Monday, May 30, 2005

Bricks and Glaciers

Chimi reports from the field:

"i was doing volunteer work for Evergreen on Saturday. there was a public open house at the Brickworks. i was there helping to get people on to the tours of the brick factory and managing safety. all day i stood out front of the big mural on the outside face of the building. people were asking me about the mural, if i knew who the artist was and what the story was behind the mural. they also remarked on how pristine it looked (no graffiti). i said i didn't know who the artist was but that i was equally impressed that it hadn't been defaced with graffiti.

on my way home from the Brickworks I bumped into my neighbours who live on Spadina, Sady and Carla. i met them last year when i volunteered for David Miller's clean up the city day. they noticed my Evergreen t-shirt and i told them about my day of volunteer work at the Brickworks. then Carla says that Sady painted the mural there. back in 1994 he had won the City's contest for artists to design a mural. he then told me the whole story behind the mural, that each element tells the story of mother nature, from the time that the glaciers moved out of the Don Valley until now."

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Still Catching Those 2's

Friend who asked me for a babysitter in this post read the post yesterday. She then informed me that she is currently reading Catch 22. Join me in the Matrix.

Flickring On

Shortly after yesterday's post, wife showed me a birthday card given to her by her cousin. Her birthday was a couple weeks ago. The message on the front read (if you don't get the significance, read yesterday's post):

As candles flicker on your cake,
Forget the years, for goodness sake...


Which brings us to today, my 34th birthday.

In other news, Roni is back on the web. Roni = funny.

In other other news, I found this guy by cruising around using the "next blog" button you see at the upper right. I recommend you try it. For every 50 or so "ohmygod i am soooo hungover today" blogs you just might find a genius like this guy.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Thundr

Today I go for lunch with Chimi. Neither of us have a watch. Ends up 2.5 hours. Get back to work. Sit down. Kelly comes around and says "All hands meeting. Contractors too." I have avoided these until now. Everyone gathers in the kitchen. The meeting is relatively comfortable and jocular. I realize am getting to know the people there a bit, having been there for a couple months now. Director of Operations talks for a while about the latest happenings. Hands it over to the head sales guy. He talks about the new business they have been bringing in. He says we are going to be doing a site that is going to be along the lines of Flickr.com, the well known image hosting site. As he says the word "Flickr", the lights flicker off and on and the power goes out.

All express joy at this development, as it is near the end of the day Friday. I look across the street and next door; the lights are on. The streetcars are running. While walking home, several intersections have no traffic lights. A loud clap of thunder dominates the air.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

What's So Funny Bout Strippers, Beer and Understanding

Sitting on Starbucks patio #871 with Sharon and Sarah. Eccentric, perhaps drunk, chain-smoker lady at another table turns to me and explains that I should become a male stripper, for it is "a job we'd all understand". I wonder if she is including my mother in that group of people. I tell her that I take that as a complement, and that I think she should become a career counsellor. She says "Beer counsellor?!?!?!" Anyway...maybe I am stripping so you'll all understand. Comments?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Cup o' Geddy Lee

Come in to work yesterday after a week off with the hernia. The desks are all rearranged. There is no computer or desk for me. While I'm standing around, with no computer or desk, my sister's ex-boyfriend comes up to me and says hi. I haven't seen him in like 8 years. It's his first day on the job. Today, he's talking about how he did some work for Geddy Lee, the singer of Rush, who lives in Toronto. He did the Rush website and some other stuff for Geddy. A few minutes later I get an urge to call wife. For privacy, I go to call from the kitchen phone which is by a window facing King St. As I look out the window Geddy Lee walks by.

Rush

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Huckabee Hive

Watched I Heart Huckabees a couple weeks ago. If you have seen it, you know it's all about coincidences. Watched it over two nights. At work there is a big white board that covers an entire wall. Came into work the day after watching the first half of the movie and someone had drawn an intricate flowchart diagram consisting of a multitude of squares and rectangles covering the entire board (with writing in them). If you don't understand why this is significant, see the movie. I would have taken a picture but it was gone by the time I thought of it. Leaving that day, I noticed someone had locked up their bike with a big old chain. Didn't look like a bike chain, more like a chain you'd use to moor a boat. I thought "I guess that guy just brings a big old chain with him to work every day." Watched the second half of the movie that night. It ended with the exchange:
"Should I bring my own chains?"
"We always do."

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Two Plus Two = ?

Just returned from the Hernia Hilton, all patched up. People come from all over the world to get their hernias fixed at this place, even the rich and famous. Rule #1 is don't be too funny to those who have already had their operations done. Laughing hurts lots. I was told that a couple weeks ago Robin Williams was a patient. :-|

I had an attack of synchronicities involving the number 2 or 22 in the few days beforehand. I thought this would lead to a second hernia being found but I don't think it did. I thought I heard the doctor talking about a second hernia during the operation, and smiled to myself beneath the codeine and demerol. However, I wasn't able to talk to him afterwards to find out if there was in fact a second one that he patched up. So who knows. I could however have a second hernia in the future sometime. I certainly hope so, then my "2" synchronicity would come to a tangible fruition.

For the record, the attack of the 2's started with a friend IM'ing me to ask if I had a babysitter who could sit for a friend of hers. I said "No I don't think so...but who's the friend." She said "It's Jacob Two-Two's children." She was referring to the guy from the book Jacob Two-Two and the Hooded Fang by Moredecai Richler, a Canadian author. Lots of Canadian kids have read this book. Jacob's thing is that he says everything twice, and he says "I am Jacob Two-Two and I am two plus two plus two years old." Her friend is the son of Mordecai Richler and was basis for the character. He has two children, one aged two plus two years old, the other aged two plus two plus two years old. I would have liked to baby sit for them, but hey, I'm two plus two plus two plus two plus two plus two plus two plus.....

Later on my mom emailed me to tell me she had a coinkidink. Turns out it occurred within a couple hours of the Jacob Two-Two thing:

"I was the Victoria College library on Thursday, at closing time, and a harried young student was at the checkout desk in front of me, anxiously trying to track down a copy of Joseph Heller's 'Catch 22'. The librarian sent her off to Trinity College where she thought she might find a copy. I came back to the apartment, settled down for tea and a read of the newly arrived 'New Yorker', and opened it at random to a poem by Kurt Vonnegut on ....Joseph Heller and Catch 22:
True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer
now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire
on Shelter Island.
I said, "Joe, how does it make you feel
to know that our host only yesterday
may have made more money
than your novel 'Catch-22'
has earned in its entire history?"
And Joe said, "I've got something he can never have."
And I said, "What on earth could that be, Joe?"
And Joe said, "The knowledge that I've got enough."
Not bad! Rest in peace!

- Kurt Vonnegut
"
When I checked in to Hernia Heaven, the nurse led me to room 228, bed #2. She said "Anything labelled 2 is yours." My bed had a 2 on the headboard. The closet was divided into 1 and 2, as were the bathroom drawers and towel holders.

There was another 2 thing involving a woodpecker but I think it might be pushing it so I'll leave it at that for now. Also, I vomited twice after the operation. I may never know if I had a second hernia or if those 2's were leading anywhere.

Addendum: Please continue on by reading this post.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Doctors and Planetarians

I recommend you read this one a couple times.

This one starts with me watching an animated version of Ray Romano who is guest starring on the Simpsons. I rarely watch the Simpsons but had an urge to do so after seeing that they are coming up to their 350th episode. Ray Romano is playing Homer's contractor, hired to fix the Simpsons' roof. In the first or second scene I see, Homer goes to a Home Depot type of place. He finds Ray inside, descending a ladder carrying a box marked "SHINGLES". Ray says "Oh hey Homer, I just came down with a case of shingles." I laugh very hard at this.

The next day, I am on instant messenger with Chimi. I tell her I am thinking of starting a blog to record all of the coincidences that I am noticing. She offers to tell me one that happened to her. Years ago in the early days of the internet, she made a website for Dr. Hui, a Toronto doctor whom she admired and respected. Dr. Hui blends eastern and western medicine, and one remarkable thing he has done is to develop a successful treatement for Herpes zoster, commonly known as shingles. A bit about shingles, from an article on Dr. Hui's website:

"Shingles is the most common cause of chronic nerve pain, and at least 50,000 people seek help for this disease every year. No one who has ever experienced an attack of shingles would wish it on their worst enemy. One woman described the pain as "worse than childbirth", others considered suicide to relieve the excruciating intensity of the pain."

I had no idea that shingles was anything like this.

Chimi tells me how a few months ago, she was mentioning to her partner that she had not seen Dr. Hui in years and she was thinking of getting in touch. The next day, Dr. Hui emailed her to say hello. As part of their email conversation, Chimi offered to remake his website, as it was looking very dated. She didn't want any payment for it. Dr. Hui was very grateful, and told her that if anyone in her family ever developes shingles, he will help them without payment.

A week later, Chimi got a call from her aunt. Her grandmother had been diagnosed with shingles.

Another remarkable thing that Dr. Hui did was to help Bob Hunter. Bob is a huge environmental acitivist in our world. He cofounded Greenpeace and served as its president from 1973 to 1977. He is a prolific columnist and author on ecology issues. Originally from Vancouver, he is the ecology specialist for CityTv in Toronto. Being pretty green ourselves, Chimi and I both admire Bob a great deal. Along with reading his Eye magazine columns and watching him on TV, I bought his book 2030: Confronting Thermagedon and watched a biography on him.

Chimi tells me how in 2004, Dr. Hui helped Bob, who was suffering greatly, by referring him to a Mexican naturopathic clinic. There he received an array of treatments that brought his pain to much more bearable levels. Back at home, Bob continued with his regimen of meditation, diet and supplements started at the clinic, and was able to get on with his life.

Our instant messenger conversation winds down, and I'm pretty amazed with Chimi's coincidences, especially how Dr. Hui had offered to help anyone in Chimi's family with shingles, and then her grandmother got shingles right after that. I tell her I would put it in the blog for sure. We say bye and go back to our daily business.

A few minutes later, Chimi messages me. She tells me that she just read that Bob Hunter passed away due to his prostate cancer.

About a week later, I get off the Queen streetcar at Spadina on my way to work. Squarely in front of me on the sidewalk, about 10 feet wide, professionally stencilled out in large black capital letters on the sidewalk, is:


BOB HUNTER
1941-2005
PLANETARIAN


Dr. Hui
Bob Hunter
"Not without a fight"

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Peep and the Big Wide World

This happened a few days ago. My friend Cristina is pregnant and due any day. I'm working on contract at a web company right now. I go out and pick up some lunch. I come back and notice that the TV in the kitchen is on. I thought, why not sit by the TV and eat my lunch, which I have not done before in my couple months at this job. I take my food over and watch the news channel which is already on. I notice the remote nearby and start to flick channels. I come upon a cartoon that I have seen once before called "Peep and the Big Wide World". I like this show. The purple character is onscreen. I think "oh that's the guy that Cristina uses as her MSN pic". After the purple guy it shows the main character Peep, who is a chick. Peep is hatching out of an egg. I think "this means Cristina has had her baby". I return to my desk and see that Kerry, Cristina's good friend, has changed her MSN name to "Cristina had a baby girl!!". She had given birth to her baby girl the day before after 15 hours of labour and a c-section. Congrats to Cristina and Jason! Also congrats to Ala and Celine who just gave birth to Mathew.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Roll the Shouldice

The Shingle post is taking a while to write up because it's got many elements to it, across different people and periods of time. Also means it will be a very good one. So I'll put that one up whenever it's done. I also have several others in the queue as they are coming faster than I'm able to post them. So I'm going to have to get into the habit of posting frequently and efficiently.

I am about to go for hernia surgery. I've had a hernia for a few years. It doesn't really bug me a lot. What bugs me a little more is that I will have to shave my area beforehand. The hernia, which is a gap or tear in my muscle tissue through which my intestines bulge, resides in the upper right of my groin. I will get my hernia fixed at the Shouldice Hospital which resides in the upper right of Toronto. The Shouldice hospital fixes only hernias and does done this 300,000 times. They're the MacDonald's of hernias. I'll be admitted on Sunday and fixed on Monday. Using the Shouldice method, they will overlap the gapped muscle tissue and sew it up. (How did Shouldice come up with that one?)

While biking to work today I see a guy wearing a Shouldice Hospital T-shirt. I suppose people could be wearing them all the time and i'm only noticing it now because i'm about to go this same hospital, but that seems unlikely, and I'm generally not seeing T-shirts for hospitals. Actually, make that none, I don't think I have ever seen a hospital T-shirt. Best part about it is that he was younger than me, so it's not just old construction workers that get hernias. Having said that, my friend Ala had a hernia when he was 7 years old. Having said that, Ala and his wife Celine are about to have a baby.

Check out the comments from the previous post, "Cup o' JT".

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Narcissistic Popstrology Carpenters

Synchronicity or plain ol' premonition? Do I have to start another blog for premonitions? Sheesh.

Lying in bed on a Sunday morning. For some reason, thinking about songs that are popular when you are a baby and if it affects you and your outlook on life. I reflect on how I was a child during the early seventies and how now it seems like such a rare golden time, with groups like Jackson Five on the radio. I think of how I was born in 1971 and how I have memories of the Carpenters and songs like "Close to You". My wife loves the Carpenters and sang that song to me at a karoake bar one time. I get up and pick up the Toronto Star at the door. I sit down and pull out the Ideas section which is my favourite Sunday morning read. The first article I start to read goes as follows:
"Born under a bad song
In Popstrology, we can't all be Rolling Stones
[what does this line mean? -JT]

KENNETH KIDD
FEATURE WRITER

Ever wonder about the source of your debilitating narcissism?

Could it be that you were born in 1970? At a time when the Carpenters were No. 1 with a song called "Close To You"? (Sample lyric: "On the day that you were born, the angels got together, and decided to create a dream come true.")

Any bells ringing here?

The Billboard pop chart, that great clarion of an era's psychic influences, is so obviously destiny. It will mark your life. Or not, depending.

This was the clear message that crept into the brain of Ian Van Tuyl, founder of "popstrology," which he describes in his recent book of the same name as "a powerful and flexible science"...

Stay tuned for...A Green Piece of Shingle

Pythagorean Jeopardy

A few days ago I was reading a book on geometry as I am kind of interested in math (closes closet door behind him). I read about the Pythagorean Theorem which states that the two short sides of a right-angle triangle will give you the length of the long side usung the equation a2+b2=c2 (or something - look it up). I remembered it from school and I thought, as I sometimes do, "Well if I was on Jeopardy and that came up, I'd be prepared." The next day, Carmen is watching Jeopardy and I'm half watching and half playing with our baby, and for one of the questions up pops a right angle triangle with the short sides given as 30 and 35. Challenge was to give the length of the long side. I didn't get the answer. Hey - what's more fun - math or babies?

Banjo Idle Ferrari

Last week I was bored at my job and playing a game of "Name words that end in o" with my friend Stephanie over IM. The first couple days we were spewing out words one after the other. Then it started to dry up and we were down to a few a day - kazoo, embargo, and so on. Towards the end, when we thought we might have actually come up with all "ends in o" words in existence, one popped into my mind and I pulled up Stephanie's window and typed "FUCKING BANJO", swearing to add some punch. An hour or so later, having nothing to do, I decided to go for a walk. I thought "If the traffic lights lead me there, I will go to Chapters". They did. I normally head straight up to the 2nd floor, but I noticed the best sellers area towards the back on the ground floor, so I decided to go there for a change. I spotted a book by Eric Idle, who was always my favourite Monty Python member. It was a diary of his recent North American tour. I opened it to a page at random and started reading. A couple of pages in, he started on a tangent about a certain instrument, saying:
"That's the trouble with fucking banjo players. As a guitarist you're just invisible. You sit around for hours playing three chords so that their strangulated instruments can sound vaguely tuneful, and you might as well not be there. I once spent an evening with five of them - it's a nightmare for a guitarist. They always have one more fucking plaintive lament to play involving e minor, dead miners and a cat. Banjo players hate all other musicians. They can only tolerate other banjo players. What's the line you never hear at a recording studio? Will the banjo player please move his Ferrari."

Jasmine Bird Watchers

Ok I've got a few of these saved up so I'm going to start clearing the vaults. Mostly I will post current synchronicities, and occasionally I may post older ones if they emerge from memory.

This one is from a few years ago. My wife Carmen and I are walking on King St. E. in Toronto. She says "I've been hearing the name Jasmine a lot lately, like 4 times. For example the other day on Angel (TV show, Buffy spinoff) there was an omnipotent goddess that took human form and called herself Jasmine." (Also named some other examples, I don't remember what they were.)

About half a block along we come up to 3 or 4 people gathered around some viewing equipment like binoculars, cameras on tripods and so on. We ask them what they are doing. They say they are watching some birds that have nested on a building. This is in the downtown core, therefore highly unusual. They tell us the birds are some sort of rare hawk part way through a migration or something, and they were concerned about them, I don't remember exactly what the concern was. We looked up at the building and we could see a large hawk-like bird, and a nest, in a nook somewhere pretty high up on the side of a big downtown building. We asked if they had a name for the bird. They told us it was Jasmine.