Friday, January 14, 2011

"We're Innocent When We Dream..."~ Tom Waits

"To heir is human." Delores E. McGuire.

I've got to hand it to my wife, she pulled it off, she successfully delivered two wonderful babies on Dec 16/10 (about 10 days earlier than scheduled by induction and about 30 days earlier than term).

The two kids are named Sam & Zoe.

"He not busy being born is busy dying." Bob Dylan

Spencer Tracey?

Audrey Hepburn?

When folk find out we have had twins, in many cases, a look of horror travels across their faces. Some actually say: "better you than me."

Four weeks into it, I can say sleep deprivation is pretty rough.

But, Santanyana once said: "There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval."

So, maybe that's what I'll try to do.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Los Ninos

My wife and I have been trying to have another baby for quite some time now, and recently learned that she is pregnant with twins (!). I knew this was a possibility, given that we were using some fertility related treatments.

Earlier, I had said that if I had twins, I would jump off the roof, and if it was triplets, I would jump off the roof, get someone to take me up again, and through me off another time.

However, I have reconciled myself with the idea.

Yesterday, we had an ultrasound and learned that one will be a boy and the other a girl.

You can't imagine my relief.

Two boys would have killed me. Maybe not right away, but after a few years, I sense I would simply expire.

Having a girl, tempers this somewhat, and may prevent son #1 from unduly influencing the two new ones to join his gang to take over the family.

The one girl is the one hope in preventing a reprisal of The Wild Bunch on the home front...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Preschooler Prescience

My wife is now pregnant and expecting twins (??!!) in December. My #1 son, who is 5, recently made the following quotes:

On Father's Day, prior to launching an attack upon me (something preschoolers like to do on occasion), I tell him that rule #1 is not to attack dad. His response: "Why, you're not pregnant?!"

Another occasion, the same preschooler hits his mom on the leg for which she protests. Again, he comes up with: "Why, you're not pregnant there?!"

Recently, I explained to him that his mom might be more grouchy due to the hormones going through her body. He asked what that was and I said they were like chemicals. When his mom took him to task for something, he retorted: "Don't use your chemicals on me!"

Unrelated, yesterday, after listening to his mom talk, he exclaimed: "I can talk without taking a breath just like mom..." And then proceeded to do just that. Mom stopped talking at that point, dad -- started laughing. (I would've paid the kid to come up with that had I thought of it...)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Work (War) Games

Recently, I have had the misfortune of cheesing off a highly placed person at my work. Let's call him, "Johnny 7, One-man-Army" (a highly controversial toy marketed in the 60's...)

The cause of the cheesing off was due to my having responded to an invitation by his boss (along with my colleagues)to give feedback as to why our Division had the lowest 'Employee Engagement'in the OPS.

I gave my views, and regrettably, a new employee, who appears to believe leaking to superiors is the royal road to advancement...has put me in the fix that I am in.

Johnny 7, while full of moral rectitude, has orchestrated two Investigative Interviews against me on questionable grounds.

I have tried to avoid getting into a battle with management about these things, but I now have no choice. Aside from defending myself, I have also brought forward material that may be damaging to their side too.

The sad thing is, the underlying cause for the war games is not considered, nor how to deal with criticism as an organization. My organization CANNOT handle criticism for some reason and I'm a critical person...There is also a movement in civil service circles to assess not just the work one does but what one also believes...

I'm trying my best to take the high road (as they've already taken the low road)...but it is unclear how this will end up or how long it might take...

And the saddest part is that the boss of Johnny 7, after having it explained to him that reprisals are occurring as a result of my having acted on his uncertain how to act. If he gets involved, it might be considered too interfering, if he does nothing, he condones an abuse of power...

Ah, the existential life of a civil servant...

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Facebook + Sex

One of the interesting things about Facebook is the ability to get close to figures who have achieved something and maybe get to exchange ideas with them. Usually, these are figures who haven't gotten so famous that their presence have become corporate in nature.

Before dropping out of Facebook, I made contact with about a dozen writers,artists and public figures that I admired and found the experience intoxicating.

Recently though, I was dismayed about what one male poet/academic wrote on the public digital wall of a female poet/academic I admired.

Around 1: 30am, he wrote: "The petit general awaits..."

A 1/2 hour later he wrote: "Evaporatus."

What's wrong with all this?

Let me make a list.

1. It's artless. It's trying to be subtle but it is not. "I'm here, give me a blow-job..."
2. It's public. He has 3000 friends, she, 1000. He could have written to her privately instead.
3. It's on Facebook. Why?
4. It puts her in a bad position. If she says something, she's dragged in to his thing. If she's silent, it's also viewed as assent. Her silence is doubly bad as she is a feminist and adds questions as to how one's feminism or post-feminism should handle this.
5. It also suggests he is staking a claim on her and wants to cash in now.

What could he have done instead?

He could have been subtle and shown some artfulness.

Last year, the female writer was complaining about Valentine's Day. I publically wrote to her: "You can be my spiritual valentine any day of the year." And she wrote back: "It's a deal!!!"

Recently, she publically wrote to me: "Was that you I saw riding a bike today?" and I said "No, it must have been my double. Had I seen you, I would have stopped -- you have that effect on people..."

I always liked the female writer. She's talented, stong, tough, articulate, and courageous in the topics she writes about. She's sort of a proxy from my youth that I can't completely explain, but that whenever I come across her in some form, it triggers stuff in me. Whatever...I would never express stuff about my 'petit general' if I wanted to get things on with her.

One last note that is worth considering: W.B. Yeats assessment to a friend on his consumation of his relationship with Maud Gonne--"the tragedy of sexual intercourse is the perpetual virginity of the soul."

How we square that, is the question.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Birthday Demolitions!

I'm one of the few people I know that loathes his birthday. At best, it seems a meaningless milestone; at worst, it's a giant gong signifying one's overall declne and mortality.

Some co-workers wanted to take me out and I suggested no, let's celebrate the departue of a pathological OPS senior manager that's expected to leave (not have his contract renewed) in March instead...(Mr. Kurtz, he dead!)

Some Facebook friends have also written me, to which I responded in various ways...(it is also mingled with my self-annhilation from FB effective Jan 22/10, which is when the self-destruct sequence on my account takes effect)...

Paul Dowsett: Happy Birthday Mark !!

Mark Winston: Thanks, Paul. "There's no cure for the common birthday." -- John Glenn

Paul Dowsett: Yes there is ... but it's a very drastic (and final) cure ...

Mark Winston: Yeah, one can't discount all the options...

Ryan Mattingly: Happy birthday Mark!

Mark Winston: Thanks, Ryan. I'll miss you once I'm off FB. If you have a website lay it on me. Either way, you're one funny, dangerous dude and if there's any sense in this goofball world, you'll be noticed and lauded for it. Best, Mark.

Ryan Mattingly: Dude, I'm bummed I won't get your brilliant comments and film suggestions on a daily basis. I'm gonna send you all my contact info and sites right now. You're funny, smart, and let's keep it going, man.

Libby Kinghorne: Maybe we should start a petition or a FB Group to keep Mark on FB?!?

Mark Winston: Don't cry for me Facebooktina/The truth is I never left you/All through my wild days/My mad existence/I kept my promise/Don't keep your distance

Libby Kinghorne: Is it wrong to wish you a happy birthday on a site that you have pledged to abandon?!? If not - Happy Birthday, Mark.

There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents ... and only one for birthday presents, you know.
- Lewis Carroll

Krista Bruno: Eli thinks Mark is 100 -- no wonder...

Mark Winston I wasn't going to say this until I turned 50, but here goes: "Getting old ain't for sissies." -- Bette Davis

Ron Hernando: This sure beats addressing an envelope and going to the post office for a stamp, but will you survive without Facebook?! (Happy B-day).Ron posted an fCard to Mark's Wall

Mark Winston: "Age is a high price to pay for maturity."
- Tom Stoppard

Charlie Huisken: Hello Mark! Have a happy birthday! (The 16th of January is my Mom's birthday too.)

Mark Winston: Thanks, Charlie. "There's no cure for the common birthday." (John Glenn)

Jim Shedden: Happy birthday anyway!

Mark Winston: Thanks, Jim.
“The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything: the young know everything.” Oscar Wilde

Others who I thought might write, didn't...even with the ease and informality offered by FB. FB also reminds you when it's someones birthday...I also got no cake nor presents (as those around me dare not, as they are seized or exasperated by me)...writing about all this...just sounds churlish.

I'm just glad/relieved the day is over and I can go back to celebrating all my 364 un-birthdays!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Desultory December

I don't know why, but last month was desultory in nature.

I remember a critic once referred to Lynn Crosbie's poetry book "Liar" as desultory, and I found that very disheartening, as the book showed remarkable strength and vibrancy while confronting the betrayal of one's partner. I like to think of Lynn Crosbie as the 'Annie Oakley' of Canadian letters...

Anyway, "desultory" may be defined as:

–adjective 1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.

1575–85; < L dēsultōrius pertaining to a dēsultor (a circus rider who jumps from one horse to another), equiv. to dēsul-, var. s. of dēsilīre to jump down (dē- de- + -silīre, comb. form of salīre to leap) + -tōrius -tory 1

My feelings for this occurred on two levels: one physical, the other emotional. Physically, we were required to move out of our house by Nov 30th as it had been sold, but we hadn't found a new one.

We had a cat, a kid, lots of stuff etc. The stuff was put into storage and we found the only hotel in Toronto that had short term rentals (under 30 days), cooking facilities and allowed pets. It was a depression era hotel that had little heat, few amenities and had seen better days.

We eventually moved into a new house which is quite mavelous, though we did have to replace the furnace when we moved in, and add insulation to the attic, and other minor issues. But, it is still odd moving in to a strange place in winter...

Emotionally, I have felt disconnected at work, which has been coming to a head over the last couple years. Employee engagement surveys confirm that rank and file staff are highly dissatisfied with management in a number of areas. I particularly like the concept "quality of supervision" as a stand out one...To put it plainly, too many peckerheads have been hired, who have no respect for those who are more knowledgeable or experienced, and insist upon imposing arbitrary procedures that cause more problems then they solve. Oh, and staff were all moved to uniform, soul crushing cubicles too...This will eventually result in a Mexican stand-off, as the Ministry of Gov't Services desires improved employee engagement as a performance measure, and the agency I work likes the status quo. How will this play out?

Walking around and taking photos sometimes helps me process emotions somewhat. Here are some recent pics that may be desultory, but also possibly hopeful too...