F 1 D 0 - 2003 02 26 at 1500 Must Write More. Wow. Thanks go to Jeff for noticing a minor date error in my index. I took a look, and I've not written into my journal for more than two weeks. In fact, it has been about 20 days. Yikes. That's no good! I'll try to figure out what I've done recently. Tuesday. English Dance. Spent the day with Tim, Tom and Cindy. Picked Tim up from St Joeseph's Family Medical Centre. That was a good day, actually. Tim and I took a detour along Queen West to stop at a huge Dollarama. Ever been? This store is a mecca of dollar stores. For one thing, they've kept to the "only a dollar" paradigm. Except for things which are cheaper, they only charge a dollar for their goodies. Lots of GOOD glassware, good stationery, good kitchen ware, good (you get it). They only cheat for some things. I think they sell oven mitts. They're not in pairs. You have to buy Each One. (a dollar each). They also sell mops and brooms. The handle is 1.00, and the bottom section is a separate dollar. Oh well, I shouldn't begrudge them their extra dollar. I'm thinking of going there and coming back home with a collection of large bowls. Plain ones, like they sell at Ikea. Something which holds perhaps 20oz or more. Something without a goofy picture, or a saying I have to endure forever. We don't need them. That's why I've been resisting the urge. Monday. Irish Dance with Pat Mahoney. Gladiator. Lunch with Dave. Except I didn't make it. I came home to unload all of the groceries I'd picked up, and decided that checking email and just sitting around was a better choice. I found a No Frills store on Coxwell near Gerrard. They're like any other No Frills. Chicken for 99c a pound. I'll get more. Next door to this place is a different dollar store. It's wrongly labelled. It is an old Woolworth's Store. Remember them? They had a diner along one wall, with seats permanently in the floor. They had a small wall with kitchen things, where one or two people would make breakfast or lunch things for only a dollar or two. This one looks and works just like I remember. It was a pleasant blast from the past. They sold a nice large pressure cooker for 35.00, and a very large rice maker for 35.00 too. I want them, I want them, I want them. I also don't need them. They have a great sale on Italian nonstick cookware. A 26 inch deep pan, with real DuPont Teflon was/is only 15.00 -- I want to get one for the kids. Their nonstick pan isn't doing the nonstick thing correctly any longer. I had a nice lunch chat with Dave, a friend I've known forever. He's got business concerns, and I'm talking about it with him, helping him figure out what he wants from a computer system. We always do a lot of talking when we get together. Monday night was the night I decided to hold still for the duration of an epic movie. I saw Gladiator. "AM I NOT MERCIFUL?!" Maybe the real hero was the Nubian slave. He seemed like he came right out of an Asterix comic novel when he smiled widely during one scene. I knew the Caesar's son was going to be a bad guy right away: He missed the battle, and had the nerve to say that aloud. This man had no "Strength and Honor". He would have been a bad Klingon as well. Sunday. Met with Tim. Napped. Snacked. Sunday was a funny day. I wanted to spend the time with Tim, but he wasn't feeling great, and asked if he could simply come over, and 'borrow' the game machine for a long time. That's fine with me, except there aren't too many things which put me sleepy like watching someone else play a game. I'm not opposed. I just hate being an audience to a game, and computer games seem like the worst things to watch if I'm not participating. He said he didn't want to do anything outside, and that's alright. But me? As long as I was at home, I was very soporific. Tired overmuch. I guess my time in Kingston was taking its toll, and I wanted to just rest. So there was a time when he was here, and I just laid me down on the floor for a moment. Well, I guess it was longer. Sunday was not a day for cooking. It was a day for eating snackfood which required no further work. Tim was unhappy about that. He felt like an unwanted guest when I didn't get involved with food, and neither did Cindy. Sigh. Oh well. Life goes on. Saturday. Said goodbye to Ann and Ben for a while. Fixed a student's Compaq laptop. Bus from Kingston. Contradance. It began waking up, with Ann rushing to get ready for her train trip back to Ottawa. Her bus would leave around 930am, and she'd catch an afternoon plane back to Thunder Bay. Ben came back, and we were talking a bit. I like him a lot, but sometimes just getting to relax with new family like this is hard. It took us until this 4th day to get comfortable. We were talking about making stretchers, and why having a nice shop to do this helps a great deal. About how I thought I was a washout working with wood and metal before I met Ann. Now I'm comfortable, and feel like I could make anything if I thought about it a lot, and could be shown, even briefly, how to avoid mistakes. Clamps. I love clamps. Eventually, I got a ride to Natalia's home, close to the university. Her computer's problem was awful in my very humble opinion. If you tried to do certain things, such as Control Panel settings, it would freeze up for about 4 or 5 minutes, and report "Drive C is not formatted. Would you like to format it now? [yes] [no]" I'm not kidding. This is a joke we used to make during the old Dos computer years. We'd tell people that they just had to type a command in to the system, and it would fix the problem. "F - O - R - M - A - T - space " "Just shut up Dave! Format Drive C! You smart aleck..." So you can see my concern when the computer just offered it as a solution for this arts student. She admittedly needed computers but couldn't really set them up. I saw her computer was sick on the way in towards Kingston. It would take a long time to begin, with the Start button and the clock-taskbar remaining a solid green grey colour for ages. But eventually, it would start up fine, but run very slowly. This computer was new, still under warrranty. My first thoughts were she'd caught a virus. I loaded it with F-Prot, and it found nothing. "That's good, right?" she asks me. "No, that's worse, actually. It means there is probably something really wrong with your machine, and you need something replaced. But doing that will require you to back up your data." The valuable things I did there had more to do with being a knowledgeable intermediary than a tech guy. I kept the 1-800 tech support at HP from just coaxing her to do the format. Oh, not by clicking "Yes", but by installing the three rescue CDs which come with a new computer. They format the hard drive, and bring it back to a factory condition. She will have to do that, but not before she is comfortably backed up, and her personal files have been printed etc. In fact, they said they wouldn't fix her hard drive until she did that, and even though it could seriously lock up and fail, they would only consider exchanging the hard drive once this step was considered unsuccessful. My job: convey that back. It still took a long time. The weather in Kingston was just starting to get cold after days of melting snow. Lots of freezing deep puddles, and the roads were getting a fresh layer of snow and freezing rain. Wonderful. I was bracing for having to miss another dance, and remain in Kingston an extra day. But the bus driver was a cowboy. He was a senior man, yes, but not afraid to drive the bus steadily at 125 km/h. He felt safe. Others on the road were creeping along at 60 and 80 k. We'd have to wait in the passing lane at length for the space to drive again. I got into Toronto about 30 minutes late for my dance. That's not bad. It was a lively dance. The band is called Relative Harmony. They're great people. Not just musicians, but also good dancers too. I suspect their only fault is how they seem to know they're good. This makes rough at ECD, where they also play. They're good. They know it, and they share that with the other musicians. Overmuch. Attitude is important; playing, even volunteer playing has to be fun. If they can soften up, even a little, the people who are playing music for fun won't run away screaming. Friday. Chez Piggy. (actually, Thursday) Family time. Exercise at the Miltary Complex. I've got so much to share with you, but this is getting so long. So I'll summarize a bit here, and leave more writing for the future. When in Kingston, go to Chez Piggy. Not really a French Restaurant, it is a place which tries to offer interesting entrees. They do them as perfectly as they can. They have a few Viet Namese things, more French things, a few standard fare. Perfectly is a restaurant mandate. Ann and Veronica chose Salmon on a bed of Soba Noodles. I chose the steak with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables. I almost ordered the daily special, which was interesting. A soup, entree, apetizer and something else for about $30. Ben had the Fusili with mushrooms in cream sauce, I think. I'm telling you, all was as expected: just right. We had family time together on Friday. Veronica goes in to work in the afternoon, leaving Ben, Owen, Ann and I to figure out supper together. Barbecued meat became the consensus. But it was a time for the extended family, all together. It was a nice time. We found our way to a very large gymnasium prior to this. The Military College has a huge centre where they offer swimming, and two extra large rooms. One has a track for five, with the centre divided up into four basketball courts with netting. The other one is just as big, but without the track painted on the floor. I'm telling you! It was a big centre. I loved it. There were families there, mostly Dad with a couple of children, or Mom with a couple of kids. The army guys have short blonde or red hair, and just stick with their training. I didn't see any army women there when I went. At least, not anyone I could spot on sight like the boys. The karma there was good. This is hard to explain better, but everyone had lots of room, lots of determination, lots of polite attitude (they were eager to help me whenever I was lost; that was often). - - I've left this writing for far, far too long. That's all I know.