Eep! Notice of my citizenship test arrived — it’s on the 12th — and I can’t even find, let alone have read, my copy of A Look At Canada.
The following is chapter 2 of Uncle & Claudius The Camel, by J. P. Martin. It was published in 1970, is still in copyright, but is out of print. Uncle and his entourage are on holiday at Wolf Lodge in the run-down resort of Sunset Beach. The beach is plagued with biting fish called Blue Jacks, and Uncle has called on his ingenious American friend Ira Smoothy for assistance …
Goodman spent all night chasing rats and mice, and yet in the morning seemed perfectly fit and full of good spirits.
Soon after breakfast the melodious sound of Ira Smoothy’s motor-bike horn was heard outside and Smoothy stamped in. He was a short, immensely broad man, with thick hair brushed up and large horn-rimmed glasses.
Happily General Boar always had breakfast in bed, so they could get straight to the point.
“Let me cook you a fresh breakfast,” said Miss Wolf eagerly. “No, no,” said Smoothy, polishing his big horn-rimmed glasses, “I’ll just have a few Seaweed Slashers.”
“It’s no good, madam,” said Uncle. “I’ve tried to tempt Mr Smoothy with all the delicacies of Homeward, but he always likes Seaweed Slashers best.”
“They suit me,” said Smoothy. “Now let’s get down to the pier, and I’ll show you what I propose to do about the Blue Jacks.”
I’ve a feeling I might get to like the blueberry fritter almost as much as my canonical donut, the sour cream glazed.
(a rant for St Andrew’s Day)
It must have been great to be part of the Scottish Enlightenment. This wee country seemed to blossom, from a muddy backwater to a world leader in economics, philosophy, mathematics and engineering.
And yet, for the average Scot, all that was a long time ago. All it seems we can manage now is to churn out neds by the million. So how did we get from the place described (rather breathlessly) in Arthur Herman’s How The Scots Invented The Modern World to the place where the football fans chant “We’re Shite, And We Know We Are.“?
Urban disenfranchisement of the formerly agrarian workforce, perhaps? Who can say. We even chose the darkest, grimmest part of the year for our national day (hint: St Jean-Baptiste would make a smashing national day …). So, have a happy St Andy’s, get properly munted, and wha’s like us, eh?
Did some upgrades/maintenance to the Linux box tonight:
- added a DVD±RW drive
- finally fitted the cheapo Zalman fan controller to take the edge off the CPU fan noise
- got X11 working with the nVidia graphics card again, under 2.6.14. It was fiddly.
Some people might wonder why I keep maintaining a 3½ year-old Athlon XP1800+. It works, and with the amount of RAM I have in it, it’s plenty fast.
It’s now showing Sh12rt Date for the date entry field; what gives?
Update: Now it’s doing this:—
and then dying with this:—
We spent our anniversary weekend in Guelph, which is a nicer town than most Torontonians give it credit for.
(the title is Catherine‘s tourism slogan for the city.)
I found a copy of Linda McQuaig’s It’s the Crude, Dude on the GO train last night. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while. I don’t know what I’ll do with it when I’ve read it — Bookcrossing?
The mini-mall burned last night. Looks like the centre of the fire was the gift shop in the middle of the block. The rest of the block is pretty badly damaged, though. It looks like the place will have to be rebuilt — or replaced with a condo block, which seems to be the fate of shops in Scarborough.
I hope that noone was hurt.
So, goodbye Yoga’s, with your selection of teas and Sri Lankan groceries. Goodbye Star Milk, the mom, pop and smiley baby store with your VLT in back and dodgy videos over the drinks cooler. Goodbye Poondy Bread, purveyors of that which has paneity. Goodbye Amma, ace Sri Lankan takeout food shop, the place where I developed a taste for really spicy food.
But most of all, godbye to the gift shop. Even though I never went in there, I’ll miss the sun-yellowed unsold toys in the window; the almost-Transformers and plastic racing cars.
One toy, unsold through two summers, perplexed me most. It was a cardboard tube wrapped in tinsel. Cardboard tags with pictures of Star Wars characters were attached to it with those nylon annoyances you get on new clothes. It resembled more a christmas decoration than a space weapon, which I think it was supposed to be. We called it the Star Wars Tree, and I’m guessing it wasn’t officially licensed from Lucasfilm.
It’s all gone now, washed away by the fire hoses.
It’s getting towards the end of the year, so I’m thinking about what albums I enjoyed most. These are the 2005 albums I have in my collection:
- A Hawk And A Hacksaw — Darkness At Noon
- Aimee Mann — The Forgotten Arm
- Animal Collective — Feels
- Beck — Guero
- Bettye Lavette — I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise
- Bright Eyes — Digital Ash In a Digital Urn
- Bright Eyes — I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
- Calexico / Iron & Wine — In the Reins
- Caribou — Marino Audio
- Dan Jones — Get Sounds Now
- The Decemberists — Picaresque
- Deerhoof — The Runners Four
- Devendra Banhart — Cripple Crow
- Dressy Bessy — Electrified
- The Duhks — The Duhks
- Eels — Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
- Fiona Apple — Extraordinary Machine
- Gorillaz — Demon Days
- Grandaddy — Excerpts From The Diary Of Todd Zilla
- Jennifer Gentle — Valende
- John Parish — Once Upon a Little Time
- Kate Bush — Aerial
- Kate Rusby — The Girl Who Couldn’t Fly
- Kimberley Rew — Essex Hideaway
- Lazerlove5 — Flicker Mask
- Lemon Jelly — ‘64–‘95
- The Lollipop People — We Need a New F-Word
- Malcolm Middleton — Into The Woods
- Marbles — Expo
- The Mountain Goats — The Sunset Tree
- My Morning Jacket — Z
- Of Montreal — The Sunlandic Twins
- Sigur Rós — Takk …
- Sleater-Kinney — The Woods
- Sufjan Stevens — Illinois
- The Vanity Project
- Wolf Parade — Apologies to the Queen Mary
I know there are some that won’t make my list (Aerial, for one) but the rest of them all have their moments.
remind me to listen to more caribou. I got a sampler at Wild East at the weekend, and it’s extremely compelling.
I was supposed to go to New Brunswick tomorrow, but the trip was cancelled. Bah.
Ontario RFP II Winners are announced. Congratulations to all the successful parties.
We had a component failure on the WindShare turbine today. Just when the winds have got really good, too. We know how to fix it, it’s just a matter of getting the people and the parts together.
I’ve just been listening to BBC Radio 4‘s dramatisation of Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son. It’s rather good.
I think I can safely say that this household knows more about Edmund Gosse than any other in Scarborough. Catherine‘s PhD was based on on the Gosse family, and I’ve read the book and proof-read the thesis. I suspect we’re also the only household in Scarborough that relates episodes from the young life of Edmund Gosse as if they were family anecdotes.
I know, we must get a life …