Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 11:52 p.m. | 0 comments

Catherine (whom I'm sure is loving that her picture is on my blog), my mom's dog, Jake, and me after decorating my mom's tree a few weeks ago. Happy Holidays! Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
To one and all. I hope everyone has the Christmas holidays that they deserve.

I got to spend some time with Aaron tonight, which was sorely needed after my weak of bachelorhood. Let me tell you, Catherine is in for lots of hugs when I see her on Saturday. The little one, too.

I'm off first thing tomorrow to my mom's in Bolton, and then Saturday I'll be in Brantford with Catherine and her family. Sunday, I'm off to my Dad's to see him, my brother, the nieces and nephew, as well as my Uncle Brian. Monday I'll be back in Brantford, and likely heading back to Toronto.

I do this every year.

At least my mom helps out with the use of her car. That in itself is a great gift, otherwise I'd have to pick and choose which family to spend time with, and I don't want to do that.

I'm looking forward to the break. Despite the fact that I don't have a job, I could really use some down time.

At any rate, I hope to see Chris and perhaps Brody on my return to Guelph... as for the rest of you, I hope you have a brilliant Christmas.

Does anyone have any plans at all for New Year's? Somehow, I always seem to forget this occurs a week afterwards.

Must be all the eggnog.


Mmmmmm.... eggnog. Send some if you can.
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 11:10 a.m. | 0 comments

Above: Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire comes out in 2005... right in time for the release of book six on July 16: Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince (see below). Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
Gets its official release date: July 16, 2005! For those of you who have never bothered to read this series, you're really missing out. Despite being labelled as a children's book, it's some of the most clever and imaginative work I've ever read.

Other that that, there isn't much news to report. I picked up series 8 of those Marvel Legend figures I'm obsessed with collecting. I've now added Doc Ock, modern armour Iron Man, Iceman and Storm to my figure collection. I've got to get ahold of myself.

Catherine left me. And she took Truffle. That's new.

Before you panic and start in surprise, she's just gone home for the holidays. She'll be back soon enough. In fact, when I see her on Saturday for Christmas, I may just scoop her up and carry her back home. Her and the little one.

It's a terrible thing, to live alone. Coming back to the apartment without the love of my life and my little degu was horrible. Not that I can't be alone for a little while, but I keep trying to talk to Truffle, only she isn't there. I keep waiting for Catherine to come home from some imagined trip to the store, but she isn't coming back.

Keep that bed warm without her isn't the same. It's funny when you realize how much simple joy you take out of another persons love and company, and how hard it is to go without it for even a day.

It may not sound like it, but I love it when she goes away for a short time. Nothing gets my heart going more than missing her and nothing feels so good as holding her in my arms again after a long time apart.

Of course, five minutes later I'll ignore her and play video games.

Well, maybe not.
Posted by Parallel
Maybe it's just me, but I happen to love the idiotic double-meanings that some signs can take. What I love even more is that someone approved the signs in the first place. Maybe it's sort of an evil pride that I take in loving the dumb things people do and say.

• No children allowed
—Florida maternity ward

• Our motto is to give our customers the lowest possible prices and workmanship
—Maine shop

• Persons are prohibited from picking flowers from any but their own graves
—Pennsylvania cemetery

• Ask about our plans for owning your home
—loan company office

• Best place to take a leak
—radiator-repair garage
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, December 16, 2004 at 1:30 p.m. | 0 comments
Though my job has its interesting points, it is by and large a study of the bizarre, unusual, and the people that come to identifiy with these two words.

Most of my work involves answering the phone and doing summaries for my friend who has kindly provided me with work during the holiday season, but I must admit that it can be quite boring as well. Some of the jargon I encounter is simply stunning:

"Psychiatric and Neuropsychological Findings After Stereotactic Hypothalamotomy, in Cases of Extreme Sexual Aggressivity" is the title of just one of the articles I'm researching. If you can understand half of it, you're on the same page as I am and it reads like this: HUH?

It's all good, though.

Jeromy has requested that I speak my mind on the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King extended edition DVD which I picked up on Tuesday. This I will say: it looks brilliant next to the first two parts on the shelf.

As for the film, I haven't managed to get through the four and a half hours and change that the movie is made up of. I'm just shy of the 2 hour mark and I must say, that like the first two parts, it's brilliant.

I will mention, however, that while I'm thrilled for any and all extra parts thrown into the package, so far I haven't encountered many new scenes that completely redefined the viewing experience the way it worked with the first two films. Perhaps it's because this movie was already incredibly long. The Voice of Saruman scene at the beginning, however, is priceless and I can't understand why this was left out. It's creepy and shocking and just darn cool.

In a short time, Catherine is heading out to pick up a portable DVD player for me. She's not buying it herself, per se, but rather my Dad has given me a lovley cash Christmas gift and this is the item I've chosen to pick up. Some would pick a PS2 or Xbox, but I don't play enough games to justify that. What I do in spades, however, is watch movies, and I would love something to enjoy during commutes and other long trips. Heck, I have a couple of hour long train rides coming up this weekend as well as a boatload of travelling next week. I'm looking forward to this little item, to be sure.

Now I actually want a decent commute so I can watch movies and tv episodes. How sad.

I'm almost done my shopping for this year and it's cost me, on average, about what it normally does. In the $350 range. Thank god I had enough work from various sources to offset this cost, not to mention allow me to pay rent, so I can't complain. I may even head out to buy some new Marvel Legends figures this afternoon.

And then... nothing for a good long time. Between my birthday, Christmas, and my own pocket change I think I've been more than spoiled enough this month. Shockingly so, I think. This kind of makes up for the past four months where I had to scrimp, save, and count pennies before buying a donut. Crazy.

I really should be working.

Posted by Parallel
Saturday, December 11, 2004 at 9:19 p.m. | 0 comments

The Myth: A penny is made of copper.

The Fact: Pennies minted after 1982 are 97.5% zinc and 2.5% copper.


The Myth: Dogs sweat through their panting tongues.

The Fact: Panting may help them cool off, but they sweat through their feet.


The Myth: Your nails continue to grow after you die.

The Fact: They don’t. Your tissue recedes from your nails, making them appear longer.


MORE DINOSAUR BONES HAVE BEEN FOUND IN CANADA THAN IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH.

I just have to say that useless trivia is quite entertaining when you get right now to it but it is a pleasant diversion. That, and neither Jer nor Aaron post this sort of thing. They seem to be on the same page much of the time, so just going to one blog usually catches me up on the kinds of rants they're experiencing at home.

Just kidding. I might go over to see Aaron shortly. Apparently he's recovering from last night and awaiting Jer's return from a Christmas party.

I smell fun!

Posted by Parallel
Here are some real (no kidding) albums:

Music to Light Your Pilot By, from the Heil-Quaker Corporation (a heater and air-conditioner manufacturer)

Where Are the Dead?

The Addicts Sing

Music to Be Murdered By (from Alfred Hitchcock)

Songs for Gay Dogs

Christmas with Colonel Sanders
Posted by Parallel
It's times like this that it occurs to me that I was lied to by the admissions packages that Humber College sent out on a regular basis. They didn't straight out lie by claiming that each and every one of us would be safe and secure with a job before we even graduated, but it was strongly implied.

I can't deny that many people did "job out" and more have since found their jobs. It doesn't keep me from becoming increasingly frustrated that with my skill, experience and desire to get going that it doesn't seem to amount to much of anything at the moment.

That said, at least I have three jobs to keep me afloat. It ticks me off to do it, but I could be in much worse straights given that I know several people with nothing at all. Right now I have contract work with my friend Julian in his office until the 23rd. That means lots of money that I need. More importantly, it means I can pay rent.

And that's a good thing. I'm sure Catherine would agree.

But she's just happy with Mario Party 6 right now. We picked it up last night and have been having a blast. Too bad I have to split it between Metroid Prime 2 right now, which I still haven't finished.

Not enough hours in the day.

So things are okay. Not brilliant, but okay. At least Christmas is going to go smoothly and really, what more do you need at this time of year?

Maybe a trip to Spain or something.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, December 03, 2004 at 4:29 p.m. | 0 comments
My brother, Graydon, is celebrating his 37th (in a row?) birthday today. He's got three kids, a live-in girlfriend and a mortgage. I'd snicker but I'm sure my time is just around the corner. Then again, he does have a 16-year-old daughter and that DOES make me laugh.

In other related news, I was just rejected for job #6 or #7. I'm consistent at least.

All that stuff I wrote about last week about being happy no matter what gets just a little bit tougher on days like today, and it doesn't help that we have an unwanted guest in our apartment.

Last night for more than 2 hours, a psychotic evil mouse was heard chewing and scampering around the apartment. You wouldn't think it'd make much noise much less arouse any suspicion, but damn if it didn't keep Catherine and I awake all night. Then I got a call at 6:53am asking me to come in to teach. I've been a zombie all day.

I'll still go to karate tonight (though I won't enjoy it being so tired) and then hopefully Catherine and I will find something interesting to do. Season 5 of Angel just started on Space last night and we haven't seen it, so we eagerly await the next days' taped episode. I'd watch it when it came on, but Space, in their infinite wisdom, has decided to air the show at 1am every night.

Oh yeah, and I've bought 1 out of about 6 or 7 presents for people last night. Catherine's parents and her brother's present are out of the way. I have no clue what to get Catherine, an inkling for my mom, and clear ideas for my brother and a young man named Chris Vettoretto.

My brain is oozing out my ear.
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, November 30, 2004 at 10:20 a.m. | 0 comments
I seem to go through a lot of those when trying to blog some days. It's been a week since the last time I posted, which means I had to have gotten rejected for at least one more job, but as it was my birthday last week that also means I had a lot of cake.

The universe has a quirky way of evening things out.

Catherine and I spent most of the weekend at my mom's house where we prepped her basement (our old apartment) for Christmas. It looks pretty good if I say so myself. Not wanting to stop there, when we got home Catherine and put up our tree and a nice bit of lights in the window. So far as I can tell, we're one of three people in the visible neighbourhood with lights up already.

Some might say that it's too early for Christmas decorations but the malls have us beat by nearly a month. I just didn't see the wisdom in putting up a tree a week or two before Christmas only to pull it down soon after. Besides, seeing it up gives me nice feelings and I'd like to keep those as long as possible.

Other than that, I've been called in to teach at my uncle's school two more times. I was really paranoid about this at first because my previous experience teaching there had been horrible, including an hour and a half drive from Guelph. Taking the TTC for 50 minutes is much less stressful, and coincidentally the same amount of time it takes for me to get to Humber.

I'm doing what I can to have money for the upcoming holidays as well as to make sure I can make my monthly loan payments. They aren't astronomical at $150 a month, but when you already need a ton of money for other things it can put a bit of a pinch on things financially.

Who knows if I'll get a job in December... I'm betting on not as a lot of places won't be hiring/firing until the new year. That sucks for me in terms of getting my career started, but luckily I have a lot of friends that require my services in exchange for pieces of paper called money so I can't really complain.

Well, I can, but that doesn't help anything.

Other than the above, I've been trying to squeeze in as much time as possible for Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, which Catherine bought me for my birthday. It's every bit as good as the first and perhaps a little bit better. It's going to be a good few months for me as a Nintendo fan... the new Mario Party is coming out, as is Resident Evil 4 and the new Mortal Kombat.

But first things first.... Christmas.

Cue tense music.
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, November 23, 2004 at 4:50 p.m. | 0 comments

It's here... it's brilliant... and just in time for my best birthday ever. Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
Today is my birthday. I say this not to ask for congrats, pats on the back, or anything else like that, but to share a revelation brought about in part from the release of U2's brilliant new album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, in part from a quote from C.S. Lewis (see above) and from the simple good will and grace of my friends and loved ones...

Sometimes you can't make it on your own...

For too long I've been working under the delusion that life is all about me. What I don't have in terms of a job or wealth, my frustration with sitting at home, and all the other excess that we each too frequently buy in to. The truth here is that without the love and support of my friends and family I would have nothing. I would be the nothing I feared I was just because I didn't have a job.

That's just ridiculous.

My birthday has been the best that I can ever remember and I haven't even gotten to the sweetest part... my dinner and time with the best girlfriend and most beautiful girl in the world, Catherine.

It began Saturday with a day with my Dad. A movie, National Treasure (not too shabby at all), then dinner and a long walk back home up Yonge and across Bloor. Why was it great? We just talked and talked. For all the world he was my best friend. It was great.

Today I got to spend the afternoon with my mom. One of the few advantages to not having a job is that you're pretty much always free. We had a great lunch and then to my total shock we wound up buying a few things that I needed and one I didn't (another movie... but can you really have too much?) Before I met up with her, I made a copy (shhh) of the U2 album for her to listen to. It's just that good. Everyone should have a copy. Just ask and I'll make you one.

My mom and I just walked and talked. It felt great. This week I got to spend really good quality time with two of the most important people in my life. I couldn't ask for more.

Tonight I spend with my family: Catherine and Truffle. The little one will get her free play time (half an hour outside the cage to run around), Catherine and I will enjoy a nice romantic dinner and most importantly I'll get presents. Actually, that's not important at all, I just like it. ;)

I'm not religious, but the only word I can think of that matches my situation is blessed. I have a wonderful home, a loving girlfriend, great parents, a great kid (Truffle) and with friends like Jeromy, Aaron, Chris, Brody, Jamie, Josh, Paul, Pushee, Patti, my brother Graydon, Catherine's great family, and my parents.

Man, I don't think anyone else has it as good as I do.

Oh, and buy the new U2 album. I got up first thing and rushed out to get it. It's worth it. $10.99 at Music World. Or I'll make you a copy. ;)

I'm 27 now. Crazy.
Posted by Parallel
Saturday, November 20, 2004 at 11:26 a.m. | 0 comments
Neither could I, really. What follows is absolutely true, though why anyone would believe it is beyond me. Well, okay, maybe it isn't beyond the realm of believability, but it is pretty damn funny.

Here is an email I sent to an old editor friend of mine at the Toronto Sun. It was in relation to a job opening they had for their layout division:

He
y XXXX,

Hope things are going well with you. I'm still doing the job search thing, which I must admit, is steadily growing on my nerves.

At any rate, I'm going to apply for a job at the Sun doing layout (it's been posted online) and I was just wondering if you had any tips or suggestions that I could use should I get called for an interview?

Anything at all would be great!




The reply is surreal to say the least. This comes to me three days later:








Are you ready? It's pretty odd...





Here it is (unedited):

Hi Tim,

No, sorry, no suggestions ... and I've thought about it, I really have. Unfortunately, it's not my area of expertise. Wait... here's something. The current graphic artists do maps, charts and lay out pages. They also do a little copy editing, although sometimes they are discouraged from doing that. Hope that helps.
XXXX

Catherine still finds this funny...


Posted by Parallel
Thursday, November 18, 2004 at 3:15 p.m. | 0 comments
Put on your thinking cap

Meaning: Carefully and thoughtfully consider something

Origin: In previous centuries, it was customary for judges to put a cap on before sentencing criminals. Because judges were respected thinkers, it was referred to as a “thinking cap.”

Want some more useless trivia? Every 3 months you replace your eyelashes. You'll have 600 sets of them in your lifetime.

You probably thought this post was going to be interesting and relevant. Hopefully the above trivia is interesting and you find a relevant way to use it in your life.

Not much else is going on, really. I tried to bite my tongue off last week in karate. I got hit in the jaw with an uppercut (headgear on, of course) as I was trying to speak and now it looks like a piece of hamburger. There are teeth marks all around the outside and a bit of a scab on one side.

Yum, don't you think?

It took a few days for it to get back to normal. Catherine had gone home for the weekend so I was pretty much here feeling useless. Jer, Aaron and I went to see Garden State on Friday night and it was a pretty decent flick. The rest of the weekend Pushee was supposed to show up but didn't. So I cleaned.

Other than that, I started doing supply teaching for my Uncle in Scarborough again. This is a terrible job. Well, not so much terrible as it is a long commute to do things with disabled, dysfunctional and disorderly kids. It's a taxing job. I don't know how he manages it. So far I've only been called in on one day, Monday, but that was more than enough for me.

The rest of the week it's been doing eBay listings for the Wicked Witch of the Consignment Stores. God, I hate that job. That seems to be a theme these days. But it's money in my pocket which slowly but surely is getting larger and larger. I'm by no means self-sufficient yet nor satisfied with my current condition, but I'm working on it. Catherine thinks I still need to lighten up. Maybe I do.

Other than that, been watching Angel, Lost, and doing my best to keep my head down. Next Tuesday is my birthday and I plan to... oh, wait, I never make birthday plans. Somehow I always forget. I got a card in the mail today that reminded me it was coming up.

I'll be 27. God, that's old. Too old.

Posted by Parallel
Thursday, November 11, 2004 at 4:09 p.m. | 0 comments
Ever since Sept 7, the release date of season 4 of Angel, I've been pestering those poor souls to give up the ghost and get it in so I could rent it.

Seriously.

At least one or two calls a week, and I'd stop in at least once a week and ask about the inevitable arrival of this show. After all, they had every other season of both Angel, Buffy and the brilliant Firefly so I don't think I was that off base in expecting the next season.

See, I'd never seen the show (any of them) before this summer when I went on a huge rampage and rented them all. I became hopelessly addicted over the course of the 200 shows or so and was left with a cliffhanger at the end of season 3... Angel being dumped in a metal tank into the ocean.

And then those jerks dragged their butts for TWO MONTHS before they got it in.

If I had the money, I would have just bought the damn thing. Alas, I do not.

But, today was a good day for TV and for Brian because they finally had it in (along with season 7 of Buffy which I broke down and watched off of Space before I'd even seen all of season 6). So I have it now.

Of course, Catherine is making me promise not to watch it this weekend as she'll be going home to visit family.

Curses!

Ah... but wait... my newly purchased piece of technology may have arrived just in time to prevent a disaster...
Posted by Parallel
Monday, November 08, 2004 at 2:28 p.m. | 0 comments

The Incredibles... the best superhero movie ever made. And THAT is from a self-confessed Marvel zombie. Go see it! Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
Sunday, November 07, 2004 at 8:00 p.m. | 1 comments
I've finally done it after much talking, debating and patient waiting. The new burner is installed and running like a top which means that I was finally able to clear out the gutters of my computer and bring it into the new milennium.

That's kind of ironic given that I was running Milennium Edition before, which is nothing more than a slightly souped-up version of Windows 98.

Paul came over this weekend and generously donated his time (I say Thankya) and now the comp has a shiny new face in the form of Windows XP!

Right now I'm in the middle of ruining all that hard work by installing a bunch of crap programs that, unfortunately, I've come to know and love over the years. It's all coming together... it's all happening...

But even geeks need breaks. Today, Catherine and I headed out for a great afternoon at the zoo. We checked out our old favorites, had a hamburger or two, and even picked up a zoo Christmas ornament. Not bad for a day out, dontcha think?
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, November 03, 2004 at 1:31 p.m. | 0 comments
This one is for Occupational Health & Saftey magazine, or more specifically, a weekly newsletter that the same organization produces. There would also be the need for me to write one feature-length article of around 2500 words every six weeks, otherwise I need to be in charge of about six pages a week. It's not a ton of work, just stuff that requires constant attention. All in all it doesn't sound like a bad job, it's just not going to be laugh a minute. Well, so far that I can see. Still, maybe this will turn out to be a bit of a fun experience. I've learned never to rule anything out. If they want me, they'll likely get me and the best work that I can do as well.

The day: well, I left really early to make sure that I was there on time. I did too good of a job as I was half an hour early. So I sat in the lobby and read. It was nice, but the sun focused through the windows seems to have burned almost half my face.

The interview was done with two women, the editors of both a weekly newsletter and the magazine which is published eight times a year. It seems my job would be a contract position, lasting december to december, where I would be in charge of the weekly six-page newsletter including layout. I'd also have an editorial assistant for a couple of days a week.

That's just bizarre if you ask me.

The rate of pay, benefits, etc didn't enter the conversation and part of me is wishing that I had asked. But seeing as how I wasn't offered the job on the spot, I figured that might be a bit much. I almost never ask even though it's the question on top of the pile in my brain.

The interview went well. Discussed strengths, kinds of stories, approaches, office environment, etc. Things seemed to be fairly relaxed and easy going. The office is a bit stuffier than others I've been to, giving it an air almost of a banking office or something along those lines. Most magazines are a bit more cluttered and relaxed. It's funny, given that magazines have specific looks and polishes so people assume the places they're made would be the same.

So, I think it went well. The commute is roughly 40-50 minutes depending on traffic (passing a PetSmart along the way), the building is 9 stories in a semi-residential area. On the whole, it doesn't seem too bad. Keep in mind that I really don't want this job (I want the others I interviewed for) but a job is a job.

I'm not sure about this year-long contract though as I'm still considering applying for teacher's college, which would start in September. A year is a bit long to be tied to a place. I much prefer the old method of come and go as you please.

I figure I have a week or two to go before I find out from any of these places, so in the meantime it's back to normal life and the job search. Which I hate.

I hate a lot of things, though.

But not my birthday! That's coming up soon and Catherine has asked me for a list of things... the only problem is keeping it narrowed down. And reasonable. I don't know if she can do a 'world trip' at this point, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, November 02, 2004 at 3:34 p.m. | 0 comments
The interview went fine. It lasted about 35 to 40 minutes and pretty much talked about the same kinds of things that I did at my last interview. There were two people, one younger woman that was talking to me and seemed interested, then an older guy who I think was the EIC or Publisher who talked very little but mostly just wrote on a pad of paper. It was quite distracting.

All in all, it sounds like a brilliant job to be honest. Lots of creative freedom, the kinds of subjects that I'm interested in and plenty of wiggle room to make it mine. All I need to do is employ some kind of mind control technique to get them to pick me. Money works the best, I've found.

Oh well. Hopefully I'll be offered the job. They said it could be as long as two weeks before they start the second round of interviews. They said this round was continuing this week and into next. There was a girl who came in as I was leaving for her interview.

Who knows how it will all work out. Hopefully the job I'm meant to have will be the one I get. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed.
Posted by Parallel
In 1845, Congress selected the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November as Election Day. Here’s why:

• Because most Americans were farmers, November was the most convenient month—the harvest was over and the weather was still mild enough to allow travel over dirt roads.

• Tuesday was chosen over Monday so the rural voters would have time to travel to the polls. (They couldn’t leave on Sunday because of church.)

• Why the first Tuesday after the first Monday? Two reasons: November 1 is All Saints Day, a holy day of obligation for Roman Catholics, and most merchants did their books from the preceding month on the 1st.

Fascinating stuff, isn't it? No? Well, the heck with all of you. I hope Kerry wins.

On an unrelated manner, I have an interview Chart magazine for their entertainment editor position at 2pm today. Unlike the previous interview that I was all kinds of nervous about, I feel almost nothing about this one. Perhaps it's because they're only offering $18,000 a year (which isn't enough to live on in Toronto). Kind of them, isn't it? Oh well, maybe it will be better than that and open a lot of other doors.

I just don't have a lot of options these days.
Posted by Parallel
Flugie: A rule that helps only the rule maker

Bloviate: To speechify pompously

Roorback: An invented rumor intended to smear an opponent

Snollygoster: A politician who puts politics ahead of principle

Boondoggle: A wasteful or crooked government-funded project

Mugwump: A political maverick

Bafflegab: Intentionally confusing jargon
Posted by Parallel
Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 11:35 a.m. | 0 comments

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith teaser poster. Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
Well, it's finally here. The third and final eagerly awaited teaser poster for the big Star Wars prequel trilogy. Gut reaction that it's cool, but I don't know how much it stands up to really close scrutiny.

After the first two films failed to capture me the way the originals did (mostly because of the horrid dialogue and delivery.... the first films had bad dialogue as well, but the actors seemed to know how to say it at least) I'm surprised that I'm still eager to see this one. Of course, the promise that just about everyone dies and that the film is dark and brooding can only be looked at as a good thing.

I'm also curious to see how the whole series will stand together once this thing comes out. I also still need to buy the original trilogy on DVD.

Ah, the lack of money... but I'm working on that, aren't I?
Posted by Parallel
Friday, October 29, 2004 at 3:10 p.m. | 0 comments
Two to go.

I had the interview. I think it went pretty well, otherwise I don't think it would have lasted nearly an hour and a half. That's a long time to be on your game, let me tell you.

Now I'm just tired. Trying to relax and let the stress leave. Not for long, though, as I have two interviews next week. One at Chart, and the other at Canadian Health & Safety News.

At least things are looking up!
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, October 28, 2004 at 10:36 p.m. | 0 comments

Me in Jasper many moons ago... looking for direction then and wondering if I've finally found it now... Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
This is it (well, nearly). Tomorrow is the day. Do or die.

The job interview.

Everyone assures me that I'll do great. Friends, peers, instructors, they all seem certain that this job is essentially a lock and if it isn't it's because of some weird twist of fate or other bizarre event that I'll have no control over.

I'm confident about it, too. That's the problem, I guess. I'm waiting for the twist ending packaged onto the end of shows like Lost, 24 or any other TV show or movie that I've seen lately. Maybe there isn't a twist. Maybe it's just time for me to finally get to a good place. Maybe that's also why I'm a little scared.

I've had jobs before, tasks, responsiblities and duties that I've always lived up to and loved every moment of, but this is the real start of a real career assuming that I get the job. That carries a certain amount of weight and expectation that I'm placing on myself. I've had plenty of interviews before and plenty of experience, but never one that counted so much. Never about something I really wanted. And certainly never about something that would actually pay me what I'm worth.

Catherine says I worry too much and that I need to calm down. I know she's right, and tomorrow I'll be as cool as cucumber, I swear. It's just thoughts like these that keep me up a few extra minutes at night. Aaron probably knows a thing or two about not being able to sleep.

Still, things are looking up overall. I should have some money coming in, and I just won an award for my work on Convergence that gave me an extra $200. I can't complain about that. It's the second journalism award I've won for my specific work, and the fifth overall for works I've headed up. It's a good track record and I'd like to keep running with it.

Tomorrow I conquer Total Gamer and Hub. I'll sleep easily knowing that this is, in essence, my job already. It's just a matter of a couple more steps.
Posted by Parallel
Sunday, October 24, 2004 at 1:55 p.m. | 0 comments
Be all that you can be.

Today I was given the unusual charge by Catherine to find a suitable external DVD burner. Of course, this is only half the challenge. As with many things, finding and buying something that exactly fits the bill of what you want it to do, the kinds of software it offers, and of course ease of use.

In theory, all of the available products would do the same thing. To this end, I've enlisted both Paul and Josh for some tech-saavy advice (though neither are answering their ICQ messages at the moment) to find out what it is I'm really looking for.

In a way, this hunt couldn't have come at a better time. As I mentioned previously, I have an interview with a computer and tech based magazine this coming Friday. It helps to be able to talk about some investigative journalism on the subject in the days leading up to the interview, and I'm hoping that in our search along College I'll at least come across a copy of the magazine which I hope to be working for.

Two birds, one stone, one step closer to a job.

That's the theory.

So, I'm armed with the Internet, an abundance of free time and a girlfriend who's willing to pay for the mentioned hardware. It's like I've found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Now all I have to do is convince her about a giant TV and we're set.

My mission is clear, the goal is set. And once all of this is done, I can back up my precious files and give this computer the digital colon cleansing it so desperately requires. Then I need a nice new copy of XP to install and I'm laughing like a maniac.

Again, that's the theory.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, October 22, 2004 at 3:02 p.m. | 0 comments
Are few and far between. But, as Jer and Paul can attest to on at least one insane occasion, I do seem to have large quantities of horseshoes up my ass.

What am I referring to?

Well, I went to that god-awful job doing eBay listings yet again today. I'll readily admit it's boring and terrible work, especially for $9 an hour sitting next to a dog that smells like evil itself (though he's not a bad little fella) but when you need money you shut up and do it or go broke and ask your parents for money.

I don't wanna.

So, after an extensive amount of work retooling my resume and preparing for another wave of job application bliss, Catherine and I came across a listing for an editorial assistant for Hub: Digital Living and Total Gamer magazine. Both are free publications, Hub being available across Toronto and Total Gamer being the 24-page publication that Blockbuster chains get each month.

I nearly crapped myself. Finally, a publication that I'd actually be worth a damn working for. How do you not get your hopes up?

Today when I got home, there was a message from the editor asking if we could set up an interview. I called him back in a fluster much like a teenage girl about to meet Leonardo DiCaprio or something, and did my best to collect myself.

I had energy, enthusiasm, and only one blunder. He asked if I'd read the magazine which I had, but I assumed they had to be bought. See, I hadn't thought terribly much about the market for these magazines and as soon as he explained they were free and where they were available from I smacked my forehead because I did, of course, know this but in my eagerness totally forgot.

Hopefully my talking about video game knowledge, renting games, and my enthusiasm for working there (I told him I was quite excited to see my listing, then I showed it to Catherine who didn't seem as impressed... he thought that was funny). I want to avoid sucking up, but I know part of what got Catherine her job was that she was genuinely interested in working there. I said something along the same lines: "It's rare that you find a job that not only matches your skills but fits into your interests as well."

I tried not to get into too much detail, and quickly ran over what my resume said to refresh his memory (at his request). Years at CXF, writing reviews (which he mentioned would be a large component), and where I recently had internships.

Like a kid after his first date, I'm going ever every detail and cringing at what a dork I must have looked like. I can't help it, though, this would be a fantastic job to start my career with. It's understandable that I'd be nervous and excited. I don't think I've blown it (hopefully far from it) but I need to make sure to bring my 'A' game to the table next week.

That means research, research, research.

I'm screwed, aren't I? Interview is next Friday... one week 'till Judgement Day.
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, October 20, 2004 at 7:00 p.m. | 0 comments

Is this all there is to life? Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
.... it doesn't mean they like you.

Yes, dear fans of this blog (all two of you must be jumping up and down right about now), yours truly is finally back in the blogging game. Why the delay, especially after the tantalizing hints about how brilliant King's The Dark Tower really is?

Well, I just got lazy.

That's the real truth behind the job search process. It takes a lot out of you and as more than one person I've spoken to about the juggernaut of nothingness that I face each day, it's the hardest job I'll ever have. Getting motivated to send out resume after resume with no calls and only very rarely a rejection letter tends to wear on the heart and soul mighty quick.

Catherine is doing her best to keep my spirits up but I must confess to be hitting new lows lately. The other day I danced naked on the street for a quarter. I'm not proud of that, but I did get some gum out of a machine thanks to my hard work.

Seriously, though, I wish things were easier. I've paid my dues, haven't I? Apparently not. I'm not opposed to jumping through more hoops and getting things going, but increasingly I've been seeing my life in terms of Dante and Randal over in Clerks in that I'm not even supposed to be here today. I'm supposed to be a success, not a register jockey.

Hopefully things will change for the better soon.

I recently picked up the Clerks X dvd which is just loaded to the gills with View Askew goodness. Lots of extras, a new animated scene and the brilliant short, The Flying Car. Catherine and I were given a bonus from the building of a massive $60 so we split it and went out to buy something fun to try and enjoy life for once. I bought that and so far she's watched me do it. I almost had her buying slippers. She's a tough cookie to break, though.

Other than that, I've been watching 24 a lot. I rented the first two seasons to keep me company and so far the second is much better than the first. Still, both are good and I suggest you pick them up if you're so inclined.

I also took a sneak peek at Supreme Power, a Marvel comic offering in the shop today. Jamie mentioned it to me a few weeks ago and I've been really curious about it ever since. I need more money.

That seems to be a recurring theme, doesn't it?

I'm working on it. I swear.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, October 08, 2004 at 4:35 p.m. | 0 comments

The Dark Tower still stands!  Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
Just so you know, I dislike you all immensely.

HA HA HA.

Just kidding. Or am I?

Anyway, I'm off to the g-spot for the weekend (and Brantford, home of the girlfriend) for some much needed r and r. I have my mom's car (after a brutal night trying to get it) and I'm about to brave the five o'clock traffic heading out of the city.

Pray for me.

Taking little Truffle with us, so those of you left behind in the big city, please behave. I'll see you all soon.
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, October 06, 2004 at 7:32 p.m. | 0 comments
Things could be easier and better, I warrant, and yet they aren't. I'm not sure who is in charge "up there" (or even if there is an 'up there' to be discussed, but that's a topic for another time), but it seems to me that things are coming out awfully uneven down here.

Maybe it's a case of mixed messages, screwed up communications or just plain old bad timing. Lord knows I've had enough of these like co-inky-dinks in my lifetime to do me well and proper for the rest of my days, but no matter how you look at it I'm simply tired of paying my dues.

Well, that's not entirely true. Some things are a bit of a gift when you get right down to it. Today I got a couple of days work doing eBay listings for a store near where Catherine works. Humbling work, in other words, but it's $9 an hour in the company of an aging blind dog.

Could be worse.

Other things can and will happen, so my baby says. It's just a matter of timing and luck. Well, so far I've sucked at one and the other has all been bad. Still, who knows what changes will be in store in the future?

Tomorrow night I'll be heading to Bolton to grab my mom's car so I can go visit Catherine's family in Brantford as well as my own over the weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing my dad and my brother, Graydon, as well as his kids. It's been far too long for my brother... since about Christmas, I should think. Too long and never again.

I'm rambling and my head hurts. This post isn't going anywhere I thought it would so I'll cut it short. I will say, however, that I'm knee deep in The Dark Tower, but that's a post for another time. You see, I'll let you in on a secret...

I think it may be real.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, October 01, 2004 at 1:20 p.m. | 0 comments
After my huge love-fest about X-Men Legends yesterday I was eager to take another crack at the team of merry mutants. For those of you who don't know, I'd put in a request with the makers of the game and their parent company, Activision, for an interview as well as a review copy of the game. I'd heard nothing at all back after repeated attempts, so I figured the whole thing was dead in the water.

Today I called Blockbuster and asked them to hold the game for me. I figured I was reasonably close to finishing... another five to ten hours or so... and I really enjoyed playing it.

Ten minutes later there was a call from Purolator downstairs. Went down, signed, and got a copy of the game for free.

Fucking cool.

Now the dirty part. Activision sent me a PS2 copy, and I have but a lowly Gamecube. So close, yet so far.

Not to be put off by such a turn of events, I went high and low trying to exchange this game. I called Zellers and they said no problem. I went to Dundas West, only to find out they didn't have it. Doh.

I called Toys R Us at Eglinton. They said sure. I went there, was told that they had too many copies of the game and didn't want another one. I went to EB. They were sold out. Went to an independent store but they weren't having any of it.

So, my last resort was FutureShop. I actually called them first, but they said as long as it scanned they would take it back. I was concerned. Yet it scanned, they said grab the one you want, and it was all done. The downside was that for some bizarre reason the Gamecube version was $10 more. I paid it gladly.

So, I have a new game out of the blue. I like things like that. I also saw that my Dark Tower book finally has gone on sale after repeated visits (and finally a complaint to the store which is in the process of being 'answered') so I'll have that in my hands later. Add on a trip to a Blue Jays game tonight, and you have a pretty good day.

All that would cement it would be a lovely new job. Dare I wish for so much all at once?
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, September 30, 2004 at 4:13 p.m. | 0 comments

An All-Star Cast... Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
Or at least made.

It seems I wasn't the only gamer to get excited about the debut of X-Men Legends. It was billed as the definitive X-Men game that fans had been waiting for. A brawler of an RPG that would take about 30 hours to finish, feature 15 playable characters, as well as 4-player support.

No wonder the guys at Penny Arcade liked it.

I've 'borrowed' their cartoon this week to help pimp out the game that absorbed nearly 20 hours of my time during the three days I rented it. The amount of time was actually probably a little more than what I'm reporting here, but I don't want to seem like that much of a geek.

It was great timing that Paul and Josh made their way into the big city as it gave us a chance to take a squad of characters against Magneto and his Brotherhood. Jer opted for Wolverine most of the time while Paul and I bickered over Cyclops or Storm. Josh liked characters that could fly, but failed to make them do so which, in effect, killed them more than helped them.

I was just getting to the point where taking the game back when I was so close to the end was actually physically painful... mainly because I rented it from Dundas West which is quite a trek from here but the stupid Blockbuster around the corner didn't get it in with what I would call a timely manner. Hell, they still don't have it.

So, who can you use in the game? I had just gotten to the sweet spot where I unlocked all the characters. The 15 are Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Jubilee, Gambit, Rogue, Colossus, Psylocke, Iceman, Beast, Magma, Professor X, and Nightcrawler. The enemies include Juggernaut, Marrow, Avalanche, Pyro, Blob, Mystique, Sabretooth, Apocalypse and Magneto.

Through in appearances by Multiple Man (the real treat of the game), Moira MacTaggert, Illyana Rasputin, Forge, Healer, Sentinels and a host of others and you have an x-fan's wet dream of a game.

It's pretty damn good.

The guys at Penny Arcade capture the frustration of lost squad members perfectly making me wish, once again, that I still had the game in my hot little hands.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, September 24, 2004 at 11:16 a.m. | 0 comments

Truffle's bum on a warm September morning... Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
I woke up this morning feeling good.

That may not seem like an important statement, but in the past two weeks that's been a rarity. Since working late nights changing lights with Bob I've been feeling less than animated in the morning. Today, however, I had to get up bright and early for a job interview with Performance Auto & Sound magazine. A car magazine.

I'll give you a minute to stop laughing.


Still waiting....





Done yet?

Good.

Anyway, we all know that my chances of getting a job in an area requiring huge amount of knowledge on tricked-out cars is less than stellar. They're willing to train and wait a little provided that the skill is up to par (I assure you it is) but I'm still not going to jump up and down for joy yet.

Still, it feels good to get the interview. I've applied for a few other places lately that I think would really suit my skills and talents (again, stop laughing) and I'm hopeful that I'll get a few phone calls. I'm still waiting to hear about that job I'm reasonably certain I might get, but not wanting to get my hopes up I refuse to put all my eggs in one basket.

At any rate, I'm feeling pretty good today. The title of today's post refers to my degu, Truffle, who had her butt hanging out one of the tubes in the cage this morning. As far as I can tell, she was just lounging and relaxing in the sun to heat up her rump. Still damn funny. Being the nerdy Dad, I took a picture and I'm now sharing it with friends. If she was a person, she'd hate me in 15 years. I can't wait to annoy my own kids one day.

So that's that. Tonight is date night with Catherine where we celebrate the tradition of dinner and a movie, likely Anchorman with Will Ferrel. I'm down with that.

Posted by Parallel
Thursday, September 23, 2004 at 10:49 a.m. | 0 comments

A professional's day off... the last issue of Weapon X tainted by someone's idiotic statement: "I want this issue to be finished and over with. I don't like slogging through the last issue of a dead book but I'm a pro so I'll do what I have to do and won't blow it off." Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
You have to love when someone thinks they can slip a joke or something into a book, past an editor, and have it all printed up nice and sweet looking.

The issue comes out, you pick it up, and giggle non stop to your friends about how clever you are. Then, of course, somes the realization that you're an idiot.

My assumption here is that one of the art team, unhappy with the current choice of assignments, slipped that little nugget of text into the current issue of Weapon X. As Sinister plays around with one of Wolverine's eyeballs in the final issue of the series, his notebook has an interesting statement.

It reads: ""I want this issue to be finished and over with. I don't like slogging through the last issue of a dead book but I'm a pro so I'll do what I have to do and won't blow it off."

As a journalist, you hear about this kind of thing from time to time. We affectionately refer to them as career killers. As a joke, someone down the line has slipped in a bit of text expecting their editor to see it and get a chuckle. More often than not, the joke isn't noticed, no one says anything, and then it winds up in print. That makes the editor look bad, the writer look bad, and everyone else associated with it look bad. The result is that the offending party, and often the editor, are canned.

You see it in cutlines, the first letter of each paragraph that spells out a word, lots of little things. Some of them are quite harmless, but when it becomes offensive or crosses a line to being outright bold then you're in trouble. I have no doubt that the remark was made tongue in cheek, but putting it in the final issue of a series where the writer has been struggling to drum up fan support to ensure that it continues is just a cruel final blow.

If I were Frank, I'd be downright pissed.

How do I know it wasn't Frank? Well, I have a lot of info about what he's up to these days, nor does he actually get access to final drafts of art. It goes from artist to inker to editor and colorist. That's about it. Odds are that the new creative team on the book had something to do with it, though in the interest of not pointing fingers, I'll just say that these things happen.

Man, I'd love to be a fly on the wall of that office when this shit hits the fan. We posted this as an article about two hours ago on the site, and I'm waiting to hear some of the fallout.

I'll write about it when I find out.
Posted by Parallel
Monday, September 20, 2004 at 9:37 a.m. | 0 comments
• Get a video camera and microphone and chase a local TV news crew around. Interrupt on-the-scene shots by shouting questions like “Where have all the cowboys gone?”

• Ask strangers if they have change for a nickel.

• In the bathroom at work, utter loud, pain-wracked screams, then emerge holding a large hen’s egg.

• Call National Acme Co. Ask if they have any products you could use to kill a roadrunner.
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, September 14, 2004 at 1:44 p.m. | 0 comments
How indeed? It seems as though U2 has unveiled the title of their latest album and it has me both impressed and a tad confused. After all, they seemed to be doing so well through the 80s and 90s with very brief and short titles like 'Boy', 'War', 'Zooropa' and 'Pop'... then came the new milennium and a lot more verbiage.

I was one of the few people very impressed by the last album's title when it was first announced. 'All That You Can't Leave Behind' is much longer than U2 typically goes for, but I thought it said a lot about the band coming back to their roots and delivering a solid rock performance. Just because it was a little out of left field/left brain didn't necessarily make it bad, just different.

It helps, of course, that the last tour was unbelievable and that Catherine had the distinct honour of being in the front row for the show. Then sort-of meeting them the night after at Much Music was a nice capper on an incredible weekend.

So, the new album, 'How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb' has the honour of being one of the more out-there titles of the year so far as I can recall. It's quite a mainstream title as far as bands today go, but serves as a departure for the Irish rockers. I'm down with it so far, though I must admit to it being a bit of an eyebrow raiser. Rumours for ages had the title as being 'Vertigo' which fits in the one-word scheme for most of U2's albums, but lacks the same kind of punch and intrigue that 'Atomic Bomb' has going for it.

'Vertigo' as it happens is the name of the first single for the band's new album and is due on radios some time next week with a single being released on Nov. 8. The album itself will be out on November 23, just in time for my birthday. This can only be a good thing as it means, more than likely, someone else will buy it for me. And I'm just fine with that idea.

So there you have it... new album, new song, new reasons to love this band. Hopefully it blows their last effort away as god knows I'm more than a little pumped to pick it up.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, September 10, 2004 at 1:15 p.m. | 0 comments
There's nothing worse than feeling like an idiot, especially if you don't think you've behaved that way or done anything to earn the name. Lately, my life seems to be about making a complete idiot out of myself.

Nothing terminal has happened, really. Just minor things. Take today, Mark Millar, writer of books like Wolverine and the Ultimates, passed along a first issue preview of his new arc on Wolverine for us to post and write about. The natural assumption of the leading members of the CXF website was that we were to publish these pages and write a review to go along with.

So I did that.

Turns out, that saying 'first look', 'preview' and all other words are code for don't publish any of this, just write a review. Things would have been a lot simpler, and a lot faster, had the instructions and request been much more clear. As a result, yours truly looks like a dumbass.

But I get that enough anyway that it doesn't come as a huge shock. I've recently irritated Erik Ko over at UDON, other Marvel-ites, the CXF staff, myself due to the ongoing and fruitless job search, and I'm sure Catherine, Aaron and Jer who have nothing better to do (in my limited vision) than listen to me complain non-stop.

I'm sure they're thrilled.

Add in a bit of frustration over how Ron is handling this WHA magazine and that any attempts to reason with him is like trying to teach physics to a banana. At this point I'm reasonably sure you'd have more luck with the banana.

Other frustrations this week:

* Couldn't get the Clerks X dvd... because because BECAUSE... it's on a different schedule for release here in Canada. There's no explanation for why this would be as I can't think of any other time this has happened. Oh well, I really should be using the money to buy my helmet for karate.

* Truffle still hasn't bothered to start pooping properly and Catherine and I are sitting on the fence on the issue of the vet. We both believe that there's nothing that can really be done except to wait it out. Two weeks and change in, though, makes Brian a nervous puppy.

The list could go on and on, but really, who's going to bother reading it? I was bored in typing it.
Posted by Parallel

The Politics of Looking Dumb and Having Wolverine Slice Your Ass Off Because of It. Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, September 07, 2004 at 1:50 p.m. | 0 comments
David Letterman interviewing George W. Bush on Late Night:

LETTERMAN: “How do you look so youthful and rested?”

BUSH: “I fake it.”

LETTERMAN: “And that’s pretty much how you’re going to run the country?”
Posted by Parallel
Sunday, September 05, 2004 at 10:06 a.m. | 0 comments
Brilliant marketing idea: Hire superstar musician Eric Clapton to be a part of Anheuser-Busch’s “The Night Belongs to Michelob” advertising campaign.

Oops: Clapton was an alcoholic. Shortly after the ad was filmed, the guitarist checked himself into a drug rehab clinic . . . and was actually in treatment in Minnesota when the ad premiered on TV. The first time he saw it, he said, “I was in a room full of alcoholics, myself being one of them, and everybody went, ‘Is that you?’”

Anheuser-Busch quickly pulled the ad.
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, September 02, 2004 at 9:55 a.m. | 0 comments

Men and their balls. There's no closer relationship. Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
I thought for sure I was going to be cursed to continually move throughout life constantly missing friends and loved ones. Each time a major event occurred, I invariably left someone behind or went to the same place as one friend only to have them move just before I got there.

It was quite frustrating.

All that ended this week. I busted my ass yesterday helping Jer and Aaron move into their spacious new digs on Bathurst. There were a few hitches (there always are) but they're in, safe, and hopefully quite happy in their love-nest.

The main hitch came when the elevator broke and Aaron and I waited four hours in the lobby for it to get fixed. We were dumb enough to try and move the heaviest item, a dresser, up six flights of stairs in the meantime. Let me give you advice: DON'T DO THAT. Whatever you do, for the love of mike, don't do that.

But, I digest. It's all done. They're in. Phone should be up on Friday, meantime if you have a message you can try email or else give me a shout and I'll be sure to pass it on. I'm sure Jer has sweet-talked most of the women in the building by now, so this mainly applies to friends of Aaron.

Later today they're off to Humber for an orientation (I'm going with them on separate business) and then back home. I'm trying to convince them to see Dodgeball at the Bloor with me. It's only $3.50 and I'd pay twice that to see Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn hurl their balls into each other's faces.

Easily.
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 10:09 a.m. | 0 comments
Thanks to all of you who sent messages or called about Rooter. It means more to me than you know to have friends that care and understand so much. I'm still having a bit of trouble, but hopefully the most painful of the grief is behind me. I still worry about Truffle who is showing a sign or two of stress and being sad, but we play with her every day for at least half an hour out of the cage.

These days I'm doing my best to keep busy. I had the huge comic convention here in Toronto to go to which was a great chance to catch up with old friends and maintain those all-too important contacts. My friend Nick and I covered it quite nicely, but the benefits of which will go to the new comic-bent site we're creating called The 7th Parallel. Designed to be a closer, more in-depth look at the industry and things surrounding it (ala Star Trek, Star Wars, etc) the site aims not to be the leading news site, but the leading features site, interviews site, and commentary. This is an honest-to-god start up Canadian publication so as long as we survive year 1 we'll be eligible for a bit of funding in year two.

We have a nice assortment of interviews done for it as well. Michael Dorn and LeVar Burton from Star Trek: The Next Generation, George Takei from Star Trek, Julie Benz from Angel, Mercedes McNab from Buffy, Robia LaMorte from Buffy, John Kassir from Tales from the Crypt, Peter Mayhew from Star Wars, George Romero from Dawn of the Dead, Anthony Montgomery from Star Trek: Enterprise, Joe Quesada the Marvel EIC, Frank Tieri from Weapon X and a whole bunch more.

Not a bad start.

We've also been told that we're the official magazine of the World Hockey Association. What that means at this point is beyond me in terms of a dollar value, but it gets us much-needed experience on the playing field. The league is small at this point, but we're looking at creating at least 3 issues which will hopefully catch on. It can't hurt, at any rate.

All of this must sound marvelous, but I'm still broke (or close to it). Send money. Seriously, though, the job hunt continues with my frustration increasing daily. Catherine's too, because she has to listen to me complain.

Overall, I suppose I'm doing okay though I still feel a little lost within myself after Rooter passed. Part of me wants to move on, be successful and live happily, the other half wants me to crawl into a deep, dark hole.

I'm working on it. Promise.
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 12:22 p.m. |
As a few of you figured out, my long absence from this blog or even from the internet comes as a result of a broken heart. Last Sunday night, my beloved little one, Rooter, passed away.

Aaron wrote me yesterday saying that he understood the kind of pain that I'm in and I know that he does. Rooter was far too young to have passed away. The vet called it a heart defect common in small animals, but I call it a cruel twist of fate. You see, Rooter wasn't even three years old. Some may think that's ages old for a small animal, but degus typically live anywhere between 5 and 9 years old. By any reasonable count, Catherine and I were cheated out of a couple of years.

The main part of my time lately has been trying not to think of it that way, but rather look at the fact that we had three incredible years to spend time with an extraoridinary little girl. She was the brave one of the two, always taking off and exploring things first before her timid sister would follow. She also had boundless energy as she rearranged things in the cage to knock them over or move them around. It could become frustrating at times when you wanted a bit of quiet, but now that near silence is deaffening.

Rooter was very much loved by Catherine and I. Though it's been a few days, I'm still nowhere near over the pain that this has caused us. Catherine has the distraction of work, but I'm at home all the time and unable to find anything to do that will carry my mind too far away.

Truffle is the one I worry about at the moment. Though she still has a bit of energy she's obviously quite saddened by the loss of her sister. She's lost her perk and zest. The stress is quite obvious as she hasn't been pooping properly since the ordeal. I'm doing my best to give her space, but my zeal as her Dad makes me want to rush in and care for her.

We gave her a little stuffed moose to sleep with. At first we were worried that she would chew it up, but the first thing she did was snuggle down with it. The whole thing was so cute it made me want to cry again.

The hardest part of grieving comes when you start to get over it. That's not something you really want to do or are prepared to let go of, yet each day it becomes a little easier. I talk to Rooter now as much as I talk to my dog, Jack, who passed away some years ago. I picture the two of them and Catherine's dog Barney together waiting for us. It offers me some comfort.

The important thing I try to remember is that Rooter was very much loved and her family was with her every step of her short life. She's gone much too soon but her mom, sister and I will do our best to make her proud and to never stop loving her or remembering her incredible life.

Rooter, I miss you. I wish you were here.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, August 20, 2004 at 12:58 p.m. | 0 comments

A Prayer for My Little One... Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
My little girl, Rooter is quite sick and I feel helpless. I noticed she wasn't looking well yesterday so Catherine and I rushed her off to the vet. I have a lot of fear and paranoia over visiting the vet, but I convinced myself it was nothing more than diarhea as that's what all the symptoms seemed to include.

The vet dashed that, though, by saying that she had a bit of lung congestion and a possible heart defect. For those of you who have known the pain of grief or even death, then you'll understand the sensation of having everything stop for one horrible moment. Rooter wasn't even gone and I felt as though she had just died in my arms.

So, Catherine and I made a tough choice both financially and emotionally to let Rooter stay overnight in the hospital to get the hands-on care she needed to help clear up her lungs and make her little heart stronger. She looked so tired and weak, though when she really wants to she can get going.

The vet called me this morning seconds before I was about to dial the number. I had decided last night that no matter what I was going to bring her home. If these are her last few hours then she'll spend them with her sister, Truffle, and with Catherine and I, her parents.

I did the best I could to give her the medication they gave me. I'm not sure how well the first went down, an antibiotic, but she took most of the second which is for her heart. I offered her a sunflower seed (their favorite treat) and she nibbled on it a little, keeping the rest in her mouth. I'll keep offering them to her over the day to try and make sure she eats a little to help get her strength up.

Right now I have them both in their cage in the bedroom where the air conditioner is. They're near the door so they should have a nice draft of cool air to help her breathe easier and keep her cooled off.

I don't really have to say how scared I am. I'm constantly on the verge of tears. We've had these little girls in our lives for three years and they're supposed to live so much longer. The vet said the next 12 to 24 hours were key and that if she pulls through these and keeps going then she's likely on the mend. I'm certainly not giving up on her and though I'm not religious in the least I'll be doing a lot of praying. For those of you out there with a like mind I wouldn't mind the same.

I understand that she's just a pet to those reading this post, but to me she has literally been like a daughter to me. I watched her grow up, fed her, cleaned her and played with her. This is a very tough time for Catherine and I, but hopefully she'll get better and better... especially now that she's home in a place she knows and is comfortable.

Truffle is a little freaked out by all of this and doesn't seem to know what to make of it all. So far she's giving Rooter a ton of room which is good, though she did give her a kiss when she first came home. I think Truffle understands more than I do what's going on with her sister. All that I can do now is give her time, space, and hope for the best.

I love her so much. I love them both so much.
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, August 19, 2004 at 12:33 a.m. | 0 comments

The Death of Gwen Stacy... Spider-Man fights Carnage, the horrible clone of himself, in a vain attempt to avenge the death of Gwen Stacy. Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
With all comic book deaths, whether in the main Marvel comics universe or the new 'Ultimate' universe, there's a certain element of tragedy and sadness that comes with such a loss. I know it sounds ridiculous, but somehow we become attached to these characters much in the same way people devotedly follow soap operas day in and day out.

I was almost in tears the day that Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man died. It was one of my first comic deaths and I thought that death was the end. Then I realized, some time later, that comics are the one medium in which death is never the end. Alas, for a character like Gwen Stacy this is unfortunately not the case.

Recently the victim of Carnage in Ultimate Spider-Man, Gwen was basically killed as Carnage sucked the life out of her leaving nothing but a mummified corpse. This was gross and disturbing on many levels.

But the weight loss was great. Where can I get in touch with this guy?

Seriously, it's day 3 of the weight loss challenge (quick change in subject, I know, but hold on) and I'm left always feeling hungry and as though I'm about to tear into a pizza. This is compounded by the fact that I'm broke and not only can't afford to buy the diet book I was going on about, but the food ingredients that the book teases me with.

It's a terrible circle to be in. Much like Gwen (see, I told you I was coming back) who had most of her former life wiped away in short order only to be met with a gruesome death, I'm worried not so much that I can't manage to make the diet stick, but that financially and realistically I won't be able to. Keeping the karate up three days a week is easy, but the food part... especially feeling hungry all the time... has really got to change.

What to do, what to do...
Posted by Parallel
Monday, August 16, 2004 at 4:57 p.m. | 0 comments

"From Beneath You, It Devours..." Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
As I move rapidly through the 7th and final season of Buffy The Vampire Slayer I must admit to being more than a little sad. Then again, seeing as how I was able to watch every season this summer at least I didn't have to wait seven years to see the whole thing unfold. If you've seen it all, then please don't spoil the end. I've still got my fingers crossed that Xander and Anya wind up getting back together.

The result of Angel, Firefly and Buffy gorging is that I'm now a devote fan and follower of Joss Whedon. In less than two weeks time, I have a slew of interviews set up with several Buffy and Angel stars including Anya, Harmony and Darla. Not to mention various Star Trek and Star Wars alumns like Peter Mayhew, George Takei and hopefully Patrick Stewart.

This means that I'm a busy boy.

Eye has said that they'd take an article featuring as many stars as possible but that I'd have to come up with an interesting question or angle for the stars to answer. Eye isn't terribly interested in the fanboyish aspect of the whole thing, and I don't really know what other kind of angle I can take to pique the interest of an editor. All I know is that I have a unique opportunity to talk with some pretty decent profile cult stars and I don't want to waste it.

So, if you have any ideas, throw them in the chatterbox on the side or else drop me a line. Let's work together, folks. Let's make this a night to remember.

Or something.

Worse comes to worse, I'm going to use all of this info as original content on a new webzine that I want to start called, aptly enough, The 7th Parallel. If anyone is interested in being an editor/writer for this site, let me know.
Posted by Parallel
Sunday, August 15, 2004 at 7:32 p.m. | 0 comments
The Ancient Greeks took their competition seriously. Dead seriously. In 564 B.C., Arrachion of Phigalia became an Olympic champion and died in the process. His downfall was the pankration event, a mix of boxing and wrestling where virtually anything was permitted. After a very tough fight, his opponent conceded the bout as Arrachion lay on the ground. Unbeknownst to his rival, Arrachion had expired from the duel, becoming the only dead person ever to win an Olympic event.


- Bathroom Reader Page-A-Day Calendar
Posted by Parallel
Saturday, August 14, 2004 at 11:52 p.m. | 0 comments
Who would have thunk it, but one of us has finally spawned. I mean, sure, I've known many a person to get pregnant and reproduce but my close friend pool has so far been unable to spawn.

That's finally changed.

Brody Campbell, one of my best friends, now has a baby girl. Little Rory Marie Campbell was born on July 7, 2004 to Brody and his girlfriend, Lisa.

There's so much I could write about this. About the next huge step that most of us will take in our lives and the fact that Brody is now someone's Dad. I mean, if you think about it, that's huge. It's incredible. It's awe inspiring.

To be honest, I can't think of any one of my friends better suited to the task at the moment. I'm sure Brody will give Rory everything she needs to make it in this world with plenty of smiles to boot.

Good for you, man. We're all here if you need us.
Posted by Parallel
Friday, August 13, 2004 at 6:39 p.m. | 0 comments

"Whoever wins, the audience loses. Big time." Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
The best that can be said for Alien Vs. Predator is that the tagline for the movie didn't lie. Josh and I went to see the film earlier today and after laughing through parts of the movie and complaining bitterly about it afterwards, I was suddenly struck by the ingenious marketing campaign that the film used.

After that, I couldn't complain anymore. They flat out told us what to expect.

"Oh," said Josh. "That makes it okay then. I like the movie much better now."

Indeed. The immortal tagline "Whoever wins, we lose." was simply stated and undeniably true. The audience lost. Big time.

At least we only paid $4.25 each.

I knew the movie was going to suck after reading a non-review of it earlier today. It seems that Fox decided NOT to allow press screenings of the movie. Ouch. The only movies the article lists with such bold moves in the past included The Avengers with Sean Connery and Get Carter. You know you're bailing on your movie when...

The second indicator that it was going to blow was that it was only rated PG. Even the fricking Matrix was rated R for reasons unknown. Every previous Predator and Alien movie was restricted, but THIS thing was only rated PG.

The third and final blow was the director, Paul W.S. Anderson who was responsible for other stink-fests such as Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat (though at the time it came out, I liked MK a little. I saw it again recently... good LORD what was I thinking?).

All things considered, this movie is a renter if it's even worth THAT much money. The baddies don't even show up for nearly 45 minutes and the rest of the flick is filled with so many holes in continuity and cheesey moments that it made me want to gag on my root beer.

Still, not bad. Lots of Alien blood and guts. Off screen, of course.

Man, did we lose...
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, August 11, 2004 at 8:56 p.m. | 0 comments

Can yours truly weigh less than your average bear? The challenge is on! Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
Lordy lord how I hate the extra pounds that have attached themselves to my frame. It's been an ongoing battle for about five years now, ever since I began working at Biva's Esso in Guelph long ago. See, the problem was that a bevy of snack foods were available and I had no self-discipline.

So the weight began to add on. With stresses from school, lots of life changes and a few other things I found myself gaining pound after pound. At this point, I'm about 30 pounds over what my target weight is.

Yikes.

I've been doing a lot to try and curb my weight this past year but it's mostly been ineffective or not as effective as I would have liked. I was working out three times a week and I currently go to karate three times a week for an hour and a half a pop. I work hard, sweat much, yet the weight remains or disappears too slowly.

I've come to the unescapable conclusion that it's my diet which is to blame. I've heard books like the South Beach Diet are quite good at getting you on the right path and the sleeve assures its readers that while they suffer for the first two weeks, at least 8 to 13 pounds will magically disappear from their bodies. Hell, that's close to half what I need in one push and when you add on the exercise...

Book here I come. My physical efforts have been strong, lets see how the mental ones do.

Why do I want pizza already?
Posted by Parallel
Monday, August 09, 2004 at 2:59 p.m. | 0 comments

Ah... the gang's all here. From left to right: Paul, Nic, Jamie, me, Josh, Jer, Doug, Laura and Victoria. Good times had by all. I'm assuming. Posted by Hello
Posted by Parallel
There's a job opening for a reporter on Manitoulin Island according to Jeff Gaulin's website...

Alas, without the gang there it just wouldn't be the same. But what a brutally tempting offer to make! If you have the means to go, I highly recommend it. It is so choice...

(ID this quote for a no-prize).
Posted by Parallel
Well, Jer's cottage to be more specific.

For three glorious days I managed to escape this city and the swirling pool of negative crap that a good portion of my life had become. Catherine was the life preserver, but slowly everything else was pulling me down.

Jer's cottage is way up North on Manitoulin Island. Not a bad place at all to have a cottage. Two days of nearly cloudless skies, warm water and a ton of laughter that left my sides and stomach frequently in pain.

It was so good to see everyone again. To just be a part of the group, away from distraction and stress. Yet as I sit here now, the morning after, I'm once again filled with knots and dread about the coming weeks and months. That can't be healthy. I'm doing all I can to remember the cool breeze, the warm sun and the huge amount of burgers, drinks and cookies that filled that wonderful oasis.

It's doing wonders. I've stopped answering the phone today (as I know who it is and they want to pull me right away into some form of work or another) and instead I'm doing my best to avoid stressful parts of the internet to concentrate on job searching and finding a little bit of peace of mind.

Now that I've finally been to Jer's cottage after being invited just about every year since I've known him but was unable to go because of work, I must say that it has to be a priority getaway every year from now on. There's just no question. As we all get older and move apart for life and jobs it's so hard for us all to get together. I think managing one weekend a year at the least should become of paramount importance.

So thanks to Nic, Jamie, Laura, Jer, Victoria, Paul, Josh and Doug for a great time, great games, and a so-so car ride. Hopefully I'll see you all sooner than 2005.
Posted by Parallel
Thursday, August 05, 2004 at 9:12 a.m. | 0 comments
Ah, that's better. This blog has been needing both an update on the text side and on the graphics side for quite some time. That, and it was keeping me from doing some work on a potential new magazine I've grudgingly agreed to become a part of.

At least it will keep me busy.

And that's been the key these past two weeks to maintaining some sort of sanity. As Catherine rides into the sunset of her new job I'm often left feeling a little left out, not to mention increasingly poor. Well, sometimes there's just nothing that can be done about that but at least the past couple of days I've tried to do something by keeping insanely busy.

Have you ever noticed that having so-called 'free time' is often busier than when you don't? There's always something to be done. Frankly, I wish I could just be lazy. But then that's what got me down in the first place.

Keep busy... redesign a blog... head west... run for Prime Minister. Whatever keeps you busy keeps you sane. If that isn't an old saying, well, it should be.
Posted by Parallel
Monday, August 02, 2004 at 4:03 p.m. | 0 comments
Q: What is the difference between ignorance, apathy, and ambivalence?

A: I don’t know and I don’t care one way or the other
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, July 27, 2004 at 5:08 p.m. | 0 comments
"How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot! The world forgetting, by the world forgot: Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind! Each prayer accepted, and each wish resign'd." - Alexander Pope.

What would you give to have some of your memories erased? Moments, lives, people... all taken away in the blink of an eye. Me, I wouldn't give any of it up. Not even the truly horrible moments that we each have endured in our short time on this earth.

Having just seen the movie has put me in a reflective, and somewhat dour, mood. It makes me appreciate those little moments that we all get to share that much more. Though they may seem trivial, in the end it's all we have.
Posted by Parallel
Monday, July 26, 2004 at 1:04 p.m. | 0 comments
So, is this new Star Wars title for Episode 3 a good omen or a bad one? Well, if you take Penny Arcade's word for it, it's masturbation worthy.

I must admit, I rather like the sounds of it myself. I was an admant hater of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Not the films themselves, but the other-cheesy subtitles that really belittled the subject matter rather than pay homage to it as I'm sure George "Bags o' money to waste on CGI" Lucas believed them to be.

It brings up memories of 1983 and the brief time that Return of the Jedi was to be called Revenge of the Jedi. The title was eventually nixed by Lucas who believed that revenge really wasn't a jedi concept. That's all well and good in theory, but you have to admit Luke did look pretty pissed off for most of the film.

Revenge of the Jedi is still something that exists on collectible t-shirts and other materials created before Lucas changed his mind. So, in a whole full circule coming of age moment the latest and last film in the series gets the old 'Revenge' moniker that seems to go quite well with the whole Sith way of thinking.

There are a lot of interesting bits and pieces of spoilers I've heard about this film but it seems to be caught up in the political drudgery that dragged the first two films down. I think The Simpsons did it best when the family went out to see the latest film only to be bored by two hours of pointless senate debates. The major fight sequence was an AT-AT storming through the wall with lazers blazing, only to sit down and read from a prepared statement moments later.

Classic satire.

But satire, criticism and being shown up by special effects newbie Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings movie doesn't appear to have gotten through Lucas' plaid-fevered brain. More sentate debates await, and while the Sith is getting their revenge (all two of them from the sounds of previews against hundreds of jedi), the jedi knights are all killed and Darth Vader comes to power.

In theory.

I just hope there are a lot more Sith, explosions and fun that made the original triology the brilliant piece of escapism that it was. Being bogged down in politics is only good if it enjoyable moves the plot forward but in all honesty, the two films in this new trilogy could have been brought together to make one super-Star Wars movie leaving the next two open for more space-opera goodness.

But, his masterful plaid-shirtness has spoken. The only revenge the Sith will get next year is to make beleaguered fans of Star Wars just a little bit more poor with broken spirits to match.
Posted by Parallel
Well, now what?
Posted by Parallel
Sunday, July 25, 2004 at 11:19 p.m. | 0 comments
I've conquered my past,
The future is here at last
I stand at the entrance
To a new world I can see
 
The ruins to the right of me
Will soon have lost sight of me...
 
- U2
Posted by Parallel
Friday, July 23, 2004 at 3:24 p.m. | 0 comments
It's been all right...
It's been all right...
It's been a ride...

And so, like television shows, milk, bread and an assortment of other products in this world my time at eye is nearly at an end. As I look at the clock showing less than an hour before my time of freedom and uncertainty I feel a certain amount of nostalgia.

Coupled with crippling fear.

The internship process has taken its toll on me in many ways. The first one I began was a year and a half ago at Kidscreen magazine. Sequestered in a corner under a flickering light far from the arms of my fellow writers and editors, my two days a week there felt more like solitary confinement than a valuable tool that was allegedly preparing me for a career in the outside world. I'd emerge at the end of the day with a sore back, weak eyes and a desolation matched only for those who are regular viewers of Dr. Phil.

The Toronto Sun wasn't a whole lot better, but at least I never felt like I was wasted. Well, there were a few joke jobs such as the damn streeters, but at least I got to cover city events and have by-lines on a regular basis. Again, the two days a week (this time stealing my weekend) hardly seemed worth it. I was the perpetual outsider relegated to walking the dog stories of the paper. It was only through my friend and editor, Brad Honywill, that I managed to leave that place feeling proud and as though I'd done something worthy.

When Bert Archer, the production editor at eye, gave me a call three months after I'd sent in my resume asking if I was interested in an internship I nearly had a heart attack. This was the place I'd been after since my first year and secretly coveted. Though I'll admit a certain unfamiliarity with a decent portion of its content as I'd only read the sections that interested me, it was far and away one of the few publications that held any allure for me whatsoever.

Then the hammer stroke fell. Unlike the two day a week masturbation sessions that were Kidscreen and The Sun, eye was not only to be full time, but a three-month odyssey.

That's a lot of time to wait when you've already felt as though you've paid your dues. How do you come into a place like this and put your heart and soul into something when you damn well know it isn't going to go anywhere other than on your resume? Well, the chance existed, though slim, of getting hired on at the end of the three months. Given that three interns had been hired within the past year, however, that seemed to make it highly unlikely. A few things have come up since then and it seems as though I may have a job here come the beginning of October in the production department, so I can't and won't say it's been a waste of time.

In all honesty I wish I had been more productive on the writing front. I'm more than capable and, in all honesty, not a bad writer (or even pretty good if I allow myself to really open up). But the approach and stories weren't entirely what I was expecting and as duties and work piled up both at work and at home, the desire to do extra was fading fast.

Still, I produced half a dozen reviews, a couple of decent stories and even a column. It's more than some though less than what I would have liked. Still, I can't complain as the door is still wide open.

The managing editor, Catharine Tunnacliffe, has been the best part of this job. She took me in and gave me more opportunities than the rest combined. Coupled with the fact that she's really nice makes her an amazing person. She's even going to help me out on the job search front in the meantime (if I remind her... she's incredibly busy).

The rest have all been great, especially Kieran Grant whom I worked with the most. A kind, decent person the likes of which are missing from this industry all too often. His partner-in-crime, Stuart Berman likewise gets the nice guy award. Staff writer Joel McConvey isn't too bad either. ;)

Damien Rogers is great, Ed Keenan is the ultimate drinking buddy and Holland Gidney is the most underappreciated proof reader out there. She deserves more credit than she's given.

The interns all suck. Matt, Luke, Sarah, Jules, Paul, Larissa. You're all drunk and crazy. Good for you.

I suppose I've just hit that moment of clarity. That end-of-movie moment when you stop and take a look around at where you've been and realize it meant more to you than you realized. When I walk out that door today it'll never be the same again. I may have a job here later and will likely be back for freelance related issues, but it won't be the same.

It's been the best internship yet and though there is nothing (and I mean nothing) ahead for me at the moment I can't help but want to come back here anyway. It's been a constant and relatively enjoyable experience. I come away with good references, positive memories and feel that now, more than ever, I'm ready for that next step.

God help me.

It's a rare experience and I just wanted to take a moment to appreciate it. Thanks, guys.
Posted by Parallel
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