Monthly Archives: August 2007

Trouble with Falling

I couldn’t see it coming,
the hole I fell through.

Four years ago
everything was a high.
It felt like I was floating
but it soon crashed down.

Since then, I’ve been looking around.
I need another hole to fall through.
This will be much harder.
I know it to be true
It’s so easy to fall in love
Why is it so hard to
fall
out
of
it
?

I See It!

For those of you unfamiliar with the excellent blog In Search Of Isis, I suggest that you click on the link and check it out. The blog is written by ECD and his mission is to celebrate the beauty of women everywhere. Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of what he sees everyday.

The first time I got this glimpse was as I stood at a service counter. I noticed that the girl serving me was beautiful. The way she spoke and carried herself just seemed to me to be amazing. I am a young guy and something would be amiss if I didn’t notice beautiful women. She was beautiful, this much is true, but I wasn’t fixated on her beauty in a typical male way. I seemed to recognize her as a person and not just a vision of beauty.

Later on that same day, I had the same feeling wash over me while looking at another girl. She was a waitress in a restaurant. She wasn’t gorgeous in a supermodel kind of way but she again had a natural beauty and presence that seemed to captivate me.

I didn’t pursue these girls in a romantic way at all. It never really crossed my mind until our all too brief encounters were far over. The memories of how I was feeling at the time of both encounters have stayed with me since yesterday. I think I saw what ECD sees everyday. I appreciate the beauty and grace and it is only well after the fact now that I feel lonely and empty.

Summer’s Gone

Well, that is pretty much it. The summer is gone.

This time every year I listen to a song that kind of gets me depressed. The song is called “Summer” by the excellent group Buffalo Tom.

“The summer’s gone. The summer’s gone. You wasted every day.”

Those lyrics usually haunt me because I always seem to think that the summer flew by. There is always so much that I want to do at the start of the summer that I find I haven’t done when it is finally over. It is kind of depressing to know that a long and beautiful summer has passed by. I then have to face the possibility that I could have wasted it. Every day.

This year, I don’t think that is the case. I think I had a really good summer. It was the first summer of my teaching career where I did not have to work a menial job to make ends meet. I actually had a vacation this summer. That was nice. I didn’t waste every day this year.

I spent lots of time with my family and friends. I finished a few projects that I had been wanting to get to for quite some time. And I am going to take the rest of the week off and go away. I don’t think I can complain at all this summer. It was great.

I more than likely won’t be blogging until next week. I will miss reading all the fabulous blogs I read every day. I will miss reading your comments. But I need this little break and I will see you soon.

If you want to check out the video for “Summer,” it is on YouTube at this link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzqEiyDZxz0

You can even find a performance they did on the John Stewart Show on YouTube. I have never been on this site before. My Internet is too slow for video. But you really should check it out. It is a great song by an excellent band.

Take care, and see you next week.

Writing Chair


This chair looks like a cross between an office chair and a rocking chair. It has a nice large cloth seat and cloth backrest. It is great for writers like me. I can type away at my keyboard for as long as I want. When I need a break, I can lean back and the back of the chair rests on the ground and keeps me in that position.

I wish I had one of these chairs. I wonder where you can even get one. I have never seen a chair like this before. I have a typical leather office chair with wheels that I use when I write. It is nice too, but I don’t roll around a lot when I write. I like to stop and lean back at times. This chair does that so much better. I think it is a great writing chair. Every writer should have one.

Now all I need is an idea to write about. I am still tinkering around with the murder mystery night but I need a new idea for a novel. I feel lazy because I haven’t written anything all summer. I hope it is just a dry spell. They are calling for rain tomorrow. Maybe this dry spell will come to an end soon. I hope so. I don’t like not writing.

I guess I could always try to do the rewrite and edit stage of my last novel but I think I need to give it some more time so it will be fresh again when I reread it. I want to get more use out of this chair but right now, the ideas just aren’t coming.

Anime Godfathers

I am not what you would call an anime fan. I have watched several anime movies over the past few years but none of them have really captured my imagination or attention. I usually end up shutting off the DVD player and saying to myself, “Well, that was okay.”

For the most part, I have found that the films let me down.

I am not sure what it is about anime that does not really speak to me. Some of the themes explored are interesting but the drawing and animation style seems to turn me off. I like the classical style of animation a lot better.

Last week, I signed out a movie from the public library called “Tokyo Godfathers.” I was pleasantly surprised about this movie. I think it is the first anime movie I have seen where I cared about the characters. It drew me in to the storyline as the writing was quite good.

The story is about three homeless people who find an abandoned baby around Christmas time. It was an interesting movie because there really wasn’t any need for it to be animated. This story could have been told with live actors and sets. There wasn’t anything fantastic about it that would lend itself to animation.

It is something to see now that the medium doesn’t necessarily dictate content. Comic books aren’t just about superheroes anymore. Anime isn’t just about robots or fighting. A good story could be told in any format and I think we, as a culture, are more open to this idea now.

I recommend this movie to anyone who likes dramas. I found it to be a bit mature because it deals with homelessness, homosexuality, and the responsibilities of family life. But it was very well done and a pleasant surprise to watch.

Water Bottles to Toys

There have been a few newspaper articles that caught my attention lately. First was the statistics on bottled water use here in Ontario. Apparently we drink a lot of bottled water. In one region here, the bottle water drinkers were reported at 45 %. I can’t fathom why this many people who choose to pay for water when we get perfectly good water from the tap.

I drink tap water and have done so all my life. I drink a lot of water too. I really don’t see the need to buy spring water in plastic bottles. I know that some people believe that it is a cleaner and fresher alternative but I don’t really buy it.

A related story that appeared in the paper had to deal with plastic bottle recycling. We put out blue boxes every week for the city to take away our recycling waste. The article stated that we ship the a lot of our plastic bottles to China. The article criticized the practice because the Chinese standards aren’t up to par and it could be dangerous for the recycling plant workers.

Other than this one story, I haven’t heard anything else about this. Is this an issue that deserves more attention? I’m not sure. But if this is related to one more issue that has been all over the news, then it is definitely worth more attention.

You may have heard about the numerous toy recalls lately. The one thing in common is that these toys were all plastic and manufactured in China.

I don’t want to start throwing blame here. I am sure that there is more than enough to go around. I just hope that the toys we give to our children are safe. And I know the tap water is safe. So what is the problem here?

Old and Falling Apart

I am relatively young, as people like to point out to me. Although, when I turned 30 people joked that it was “all down hill from here.” Part of me thought that maybe they could be right.

Perhaps, it is just a coincidence but getting older has meant that I have slowly started to slide down hill. First, I had to have an emergency appendectomy. A year later, I had to have an umbilical hernia repair. And today, I have a further story about falling apart.

I was swimming with some friends and was just running in the water as we chased each other. I don’t know how but I managed to throw my shoulder out of its socket doing this.

I got out of the water and laid down on the deck in pain. A lifeguard came up to me and asked me if I was okay. I said, “No,” and they took me to the first aid room.

My arm looked horrible. It was obviously hanging in an unnatural way and I think it worried some of the lifeguards. I told them about my history and how that this was actually an old skateboarding injury. I fell off of a mini-ramp one day as a teenager and landed directly on my shoulder. Since then, it has slipped out of a joint a dozen or so times. Every time it manages to pop back into place when I roll on the ground. Today it didn’t.

It really hurt and I started to go into shock. I felt like I was going to pass out. I laid down on the bed in the room but it hurt too much to stay in that position. The lifeguards put ice on my arm in the hopes that it would reduce the swelling and hopefully it would pop back into place.

I couldn’t just sit there any longer. I had to get up and walk around. So I did. Fortunately, it popped back into place all on its own. I tell you that was a long twenty minutes.

I feel old. I seem to be falling apart. I know that I am not, and that I really don’t have any health problems. It just feels good to vent about this stuff. I feel much better now. My arm feels fine, although it will probably be a bit tender for a few days. I’m just glad it popped back into place and that I didn’t need any more surgery.

What Makes a Volunteer?

I spent most of my weekend giving my time for a great yearly event. I didn’t have to think twice about signing up to volunteer for KidSpark. It was a great experience and thoroughly enjoyable. I wrote about it in detail yesterday. Today I want to focus on the volunteer aspect of the event. It could not happen without volunteers and there were hundreds on hand to help out.

As I sat waiting in the conference room for our orientation to start I glanced around at the other volunteers. I wondered what compelled them to sign up for the task. I noticed that most of them seemed to be high school kids and the majority of them were female.

At first, I thought that this was a natural make-up of people who would be interested in helping to run a popular children’s festival. After all, most elementary teachers seem to be female. But then I thought again of the age of the volunteers. Why were most of them high school students? And then I remembered the requirement that you need to get 40 hours of community service in order to graduate high school here in Ontario.

I wondered how many of these volunteers really wanted to be here and how many were just here to fill up their required hours. Throughout the weekend, I could easily pick out the people who were there because they wanted to be.

I remember reading somewhere that if you help other people get what they want that you will then get what you want. I volunteer for a lot of things in my community and have done so for roughly half of my life. I think it is an enriching experience that everyone should do.

I know that some people really don’t like the 40 hours of community service that they are required to do to graduate. I personally don’t have a problem with it. I didn’t have to do that when I went to school but I still choose to volunteer my time anyway.

I think kids can really benefit from this program because the type of service is so vague. I am sure that anyone could find something or some cause that they would enjoy to volunteer for. My only questions is that if we are forcing people to volunteer, is it really volunteering?

I know that this is a touchy debate with some students and parents. I was wondering what you think, dear reader. Do they have this in your state? Do you think it is a good idea? Please post a reply.

KidSpark


I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer at KidSpark on the weekend. This is an amazing event that is put on every year by the Kitchener Public Library and an assortment of community sponsors. The event is totally free and takes over the huge and beautiful Victoria Park every August.

I have taken kids to this event before and we have spent the entire day there from 11:00 – 5:00 p.m. and we still didn’t have enough time to do everything that is available for the children. There are crafts, rides, children’s entertainers, games, and anything else that would appeal to a kid on hand for the event. We usually go both Saturday and Sunday to experience all of the wonderful things this event has to offer.

One of the highlights of the day is going to the Tim Horton’s booth and buying a cookie to decorate. This is about the only thing that actually costs anything to do. Tim Horton’s donates all the profits to breakfast programs in the region so I don’t feel bad at all supporting such a great cause.

There are tons of crafts for the children to make and take home. My job this weekend was to help out with the crafts. On Saturday, I helped man the booth that made “grassheads.” These little creatures were made from nylon stockings. First we put some potting soil into a cut-off stocking and then added some grass seed to the top of it. We then tied up the top and the children got to add googly eyes to it. They were like homemade Chia Pets. They turned out really good. It also turned out to be a very popular craft as we were overrun with people coming to do it. We had a line up all day long and developed a assembly line type production to speed things up a little. It was great!

On Sunday, I helped to make kaleidoscopes. We made those out of microscope slides. All in all, I think I must have made or helped to make, thousands of crafts this weekend. I would have loved to have counted but I was just so busy helping the children and their parents that I never would have had the chance. I was just glad to help out this year for such a great event.

Blog Catalog

Networking seems to be what the Internet is all about these days. Whether it is sites like Facebook or MySpace, it seems that people want to connect with other people online. I have let it be known on this blog that I don’t much care for these two particular websites.

I enjoy the community that seems to have naturally come together here in the blogosphere. I have a circle of friends that regularly read and comment on my blog and I do the same on theirs. It is a nice little community. It is a great feeling to know that people are reading and enjoying my blog.

How did we find each other though? It seems like it was completely random. I don’t know how to do a specific blog search. Every blog that I have found and enjoy, I stumbled across by either following a link or reading comments on different blogs and following up on those.

Recently I came across a blog that was listed on Blog Catolog. This site seems to be like MySpace because it allows you to put up a profile and a link to your blog. It also lets you add “friends.” I decided to sign up for this service and create an account. I hope it works out better than facebook did for me. I think it will. It seems like a service to help get exposure and readership.

So I have joined this new community. There is a logo on the sidebar for you to click on and find out more about it if you are interested. Or you can see my profile so far. I will update it more over the next week.

http://www.blogcatalog.com/user/chasemarch

Internet Chess

It’s amazing all the things you can do on the Internet. Yesterday I was declared a blog addict. It’s true. I am addicted to reading, writing, posting, replying, and surfing to various blogs. If I had a computer at home I could easily see it taking up a lot of my time. Having to rely on the library or school computers I guess helps my “addiction.” That way, I can’t spend inordinate amounts of time online.

So my time online needs to be budgeted. I need to blog everyday, there really isn’t anyway way around that. I normally take the weekends off, mainly because I don’t normally have access to a computer then. I check my email everyday as well.

One more interesting thing that I do online is play chess. My brother is a chess addict. He plays games everyday at lunch where he works. Well, last year, he told me about Chess Corner, which is a website that allows you to have correspondence games. It is the coolest thing. Everyday I sign on and make one move on our virtual chess game. It is kind of like email because the person you play against doesn’t have to be online at the same time. The coolest thing about it is that it really only takes about two minutes out of your day.

It might take up to two weeks to finish one game, it doesn’t really matter how long it takes. Once a game finishes we start up another one right away. I have been playing against my brother and my father now on this site for about a year. It is a great way to stay in touch. Not only do we get to play together, there is also a feature on the bottom of the board that allows you to type messages to each other. My brother is a busy guy. This has become or main way to communicate now. We call each other of course, but the calls are few and far between, it seems.

Anyway, if there are any chess fans out there that would like to challenge me to a game. Let it be known. I will tell you how to find me there. Oh yeah, I should warn you, I am not very good so you really don’t have anything to worry about.

Updating My Back Up

This blog is important to me. I really enjoying writing entires and reading your responses. I have over 100 entries now and would like to see that they are preserved. I know that in all likelihood that they will be, here on the server. Blogging does not seem to be going anywhere. I am confident that it will be around for a long time. That being said, I think it is a good idea to keep a back up copy.

I usually type my entries up on MS Word and then copy them onto a blog post. I then save my word file and have a back up of my blog, just in case anything happens. This summer though, while I have been fighting for time on the library computers, I haven’t been able to do this. So I just spend the last hour copying all the summer posts on my blog to MS Word.

My blog back up is now up to date. That feels good.

There is one more thing I would like to do to keep my journey online and available for anyone who chooses to read it. I have thought about this a lot. It concerns my final posting.

I hope I didn’t scare you there because I don’t plan on going anywhere. I am a blog addict and don’t see myself ever quitting this forum. I am thinking about my mortality though. I won’t be around forever, and while I am young, one never knows when their final card will be played.

To this end, I think I should compose a final entry. I could ask someone I trust to post it here when I pass away. I think that would be a great way to say goodbye to everyone who has ever read my blog and to “close” out the chapter as it were.

Count it as a Loss

There is a new machine in the grocery store that I have walked past several dozen times without actually giving it any serious attention. It looks like a bank machine but it is actually a DVD rental machine. There is a sign right beside this machine that is really hard to miss. It states, “New Releases $1.99”

Well, that seems like a good deal but what is the catch? Why is it a machine? Do I trust renting movies from a machine? How does it work?

All of these questions ran through my mind but I dismissed using such a service and never decided to investigate or try to answer these questions. Until the other day, that is. I paid $10 for a card and signed up for the service. It seems that you load money onto a card and then use it to rent movies from the machine. It uses a PIN just like a bank machine and once you enter it in you can search for the movie you wish to rent.

It turns out, however, that the new releases are actually $3.99 a day. The sign wasn’t wrong though, it was just deliberately misleading. You can rent the same movie for $1.99 as long as you return it within 6 hours.

6 hours??? Who would do that? I know that when I rent a movie I want to relax for the night. I don’t want to have to go back to the store as soon as it is over. That is crazy! And the way they advertise it is just wrong.

I am tired of being tricked into buying things. Why do stores need to lie to use to attract our business? And why do we put up with it?

The other thing that bothers me about this machine is that I have rented three movies from my initial fill up of the card. I rented one $3.99 new release and two older movies that only cost $1.99. Of course there were taxes added to that, so now my card had a balance of $0.97. I can’t do anything with only ninety-seven cents. And it seems that you can only top up the card in $10 or $20 amounts.

I don’t plan on using this service anymore so I guess I have to swallow that dollar and count it as a loss.

That One Special Person

My cousin got married on the weekend. The ceremony was a short and sweet affair on the beach. It was a beautiful sunny day and everything about it seemed perfect. I’m happy for her and her new husband. I hope they have a wonderful life together.

The wedding was amazing. I have been to several weddings in my life and most of them have been good. This one, though, struck me as being romantic and perfect. It was nice to see that but it also made me a bit lonely.

At one point in the evening, the DJ asked everyone who was happily married to stand up. Almost everyone in the room was standing. I wanted to shrug and hide under the table. It hammered home the fact that I haven’t found my soul mate yet. Everyone at my table already had, my cousins. Two of the couples had been married for six years and one for ten years.

I am happy for all of these happily married people in my family. I wish them all the best, who knows, maybe one day I will be in their illustrious group. Till then, I guess I am still on that search for that one special person.

A Little Blogging Difficulty

I am having a little blogging difficulty.

I am at my mom’s for the weekend and I remember that last time I was here that her computer gave me some problems. Well, it is doing it again.

I don’t know why but I think the Blogger doesn’t like old Macs. I seem to have a really hard time just logging on and after that certain pages and buttons won’t even appear.

Yesterday I managed to log on, after some difficulty, and noticed that I had 99 posts. So I wrote what I thought was my hundredth post and reflected a bit on that milestone. It turns out that the graphics problem on this computer only made it look like I had 99 posts, I really only had 97. And with the pages not loading up correctly, I wasn’t able to edit the post once I published it.

Nevertheless, I am nearly at 100 posts now, so I will just leave that ill-timed post up there.

I have been having a lot of computer problems lately, but that stems from not actually having my own computer. I have mostly been using the public library for my internet access. It will be nice when school starts back up so I have a computer on my desk again. Till then, I’ll make do with what is available.

ARGHH!

It is a day full of arghhhs.

First I get into a stupid pointless fight about business long since passed. Then I go online to get some comfort from my blogging friends, to read their blogs, and hopefully relax a bit and ECD’s blog won’t load up properly.

ARGHHH!

ECD has cool links that I always follow to read even more blogs than the ones I have linked on mine. So now I can’t even visit those sites either.

ARGHHH!

Is it just “one of those days?”

If so, I can’t wait for it to be over.

Keep Holding On

I don’t know why some people feel that they need to keep holding on to a grudge, or acting vindictively well after the fact.

I have been having a problem with a certain person now for quite some time. I have tried to keep it out of my blog though. Today, I am just frustrated beyond all belief and need a place to vent.

This person and I have quite a history together and there is practically no way for me to get completely away from this situation. I need to see this person and since there is really no way around it, I grin and bear it.

I have forgiven this person and tried to move on with my life. I don’t see any reason to hold on to a grudge or my negative feelings towards this person. I think that holding the hurt and betrayal inside will only help to make me feel worse, which would be hard today. Still though, I expect more from a relationship. I expect a little civility and although we do not have to be friends, we should at least be friendly.

We had a long conversation yesterday but this person did not listen to one thing I said. The grudge is permanent and will be acted upon indefinitely, so I was lead to believe. It makes me sad to think that I have to live with this but I guess there is nothing you can do to change a person’s mind once it has been made up.

I think holding on to those negative feelings and the need to exact constant revenge and hurt because of it, does not do anyone any good. Maybe one day this person will come to realize this. Maybe not.

Tape Runs Out

I mourn the loss of the audio cassette.

I used to spend hours recording things onto cassette. I remember when my brother and I used to use a tape recorder to make silly commercials and pretend that we were talk radio hosts. It was a lot of fun.

I then became interested in DJing and would make mix tapes on a weekly basis. I recorded rap radio shows and listened to them over and over again. Everywhere I went, I took my walkman with me and stuffed four tapes in one of my jeans pockets and two or three in the other one. It was great.

I held on to the format long after the market had completely fazed them out. I was buying cassette tapes from music stores when most of my friends had converted to the CD format.

When I heard that cassettes were no longer being made, I went out and bought packs and packs of them because I was not going to let them die. Today, I found myself thinking about what happened to all those tape manufacturers. I looked up BASF on Wikipedia and was surprised to see that it is still a thriving company that deals with plastics. Sony is still doing well without the audio cassette as well. So is 3M. It seems that everyone has moved on.

I dug out my old cassettes and rented a CD burner from an Audio store. I spent the entire week copying my cassettes to CDs so that I can preserve my favourites. I kept the colour inserts of the tapes and put them in the new CD cases.

It’s nice having these old memories and albums on CD now. But it is not the same. I miss tapes. I miss having to flip them over, rewind them, hear the beeping noise at the front of the program, being able to make my own tapes of anything, and the feel of them in my pocket. I just miss them.