A Shitty Year Comes to an End

In her Christmas address, the Queen has called 2005 a “terrible year” as she recalled all the natural and human-made disasters this year. For his part, (creepy-looking) Pope Benedict urged the world to unite against terrorism. In short, aside from a few individual, personal successes for some, 2005 will likely go down as having been a shitty year.

It’s even been bad for ultra-conservative U.S. Republicans, whose ethical shortcomings and inept manner of governing have been exposed. So when I read this story about how large telecommunications firms have collaborated in “storing information on calling patterns and giving it to the U.S. government” since September 2001, I couldn’t help but feel that the “greater world” around us all has become a sadder place in recent years. Given the aforementioned ethical shortcomings and the general slanderous polical culture that prevails, claims that “the eavesdropping was limited to people with known links to al-Qaeda” ring hollow. So many who just happen to be swarthy or disagree with GWB’s administration have been labelled “terrorists” that the term itself has become devoid of meaning.

I’m reminded again of the way I closed one of my blog entries on the eve of the second Iraq war.

I’ve been alive long enough to recognize that the present moment never seems as rosy and glamourous and happy as the moments we keep in our memory vault. I also know that the passage of time softens the edges of our memories and makes us view them with more sentimentality than we ought to view them. But never before have I had such a strong feeling that these days are not producing the foundation for what will become memories to which we will look back with any fondness.

I wrote that nearly three years ago. Normally I’m a cautious optimist. But when I re-read that paragraph, I feel things have only gotten worse, not better.

Sorry for the downer on this Christmas Day. But like I said many times before, Christmas is just another day for me, and it just so happens it’s grey and foggy here today, so this reflection came to mind upon reading the news today at cbc.ca. It just seems that, while not economic this time, we’re going through the 21st century’s Great Depression.

Not Such a Great Deal

Just before Christmas, I bought myself the cheapest DVD player I could find. Because my TV set is quite old, I also had to get a converter to plug the player in. Unfortunately, two of the movies I rented for my Christmas Home Film Festival didn’t work in this new player. Well… they did, except for the sound. I even rushed over to Video Difference last night before it closed in order to swap one of them, but that didn’t change anything. In the setup menu of each movie, there’s the option of several languages including English and whether or not subtitles should be on or off. For one movie, I couldn’t navigate and select on those menus; for the other, the English and French included a super-dooper state-of-the-art Dolby surround-sound option. So I got all the background noises but no dialogue. When I tried one of the DVDs on my alt.home.office computer, it worked, but I’m not crazy about sitting at a computer to watch a movie.

I’ll have to decide what I want to do with this cheap DVD player. The problem might be a function of my old TV set, which I’m not about to replace, meaning that getting the next-up DVD player won’t fix anything. Also, I’m not planning on going to the store the first day it reopens after Christmas, since it’s going to be a madhouse. So I’m really not sure what I’ll do. 🙁

Blow My Socks Off!

Have you ever had a movie on your “must rent” list for years, and for some reason or another, you never got around to renting it? I certainly have, to the point that in some cases, I erroneously believe I’ve seen the movie because it’s been on the back of my mind for so long. Anyway, last night, I finally rented Harold and Maude, and I must say it completely floored me.

I couldn’t believe that it was done in 1971. It was way ahead of its time! Only the cars and the clothes date this movie. And the Cat Stevens tunes, I guess. (Duh!) Sure, it’s dark little film …yet it’s not. Why it took me so long to finally rent this movie, I don’t know. But I’ll probably watch it again.

Speaking of movies, because Stephanie is fighting a bad cold, we — or I alone if she’s still under the weather — will go to only one movie tomorrow night. Bareback Brokeback Mountain is only playing at the Oxford, which is a nicer theatre but a “uniplex.” The raving reviews continue to pour in, so I think this is one flick I have to see on the big screen.

If you only have peasant TV as I do, there’s really nothing on tonight. So I’m going to pour myself a nice drink, bring out the shrimps and dip into the living room, and pop another movie into the DVD player.


My Christmas Eve

I remember that, as a kid, I would be very excited around this time. The wait for and anticipation of midnight mass, which was followed by opening gifts and le réveillion — a feast of all sorts of goodies including tourtière (meat pies) — was the culmination of what I’d been waiting for since the calendar turned to December. It was a warm, cozy and magical time when my grandfather would come to town and I’d stay up late every night during the Holidays.

So here I am at 40, sitting at my computer to write in my blog, and while I remember those times with fondness, I am very content with being by myself and not having any definite plans. Sitting by the window at alt.home.office, I’m noticing that there’s quite a bit of traffic, which is likely the result of the early mass getting out at St. Joseph’s, just a short block away. I don’t regret not having a single Christmas decoration except the Christmas cards I received.

I did fill the cupboards and the fridge, though. I got shrimps and nice dips, pâté, a fancy cheese ball and other nice cheeses, crackers, chips, cashews, Hersey kisses… And I rented five DVDs last night, although I’ve already gone through two. I can blog without a twinge of guilt and not feel that I should be working instead of blogging.

We got a little bit of fresh snow last night, so what’s on the ground now isn’t as grey and dirty as it was. It’s very mild (-1C/30F) this Christmas Eve, at least for here, and it’s supposed to go way over the freezing mark on Christmas and Boxing Day, which is a bit unusual. But that should make travelling around the Maritimes a lot easier.

Anyway, it’s funny. I’m very content, but I can’t help remembering how Christmas meant so much to me when I was younger. However, I think that’s the key. We’ve come to put much of the focus of Christmas on the kids. My mother loves Christmas as long as there are kids around. I have no kids and have no particular desire to be around kids ever, so now that I’m no longer a kid and I don’t follow the Christian faith, Christmas is just a nice excuse to sit back, relax, and gorge. 🙂


I went for my semi-annual checkup and cleaning at the dentist the other day — three days ago, in fact. I’ve already alluded to the fact my dentist is unconventional by referring to him as my Butch Leather Bottom Dentist, although there’s no kinky leather in sight when he’s working. I like having a gay dentist because he’s very matter-of-fact in pointing out certain precautions a guy like me should bear in mind.

I have what I called Bugs Bunny teeth. You know. Two wide and longer than the other teeth incisors. My sister has them, too. Lately, however, I’ve been noticing that they been feeling more jagged to the tongue. Of course, anything you feel with your tongue in your mouth feels like a giant crater even though it’s not nearly that bad. But, knowing that I used to grind my teeth as a kid, I thought I’d mention it to BLBD.

“The thing is that I can’t be sure that I’m back to grinding my teeth,” I explained. “I haven’t anyone sleeping with me to confirm or deny this.”

He laughed, then said the evidence suggests I probably am, so he should grind them a little to prevent further chipping and have a plate fitted for me to wear when I sleep. I saw dollar signs flash before my eyes, but, imperfect as they are, I’m proud of having all my 32 teeth and only 1/2 filling in one molar. So, while I don’t have dental insurance, I’m prepared to dish out some cash to preserve this enviable status.

“Here’s your homework over the Holidays,” BLBD said, clearly not being serious. “Sleep with someone and have him report back whether or not you grind your teeth.”

Rather than following this “advice,” I simply made an appointment for a fitting on January 16.