"...upon a midnight dreary..."

here and there; some bits about my life here and people I know who live elsewhere

Lately I have been trying to e-mail my various relatives in Alberta and see if I can find out if they are all still around; they have not floated away. The worst of it is now over and the evacuation orders are lifted.

lion and snow leopard

I could not do this before because I had a computer fritz. The hard drive went out at the most inconvenient possible time. It was saturday afternoon, and by time I could get down to my favorite computer shop, it had just closed. So, wait until monday.

Then they were short staffed and could not get it out until friday. Then there was a problem with the wrong operating system being loaded in, so nothing would start. By the time the right feline was prowling inside my mini mac, it was late saturday; a week of internet withdrawal.

I missed one important appointment because I depend on my electronic calendar, and failed to get the cancellation of another. At least I finally got everything back exactly as it was; did not even have to reinstall anything.

after the deluge

So, I had some time to sit and watch the TV and the nonstop coverage of the Alberta flood. It gives a perverse kind of satisfaction to know that somebody else somewhere has bigger problems than me. I guess some of the people sitting in the evacuation centers or relatives basements can take comfort in the fact that at least they are not being "liberated" by intestine eating maniacs sponsored by the CIA.

It also puzzles me that Calgary, the capital of mean minded ignoramuses, has such a sensible person as Naheed Nenshi as mayor. Yet Toronto, where people are generally much more reasonable, has Rob Ford. By the way, that Ford is a crack addict has been an open secret for a long time around Toronto city hall.

So here I am, catching up on things while listening to the flood coverage on CBC. Yesterday I got caught in a flash rainstorm while out getting groceries and got soaked, which is perhaps fates way of giving me some empathy.

It seems that the area around Black Diamond and Turner Valley was the worst hit, but I do not think anybody I am related to lives around there anymore. Aunt Millie's old house was on a rise of ground.

Aunt Millie died last month. More about her below. At least somebody bothered to tell me that she had died. I still had no chance to go to her funeral and I am not impressed by that. A year and a half ago my father died and nobody bothered to tell me about that until I called...Aunt Millie.

So, I am hoping someone will let me know how people made out in the great deluge. One of these days I have to get back there for a visit. Why I want to go back there, is something I often ask myself. But I have some reasons, more to do with unfinished business that just saying hello.

the raven

Any time I get messages from Alberta it always seems to be bad news. Millie's death put a damper on what had until been been a pretty good day. When my cousin informed me of her death I wrote back a fairly detailed description of what I had been doing that day, up until just before going to bed when I got his message.

Why do that? I like writing, it is often a catharsis for me. I would like these people to know what I do with my time. Especially, that I am not just sitting around in a flophouse somewhere, waiting to die.

I am alive if not exactly well, and living rather than existing. This despite all the efforts of psychopathic human filth to destroy me, and the failure of apathetic ignorant pigs to stop it. You know what I am talking about.

As I said, Aunt Millie was, I think, the only one of my relatives with any respect for me and any willingness to acknowledge the injustice perpetrated upon me. Regarding that injustice, I think a lot about ways to secure at least some small degree of satisfaction for it. I think some means of doing this may be possible in the future, if I live long enough. Too bad most of the scum who really should be made to answer will be dead by then.

So, Millie is one relative of mine whose funeral I really would have liked to attend. I assume a fair amount of money was laid out for the funeral, with some people traveling to it. It should not have been much of a feat of logistics to get me to Alberta for this funeral.

I have tried getting a plane ticket for myself to go out there for a visit, but I have pretty much given up on that idea for the time being. I do not want to fly to Calgary and not know where I will stay, or if people will even talk to me. So I have not been able to talk to a couple of people before they died, when it would have been useful.

That generation is going fast. From Granny Rourke on down, people who likely had useful things to tell me passed on before I had the right questions to ask. Everything seems to come too late in my life.

Another one gone, and I never had a chance to talk with her in person now that I finally have my medical problems under some kind of control and am able to be. ( And make people see what I might have been.)

caw, caw, caw

As I said, until I got this news right about 1 am, I had been having a pretty good day. I have been sleeping well again and got going early this morning. I am getting over the depression and health effects that hit me last winter. I am finding ways to control the parasthesia.

I got the stitches taken out a few days ago. I had the stitches because I had a piece of my skin taken out of the top of my head. I had it taken out because there was a skin cancer there. So this is the second skin cancer I have had. My old hide sure does not like me.

one fine day

But yesterday, I made some chow, puttered around, got some work done at the computer and then went over to the University and participated in an experiment. These are a good way to make a few extra dollars. I made something extra because I won this little game the researchers put me through, while measuring my heart rate. It was a variation on the "prisoner's dilemma" and since I am now a "political scientist" I understand the rules of that game; always "default" the first round.

Then I went to the Robarts library and complained to the "info commons" about my U of T mail account. If an internet private service provider was as incompetent as these jokers they would be out of business. I have had to create a "Utoronto.ca " account in order to participate in a "service learning" exercise as part of the course I am taking now.

But it creates incompatibilities with my existing account with Bell. I think I failed to get some e-mail last week because of this crap. But I think now the problem is resolved finally.

While I was at Robarts I checked whether the books I want have been returned yet. No, they are overdue. It seems this woman is still hot on the trail of Bonnie and Clyde and doesn't want to share them with anyone else. So, put out a call on these tomes.

But why am I so interested in Bonnie and Clyde? I find many peculiar topics to get interested in. Awhile ago it was about ancient European languages.

I went over to Alumni hall where I has a class but it did not start for an hour and a half, so I reread all the handouts about the course. Then I spent two hours listening to the prof.

After that I and the two other people on this service learning assignment put our plans together with the prof. We started our thing ahead of the other placements which has created some problems. There are plenty of forms to be filled out; U of T is an insane bureaucracy.

But I thought we were getting an idea of how best to do our assignment. We were at the community agency the previous saturday where we are doing our service placement, to attend their AGM and their "bright ideas" symposium. We are supposed to write a report on how a community agency like that works. In return, we do some work for them.

It is nice to be back at that place. I used to go there often when I lived in that neighborhood, when I was new to Toronto and before I moved down to St.Lawrence. I still recognize some of the people and a few of them remember me.

By the time this wrapped up and I got home it was after 9 pm. With part of my winnings I rewarded myself with some chocolate raisins from the new bulk barn they opened up down here and some fruit from the grocery store. St.Lawrence market was closed by then. I have to be careful about such indulgences so I do not get bulky like a barn.

It was nice of the rain to wait until I got inside before starting up.

I crashed out and watched the tube for awhile; the local news, a bit of CBC and good old Abby at Russia Today. I have often commented on the irony that the only TV news available anymore that is not utter propagandistic crap is from Russia.

After awhile I got in front of the computer again and caught up on messages. I found out that the Fair Vote Canada Toronto chapter AGM had been postponed due to technical difficulties with the online voting system. These yo yos are one big permanent malfunction.

At least, now I did not have to miss an important class on thursday, which the prof was a bit concerned about. He is bringing in a speaker to talk about legal aspects of conflict resolution.

I have been trying to get elected into some official capacity at Fair Vote Canada. I did not get onto the national council. Now I was trying to get back onto the local chapter exec. I was on it before, and declined to run again until they started getting their shit together. Their shit has only spread further, but now other people are becoming shit disturbers and so I will not be isolated.

I founded an e-mail discussion group about these problems. It was slow to catch on at first, but now it is becoming lively. I am being an immoderate moderator, getting into these discussions. We had a nice little net chat going on about the Robocalls lawsuit and related topics.

In between these postings I worked on my initial report for the community agency, while the rain poured and the wind blew outside. I was just about ready to go to bed when it came.

Just like The Raven in the poem; nevermore.