It’s Okay Now in Nova Scotia

Yup, same-sex couples can marry now in Nova Scotia.

You might recall that, a year or so ago, I attempted to explain why I didn’t agree with same-sex marriage. My argument was never because I condone discrimination or believe the definition of marriage is fixed in stone. It was always about my opposition to the social construct that is “marriage” and the trappings that SSM advocates seem intent to avoid considering.

Yet I’ll admit that when I read the news last Friday about the decision in Nova Scotia, I cheered. And if the decision had been negative, I would have been disappointed in this province. But, still, don’t expect me to lose my apprehension anytime soon.

America, You Depress Me

This rant is not addressed to my American friends and/or readers. It’s just a rant.

Attempting to be rhetorical, some Floridians interviewed on the news after the passage of Hurricane Jeanne have semi-jokingly wondered out loud what they could have done to piss God off so much to deserve such wrath. Equally unserious, my retort was that it was a reminder that an election is coming up and that, this time, Floridians shouldn’t fuck it up by voting Bush back in.

Except that it seems clear to me that the U.S. election IS going to be a fuck up no matter how you look at it. The proof is in the discourse, or lack thereof. For instance, if you take my unserious comment above, you can easily imagine such illogical contortious happening (i.e., “God is telling us to vote/not to vote for Bush”). Yeah, yeah… I know that’s totally silly. But don’t forget you’ve got a vice-president campaigning around the country, more or less telling people that if they vote for Kerry, the terrorists are going to get ’em. As if they cared.

I’m just not among those who believe there’s a link between the 9-11 attacks and who happened to be the president at the time. I actually know people who think the attacks happened as an expression by terrorists of their dislike of Bush. But I can’t dignify this “argument” by attempting to refute it, other than say that those atrocities were committed by fanaticals who profoundly hate American foreign policy. Period, full stop.

But what pains me is that I remember thinking on 9-11 that Bush’s tenure on the White House had just been assured to 2008, just as Gore’s would have been had the Supreme Court chosen him instead of Bush less than a year earlier. I’m quite certain that had Gore been president at the time of the attacks, many of those “Blogs for Bush” logos you see on some blogs today would read “Blogs for Gore” instead. But the difference, I believe, is that today we wouldn’t be talking about a war in Iraq. And I have a gut feeling that the world’s outpouring of support for the U.S. would not have been squandered as it has been by the Bush administration. Today there would be a real international coalition against terrorism.

As if those thoughts were depressing enough, I’m convinced that American Democrats are intent on not winning the upcoming presidential election. Bush’s record as president is horrible to say the least. It shouldn’t be hard to make that point resoundingly clear …except if you pick a stiff, unwitty, long-winded, and appealing-as-rotting-dead-fish-on-a-wharf senator like Kerry as your candidate. When I saw Kerry’s rise in the primaries, I came to the only conclusion I could possibly make: The Democrats in the U.S. have a death wish. And no balls.

But outside America, stiff, unwitty, long-winded, and appealing-as-rotting-dead-fish-on-a-wharf would be a massive improvement. Not that it seems to matter much in America, but if the rest of the world could vote in the U.S. election, Bush would be so gone. But oh no. Although the president of the United States is touted as the “Leader of the Free World,” what the free world thinks is utterly irrelevant.

Or so I’m led to believe by insular American who’ve never travelled outside the U.S.

A Whole Lot of Wind

A year ago on this night, much of the Halifax area was without power. The night before, Juan had kicked us in the teeth. Hard. And the thing I think I’ll always remember is the smell that lingered over the city for several days. With so many trees down, it was as if we were in a forest that was being harvested. It wasn’t an entirely unpleasant smell, but it wasn’t right within a city of 300,000 people.

The passage of Juan marked us. Before, we used to think “real” hurricanes only happened in the Carolinas and Florida. Now, we’re still pondering not only that a Category 2 hit us, but also that it caused as much damage as it did. And one thing that many of us have come to realize is that the landscape up here is just not suited for such high winds. Indeed, palm trees seem to have a lot more give; the kind of trees we have here turn into massive sails.

But as ill-tempered as Juan was, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone comparing what happpened to us last year with the four hurricanes in six week that have hit Florida this year.

Demo… lition? this?

It was another busy week for me — at least the beginning of the week was — and an intense weekend is in store. One of the big items on my to-do list was to bid on a request for proposals. I would like to think that I’ve submitted the winning bid, but I can’t count on actually winning it. I’m choosing to think that it IS the winning bid but the client may or may not recognize it as such.

Anyway, I had an idea while I was working on my bid and I decided that the time has come. For what? For a fully functioning demo of TextStyleM, that’s what! Oh sure, I still need to finish building the “Reference Manager” feature (i.e., the function to store hyperlinks so that I can then set a cron job to verify the continued validity of links), but aside from that missing core feature, the system is very stable and does one heck of a lot already.

One feature I implemented in the last 10 days of which I’m quite proud is the “Update Reminder.” Indeed, it is now possible to set a reminder on just about anything published on a TextStyleM-driven site. So say, for instance, that you edited a page on your site to refer to a meeting on September 24, you can set yourself a reminder to come back to the page on September 25 and change the date or edit however you deem appropriate. Early every morning, TextStyleM scans the site for reminders that may have been set for today, and e-mails a message with the path to the article(s) to change and a description of what needs to be done (which the user would have typed in when setting the reminder). I think this feature should be helpful to either those who edit their site frequently, or those who don’t.

I’m very pleased with all the “_______ Manager” features I’ve built so far (images, public documents, and html files), because they really DO manage, not just allow uploading. For instance, in the version of MT I use, once I’ve loaded an image, there’s no way of finding the image again via MT. There is in TextStyleM …but not only that, if you delete an image, TextStyleM scans the entire site and removes all references to the deleted image.

All this to say that the time has come for me to release a demo. If you’re curious, I can set you up as an “assistant webmaster” in said demo site. I’m planning to have it up and running by Monday (September 20).

A Son’s Visit

My father would have turned 79 this coming Thursday, the 16th. So I called Mom this afternoon to tell her that I decided to go for a day trip to Moncton on Thursday so that we can go to the cemetery together. We’ll likely bring a framed picture of him and asked that it be placed inside the glass vault.

I remember one year when I called my father on his birthday. It was in ’98 or ’99 — one of those years when we had an incredibly long and beautiful summer. When I spoke to him, he reported having walked all the way to Main Street and back home that morning, and he hadn’t needed a jacket so much it was warm that September 16th.

Six months today since he died; six months on the 16th since his funeral. That’s not very much time, yet at the same time it doesn’t feel like six months have passed already since he died. I suspect that when we say that “It still doesn’t seem quite real,” it’s because we have no basis for comparison. We’ve always only known having him there.