Sunday, November 26, 2006

If Only I Knew What He Was Smacking

You know, sometimes when life is getting me down, I like to turn to music to get me back on my feet again. The combination of words and music to express an idea, an emotion or a point of view can be a powerful tool. It’s food for the soul. Dylan and Lennon are as latter-day Byron and Keats, taking our innermost hopes and desires and expressing them through their art. That said, I’d like to give you guys a little sample of a song that has really been carrying me these last couple of weeks:

Smack that
All on the floor
Smack that
Give me some more
Smack that
’Till you get sore

- Akon

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Riveting Black and White Photographs From the 1930s!

Looking through my computer, I see I have an odd collection of images. Odder still is that I have actually bothered to transfer many of them from not one but two computers onto my laptop. At some point, I must have subconsciously given a damn about them. Given that, let us now take a look at five notable photos I have on my computer.
Here are some of the airship Los Angeles over New York and Washington, D.C. back in the thirties before people realized that airships were about as ridiculous a method of transportation as you could imagine. I think it’s just cool that the US Navy had a small handful of these suckers. New York in the thirties looks awesome, while you can make out the Capitol building underneath the airships in the second photo.
Here is a coloured lithograph proclaiming the Atlantic cable as the eighth wonder of the world. I guess this would date to the late 1850s (if the Wikipedia is anything to go by). At first it might seem silly that such a thing would be considered a wonder of the world, but then you figure that, for the first time, instant communication from North America to Europe was a possibility. Add to that the realization that they actually laid a fucking piece of wire across the ocean in the 1850s and then it does sound pretty nuts.
Elements from this lithograph that I love and can be found in many similar pieces from this era:
- Animals representing countries (how did a lion come to be associated with the UK, anyway?)
- Classical gods
- The scenes around the border (which is itself a cable) showing the laying of the cable and the points at which it makes landfall

Here’re some samples of the Atlantic cable they had to lay over the years to get a long-lasting, secure connection, which, as I take it, was all the rage.

The following I also take from the Wikipedia:

"On August 16, Queen Victoria sent a telegram of congratulation to President Buchanan through the line, and expressed a hope that it would prove "an additional link between the nations whose friendship is founded on their common interest and reciprocal esteem." The President responded that, "it is a triumph more glorious, because far more useful to mankind, than was ever won by conqueror on the field of battle. May the Atlantic telegraph, under the blessing of heaven, prove to be a bond of perpetual peace and friendship between the kindred nations, and an instrument destined by Divine Providence to diffuse religion, civilization, liberty, and law throughout the world."

These messages were the signal for an outburst of enthusiasm. Next morning a grand salute of 100 guns resounded in New York City, the streets were decorated with flags, the bells of the churches rung, and at night the city was illuminated."

Here we have a section of none other than the mighty Highway 401, lifeblood of Ontario, under construction in Oshawa sometime right before the War. As I understand it, the 401 began as a project designed to link Oshawa (at Harmony) to Scarborough. At the time, it was known as Highway 2A, as it ran parallel to and was meant to relieve some of the congestion on Highway 2. Then the War happened and things didn’t get started again until the 50s, by which point they just went ahead and started making the 401 proper, incorporating a lot of what they’d made of 2A into the 401.

If you ask me, these overpasses must be Simcoe and Ritson. This must also explain why that part of the 401 is rather odd (it’s lower than the city, and peoples’ houses back up right onto the freeway, so close that they have to put some road signs up on top of those ugly green barriers because there is no land between the shoulders and someone else’s property to put them on) – it’s the oldest part of the 401 and they were still trying to figure things out. You can see how they obviously fixed that problem in the newer, post-War parts of Oshawa, like east of Harmony and west of, say… Park.

Special note: Just to see if anyone is paying attention, an alcoholic beverage will go to anyone who has noticed the running theme thus far in my profile photos in the upper right-hand corner.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Don't Let the Tie Fool You

I had my first round of parent/teacher interviews today. I’d done it last year in my practicum, but that’s obviously not the same thing. For starters, my dick was actually on the line this time.
Quick, think of something ironic to say so it doesn't look like you're just putting up photos of you wearing a tie.

Uhm... "According to Jim" is my favourite show.

I had about 10 parent/guardians come in today, out of a potential… hell, let’s just say 60. To be fair, I doubt many more ever came at Central. It’s also somewhat anticlimactic, since the parents who give a shit enough to come in have generally sired children who are decent students already. There’s rarely much to discuss beyond, “Uhm… yeah, just, er… tell him to keep it up, I’m guessing?”

But there is that nagging fear in the back of my mind that after all these weeks of scraping by, of making my co-workers believe that I am actually competent, some hard-assed parent is finally going to figure it all out. They’ll look at the assignments their kids did or did not hand in, look at the final mark, and realize that my entire operation here is a sham.

“You’re saying you don’t know what level my daughter’s been tested to?”, ”What do you mean you have no evaluation mark for this unit?”, ”Do you think I could take a look at the unit plan you’ve been running the class by?”, ”Are you absolutely positive my son hasn’t handed in these assignments?” and “What particular curriculum requirements does this assignment meet?” are all questions I was never asked today. But, shit, if I have… that woulda been it. The gig would have been up.

I mean, it’s all fun and games until you’re held accountable. And the minute that I am, I do believe that’ll be it for me. And speaking of people who won’t be lasting the whole year here in Sandy Bay, word has filtered down of a posting for a new principal. So, if you have a minimum of 3 years of school based administrative experience and post-graduate training in educational administration or curriculum studies a vagina, by all means, send in your application.

Friday, November 03, 2006

People and Places

A Moustache-less Wayne Rostad: Creepier Than You Ever Imagined

Director: Okay Wayne, let’s get started on these promos.

Wayne: Right on, champ!

Director: Okay, let’s go. Take one.

Wayne: I’m Wayne Rostad! Join me as I visit a man in Moose Jaw who has a collection of over 15, 000 hubcaps!

Director: Great stuff, Wayne. Let’s do the next.

Wayne: I’m Wayne Rostad! This week, be sure to follow me as I visit a woman in Churchill who has Canada’s largest bag of toenail clippings!

Director: Perfect. Next one?

Wayne: I’m Wayne Rostad! This week, I’ll be dropping in on a family in Nanaimo who have been sharing the same pair of shoes between them for the past 34 years!

Director: Just great. I’m already there, man. Okay, a couple more.

Wayne: I’m Wayne Rostad! Don’t miss us this week, as I visit a man in Medicine Hat who has the world’s only locket of Hitler’s hair!

Director: Whoa, okay, Wayne, you actually taped that?

Wayne: Oh, you bet! Back in April. You should see the thing. It’s like holding a piece of Hitler in your hands.

Director: Well, sure thing. Let’s move on, kay?

Wayne: I’m Wayne Rostad! Next week, I’ll check in on a man in Waterloo who doesn’t think Black people should be allowed to vote!

Director: Ha ha, nice try, funny pants. Just read what’s on the card, okay?

Wayne: But I did. We recorded that segment back in June.

Director: About a guy who doesn’t want Blacks to vote?

Wayne: Yep, just another slice of Canadiana. Wacky country, eh?

Director: Okay, sure, I guess. Let’s try the next one?

Wayne: I’m Wayne Rostad! Next week, be sure to tune in as we visit a man in Trois Rivieres who forces his wife to defecate on the front lawn!

Director: Okay, Wayne, just stop it.

Wayne: What?

Director: The fake promos. I mean, I’m not saying it’s not funny, but Rex Murphy is in here in five minutes to do his thing, and we need to get out.

Wayne: But they’re not fake. Listen, I’m just taking a look at Canada’s wacky, whimsical side. If you’ve got a problem with that, you can shove it.

Director: Alright, alright. A few more.

Wayne: I’m Wayne Rostad! Next week, come with me as I visit a woman in Goose Bay who has had the hiccups for 17 years!

Director: Okay, thanks. That’s more like it. Last one, Wayne.

Wayne: I’m Wayne Rostad! On this week’s episode, I’ll be in Flin Flon to visit a man who’d rather have intercourse with young boys than women!

Director: Chirst Wayne, that’s it!

Rex Murphy: Did somebody mention young boys?