Monday, December 31, 2007

Birthday-Christmas Season

I blew the dust off my facebook account. and tossed a whack of pictures up. Here are a few of 'em for those of you not inclined to book your face.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Remembering Allan.

Stacey has put together a memorial website for her father. It has the tribute video, Stacey and Shannon's eulogies and many comments from people who knew and loved Allan.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Four years ago, Stacey and I were camped out in the hospital through the holiday season. Our new babies, Emily and Kaylee had to stay in the Special Care Nursery for ten days after they were born, and we stayed with them. One floor above us, Stacey's Uncle Kinley lay dying. And Christmas was right around the corner.

Now we find ourselves in the tensions of life and death again. Stacey's father has just died. Emily and Kaylee are about to celebrate their fourth birthday. And Christmas is right around the corner.

If Christmas is just about gifts, and a little bit of good will, it has little in it that speaks into times of loss and times of wonder. But if Christmas is about the incarnation, God walking among us, as one of us, God entering the human situation, then it has a lot to say. God is with us in our loss and our celebration. He weeps. He bleeds. He laughs. He is near.

And Christmas is right around the corner.

Remembering Allan.

Stacey's Father, Allan Smith, passed away just before 11pm on Monday night. Stacey and her sister Shannon were by his side. They have been by his side since he entered the hospital over six weeks ago. The three of them have spent countless hours together. And Allan was in very good spirits, right up to his final day.

Stacey has created a website in memory of her father. Over the days to come it will be added to. And you can add your memories and reflections to it as well by leaving a comment.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

At the Lonely End of the Rink

I hear your voice ‘cross a frozen lake
a voice from the end of a leaf
saying, ‘you won’t die of a thousand fakes
or be beaten by the sweetest of dekes’

- The Tragically Hip.

I'm midway through the process of making a skating rink in our backyard. Emily and Kaylee are skating machines. Every day after pre-school we go slide around on the community rink, and I have to drag them off kicking and screaming. The only thing on their Christmas lists this year are "big kid skates." Kaylee's favourite story is about a little boy who loves hockey and builds a rink in his backyard. She is adamant that our rink be the right shape and have red and blue lines.

Beyond my girl's love of ice, there's a legacy-thing at the heart of flooding the back yard. My grandfather and namesake used to make a rink in the backyard for my mother and her siblings. Stacey's dad used to make one for her and her sister. And Stacey and I made one together a few months before we were married.

The first step was communal: Kaylee and I shoveled snow ridges and sprayed them down, while Emily acted as foreman overseeing us through the window, from behind a cup of hot chocolate.

Thanks in part to the warm weather, the latter steps have been solitary: wandering out into the darkness at 9 or 10 pm with a hose over my shoulder.

Something about standing in the darkness, listening to water flow, feeling the chill and reflecting on fathers now gone, fathers facing their last days and the fatherhood I find myself in the midst of feels right. Solid. It feels like a place I'm supposed to be.

Just don't laugh when you see how poorly I skate.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Morgan ... Uh Uh Uh.

Playing the president of the United States? Playing God? Driving Miss Daisy? No way. This clip is Morgan Freeman's greatest acting achievement.

Bad Vicar

I have a new career aspiration now (thanks Milton).

Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Magic?

We set up a real Christmas tree last night while the girls were sleeping. It filled the house with a nice pine smell. The girls awoke this morning and wandered into the living room whole Stacey and I eagerly awaited their excited little-kid reactions to the tree:

Emily was visibly pleased. Kaylee was too; Then she looked at the tree, sniffed a couple of times and said, "Why does it smell like an automatic toilet in here?"

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Girly Man Man Man Man Man!

Mike Sutton "translates" music videos like the one above by subtitling in english words that sound like the words coming out of the singers mouth (in this case in Hindi) The results are hilariously weird. I just about fell over laughing at the video above. For more on this see this link to a Wired News article.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


No, the video below is not an expression of Stacey & my medieval child-discipline strategies.

Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I've been number-watching as the views of the most-played episode of Bridge Talk approaches 2000. But It's been awhile since I checked in on poor old Orvil.

So you can imagine my suprise when I checked the YouTube account I keep him locked up in and found that his halloween clip from last year is now approaching 10,000 views! Being a shameless cross-fertilizer, I changed the text that goes with the clip to mention the site.

Uh, I suppose I should write something Orvilesque here. ... "Yo ugly Americans. Prepare to gum-gnash yo' pumpkin pie all you want; But come yankie-thanky day, I'll be eating pilgrim-pie. (How do you cook a pilgrim, anyway?)"

Here's the clip:

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Kaylee just came up to me and said, "I've got too much beer in my mouth from God." And then she walked away.


So far at preschool Kaylee & Emily have been mostly hanging out with two other little girls: named Kali and Emily! (and Emily has an older sister named Kaylee).

Then, at breakfast today, Kaylee began to tell me about her new friend, "Brandon," whom she wants to play soccer with.

Then Emily sat at the table singing dreamily, "Oh, Brandon ... Oh wonderful Brandon."

And so it begins.

In other news, I'm considering beginning to process of acquiring a gun permit and building a front porch. Can anyone recommend any 'Angry Hillbilly" courses to me? I've only got 10 years left to perfect my grouchy, protective dad routine, and the girls are already knee deep in teenager practice.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Quotable Kensington

Alexander, a guy I was talking to down at the Roasterie and then again later at The House tossed out the following in our conversation:

"Religion is for people who don't want to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who've already been there."


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Re-Posting is For Blogslackers

I'm re-posting this video because it seems like the girls have grown so much since I originally posted this clip. Plus it's a quick way to post something since I'm busy, I want to keep a valid blog presence going, but it's been two weeks since I touched this site.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Too Legit To Quit

Bridge Talk went legit this week. That is to say that this week's video is the first to be completely comprised of material I filmed or created myself and works that are in the public domain. And perhaps not coincidentally, it is the episode I'm most satisfied with to date. Here it is in all its legitimacy:

If You Were Satan ...

I can't promise I'll keep it legit in the future, especially when we're dealing with a new movie or television show as our weekly topic. I can tell you though what principles have governed my use of material that I didn't personally create or isn't obviously in the public domain. Apart from never using these materials to make money, using them in service of "education" and as part of the program of a registered charity, the following interview segment illustrates the principles I follow when using clips:

Leslie Moonves, president of CBS as interviewed in Wired Magazine, June 2007, pg 169:

Wired: " There's a lot of CBS material on YouTube. How does that work?"

Moonves: "You have to look at it in two different ways. One is content that you will get paid for directly, and the other is promotional content. Our attitude is, either pay us for it or give us promotional value that will eventually lead to our getting paid for it."

Wired: "How do you tell the difference?"

Moonves: "If there's a one-minute clip of CSI, or user generated clips like different shots of David Caruso taking off his glasses, that's great promtion. If they were showing a whole episode of CSI and we weren't getting paid, we'd object."

So there's your surprise for the week: There are voices of sanity in the entertainment industry.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Emily and Kaylee started pre-school this week. French emersion pre-school to be exact. They get quite flustered when I call it "play school" by mistake. This is serious business! (Mostly involving playing).

I was taken aback by how much their afternoon dragged some long-lost, difficult childhood memories out of me. It's been both stretching and healing to see them respond so positively this week.

On their first day they each went over to a young guy who was shyly clutching his mother and introduced themselves and smiled at him. They're a little shy themselves, so it was a little bit of effort for them to go up to him. Of course both Stacey and I were brimming with pride.


Then they smacked the kid down, stood on him and yelled out "who's next?!"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Harry Haters Haven't Humility

This short article on J. K. Rowling's faith is well worth reading (if you don't plan on reading the final Harry Potter book). It was printed in the Calgary Herald, but I'm linking to this other paper's printing of it because the Herald makes you pay to read it.

I'm kinda annoyed in recent days because I encountered a little over-the-top Rowling-bashing recently, which contributed to a growing overall feeling of alienation from the maintream church.

Despite being disowned by many a fundamentalist Christian, Rowling is not only a Christian herself, but the only one in history who has sold well over 12 million books with explicit Christian themes in a single day.

Here's the Bridge Talk Harry Potter link if you want to see what other folks are saying and sound off a little on this:
Harry Potter's Hamstrung Pedantics

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Oldness, Sadness & Wonder.

I had an old, sad & wonder-filled day.

Old: I realized as I listened to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on the radio that Nirvana was breaking that song out around 17 years ago; So for the main consumers of music these days, it's "one of those songs written before we were born." It's probably even been musaced by now.

Sad (& old): I attended a pre-school parents meeting in preparation for E & K's first venture into institutional education. Because the pre-school is hosted in an elementary school, my kids will experience fire drills .... and lock-down drills. In a post Columbine world, kid's need to practice sitting quietly with teachers under tables behind locked doors. **sigh**

Wonder (& old but not sad): It just freakin' amazes me that thirty years ago we (humanity) sent out two little low-tech probes that took first-hand pictures of the wonders of our solar system countless millions of miles away. The girls & I sat and looked at pictures and talked about planets & moons & millions of miles & God & science & just wondered together.

Wired, Voyager 30 year anniversary album.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Deciduous Trees of the World Unite!

I don't want summer to end. I never want summer to end. I consider trees whose leaves start changing colours to be traitors. There's a tree across the street from me that's already 1/3 of the way to fall colours. I'm considering a plan to cut it down while the elderly people who live in the house are sleeping.

For those of you who live in the suburbs, I'll explain what a "tree" is later.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I took Emily and Kaylee out for lunch yesterday. In order to reaffirm my status as an uncool dad, I told Emily she had to eat one more carrot before finishing. Heavy negotiations lauched at this point. Emily's earnest contention was that her carrot had pepper on it (she does'nt like pepper). She was right ... it had precisely one grain of pepper on it. I told her I would wipe it off; she balked; I re-iterated; she protested; and then Kaylee reached over, licked off the carrot and handed it to Emily.

Emily happily ate the now pepper free carrot.

PS: The guinea pigs have nothing to do with this story. Although I'm sure they too would eat a licked carrot over a peppered one. And no, we don't now own these gentle, marijuana-eating rodents. These were loaners from Stacey's cousin's family.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I returned to Calgary for one night a few days ago and sent out an email declaring that both Stacey & I would be blogging all sorts of wonderfully weird stuff while on holidays. Then I went back out to Rosen Lake and discovered that we had somehow failed to put in a cable conduit when we had our telephone and electricity put in. So in order to get internet access I would have to dig a 175 foot long, 18 inch deep trench in rocky ground.

I'm not going to do that and you can't make me, no matter how much you want to me to annoy you with useless drivel.

So now I'm sitting in an internet cafe in Cranbrook with Stacey, busily typing this single blog entry. It may be my only one before returning to Calgary (or maybe not ... oooo suspense).

The picture of Emily on the dock was taken a moment before she stuck her foot in the bucket full of minnows she had just caught. She was putting pancakes in between her toes and feeding them to the fish (Stacey taught her this ... she's a talented lady).

The Santa pics are from Nicole's famous annual Christmas in July bbq at our place a few weeks ago.

The link between the pictures can be discovered only through intense meditation, hickups and running around in circles with baloney on your head.

I haven't seen a single cran in Cranbrook (nor a brook for that matter). But I have witnessed a great communal distain for razors-on-the-male-face. I would viciously mock this … if I had shaved in the last week.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Porcelain Pugilism

Here are the highlights of this year's Canada Day toilet attack. It was a good day: 49 people, 60 burgers and hotdogs, 1000 child-size happy squeals, 10,000 toilet fragments and one big mess.


I sat on the dock early this morning, undisturbed, until the neighbour’s dog sidled up beside me and began to lap at the lake. The calm, glassy water broke in concentric circles. For several minutes, ripples continued to flow out from where he drank. Out and out they went until, on the edge of my vision, I could still see them almost a third of the way across the lake. And he kept on lapping until hundreds and hundreds of waveforms occupied all the water around me.

Perhaps you’ve seen infrared images of the heat signatures humans emit, or the more exotic images of the air turbulence we create simply by breathing and moving. We have a tremendous, yet barely visible influence. Simply by being alive, we impact our immediate environment in a profound, and far reaching way. What would otherwise be dormant is filled with motion and engraved with the signature of life.

I wonder at the spiritual significance of this physical process. I don’t believe we are divided beings. I don’t believe we are imprisoned in an evil material world, with a virtuous spiritual world separately clicking along underneath it. We live as part of an integrated whole. Body, mind, spirit: where one leaves off and the next begins is beyond our discernment. And enshrined in the centre of this integration is the dogged assertion of ancient Christians that their Savior was raised from the dead … physically. A spiritual mystery, that they will not permit us to ghettoize into the unseen realm. And so in a world where physical realities exist among, and mirror spiritual realities, the idea of far reaching ripples consumed my morning.

An insect hit the lake shortly after the dog had left. It made a ripple. The ripple flowed out across the lake. But it was a singular act; One circle radiating out. It lacked the consistent pattern created by the dog’s thirst; a pattern that covered an immense area without break; a pattern that made me think of the consistent efforts of so many people of faith that I’ve encountered over the years. They’ve thirsted. They’ve rippled the waters. And most people paid no attention. But for those few who stopped and looked, a massive area was patterned in perfect, consistent waves by their efforts.

The fifteen minutes of fame that so many of us long for is a bug hitting the water. The sudden rippling of the mirror stands out for a shot time, radiates out, and is gone. Even while it can still be seen it’s almost impossible to trace back to its origin.

Consistent, faithful, thirsty lapping at the water radiates out just as far, but also focuses us on the centre. The act in the middle of the waves can still be seen because it is still being enacted. To be washed over by the large circles compels us to seek out the smaller ones, the ones with higher, less diffused waveforms, until we find the point of impact from where they arose.

And so I sit here contemplating, looking out at the low, wide circles that have washed over me, searching out the centre. And in those places where I can track all the way back, I see thirsting people. I see living water. I see small acts of faith, service … love. And I see consistency.

And as a weary man with little impact, and not even fifteen seconds of fame, I’m comforted. Perhaps my thirst, my tiny, weak, but consistent lapping, radiates out. Perhaps, if someone stops and is quiet and watchful, the waves may even compel them to seek out the centre and quench their thirst as well.

Mind Meld

Stacey & I were travelling back to Calgary yesterday, listening to music. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan came on and she said, "Bob Dylan is U2 for old people." I thought that was a great line and told her I was going to use it. She then told me that I had coined the line and blurted it out to her a week earlier.

It's strange in a comfortable sort of way how after ten years of marriage, I can no longer tell which thougths in my head are my own and which are Stacey's (But I'm pretty sure the thoughts that have kept me out of prison are Stacey's).

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Secret (When Pantyhose Become Books).

Here's a hilarious Macleans review of the popular self-help, new age book "The Secret" that someone on the Resonate discussion shared the link to:The Secret Revealed.

(Warning: It's a little junior high locker-roomy).

Trading My Blog for a Log

I'm heading out to Rosen Lake with the dare-to-dream hope of achieving internet access out there this week. Of course, for a variety of tech vs. middle-of-nowhere issues, it may not happen, and all my leisure-time moronicisms will never be given life as blog entries. So stay tuned, cross your fingers, intercede on our behalf, get jiggy with it, eat a Joe's, don't take any wooden nickles & fight the power (what was I writing about anyways? ... Oh, yeah ... mixing drugs, whiskey, Cheetos & salad for breakfast has no affect on my coherence ... none at alllllllll lalalalalala - lapidary has nothing to do with dairy or laps ... I'm gonna eat a bug, and become bug-man. Hey, you, get into my car! Why do bird's suddenly appear, every time you are near? I have another thought coming, it' sz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Go fo Pho!

I'm still smarting from a big, violent backyard debate tonight over how to pronounce "Pho" and what exactly it is. I argued for the pronounciation "Pee-hoe", but was proven wrong (see below). The good news is that "pee-hoe" is now free to be used anyway I want to:

"Yo! Yo! Pee-Ho. Pass da Pho 'for I wup yo fro!"

If I had only argued more effectively I would have been able to witness Nicole & Stacey walking into a Vietnamese restaurant and asking for "Pee-hoe."

"Phở (pronounced "fuh" in English) is a traditional Vietnamese noodle dish. It is composed of a thin white rice noodle in a clear beef broth, with thin cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket), tendon, tripe, meatballs, or other ingredients such as green onions, white onions, cilantro, basil leaves, lemon or lime, bean sprouts, or chiles. ..." (Wikipedia: Now with 50% less moronic drivel).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Good Egg Contest

Ok. It's finally here. The contest I promised months ago is online at Bridge Talk. So go check it out, enter & wait for your life to be forever altered!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Alex Keating Begone!

I'm afraid.

Emily just went up to Kaylee and said, "Let's play Stephen Harper!" Kaylee was happy to oblige. Apparently Stephen Harper really likes to take long jumps off the couch onto cushions on the floor.

I think I'd be a little less scared if one of them played "Stephan Dion" while the other played Harper. At least I can find solace in the fact that no one is playing "Jack Layton." I think that sort of behavior might warrant a time out.

I blame Stacey.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Star Wars Trash Daily

You know the Star Wars trash compactor scene? When, after R2D2 succeeds in stopping the walls from crushing our heroes, C3P0 hears their whooping celebratory sounds coming over the intercom and concludes that their dying?

Just about every day this happens to me!

Emily and Kaylee make these aweful sound like they're dying or fighting or extremely emotionally distressed. I hear it over the baby monitor or through the wall and rush in thinking they are suffering in the extreme, and discover that they are laughing their heads off, or playing "sad baby" or just making weird noises.

Of course one out of ten times they're actually in distress - just frequently enough to keep me from being able write this phenomenon off and relax.

For Father's Day I think I should have asked for a longer lease for myself.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I added two links worth visiting to the top of the list to the right:

BridgeTalk is KB's new man-on-the-street meets pop culture & spirituality video & conversation site.

Stacey's Twisted Path is Stacey's new blog full of her deep insights, peeves & ponderances.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Toliet Attack On It's Way

I'm a truant. I promised a contest with a funky prize months ago ... and it's not here yet. I have great toilet-piñata footage begging to be cut into a highlight reel. And I have a handful of embryonic essays awaiting completion.

I'm a bad blogger ... but life's busy and child or workplace neglect doesn't seem like a good remedy. My holidays are on the way, and if I can secure some kind of Internet access out at Rosen Lake, I'll get to these outstanding promises soon.

I know the one & 3/4 readers of this blog are waiting with baited breath (pee-yeew bait smells bad enough without sticking it in your mouth).

In the meantime, here are some random pics from the last couple of weeks.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bad Day for an Accident

Yesterday I filled a large jerry can of gas for my mower, two bottles of propane and then filled the rest of the trunk with booze for the Canada Day party tomorrow. And then it dawned on me as I was about to drive home, that this would be one very bad day to get rear-ended (Although, I did happen to buy a fire extinguisher on the same trip).