I can’t imagine not doing anything ever again

On my old blog, I once referred to camping as “Yelling At Kids in Nature(TM).”

Like the photographer, poison ivy is attractive in certain light, but mostly an irritant best avoided.
Like the photographer, poison ivy is attractive in certain light, but mostly an irritant best avoided.

Little has changed.  There’s still lots of yelling.  Mostly THEM yelling while we growl at them to be quiet, a reaction we’re cured of three days in, when we realize that our neighbours are hearing impaired and/or tolerant of loud children and/or both.

One thing that has definitely changed is my impulse to want to catalog and archive everything. This time, there were whole entire days where I didn’t take even a single photo.

Which means that rather than a week’s worth of posts that replay my vacation in near-real time, you get a bunch of random lists so short and scattered you’d think I wrote them on the inside of a dew-dampened Kleenex box.

Which I did. Enjoy.

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Some such animal

Like every single person reading this, I own but have yet to finish reading David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.

I also own a Bible and I haven’t read it cover to cover either, so clearly I am at ease with not knowing how things All Work Out In The End.

Despite my readerly failings, there is one passage from IJ that stuck with me, enough that I actually took the time to write it out by hand. Here it is in text, because oy, my handwriting:

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Toys don’t balance themselves, you know

We’ve got a situation here in our house.

It’s not one that’s unique, or even notable, really, except for the fact that it’s rapidly reaching crisis proportions and action – some kind of definitive, decisive, headline-worthy action – was called for.

The situation is that we’re drowning in toys. Duplo, Lego, puzzles, dolls, games, train sets, random feathers and half a magnetic alphabet. You get the idea.

I decided yesterday that enough was enough. I took the kids out to a $3.99 a plate* dinner and informed them that sometime in the next few weeks, new rules would be coming down that would govern the in- and outflow of toys.

I call it The Balanced Toy Act.

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Winner must answer a skill-testing question

Another Indian would-be groom has bitten the dust.

Last time, the bride walked away because of an undeclared seizure disorder – this time, subpar arithmetic was to blame:

An Indian bride walked out of her wedding ceremony after the groom failed to solve a simple math problem, police said Friday.

The bride tested the groom on his math skills and when he got the sum wrong, she walked out.

The question she asked: How much is 15 plus six?

His reply: 17.

In the would-be-groom’s defense, “carry the one” can be tricky. Plus, it’s supposed to be a wedding, not a grade-school oral exam.

But at the same time, I admire the yeah-maybe-no-bride’s willingness to kick his mental tires. It’s not something that’s commonly done here in North America, or at least not in so dramatic a form.

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Canada, the country, endures

1. I am not a fact-checker.
2. I am not a journalist.
3. I am not a writer with a column in Esquire.


Earlier today, Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, a 24-year-old reservist, was killed – gunned down while standing guard at the National War Memorial, steps away from Parliament Hill.

Cue shock. Horror. Incredulity. Tears.

Followed by reflection. Commentary. Punditry. Partisanship.

The latter was worst on Twitter. It always is.

But the pièce de résistance – the cake-taker, if you will – was this piece by Esquire’s Stephen Marche: Canada, The Idea, Is In Pieces

Let’s read it together, shall we?

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You thought wrong

If you’re on the internet as much as I am, you’ve doubtless encountered websites with end-of-article features like this:

This one is by Outbrain, which bills itself as “the leading content discovery solution.” I used to do PR for technology clients, so let me apologize — once again — for ever having used language like that.

I thought about doing a HuffPo Spoilers-style post where I would, in their words, “give in to (the) click-bait so you don’t have to,” but I really don’t want to give in to the click-bait. Instead, in the spirit of “how to dress for your shape,” I’m just going to go ahead and guess what these Teasy Teasersons — found on TLC.com — might be all about:

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Does Word Crimes cross the line?

One of my favourite words in the Spanish language is aguafiestas. It’s used to describe someone who ruins a good time. In English, the closest equivalent would be “party pooper.”

I mention that because I’m about to be an aguafiestas.

I’ll tell you up front: if you’re an actual person who actually lives under an actual rock, what I’m about to say will make little sense. But then again, you’ve chosen to set up shop with spiders and bats and pervasive dampness, and you’re willingly reading the dreck I shovel out, so I think we’ve established that sense isn’t your strong suit.

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Dear Walter: You’ll be great

Yesterday, my son decided that he wanted to write a letter to his bear, Walter … so he did. As I described it on Facebook:

“The letter included Walter’s name, my kid’s name, a drawing of each, a drawing of a house and a drawing of a cave. Oh, and a drawing of some hydro wires. Then he made a bracelet for Walter, and included a set of keys (not ones we actually use). Then we weighed it (52 g), so we had to put five stamps (stickers) on it. Very productive afternoon.”

Inside the letter, he traced the letters I’d written. On the envelope, he printed them all by himself. I posted pictures of both, and his grandma (my mom) made a sweet and benign comment about how he is a “budding writer.”

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