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Notes from the Left Coast

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December 3rd, 2008


11:17 am - More quality parenting
Xander feels about needles the way I feel about needles (ie, "Keep them away from me!"). For both of us, it goes back to childhood needle trauma: his is more recent, but mine was more intense, and I've had longer to dwell on it. Nevertheless, as a parent, one must sometimes take one for the greater good.

Yesterday was that day.

Flu shots. That once-per-annum willing infliction of pain on the child. And I, rather than just curling up in a foetal ball and kicking my feet in vain protest, have to pretend to be a grown-up about the whole thing and "set a good example".

(Side note -- moi, a good example? When did THAT happen?)

I managed to be strong and cool, all Gary Cooper and such.

(I know, it's a flu shot. But I could tell you horrific childhood needle stories that would make your hair fall out. I know it's not a reasonable phobia, but it's mine and, aside from bucking up, there's not a lot to be done about it.)

Xander, though...

Xander was a strong little trooper. He winced and grimaced, and tears came to his eyes, but he didn't flinch. He didn't pull away (okay, telling him that if he pulled away the needle might break off in his arm and then he'd need to be cut open probably won't win me any Parent of the Year prizes, but I don't think I'm in the running anyway), and he didn't cry.

And when the doctor started to swab his arm afterwards, when the needle was safely clear, and he was out of any danger, he took a deep breath, steeled himself, and with perfect intonation, timing and world-weary, put-upon tone, he muttered "Fuck".

It was one of those perfect moments. I couldn't have put it any better myself.

(I know, he's nine. And there's nothing cute about swearing. But... damn. I'll give him that one. One a year seems reasonable to me. And besides, with me as a father -- see above note re: "good example" -- it's a bit amazing that he doesn't sound like a drunken sailor at this point...)

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October 27th, 2007


06:01 am - Two more indications of quality parenting
1) X's surprising memorization of the entire book of Once More With Feeling, the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

2) His ability to sing it, at the drop of a hat, with startlingly good pitch.

It's his mother, I tell you. I'm the one responsible for the superheroes. But I tell ya, there's nothing cuter than an eight-year old blithely singing along with all the parts of Walk Through the Fire. His personal favourite part, though, is this pair of lines:

Spike: No, I'll save her then I'll kill her!
Willow: I think this line's mostly filler.

(I'd like to take some credit for his fondness for the surreal, and his obvious metatextual leanings, but I think kids are just wired that way...)

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August 16th, 2007


10:33 pm - A conversation with my son
Me (to very sleeping child): X, your awesomeness goes to eleven.
X (still mostly asleep): That's like, one higher, dude.

Clearly we're bringing him up right.

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March 24th, 2007


02:53 am - Heh. Interesting meme.
From Paula...

Rules: Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the
following questions. They MUST be real places, names, and things. NOTHING made up! If you can't think of anything, skip it. Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same first initial. You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question and you can't use a search engine. Now Go!



Your Name: Rob

1. Famous singer/band: Richard Thompson

2. 4 letter word: roam

3. Street name: Robson

4. Color: red

5. Gifts/presents: revolver

6. Vehicle: RV

7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: rings

8. Boy Name: Ron

9. Girl Name: Rina

10. Movie Title: Rashomon

11. Drink: rum

12. An Occupation: recording artist

13. Flower: rose

14. Celebrity: Roger Moore

15. Magazine: Robb Report

16. City: Rome

17 Pro Sports Team: Red Wings

18. Fruit: raisins

19. Reason for Being Late for Work: retrovirus

20. Something You Throw Away: rind

21. Things You Shout: Rock On!

22. Cartoon Character: Ronin

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January 11th, 2007


01:02 pm - a (self-serving) Public Service Announcement
I picked up this week's issue of Monday magazine, and was thrilled and delighted to see that I was nominated in two categories of their annual M Awards (the magazine's awards to the best of Victoria's art and culture, as voted on by their readers).

Now, I would never, ever ask you to go against your natural inclinations and vote for me (in the Favourite Prose Writer category) and Before I Wake (in the Favourite Fiction Book category). Never, ever. Although I would be really, really happy to win.

I just thought I would mention that the ballots are out there, with a deadline of Friday, January 26.

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January 5th, 2007


12:52 pm - Gotham City Bound
Or is it Metropolis? I can never get that straight in my mind...

At any rate, myself and clan Wiersema will be spending a week in New York City later this month. I'll be meeting with publishers and editors and marketing types, and we'll all be doing the standard trip-to-New-York stuff -- lots of museums, shows and wandering (weather permitting, naturally). Any of you Gothamites up for a coffee or a (pre-theatre) drink?

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December 13th, 2006


04:41 pm - Bright and early to the daily races
Is it odd that I find Mad World (the cover version by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules, from the Donnie Darko soundtrack, arguably one of the most depressing songs released since Nick Drake went over the wall) incredibly uplifting?

Thought so.

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06:15 am - Will it never stop?
When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
‘Gainst knaves and thieves men shut the gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

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November 29th, 2006


02:04 pm - I want to feel it all slip away
In amidst the fun and frivolity and snow and psycho drivingness, I missed reading my Globe and Mail on Saturday. Too bad, really. It was a bad time to miss the Globe Books section...

This past Saturday Before I Wake was included in the Globe 100, their annual listing of the best books of the year. (If you're reading this in the US, the Globe 100 is the Canadian equivalent of the New York Times Notable Books list.)

Now that's a hell of a birthday present. I'm still vibrating.
Current Music: Counting Crows - Rain King (live)

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November 20th, 2006


11:41 am - Small good thing
There are some pleasures in life, minor pleasures, fleeting pleasures, that nevertheless make living a richer, fuller experience. Things easily overlooked, but ever so appreciated...

Case in point: the opening notes of The Who's Tommy.

I haven't had a cd of Tommy in... probably a decade. I probably haven't listened to it in at least that long.

And right now, on a blustery Monday at work, a month out from Christmas, I'm listening to it and grinning like a fool.
Current Music: Overture (from Tommy) - The Who

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