Monday, November 29, 2004

A Happy 86th Birthday To....

Happy birthday wishes go out to Madeleine L'Engle, the author of A Wrinkle in Time.

Everybody who enjoys reading and/or writing can fondly look back to see the books that inspired them to follow a particular genre. For me, being an avid Fantasy/Sci-Fi enthusiast, the book that really started it all for me was A Wrinkle In Time.

I had previously read the Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis, who also would be celebrating a birthday today if he was still alive (for more on that read Ric's blog here) as well as the Lloyd Alexander Prydian Chronicles, and though I was an avid fan of the work they did not inspire me to pick up a pen and write my own fantasy stories. L'Engle's writing changed that for me.

Up until that time my writing was very Detective based. As a youth, my main source of material was The Hardy Boys and The Three Investigator books (the real Alfred Hitchcock connection, not the revised ones they release today). From about the age of seven I was bypassing my horrible handwriting to pen stories which appealed to me, using myself and my close friends as characters. My writing and imagination grew from these exercises, and I found myself wanting to read as many books as possible to inspire my own ideas from the scenarios offered.

Then one day on a trip to the library I found A Wrinkle In Time and gave it a spin. I remember being floored by the combination of Fantasy and Science Fiction in one novel. Fantasy itself is fairly common place in children's and young adult's a great vessel to use as metaphor, but true Sci-Fi was unusual at the time.

The main characters were kids who felt different and outcast from everybody else - just like I did...which drew me in further to the story, and then WHAM...the concept of the Tesseract just ripped new pathways into my brain that weren't there previously. I was ready to read not just for the idea of reading and obtaining writing ideas, but to challenge my own beliefs of reality and pursue new ideas. I can even remember having heated arguments about ideas I was reading about. A nine year old philosopher - a very scary thing indeed.

Having this new mindset pushed me to authors such as Andre Norton and William Sleator and into limits beyond and I liked to question everything all of a sudden. My Baptist Sunday School teachers did not like this new me, however...and I found myself in consistent run-ins with them during class. Especially when I discovered the dreaded Dungeons & Dragons (gasp!). I suddenly felt that I had been brainwashed by them previously...not for purposes of hurt (I didn't expect the tainted cool-aid to come out) but just for the sake they don't like any other reality to choose from...where I had an endless supply at the other end of the author-reader chain. I stopped going to church altogether at that time in a fit of disgust for the system.

I picked up a copy of some of her novels last year and gave them a re-read for the first time in twenty years, and though the writing is obviously focused at a younger audience they still hold up very well to any other fantasy writing offered today. I look forward to cracking them out for my children as they grow.

By my calculations, Madeleine is 86 years old today, and again, I wish her a wonderful birthday. Thank you for the gift of words you have given me and the world.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Runner-Up Still Works

Canadian Actor Online
I submitted an entry to Canadian Actor Online's contest for the most unique audition experience. The first prize was a free workshop at Sears & Switzer, while two runner-up prizes of a Canadian Actor Online T-shirt were offered.

I don't get any schooling, though I now have a new piece of clothing to keep me warm over the next few months of winter. I don't mindat all really, I've already taken the workshops that were offered as a prize anyway. I entered the contest to see what would happen. I had a few goals in the writing area this year, and so far this is the only one that I've kept. Guess this is a little kick in the butt saying get rolling on those words, buddy!

Here's my runner-up entry, for your info. This is a true story (as was the rules in the contest).

When it comes to auditions, the term normal need not apply. Every opportunity you have to sell your services to a casting director is wrought with the perils of uniqueness, so any preparation you may have slaved over is often thrown right out the window. You have to come in to the room expecting the unexpected.

After being called into the demesne of one unscrupulous director last July, I was told to toss away the script my agent had frantically gotten into my hands the night before and that the audition would be completely improvised. This startling revelation sent a cold shadow of fear into my being. Improvising is a strength of mine, however it can be difficult to judge whether you are giving too much or too little to a director. Plus, the character he asked me to create on the spot was a Bad Hollywood Producer pretending to be good.

Not one to back down to a challenge I gave it my all, creating a fake question and answer period with the director as my audience. He played along, but then as with most auditions I was back out the door within ten minutes.

Seems I gave a little too much. The real producer sent me a message saying I didn't get the part I wanted, but would I take a different role - "Bad Actor Auditioning for a movie." Didn't know whether to be complimented or insulted, but I took the role anyway.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Considering betterment

I was at a group lunch today with the team I was previously connected to before being hired by the company fulltime. Now, I find in big groups that it is very difficult to follow too many of the conversations that float around, primarily due to the fact I suffer from a condition I refer to as 'radio ear', though I am sure there is a more scientific term for it. When in a crowded room with a meriad of people all speaking at once, I easily lose focus on what's being discussed right around me. Add in a television or radio and I'll totally lose you within milliseconds.

So as to be a useful part of the lunchtable, I strained to focus in on the conversation closest to me, which interestingly enough centered mostly on being involved with a gym, running marathons, and generally just getting healthy. I say it's interesting as I have been interested in being involved with the gym local to my company due to the fact they offer an extremely generous rate to all the employees here. As long as I could start off on a light workout only it might be a good way to regain some of my former strength and athletic ability - both which have long since packed their bags and moved out. Yes, it's true....due to my inflamed knees, my painful right shoulder and a couple crushed discs in my neck I've become pretty weak. I'd like to start changing that now that my wife and I are starting a family.

And I'm not only thinking about it for the kid(s?) either. As with all things, I'm always looking for new ways to better my acting career. One thing I have been looking at lately is Sword Fighting and other Fight Choreography training. Now, if I can barely lift 40 pounds with one arm, what use am I going to be if somebody wants me to practice with a Broadsword? I don't want to be stuck as the guy who could only use a Foil because of it's lightness.

So, early next week, I'm going to drop into the gym, take a tour and ask all the questions I need to ask. That part can't hurt. It's the actual workout that's going to hurt...we'll see if I can handle that.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Death Ray Cats

Death Ray Cats Posted by Hello

The Ric Knight Collection

The Ric Knight Collection Posted by Hello

After over six weeks of waiting, my order of two of Sir Knight's mugs were delivered to me. Apparantly there was some fight at customs...and the boxes were marked as having Electronic Parts inside, so I'm not so certain about Cafepress's international shipping policy, but at least they weren't lost completely, or gracing the shelf of some strangers kitchen.

Fairwell to a Canadian Comedic Icon

As was about to shut things down for the night, but then I overheard this news on CBC so I had to check it out. I am greatly saddened by this loss.


TORONTO - John Morgan, the former cast member of CBC's Royal Canadian Air Farce, has died. He was 74 years old.

Morgan was one of the founding members of the long-running comedy series, which originated on CBC Radio and continues to this day on television.
John Morgan (courtesy
He was perhaps best known for his character Jock McBile, the perpetually disgusted Scotsman.

His other original characters included the monosyllabic Mike from Canmore, and over the years he also lampooned political figures like bland Liberal MP Herb Gray and Russian leader Boris Yeltsin.

In an e-mail sent to CBC staff on Tuesday, CBC executives Jane Chalmers and Richard Stursberg lauded Morgan as "one of Canada's beloved entertainers."

Fellow cast members Roger Abbott and Don Ferguson noted in the same message that Morgan, originally a comedy writer, did not start performing until he was 40 years old.

"He was surprised to find himself a television star at an age when most men are thinking about retirement," the two said.

They also noted that, even though he departed the show in 2001, "barely a day has gone by when we don't quote him."

His former co-stars urged him to return for special appearances, but he declined, saying "You're not really retired if you keep working."

Originally from Wales, Morgan held a number of jobs before entering the comedy world, including newspaper reporter, magazine editor, teacher and pub owner.

He began his writing career in 1966, and his credits include penning the pilot episode for the Al Waxman sitcom King of Kensington.

He also wrote and performed in England, and had a series on BBC Radio, It's All in the Mind of John Morgan.

Morgan was once asked his reason for being a writer.

"I figured if I was going to get stabbed in the back, I'd prefer it to be with a pen," he responded.

Fairwell Mike. If I'm ever in Canmore I'll salute you. For more Air Farce references, check out their website.

A "Second" Future?

I've had a few things I've wanted to write about in the last week, but life, work and a need for the occasional bout of sleep had caught up with me.

Last Tuesday, my friend Diane and I went to catch a preview showing of the Toronto Second City Mainstage Revue, Good's Good, Evils's Bad. We had free tickets for the show as we are both now students of the organization, taking Level A Improvisation on Sundays for the next couple of months. I must say, it was a phenomenal evening.

The Second City shows are drafted quite differently than most other productions. Instead of somebody writing a show, workshopping it and then casting it, Second City stirs the mix up a bit. First they cast the players, and have them improvise multiple sketches over a period of time. Once they have a bit of material compiled from these sessions, they begin molding a show around them, and then workshop them for different test audiences, looking for the moments that work and those that don't. It's only on the final night of workshopping, just before the show is to be opened for the paying public, that they actually write it all down. This "script" is not for the main cast's benefit - it's only for archival purposes, and if an understudy is needed to fill a role.

I laughed heartily with most of the material that was presented to us. Of that, my favourite sketches included The German Comedy Team,The Miners and the Fart Machine and The Sniper. But what I really pulled out of the deal was a level of inspiration - some of the cast in this show started right where I am now, just taking the improv workshops and improving their skills wherever possible. I'm seeing possibilities!

Jump forward a few days, to Sunday. This was the first actual class of the Level A Improvisation, and it felt great to be in a class setting like this - just playing around and trying new things. I haven't had an experience in theatre like this since I left high school. Knowing that I'm in a setting where it's totally okay to make mistakes, where making a fool out of yourself is expected. and where laughter is always good...that's the place for me.

I found out more information about the advanced levels of the Second City courses and how far I could go. Let's just say I'm inspired. At this moment in time I'm planning on going straight through to level E and then audition for the Conservatory, but now we are looking at timeframes a year in head of time. We'll see what happens as I get there.

More to write about....I'll see if I have time tonight...if not I'll be back tomorrow.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

They couldn't shut up for two minutes?

Now I fully understand what the survey results meant. Apparently, when asked whether Rememberance Day was still as significant today as when it was instated, 65% said No.

Just now, as I bowed my head to think of my Grandfather and the other veterans who had served their country with valour, I was dismayed to hear people in the next aisle laughing and actually SHOUTING back and forth to each other in a display of such inconsideration that I was sorely tempted to tell them to "Shut the &*@# up". This I declined to do as it would have only pulled myself down to their level. So, I gritted my teeth and tried to shut the sounds of their voices, and of printers starting up and phones ringing because they just couldn't stop for two whole minutes to actually think and ponder the sacrifices made for this country and every other country in the world.

These are the moments when I look at society in general and feel shame.

Lest We Forget

Image provided by The Canadian Airforces

From The Royal Canadian Legion


Why was the poppy chosen as the symbol of remembrance for Canada's war dead?
The poppy, an international symbol for those who died in war, also had international origins.

A writer first made the connection between the poppy and battlefield deaths during the Napoleonic wars of the early 19th century, remarking that fields that were barren before battle exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended.

Prior to the First World War few poppies grew in Flanders. During the tremendous bombardments of that war the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing 'popaver rhoeas' to thrive. When the war ended the lime was quickly absorbed, and the poppy began to disappear again.

Lieut-Col. John McCrae, the Canadian doctor who wrote the poem IN FLANDERS FIELDS, made the same connection 100 years later, during the First World War, and the scarlet poppy quickly became the symbol for soldiers who died in battle.

Three years later an American, Moina Michael, was working in a New York City YMCA canteen when she started wearing a poppy in memory of the millions who died on the battlefield. During a 1920 visit to the United States a French woman, Madame Guerin, learned of the custom. On her return to France she decided to use handmade poppies to raise money for the destitute children in war-torn areas of the country. In November 1921, the first poppies were distributed in Canada.

Thanks to the millions of Canadians who wear the flowers each November, the little red plant has never died. And neither have Canadian's memories for 117,000 of their countrymen who died in battle.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

We The Wanderers.... Posted by Hello
Since joining Aviva last year, I have moved a total of 4 times. The picture here is the desk that I have been working out of for the last couple of months. Tomorrow I move once more.

I had no idea when signing my agreement that I was now officially a member of a gypsy caste. I already know that in less than 2 months, I move again. And then six months after that...yes, you guessed it, I move again. Pretty soon I will begin feeling like a marble on a board of Chinese checkers.

All the time I have been at the company, I have not once made any of the desks I've been at feel homey. I've posted no pictures or whimsical sayings. As a consultant, I refused to tie myself down to the company by feeling comfortable there. But now as an employee, I will be more prone to put up a picture of my wife and hang a few DIlbert Comics here or there. Maybe even put up some of my art.

The reason we do that is to feel some permanancy and comfort in our cubicles or offices. But knowing that I'm just going to be shuffled off again is not a very comfortable state of mind to be in, and I don't know if I want to make myself feel attached to a workspace if I'm just going to lose it again.

Guess starting Friday I'll start wearing bells and loose clothing for dancing around the fire.

O, gypsy spirit inside of me.
O, river spirit inside of me.
O, Gypsy River, I will always be.

From Hic Sunt Dracones
By Miriam Smyth

And the road went on.... Posted by Hello

Fish Scale Sky

Fish Scale Sky Posted by Hello

On my way home from work on Monday I was driving Westbound on Aurora Road when I noticed that the clouds were in this really funky rippled effect like a Trouts or a Snakes Scales. I grabbed my nifty camera, which I have been carrying around quite a bit lately and took a blind shot. The added colour from the sunset really makes the image stand out.

Cool Cloud Formation

Cool cloud formation - Orangeville, Ontario Posted by Hello

This was taken from my Grandparents balcony in Orangeville. Depending on your state of mind at the time you would see different things. My grandmother saw a goose. I agreed with her, but thought I recognized some other shape in the image. Just now as I downloaded the image from my camera, the geekier part of my brain cried out - "Holy *&%#, it's the Enterprise from Star Trek!".

I of course immediately gave that part of my brain a wedgie.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Hey rufus, show your husband this!!!

I'm not directly involved with the party, but survey says.......

You Are a "Don't Tread On Me" Libertarian

You distrust the government, are fiercely independent, and don't belong in either party.

Religion and politics should never mix, in your opinion... and you feel opressed by both.

You don't want the government to cramp your self made style. Or anyone else's for that matter.

You're proud to say that you're pro-choice on absolutely everything!

Screening Info

The gentlemen behind this feature were also behind the movie "Low Budget", which I have a small role in. I came to see the first screening of this movie at the University of Toronto and was very impressed with their research and cinematography. I even bought a copy on DVD. I highly recommend anyone who gets the chance to see this to do will give you a slightly different perspective of what occurred in the concentration camps during World War II.

Capital j. Films will conduct another set of screenings of "Against The Odds" - the documentary about the resistance in Nazi concentration camps.
The documentary tells the unknown story of the resistance within the camps through interviews with survivors and historians ilustrated with archival footage and computer generated images. It depicts different forms of resistance from a "simple" smuggling of medicines to something as aggressive as the elimination of Gestapo agents and preparations for rebellions.
"Against The Odds" was already screened in Montreal and Toronto to an audience ranging from university students to camp survivors and industry professionals and received only the best reviews. Now a number of additional screenings will take place at the following locations:
-21 Nov (Sunday) at 6pm at the John Paul II community center in Mississauga (4300 Cawthra Rd., just south of the 403),
-24 Nov (Wednesday) at 8pm at the John Paul II community center in Mississauga, and
-25 Nov (Thursday) at 7pm at the building of the Polish Veterans' Association in Toronto (206 Beverley, 1 block south of College and the U of T campus)

"…a very valuable addition to the filmed history of World War II...informative and entertaining." - Joe Fox, Movies editor, The Toronto Star.
"…insightful and well researched documentary…" - The Montreal Mirror.
"Congratulations to the director and producer for the idea to produce a documentary about the heroic and very effective fight against the enemy within the camps." T. Kaszuba, Stutthof concentration camp survivor.
"Wonderful Doc!!" Paul Haber, Discovery Channel Canada.

How do you know she is a witch?

You are Sir Bedevere! Wise and creative, you are able to counsel others as well as come up with some really ingenious plans of attack...sort of.
You are Sir Bedevere! Wise and creative, you are
able to counsel others as well as come up with
some really ingenious plans of attack...sort

Which Monty Python & the Holy Grail Character are you REALLY?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, November 08, 2004

Bright lights but no city

Melanie and I paid a visit to my Grandparents on Sunday to indulge in the incredible feast that my grandmother always puts together. As is the norm, there was enough food to feed a Third World Nation, and since there were only the four of us at the dinner table I admonished her for working too hard.

It's a habit though. Grandma was the eldest of sixteen children (that survived infancy), and she has always been used to cooking for large multitudes of people. Even after growing up, getting married and having four children of her own, she became a foster parent and ended up taking care of an additional 4-8 children at any given time. Since retiring from fostering almost twenty years ago, she has gone on to working at multiple restaurants and even owning two different locations herself along with my grandfather. The Riverdale Restaurant in Pefferlaw, Ontario was a limited success due to the population and economic situation of that town at the time, and Edith's Good Food in Baldwin did good business due to its location, but the price of her rent and the cost of keeping her amazing buffet dinner's going became too much of a hinderance. After she closed the doors on that venture she gave up on owning restaurants for good.

A good thing too, but only for selfish reasons of my own. Her cooking is so good that I like to consider myself priviledged to be a part of her inner circle. When she cooks for the public it devalues my own social worth. So, I'd rather remain a total bastard and keep it all to myself and my kin. I'm totally joking of course. But it is that freakin' good.

After all the Roast Beef and Whipped Potatoes and the multitude of other vegetables were consumed, to be joined by the overdosing piece of Fresh Apple Pie, we rolled ourselves away from the table and sprawled onto her couches to have an after dinner chat. The normal conversations roamed our quartet - the pregancy, baby names, other members of the family, my uncles house (we visited it previously - I will write about that later, trust me - WOAH!!!!!), and whatever came to mind. I remember being totally shocked looking at the clock, seeing that it was 6pm and it was totally black outside.

Grandma and I sat out on the veranda in our winter jackets while she had an after dinner smoke and stared out into the fields beyond. They live on the outskirts of Orangeville, and their apartment faces onto a bird sanctuary. Absolutely gorgeous view. I suddenly noticed that there was a vividly green Aurora Borealis occuring in the Eastern Sky (which confused me, I always figured it was only to be seen to the north). Watching the dance of the "Northern Lights" was awe inspiring and it added to the peaceful feeling we felt. We were in the country, not the city...there was no hustle and bustle to be felt. Just the four of us enjoying a quiet evening together. That's what Sunday evenings should always be like.

Friday, November 05, 2004

It's always in threes...but strangely not always bad...

Looks like I've done something right lately. Instead of everything being bad in threes I'm getting everything good in threes. It's uncanny. And in some bizarre way it frightens me a bit. I keep looking out the window to see if Hell has frozen over (Yes Rick, I'm looking towards your office building), if Pigs have all taken wing, and if the Leafs pulled a fast one on everybody and won the Stanley Cup during the lock-out.

Perhaps it's good karma. Or just good luck. Who knows?

First, Aviva has hired me on full time into a well written, brand new role in a brand new department. No old policies and methods to fight against, reasonable salary to start off, great benefits. Educational opportunites are massive. My spirits are up. I've been writing great code all week like a maniac.

Second, I won $5 on the lottery. Five bucks?! you say, laughing hyserically. Let's just say I have the worlds worst luck on lotteries, so winning anything past a free ticket is something special. It's only because I'm not so great at math that I keep doing it every week.

Third, I just received a call today from somebody wanting me to star in their theatrical production. And the show would be in February, which is pretty much at the cut-off date I've decided on due to the upcoming arrival of my prodigal child. So, I'm picking up the script on Sunday and will give it a good read. Because I'm doing the Second City workshops on Sunday afternoon instead of a weeknight, it gives me the opportunity to do one show without worrying about the interference factor.

Tonight, Melanie and I are going out to celebrate this burst of luck! That's unless I see a pig pass me on the 404...then I'll be hiding under the bed awaiting the upcoming apocalypse.

Book Review: Speaker For The Dead


The second book in the Ender Saga, written by Orson Scott Card, brings about a major change of direction in the storyline. Where last we met the character of Andrew Wiggin, or Ender as he is called, he was a youth treated first as a hero and then later as a villain for commandeering the Xenocide of the Buggers. Unknown to most people, he was the one who caused his own villiany, by releasing a book under the name The Speaker For The Dead in which he identified the Xenocide as a horrible mistake. This document would reach near biblical proportions, and make Ender the most hated entity in the Universe.
Now, leap forward 3000 years. Ender is still alive, having travelled all over the galaxy at near Light-Speed fulfilling duties as a Speaker Of The Dead. Nobody but his three closest companions knows his secret, his sister Valentine who also bears a dual identity as the famous writer Demosthenes, Jane, a massively intelligent computer programme who may just be a new form of life, and the last queen of the buggers, who Ender has been protecting all these years while searching for a new home for her.
Now Ender has been summonded to the planet Lusitania as Speaker For The Dead of a Xenobiologist who has apparently been murdered by a newly discovered race of aliens. The mystery he uncovers there could very well be to his salvation, or to the utter destruction of them all.

Highly recommended by this reader. Purchase your copy at today!

Thursday, November 04, 2004


You're British Columbia. You're hip and happenin'
but also a nice person who isn't a snob. Career
is important to you but it isn't your whole
life. People assume that your life is perfect
and that you have it all, like you were born
with a silver spoon in your mouth. But it's not
true; you do have your own set of troubles just
like everybody else.

What Canadian Province Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

And I haven't even been there. Guess the call of Starbucks and a variety of homegrown must be calling to me after all....

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

My moment to plead for intelligence.

Unless you are a luddite, in which case you wouldn't be reading this, never mind watching TV, you are pretty much aware that today is the American Election day. Thank god too...I don't think I could take much more coverage on the subject. Something just seems very wrong with the amount of sensationalism that is generated by these events, and the amount of money that is invested in it. My god, Kings have been coroneted for less.

As a Canadian, I have no power to vote on this event, so I will use this entry to discuss my take on the day. Then I will never mention it again (or at least until something really interesting comes about), unlike some that can never get off the freakin' subject.

I don't know if it's my training in media or what, but I just cannot understand how the American public can be so swayed by events in the media that just smell of staged events. C'mon, all of a sudden Osama Bin Laden pops back up just as we prep for the polls, so that everybody looks to Mr. Bush for help? And how the terror alert keeps popping back up whenever Mr. Kerry is slightly ahead in the polls? The rule is, if it seems too coincidental, it's not.

This morning, all the news was talking about was how many of the polling stations were worried about problems in the voting because of TOO MANY PEOPLE TURNING OUT. What the ^&@*????? Isn't the concept of an election in a democracy to have every eligible vote make it? I also have heard people say how if the vote is split right down the middle then the government could not function. Umm...that's what sort of happened four years ago, people.

Scare tactics are everywhere. The specter of "The War on Terror" is everywhere, and it's actually quite comical to watch the different slants in the media to pursued voters one way or the other. You have people discuss at one moment how the war is a bad thing, but at least they have Mr. Bush to protect them from their enemies during the war. HUH?????

I try to have faith that our brothers and sisters to the south of us are smart people. Unfortunately, their media really tries to show they are not. And to most Canadians, that's the only way we know Americans - through their media. The Jerry Springer's, The Next Top Hermaphodite Junkie Model's, The Gross Me Out So Much I Have To Change The Channel Factor. The mentality of these shows is presenting itself in the normal news, does it make you wonder why there is so much angst between us sometimes?

As to who I would vote for if I had the opportunity, I choose not to say. All I can ask is people really think about what they want and who they are voting for, not do what the slant on television tells them to do.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Mr. Leacock, I presume?

Ready for the ghost walk Posted by Hello

Back in college, we once had a project where we had to be historical figures interviewing each other. I just happened to receive the role of Stephen Leacock, and to this day believe that this project represented one of my finest moments in theatre. I was asked a surprise question by my classmate (who was portraying Shoeless Joe Jackson) how I felt about losing my wife Beatrix, and the answer I gave along with gently released touch of emotion stilled the room could have heard a pin drop, evolve into a higher being and leave the room for the next bus to Chicago. Trying to find moments like that is one of the reasons I have continued in theatre to this day.

Jump forward ten years. During the show Infidelities! I was talking to one of the actors in the show, Ninette, who was responsible for setting up at Ghost Walk in Georgina for Halloween, and she was looking for people to play historical figures in the area. My ears perked up...Stephen Leacock and his family lived in the area for quite some time...that means I could take another shot at playing him again. I immediately volunteered and it was never mentioned again until the opening week of Honestly, Now!. Ninette, who played my love interest in this show, brought it up again, and though my schedule was slightly tighter now I continued my interest.

Geez...I was under the gun, now. I had to find a costume, a panama hat, and re-do my research pretty damned quick. So I frantically searched around for everything, and basically had the works together on Thursday I could do a final cram of information.

Then the events of Friday occurred and I was forced to cancel my appearance for that night. Even though we had good news about the pregnancy, we were still shaken up from the event and decided to have a quiet night at home.

I promised Ninette I would be there the following night though, so picked up my hairspray and fake hair so I could create the moustache effect. The picture above does not do that bit justice...I look more like Guido Sarducci. But I trimmed it down a bit and the final result was pretty darned close to the photo I was using as a reference.

The actual ghost walk was fun, though I was slightly stressed. Because of Friday, I was not AS prepared as I would have liked to have been - even though I knew pretty much his entire biography. In hindsight I would have perhaps used one of his stories in my bit...just giving information is a little dry for an evening out. However, people seemed satisfied, and I even was applauded by the different groups coming in which was a pleasant surprise.

I have offered to help Ninette out next year...perhaps turning the role of Stephen into a tourguide instead of just a stop on the tour...I think that would be even more fun. And it gives me the chance to fill the shoes of this wonderful writer at least one more time.

To meet at high noon Posted by Hello

A Patriotic Impression Posted by Hello

Angst and relief

Pardon the delay in my has been a slightly bizarre weekend with ups and downs, and I just didn't have the energy and ambition to write anything. I will explain.

But first, a little bit of backstory. I have a little secret that very few people are aware of, but now it's time to let the cat out of the bag. Melanie and I are expecting our first child, and are currently at almost three months. There...I've said it, and now I can officially start writing about my feelings on this subject (positive, let me assure you). That's for another day, I need to write about what happened this weekend, first.

On Friday, I was sitting at my desk at work, waiting to hear from Melanie who was seeing her doctor. It was a fairly quiet day, and I was just about to start writing when the phone rang. Melanie was on the other line, extremely upset, telling me to come home. When I asked why, she just repeated her statement and hung up.

Now, in my place what would you be thinking at that exact moment? I automatically assumed that we had lost the child and already put myself into a mental state where I could be strong for my wife yet still grieve for my child. The drive home was a trip of despair.

Melanie was just sitting on the couch when I rushed into the apartment, and after a few quiet moments she told me the doctor thought the pregancy was not viable. Apparently the Ultrasound showed nothing in the sack, and he thought the fetus was still in the fallopian tubes which would be a fatal situation to Melanie if it was allowed to grow. This news was very upsetting, as I'm sure you can understand.

Her doctor had set up a rush Ultrasound appointment that afternoon to get a second opinion on the results, so we drove there in relative silence not knowing what to expect.

Melanie was taken into the Ultrasound room on her own, I was not allowed to be there for the initial test. My heart was in my throat and I tried very unsuccessfully to do some reading to get my mind off the reason we were there. Suddenly, Melanie burst out of the room and gloriously shouted "There's a heartbeat". Still not knowing if we were in the clear, we both rushed into the room where a second part of the test was performed, and we were able to see the baby, fully in it's sack...all apendages forming normally. Seeing the heartbeat fluttering on the screen was the most joyous thing I could ever imagine and I felt a little misty. We beat the odds...our child was still alive, and apparently very healthy.

No, I don't know yet if it's a boy or a girl. At eleven weeks you cannot tell that kind of thing, and we are tryingt to leave it a surprise anyway.

So, to sum up what happened. I don't blame the doctor for making the diagnosis...he worked with what he had in his hand. I blame the previous Ultrasound technician and lab for a totally botched job (different clinic then where we had the final result, btw). The Ultrasound they did was at 5 weeks, and it took them 4 weeks to get it to our doctor. Also, they only scanned one area of her stomach, which is neglectful. I am seriously angry at them, and if the result we received on Friday had been negative I would consider suing them for malpractice. I mean...4 weeks to get results? They had them ready too...they just sat on them because they were too lazy to find out a fax number (they apparently had lost it, though did have the phone number).

However...everything seems to be cool, so I'm not going to spread any further bad karma by going after others. We have come out on top in this situation. Following the event, I was still kind of stunned, and wanted to really wrap my mind around this whole thing...that's why I didn't write previously. I have other things to catch up on though, so will take a crack at that later on today.