Looking Back, aMMusingly

In the last week or so, whenever my concentration was too shot to delve into anything complicated, I would spend some time cleaning up my entries in aMMusing since I began blogging in December 2002. As a result — in theory, at least — if anyone placed a trackback on or created a link to an entry in the previous incarnation of aMMusing, online readers should be brought to the equivalent entry at ammusing.ca. Also, I’ve taken the time to remove linkrot, bring all photos and other media into this installation of WordPress, and remove the old MovableType files and database.

The reason this transition took me so long, aside from the fact I didn’t work on it constantly, is that I ended up rereading almost every single entry of the last two-and-a-half years. I walked away from this exercise feeling that, generally, aMMusing has lived up to its name: some times amusing, other times providing silly and not-so-silly musings. While I would agree that, through 2004, this blog hasn’t been quite as amusing as before — a situation I attribute to the inordinate number of work-related entries — I have to say that the act of thoroughly going through my entries and your comments may have invigorated me to return to the more eclectic, pre-2004 style that had come to characterize this blog. One means of doing this might be to make some of my posts private and give out a set of passwords to my most loyal readers whom I know could handle the topic. This practice could afford me the liberty of being more specific and not having to worry about censoring names or more intimate yet not-terribly-correct or polite thoughts. 😛

The Retrospective
Over the years I posted music, video clips and photos you might enjoy revisiting if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic about aMMusing‘s early days, as I felt after going back through it…

December 21, 2002
In an entry entitled “You Either Like Him or Hate Him,” I wrote about Michael Franks, of whom I’ve been a fan since my teen years. I credit Michael for giving me my “coming out” song. The entry links to three clips of his music.
Anthony’s Song (mp3, 4.8 MB, 5:05)
The Lady Wants to Know (mp3, 4.4MB, 4:44)
Living on the Inside (mp3, 5.3MB, 5:39)

On the same day, I also wrote “Silly Dion” and, of course, did NOT provide a clip. 😛

December 28, 2002
Crystal Cresent Beach is certainly my favorite spot in Nova Scotia and possibly my favorite spot in the whole wide world. It is perhaps the most compelling argument for me to stay in the province rather than move to Montreal, my favorite city in Canada.

January 9, 2003
In “Monday, November 25, 1996 — Remembering The Walking,” I recalled the day I refound my tape of Jane Siberry The Walking (and Constantly) (mp3, 5.6MB, 6:16), which in turn brought me back to my meeting of the handsome officer who wanted my roommate in 1987.

January 27, 2003
This date marked the deadline for the submission to the UN of the report on Iraq, and where it seemed the US administration wouldn’t give a damn and would do exactly what it pleased, I was moved to post Zbigniew Preisner’s “Lacrimosa” (“Day of Tears,” mp3, 2.5 MB, 2:33)

Johanne Landry: OdaOn August 18, 2001, Poupoune and I went on a day trip to Prince Edward Island for my birthday. An overwhelming sense of melancholy swept over me on our drive back, when we stopped in the tiny village of Victoria, and I kept playing this over and over. I still remember that feeling whenever I listen to Xiame’s “Stenia” (mp3, 3.6 MB, 3:18). And in the post just before the one about my memories of that August evening in Victoria, I posted excerpts from Poupoune’s Oda (mp3, 5.8 MB, 6:04).

January 31, 2003
The clips I posted with “For Some Strange Reason: Jane Olivor” can still move me near tears. Five months after I wrote this entry, someone named Cindy found aMMusing and commented, “I’m 36 now and was sitting here crying like an idiot when I listened to them,” adding, “I’m confident that there’s never been a song like her rendition of ‘Lalena’ that has touched me so poignantly.” That should give you reason to take another listen, no?
Beautiful Sadness (mp3, 3.8MB, 3:55)
Lalena (mp3, 2.8MB, 2:57)
Manchild Lullaby (mp3, 4.2MB, 4:24)

February 28, 2003
I told you about “Horny Miss Titties.” To this day, I still think this incident one of the most bizarre I’ve ever experienced. And to think of how it would have fulfilled the fantasies of so many straight guys out there, but how it was totally wasted on me… 😉

March 6, 2003
VIA TrainFor most people, the first tune that would come to mind when reminiscing about trains wouldn’t be a disco tune. But I guess I’m not “most people,” for to accompany “Thoughts of Trains,” I posted George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby” (mp3, 3.1 MB, 3:17).

April 20, 2003
When Poupoune came for what turned out to be a fateful Easter-weekend visit to Halifax, she and the Bush Whacker and I went on a trip along the South Shore of Nova Scotia, specifically to Queensland Beach, Lunenburg, and Stonehurst (which, at the time, I misidentified as Blue Rocks).

May 1, 2003
On May Day 2003, I posted the Russian national anthem (mp3, 3.5 MB, 3:37) along with a post in which I talked about how annoyed I get when people equate the term “communism” to “totalitarism.” Along the same lines, to this day, I can find few Americans who would dare to say they favour any form of “socialized health care,” as, similarly, “socialism” is often equated (incorrectly) to “communism.”

May 15, 2003
Wow! I guess spammers have feelings, too! 😉

May 20, 2003
It started as a boring entry about how I decided to take a course to learn how to drive standard on the eve of replacing Homomobile, and the next thing I know, aMMusing got hijacked by everyone telling lesbian elephant jokes!

June 3, 2003
Who cannot admire the woman driver (wmv, 428Kb, 0:35) I posted in “You Go, Girl!“?

June 29, 2003
The day after I adopted Junior, I went for a little drive and took several pictures of my new baby boy at several beautiful coves that can be found just outside the city, which Stephanie noticed immediately (“And the coves, the beautiful coves!”). Little did any of us know she’d be moving close to those coves some two years after making that comment…

July 1, 2003
canada_flag.jpgMy “O Canada Day!” entry included an unorthodox version of our national anthem (mp3, 1.8 MB, 1:52), and served as a precursor for one of the most pro-Canada posts in aMMusing history.

August 3, 2003
Often overlooked is the tiny village of St. Croix, en route to Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. But Indiana Jones and I spent some 30 minutes there without seeing another soul in all that time.

August 15, 2003
Hapless Kittycats” is all about cats down on their luck. This first one (mpeg, 0.87 MB, mpeg, 0:06) made me laugh really hard, but the second one (avi, 1.6 MB, 0:12), which I’ve screen-captured here, made me laugh even harder. It’s not that I wish animals to get hurt; it’s just that these accidents are …well …funny to see!

August 29, 2003
Actually, this is possibly the lowlight of aMMusing — the point at which blogging became less fun for me …the point where I started censoring entries that came to mind, which I believe resulted in this blog becoming less interesting. Simply unacceptable, it seems, is to be a gay guy with reservations about gay marriage, even if those reservations cannot be compared to those of people on the right of the political spectrum. The comments the entry spawned left me frustrated because it was so very clear to me that some debators categorically refused to hear the nuances in my argument, preferring instead to entrench themselves in orthodoxy and “some things just won’t change” fatalism. During the debate, I spoke of my fear of seeing desenters like myself being silenced; the tenure of the debate did just that at aMMusing. But worse of all, I think, this entry and its ensuing debate marked the beginning of tensions among my closest friends, characterized by a slew of bitchiness. At any rate, by May or June 2004, Poupoune, who had been my co-narrator, opted to be removed from this blog. (Read whatever you want into that last sentence.)

September 26, 2003
For months I’d been complaining in aMMusing about he I called my “Big Fat Swedish Neighbour.” Then something happened and I just had to tell him how I had had enough. Then next day he responded with a peace offering, and now we get along just fine. Today he’s my neighbour down the hall, not my downstairs neighbour.

October 1, 2003
Halifax got kicked in the teeth by a Category 2 hurricane named Juan. I blogged about it quite a bit through the fall, but this was my first entry.

October 15, 2003
Unable to drive my car (Junior) because my license got suspended for a week, I brought said car into the garage to get it winterized and, more importantly, out of my own garage so that I wouldn’t tempt fate. Next thing I know, Junior starts sending me e-mail messages from the garage…

March 12, 2004
My father passed away on the 12th, and I delivered the eulogy at his funeral on the 16th. On the 20th, I published the “Thoughts of the Old Man” series — from a horrible (but now rather funny) shopping experience at Sears, to having a Catholic priest almost not allowing me to deliver the eulogy…

June 26, 2004
Thanks to BeeGoddessM, I finally got a few ads made for TextStyle. The first was published in the events calendar for this website, which I’ve been maintaining pro bono since 2003.

September 9, 2004
Weatherwise, the summer of 2004 was pretty awful. However, on August 26, BeeGoddessM, Indiana Jones and I went on a day-trip to PEI, where the Goddess snapped pictures of what turned out to be one of the few summerlike days we had that year.

Notice how few highlights I can think of for 2004? That’s what is making me think I should whip this blog back into shape. Finally changing to WordPress may have provided the impetus.

The Sky Is Falling

Well perhaps not the sky, but possibly Canada’s minority government, and it’s pulling down with it the server on which aMMusing is hosted. Therefore I’m writing this entry within my e-mail program, and I’ll post it when all the server’s services are back up.

I’m simply amazed at how this so-called scandal is still getting so much milage. Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not exactly thrilled that the federal Liberals pissed away $100 million by giving it to Liberal-friendly Quebec advertising firms, ostensibly to promote Canadian unity but, in fact, for doing nothing except grease the hands of big-time party supporters. Despite this and the gun registry boondoggle — the $2 million project that turned into a $1 billion project — Canada’s finances are still deeply in the black and our economy is still one of the strongest among western industrialized countries. Some would argue, and I wouldn’t dispute, that the Liberals’ cleaning up of the federal finances was done at the expense of our beloved health care system, among other things. However, in 2005, Canada is in a much better position to rebuild the social programs its citizens hold dear than it was when the (then) Progressive Conservatives were spectacularly turfed out of office in 1993.

I believe the motives behind the sponsorship program were good. After the 1995 Quebec referendum, the federal Liberals rightly came under heavy fire for almost losing the country. Consequently, raising Canada’s profile in Quebec by showing how it supports cultural and athletic activities was not entirely a bad idea. Of course, as taxpayers, we deserved to receive real products and services for every dollar spent through this program …and that’s not what happened. But the whole thing would be much more egregious if the country’s overall finances looked anything like the United States’, which went from a comfortable surplus to a mind-boggling record deficit since George W. Bush took office in January 2001. In the end, the Gomery Inquiry charged to study the “scandal” will have cost Canadians more than the $100 million that have been misspent.

I’m not convinced that the Conservatives, who are the driving force fanning the fire of this “scandal,” have their finger on the pulse of ordinary Canadians, whom I doubt are tremendously more pissed off than I am about this issue. Canadians don’t want another election less than a year after the last one, especially not over an issue that has been blown out of proportion. The problem, however, is that a facile analysis might lead a small number of voters — small but significant enough to tip the balance — to conclude that perhaps it’s time to end 12 years of Liberal rule and give the “other guys” a chance — and the only viable alternative to avoid another minority government that could also fall within a year is to elect the Conservatives. This kind of shallow thinking is profoundly disturbing not only because Canadian Conservatives have notoriously never delivered sustainable fiscal conservatism, but also because now they carry a social agenda that would set us back into the early twentieth century.

The things Canadians have come to treasure most have come from centrist governments butteressed by a leftist opposition. The most recent legacy of Conservatives have been the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA), which have either hurt or have had negligeable effects on ordinary Canadian citizens. Of course, if I had my druthers, we’d wake up the morning after the next election with a NDP government, but that’s about as realistic as my going to bed tonight and wishing that I’ll wake up to find I have a 10-inch penis. It just ain’t gonna happen.

Attending the Feast

“On Thursday, Mr. L died,” the priest told those of us gathered at the funeral service, “and as we speak, John Paul is dying.” Pausing a few moments to reflect, he continued, “I’m sure a wonderous feast is being prepared in Heaven to receive John Paul, and a very special friend has been invited to attend this feast for him. That special guest, of course, is Mr. L.”

I am not religious and I don’t believe in the priest’s god. But I thought that was the most gracious and comforting thing he could have said about The Quad‘s father. And oddly appropriate in reference to Mr. L: “Some things were absolute with Dad,” the Quad said in his eulogy to his father. “You had to be crazy not to eat lunch at precisely noon and have supper any later than 5 o’clock.” He continued: “Voting Liberal was always, always a very good thing. And the Montreal Canadiens are the best hockey team on Earth.”

I spent time after the funeral with my mother, and we couldn’t help but talk of my own father — about how it’s hard to believe he’s been gone more than a year now; about how she can still see him in her mind’s eye, sitting in the rocking chair in the kitchen, rubbing his chest at the esophagus with clear discomfort registering on his face but an inability to put his ailment into words; about how, when she recalls him thus, she leaves the house to run a few errands to forget this memory and the powerlessness she felt; about how it had been an ordeal for me to be allowed to deliver the eulogy to my father and how I will bring that incident to my own grave, but how, fortunately, it doesn’t seem like there was any issue for the Quad.

I left the family homestead around 3:30, stopping first for gas and then coffee from Tim Horton’s at King and St. George, across from the convent. John Paul hadn’t died yet when I left, but standing outside the Tim’s for a cigarette before getting on the road, I heard church bells ringing. Thus I knew that once I’d get into my car, the CBC would announce that his long agony was finally over.

Laugh
Love
Live

That’s the graffiti someone wrote on the side of an overpass on the Trans-Canada Highway near Memramcook as I was driving back to Halifax, listening to the CBC. Oddly enough, despite the fact I was coming back from a funeral and that the Pope had just died, I thought that no graffiti could have been more serendipitous. Indeed, we should everyday hold a joyous feast to celebrate those we love, and to honour those we have loved and will forever love. And while I am not particularly grieved by John Paul’s departure, I do concur with Kirsten in respecting his consistency, for even though I sharply disagreed with many of his stances, I know that his deepest beliefs stemmed from his love of and for life.