf balls around.

Hey, how about that weather? Pretty strange, no?


Supposed to be a high of 24, and after the rain, a low of 0. Now that's some large weather. And I think I left all of my windows open this morning....

  Amon Tobin in T.O.

Thinking of going to see Amon Tobin next week. Playing at the KoolHaus in Toronto. Might be a really good show. Kid Koala's there too:

  House no good

Ah well, so much for the house. It had a nice character to it, but had too many problems for me to buy it. Things such as spongy floors, lack of insulation in the attick, suspect wiring, etc. To top it all off, there wasn't a single room on the second (or third) floors that I wanted as a bedroom. The upstairs was so poorly laid out that I wanted to knock down all the walls and start over.


Maybe in another couple of months, if the house is still on the market, I'll make a substantially reduced offer and do the fixes I need to it.

  Looking for a home

I'm doing some home shopping this weekend. This one looks nice, has most of the things I'm looking for, and isn't obscenely expensive. Unfortunatly, it's also not in downtown Waterloo, where I want it to be, but it's reasonably close to everything.

Credits to R. for getting me off my lazy ass and looking at houses. This way I've got no excuse for moping about, complaining how I don't have any room for my stuff, etc...

[a nice house]

I met Roy McDonald last night while R and I were in London. He was standing outside Jim Bob Rae's (this unfortunately-named bar which I've never visited), peddling his CDs and books. I've been a big fan of his, ever since I found his book, Living: A London Journal on the used book rack at the Unitarian Fellowship, back when it was in Gibbon's Park (I think that was the park's name). The book was an intensive 7-day journal, from back in the days where you had to write in a book to call it a "journal". As is with all of Roy's books, this one contained a personalized dedication to the original recipient. A couple of years later, my brother saw Roy at the UWO food court, and he did something pretty sweet: he ran over to the bookstore, bought a copy of the same book, and got Roy to autograph it for me. It was one of the most thoughtful things the kid ever did, and I appreciate it.

Anyway, Roy was standing on Richmond St. and I didn't really make the connection -- you know, old homeless-looking guy shambling around, outside of the bar. We were on the other side of the street, heading up to Williams for some coffees, and on the way back I dragged R over to talk with Roy. I gushed a little, having finally met a mini-celebrity (kind of how I might act if I'd met Burroughs, or some other old poet). R was a little creeped out by him, especially when he showed us how long his beard was -- this is an interesting story: apparently, Roy's got one of the longest beards in the world, and to look at him, you'd be a little skeptical, since his beard only comes down about a handspan from his chin. Apparently, he's got two beards, the one for show, and the one that's been growing for dozens of years. It's this long dreadlock thing that he keeps in his shirt, and only brings out to scare small children, or girlfriends.

Anyway, he sang to us, made us sing with him, did some loud street poetry, and R finally dragged me away, since we had some driving to do. I'm sure that if I'd left the driving to R, there would have been squealing tires, but I was totally swept away in the moment. I even bought a CD of his stuff.

Really been enjoying the weather, with the exception of the past couple of days. Hopefully the weather will be nice when I get back from vacation, so I can go cycling some more. Bought a great book called "Grand River Country Trails", which has numerous cycling/hiking trails throughout the KW and Cambridge area. I also bought a skullcap so my head doesn't get burned like last year -- when I got back from this 5 hour bike ride, my head had little burns on it that matched up with the holes in my helmet!


  London with the Leader

Had to visit London, to check up on my parents' place. It's been a couple of weeks, and the fish needed feeding, the snow needed clearing, etc. However, I failed to take into account the snowfall last night. I had to clear the porch and walkway of snow. Then I had to go back inside and put on a heavier coat, then clear the sidewalk, the driveway, and part of the street behind my car. The snowplow had already been through, and there was at least a metre of snow at the base of the driveway. Here I am with this wee little scooping shovel. About an hour later, I was finished everything, and boy I was hyped. I wanted to clear everyone's driveway at that point. But apathy got the better of me and I just got into the car and headed for London.

It's the Leader's birthday today! HUZZAH! I gave him a call and we went to the Waltzing Weasel for beers and snacks. I tried the baked Brie (don't get it) which came in a skillet, drowning in raspberry or cranberry sauce. It was served with tortillas, although I have no idea how to eat Brie in a tortilla, especially when it's swimming in a fruit soup. Anyway, it was fun to see the Leader again. Hope he has another 26 birthdays. And then another 26 after that. But that's all.


  Popeye's Gym

Week's almost done. I'm so relieved. I'm also really really sore -- I joined a gym, and have been spending many of my off-werk hours there, trying to get back into shape (a shape I never possessed hehe). Pretty good gym, but really intimidating, since it trains all the K-W area strongmen (the kind that win awards and push trucks around on TV). It's a good place because it's open 24 hours during the week. Since I'm up at 3:00am, I can go workout instead of watching TV like the lard-ass I am.

Checked out a book signing at the Jane Bond last night. A couple of writers from Id magazine wrote this book on the renaissance and decline of Can Rock, the period of time stretching between 1985 and 1995. Man that was my time. That book hits pretty close to home. I had to get a copy.


Just finished a confusing and very confrontational ICQ session with someone (I'm not sure who) posing as a friend of mine. It's really unfortunate; all they did was talk dirty and try to get me to have cybersex with them. It was pretty embarrassing.

  Living: A London Journal

Just so you know, I'm feeling much better. I've had a few days to cool off, and I'm not all hung up on things. I promise ... no more poetry for a while.

Finished up Living: A London Journal by Roy McDonald. It's a great book, representing a 7-day intensive journal project by London celebrity Roy McDonald. He's the odd-looking guy who runs around London, carrying a satchel of books. He once got kicked off UWO campus because the security guards though he was just some homeless guy. As I recall, there was quite the backlash from the press, and the LFP wrote up a full page article on Roy. To tell the truth, I wasn't even sure he was still alive, and I really wanted to know (I think he's around 73 years old). So, I decided to do some digging on the big WWW. I knew the book was published by Ergo Books, a local London publisher, but I wasn't really expecting them to have a website or anything... Turns out they do, and what's more, they also have a great link to many artistic events around the London area. I strongly recommend their site, if only to obtain a copy of Roy's books.

I filled out a feedback form on their site. Here it is (warning -- it's pretty sappy):

Hello there, what a terrific website. It's a shame more local publishers aren't online. I just finished reading Living:A London Journal by Roy McDonald and thought I'd see if he was still around. I'm from London, and I was just visiting there yesterday, and the first thing I did was go looking for Roy. I've never actually met him, but I have a short letter from him in an autographed copy of his book. As an online journalist, and former resident of London, I feel I understand him as a fellow artist and human being. His 7 day, intensive journal is so familiar, that I feel like I'm reading part of my own life, or that of a friend; I know the names of the people (Greg Curnoe, Murray Favro), and the places (the Latin Quarter, the McDonald's on Wellington).

I know this is only a feedback form, so I won't go on, and I don't expect anyone to pass this along to Roy, but I wanted to say that I will never be at his level of writing, and I can only hope to have the friends and fame of Roy McDonald, and I want others to understand how important he is to the London community and the rest of the world. To paraphrase his comments in his journal, one person cannot make much of an impact in this world, but it is important to try. We only get one shot at this life, and then it's over. We don't get a retry.


Trust me, it's really really hot right now. And, yes, I'm wearing pants. I know you don't believe me, but this isn't that kind of website. Unless that's what you want. If you really want that kind of website, I could do that...

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D H McKee's bookshelf: to-read

Sunset and Sawdust
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The Thicket
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