Writing Things Down

Crime of Life, December 6, 2009 at 09h20

I learned a few things from my dad while working with him during the summer. He had a successful welding shop, so for a month when school was out I played with cutting torches, welders, and cut-off saws. Not a bad skill to learn. 

I must have been having a particularly lousy day, and my dad must have noticed because I’d made a few mistakes that day. So when he asked me to cut some angle-iron at a few different lengths, he told me twice. The second time, he really stressed it. 

As if I couldn’t remember a few numbers.

Annoyed, I said something about not being an idiot, went to the back and cut the metal to the wrong size. Now I like to write instructions down.

Shaken English

Crime of Life, December 2, 2009 at 09h19

Somehow I’d become friends with the German exchange student; friends enough that we were talking on the phone and somehow hours had gone by. She no longer enjoyed talking to her boyfriend, she said.

There were times between us, often during our Wednesday spare, when things were tense. I knew she liked me. She told me so.

I asked her why she was with her boyfriend if she no longer cared for him.

Her English was unusually shaky when she said that I didn’t understand.

And so was mine, when I told her she was probably right.


Crime of Life, November 11, 2009 at 11h41
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I was young when my grandfather died. He was a veteran of the second world war. This is what I remember.

Mom was crying, dad was holding her. My aunts and uncles, cousins and grandma, they were all there, but I didn’t want to look around. When grandpa was sick, we visited him a lot in the hospital. I never wanted to go. The smell bothered me. But mom said it was important, so we all went together. When I saw him in the casket, I remember he looked the same as he did in the hospital, only asleep. For a while after this I was afraid of going to sleep. Continued…


Crime of Life, October 23, 2009 at 01h40
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One of the things that you have to get used to when going to a Roman Catholic school is its many customs. Frequent masses, classes, and religious overtones from teachers who don’t necessarily believe themselves.

In seventh grade we had an introduction to confession. The entire class gathered in the gymnasium, every person sitting on mats apart from each other. We were told to think of something to confess to the priest that day. I was hardly prepared. Continued…


Crime of Life, October 14, 2009 at 12h41

There is an e-mail lingering in my inbox from one of my former college instructors.

My college days are best summed up as a brief sprint through personal growth. I moved out on my own when I was nearly 20. At that point, I’d never really tried smoking grass, had never had a girlfriend, had never even been kissed. In my first few months, all of this changed. At the time, I couldn’t appreciate the affect that it was having on my life because I was so eager to be a different person. So eager to change. Continued…


Crime of Life, October 5, 2009 at 11h18

I was listening to Sloan the other day, really enjoying the album, and a memory took me back to high school. A friend of mine mentioned them, a new favourite of his. But I was still into the top 40 radio hits, so I teased him about it. Yeah, as if I had some kind of musical authority to critique his preference. And now that I am a completely different person than I was then, I find myself wishing that he was around to apologize to. It might have been different.

Spontaneous Friend

Crime of Life, September 27, 2009 at 10h18

On the way over I thought about another time I’d gone to visit him. It was nearly thirty below and there I was walking through the biting wind to say hello. This time, it was nearly 11 and he’d just told me he was in town overnight. Years earlier, he was on stage with The Subterraneans and blew a string on his bass. He didn’t have any spares and there were no other bass guitars around, so I drove home to get mine. Another night, I was supposed to meet some people I didn’t necessarily want to be alone with, so I dropped in and picked him up on the way. And yet still, he once called me at six with a free ticket to Nine Inch Nails at seven. The seats were only several rows back from the stage.

It’s nice to have a spontaneous friend.


Crime of Life, September 15, 2009 at 07h53

She came over one night, upset. I rushed around anxiously tidying up my things. The place was a mess. Still. The day before I was staying in to clean, but I became distracted by something that took the entire evening. Only she knew what was going to happen.

I was feeling differently about distractions then. My nights were often filled with them and hardly with her. Everything was unusual. I’d stepped into a shape I thought emotions should fit into, but I wouldn’t admit the shape wasn’t my own.

When she told me she was leaving that night, I did not want her to go. Both our minds had been wandering for some time, distracted. Only she knew. My room was so cluttered then.

Programming Languages

Crime of Life, September 11, 2009 at 01h02

My first exposure to programming languages was at Peter’s home. He showed me something he made in QBASIC where you guessed a random number that the computer generated. The game itself was uninteresting, but when he showed me how he’d made it I was fascinated. I could do that. So I taught myself using the help menu. It was tedious progress on an old Pentium 386, but this was long before internet and instructional books.

Years later, my family got a modem, and soon after, my friend Dale introduced me to mIRC. The interesting thing about mIRC was that you could develop your own scripts, and since the language was similar to what I already knew, I was immediately fascinated. Once again, using help menus and examples, I programmed several different scripts, including a bot that people could play various games with. Soon after that, I learned how to program in HTML, once again self-taught, and made a few simple web sites, like this one and this one.

I’m not sure how I came about learning PHP and MySQL, but most likely it was as a result of talking to Rob. (Rob runs Logical Hosting, which I recommend to anyone looking for domains.) They were fairly simple languages to learn, albeit much more powerful, and there were a few peculiarities to the languages that made my self-instruction more difficult than it had to be. Then, as of a week ago, I’ve been learning CSS. Yes, on my own.

Ahh, the story of one geek’s progress.

BEAM Comics

Crime of Life, September 3, 2009 at 08h32
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I can’t recall if it was Eric’s idea or my own, but around the same time we started making our own comics. It was Eric, at any rate, that took it most seriously, and I remember this because he was the first to use blank instead of lined paper, the first to ink over his pencils, first to go through and colour each and every panel by hand.

Around 1993, I’d been doing a comic called The Rubber Bandit and another called Batsquirrel, and Eric was doing a comic called Silver Squadron. Continued…