Category Archives: Sundry

My Cat, Pixel

On Saturday, July 8th, 2006, at 5:33 p.m., my cat Pixel decided it was time to walk through one last wall. Although I miss him terribly, I am sure the he is enjoying his new journey, reunited with his old friend Tup. He was approximately 17 years old.

We had noticed that his health was steadily declining over the last few months. Pixel continued to lose weight, which is shocking considering how little he weighted normally as he was a malnourished runt-of-the-litter when he was found and given to us. He normally weight about four to four and a half pounds. In the end he was just over three pounds. He was a small cat.

Then Saturday morning we noticed that he was having trouble walking and moving and just looked unwell. He lay in my lap or on my chest for the most part of the day with small breaks of lying in the sun and going outside to lie on the warm grass for a few minutes. By mid-afternoon he couldn’t stand anymore. I talked to him, pet him, and kept him warm until his little frame gave a few shudders and he left.

We took him out to the farm and laid him to rest beside his old friend Tup, our Lhasa Apso. It’s a nice sunny spot in the trees. As is our tradition we gave him some tuna, water, his water dish, for his journey and wrapped him in a pillow case as he liked to sleep on pillows.

As we were saying our good-byes, we reflected on what will miss most about Pixel. Sandy will miss how he walked across the tops of door frames, I will miss his ability to appear in your lap as if by magic, Kieran will miss how he was always there for you, and Aleksander will miss how he always made you feel good.

I am surprised and humbled by the size of emptiness I’m feeling. A pet can become so much more, they are family. He was not just Pixel, a black cat; he was a member of our family. So, I ask that if you were one of the lucky few that were honoured with a visit from Pixel to your lap, lift a glass to our friend Pixel and toast his memory and his continued journey.

Race Against Time

I’ve always thought of myself as a caring, fairly well informed person. So, I am somewhat ashamed to admit it, but I had no real concept of the scope of the AIDS epidemic in Africa. I did not know the horrifying number of people dying nor the effect that these deaths are having on the survivors. survivors who are mostly children.

I saw the last part of a CBC report on Stephen Lewis a few months ago. It shook me a bit. So I searched out the Stephen Lewis Foundation on the Internet and started some research. I began to feel more and more uneasy with myself and the institutions that I thought were working to make things better. I have become complacent. I finally picked up a copy of Race Against Time by Stephen Lewis. It is the written form of the Massey Lectures that Mr. Lewis presented in 2005.

Race Against Time is sad, infuriating, and shocking. It’s hard to tell which emotion trumps the rest while reading Mr. Lewis’ book. There are countless reviews of the book that I’m sure would be more informative and eloquent than any I could write, so please take some time to look into it further. Please visit the Stephen Lewis Foundation website, and please help if you can.

In the end I feel that I need to do something. So, my family is donating monthly to the Stephen Lewis Foundation and I intend to get more involved with my time. I’m hoping this post is only a start.

Important Links:
Stephen Lewis Foundation
Race Against Time
Race Against Time Audio CD
Leaders’ Call to Action speech by Stephen Lewis

Tears to my eyes

There are a few things that I react to in a very emotional manner. Often it comes from feelings of sadness or tragedy, but sometimes it is brought on by something that is beautiful.

Flashback with me, if you will, to 1985…

I was driving to work in my beloved and hated red Renault Alliance. The CBC was playing and I was working my way down Portage avenue toward my place of work; WH Smith in the underground complex at Portage and Main. It was snowing heavily, a multitude of snowflakes combining during their fall into large white galaxies of snow. Everything was white and soft. I can’t remember what I may have been thinking about at the time, but I remember suddenly hearing a voice ring out and my attention was drawn to the sounds floating about my car, not unlike the snow outside. It was a choral work. In all honesty most choral works do little to hold my interest, but this one seemed to catch me. It was beautiful. I felt buoyed, hopeful, and in awe. It seemed to snatch at my emotions and take them with the voices as they swirled about me. I felt tears rise up. I will always remember that event well and when I do I often feel the hairs on my arms rise.

I was determined to know what the piece of music was, who sang, who wrote, and where I could get a copy. A quick call to a very helpful CBC told me that it was Vox patris caelestis, written by William Munday, and performed by the Tallis Scholars. I ordered the CD (Allegri: Miserere) the same day. I don’t think I even had a CD player yet. I received the CD nine months later. I had started to worry that perhaps the experience was unique, that I would not have the same response. I was wrong. It is every bit a beautiful now as it was that winter morning so many years ago. Although, I am careful not to listen to it too often – often only once or twice a year – as I never want it to be a common thing.

From the Oxford Journals:
William Mundy’s ‘Vox Patris Caelestis’ and the Assumption of the Virgin Mary

William Mundy composed the votive antiphon Vox patris caelestis during the brief English Counter-Reformation under the reign of Mary Tudor (1553–8). Unlike the majority of earlier votive antiphons, Vox patris refers to a specific liturgical and theological event, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The text is an elaborate network of tropes on the Song of Songs, interwoven with other scriptural and literary topics traditionally linked to the feast of the Assumption, and finds parallels in Conrad of Saxony’s Speculum Beatae Mariae Virginis.

You can get Allegri: Miserere from Amazon

Rating: ★★★★½

Being Canadian

Here is a copy of a comment I wrote for the Globe & Mail. I don’t think they’ll post is as it is longer than they like, so here it is.

Although this is not specifically about Harper’s speech, I find that I cannot in good conscience keep quiet.

I am appalled and sickened by the regionalism and selfishness that has been showing itself in these forums. We are all Canadian and Canada – although by no stretch perfect – we can be proud to be its citizens. True, we have our problems, but if people spent just half the energy that they spend on whining about the East, the West, Quebec, etc. (The Other) we might be able to solve some of the problems that our nation faces.

Whatever happened to compassion in Canada? I always believed that if nothing else we were a nation of caring and compassionate people. But it seems I was wrong. It appears that is has become all about “me, me, me”. Personally, I gladly surrender a good chunk of my wages to support our national support systems. It is important to me that the money I make in Manitoba may be able to aid my fellow Canadians; whether in my province or another. All fortunes rise and fall, no one region or province will forever be strong. Oil, water, fish stocks, lumber, hydro, they are all subject to supply and demand and needs change. But that has been the beauty of our great country — we try to come to the aid of those less fortunate than us, and one day if the shoe is on the other foot, they will come to our aid. I also give to selected private charities.

So, please remember that we are all Canadians, and think about what that means. To me it means many things, some of which are compassion, pride, thoughtfulness, and politeness.

TechTV Alumni Podcasts!

A couple of years ago I discovered a great show called the Screen Savers. I thought the hosts, Leo Laport and Patrick Norton, were great and the show was a blast. I even subscribed to a digital channel package just to get the show. Then G4 came in and screwed it all up. Ah well. Needless to say, I dropped the digital channel package from the lineup…

Well Lero, Patrick, Kevin, and Martin are back with their own podcasts! Yea!

Leo actually has several, but I my favorite is this WEEK in TECH. His co-hosts include people like Patrick Norton, Kevin Rose, and John Dvorak. Please check it out. It’s available in both audio and vide3o formats.

Partick also has his own podcast, DigitalLifeTV. It’s a video podcast and is quite cool itself. Check this one out too.

Kevin Rose has started a cool enterprise called digg.

I wonder what Sarah is up to…