Wednesday, November 29, 2006

To a poetic close...

This week is a full and rich one. Essay assignment #2 is due next week, and I have a consultation with my prof. regarding the re-write of my first essay, now due January 7. Our mid-term and final class of the semester is also scheduled for Tuesday.


To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship
Katherine Philips

I did not live until this time
Crowned my felicity,
When I could say without a crime,
I am not thine, but thee.
This carcass breathed, and walked, and slept,
So that the world believed
There was a soul the motions kept;
But they were all deceived.
For as a watch by art is wound
To motion, such was mine:
But never had Orinda found
A soul till she found thine.
Which now inspires, cures and supplies,
And guides my darkened breast:
For thou art all that I can prize,
My joy, my life, my rest.
Nor bridegroom's nor crowned conqueror's mirth
To mine compared can be:
They have but pieces of this earth,
I've all the world in thee.
Then let our flame still light and shine,
(And no bold fear control)
As innocent as our design,
Immortal as our soul.

The Broadview Anthology of British Literature
The Renaissance and the Early Seventeenth Century

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Drives me crazy!

If you’ve been reading any blogs from Calgary, you’ve likely heard reference to the “bitter cold” we’ve experienced as of late.

Yesterday found yours truly in traffic.

At rush hour.


For those of you from Calgary, you know what I drove yesterday! It took me an hour to drive from our MacLeod Trail to 14th. Street via 6th Avenue. Essentially this is the East / West length of our downtown core. It took me an hour to drive what normally – outside of rush hour and the weather – would have been a 10-minute run… if you in fact hit a few red lights along the way. What struck me as odd was that the road conditions did not appear to be the culprit. It was the sheer volume of traffic. As I sat in my van listening to local radio, inching forward… and I mean INCHING forward, I began to think of the endless number of souls around me who drive this route EVERY DAY. I began to wonder,

“Is it by CHOICE that these people do this?”

We’re insane, truly we are. I know of no one who LOVES driving rush hour traffic. And since the volume of traffic has increased dramatically over the last number of months, it seems all the more ludicrous.

What I experienced was a taste of aggression – not quite road rage, but awfully close! Something really interesting happened, too. I allowed a fellow to change lanes in front of me. I looked left, straight at him, gave him a wave as if to say,

“I’ll let you go ahead of me…”,

and the look on his face was that of a man who must’ve just won the lotto! He smiled, waved frantically back – his passenger doing the same. I thought to myself,

“Wow… I only let you in, it’s not like I handed you a wad of money!”

I was soon to discover, however, that under these driving conditions, I may as well have handed him money. The value of an unencumbered lane change is that of precious metals!

I’m truly out of the loop – working at home and driving to events in non-rush-hour conditions. As I was sitting there, watching the world not go by, I remembered driving roads like this once. It was in Seattle in 2002. I found myself in absolute grid-lock in the middle of the evening drive home. Anyone who’s driven Seattle at any time will tell you that there is no place worse for a stand-still. Oh, and they have drawbridges in Seattle too. You think waiting for a C-Train slows you down? NUH-UH!!!
I now understand, having experienced first-hand the effects of traffic jam, why my friend N. calls me up on occasion around 8:00 AM to meet him for a coffee. He’d rather sit with a java and wait the traffic out than sit IN the traffic.

I heard a rumour that Wednesday is to bring us balmy conditions of around –2C.

Happy motoring.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pottery update

I'm having my own little party here inside my shell. It's a monumental day in my history.

It took me close to an hour to get to class as a result of our recent snowfall translating to a prolonged rush hour "drive home".

On arrival I got right on the wheel - no messing about. I discovered, to my amazement, my first ball of clay centered REALLY well! I thought to myself,

"This must just be a fluke... it couldn't honestly be that I've... 'got it'?"

I centered another.

And yet another.

Well, I was impressed! Apparently I HAVE "got it"! According to our instructor, it takes the average student 12 weeks to master centering. Of course, if the clay is not centered, you really have nothing because... well, I think that's obvious!

What I discovered after doing my little happy-dance of clay cetering was that I have yet to master the art of one of the next steps. I can "open" a piece (put a hole in it), but apparently I have yet to grasp (literally) the art of "raising". This is where you give your piece some height by drawing the sides up between your fingers. Applying just the right pressure is a matter of feel and experience.

I've learned how to centre a ball of clay - in about 4 weeks longer than "average", so I'm happy. You see, with anything new, my learning curve is such that I don't gradually do better and better and better. I appear to fumble horribly forever and ever, then one day it just "clicks" and I have it. And I have it for life.

Pottery is apparently no different.


I had a rather disturbing conversation with a friend yesterday. We talked of relationships. All kinds, but specifically human relationships.

We discussed the different dynamics that occur among family, friends and so on. The disturbing part came about when we began to discuss romantic and partnership relations, in particular: commitment.

My friend said she was undergoing a "rethink" on the subject of her views of right-and-wrong in terms of marital commitment. Having had many friends - both male and female - who have experienced troubled, even broken marriages, she said it's very difficult for her to believe that one party - namely the "cheating" one - is entirely to blame when it comes to "stepping outside the marriage". In her mind, the "cheater" isn't always simply a "cheater". The point she made very clear was this: What if the "cheater" is simply looking for that one thing that their partner isn't providing? What if they HAVE communicated clearly and it's the PARTNER who isn't holding up their end of the deal? Perhaps at that point the "cheater" has no choice but to find fulfilment elsewhere in order to achieve balance?

I'm of the mind - and always have been - that if you choose your partner wisely and understand that the road is not always smooth, wide and straight, there really isn't anything you can't work through... if your committed. The problem we addressed primarily is that not always are both parties committed.

What I found disturbing about this conversation I had is the endless number of arguments surrounding commitment. It's almost philosophical in nature in that there really isn't a "right" and a "wrong" answer - only opinion. Funny thing is... for as much as I adore a philosophical discussion, this kind of "disturbing" I feel is the same as that which I felt earlier in the year when I went about changing my views on money, higher education and personal growth.

Was this conversation disturbing because I've had my eyes shut?

Monday, November 20, 2006

A quick social post

November is a unique month on my calendar every year. For good or bad, I'm afforded one or two weeks of little to no contracts. It's traditionally been "nail-biting" time, but this year somehow, something's changed.

I welcomed the break.

Over this last weekend I've taken in a great deal of social activity. On Friday I ventured down to an Irish pub for a quick 1/2-pint of Stout.

Saturday saw me doing much of what I love to do. I spent a few hours during the day playing with music. In the afternoon I accompanied my Mom to a Christmas Craft sale. Now... I'm not a "crafty" type, but I took the opportunity to be social. When asked why I didn't settle myself at a table, I replied,

"I could sit and chat with two or three people or I could wander and talk to EVERYBODY!",

which I'm sure I must have in the two and a half hours we were there! I didn't "work" this event, but somehow I got roped into sitting in at the raffle ticket table. I'm still scratching my head on that one. Someone got the idea that "hey, Dave's good at this selling thing! Grammas just LOVE him! Leave him there - he's good for sales!" Well, so much for wandering around being social...

As evening drew near, I trundled across town to the next event, birthday party one of two. A brief visit with some friends over... oh, look, another pint of Stout!

Sunday evening found me at the Vertigo Theatre for LORD ARTHUR SAVILE'S CRIME
by Constance Cox, based on the story by Oscar Wilde.

What a weekend! Perhaps I'll go back to work to get some rest! On today's agenda? Some... home repair brought about by a not-so-bright idea. Tomorrow, back to school.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

MUSIC MONDAY: A Calgary boy takes folk music to a spiritual realm

OK, so it's Tuesday... but wait till you hear this!

It's been on my calendar for months. Calgary folk music - dare I say - icon, James Keelaghan returned home for a single show on Remembrance Day.

With his new album, "A Few Simple Verses", James explores and shares with us some traditional folk music tunes, including some Keelaghan originals.

The stage was set: The sanctuary at Grace Presbyterian Church, four microphones, five instruments, a big wooden chair and a baptismal fount! Keelaghan is known for his unique choice of venues and simplistic stage design. The backdrop to centre "stage" was the gorgeous pipe organ.

And don't think for a minute that someone like James wouldn't utilize this wonderful instrument! With James and his guitar were two very talented musicians, Hugh McMillan on Mandolin and Bass and Jaime KT on Viola, Piano and of course... Pipe Organ!

To our estimation there were approximately 500 in attendance. The floor was full. I have to say though, I'm not sure if it was simply the venue or a combination of place and people, but I haven't known a quieter audience at a Keelo show... ever!

Several years ago I caught James at the University Theatre here and it was quite a different animal. He did a solo show, all requests. Centre stage sported a rug, chair and stool, side table and a lamp. He opened the show with "Thanks for coming out this evening, and... welcome to my living room." Behind him was a screen backdrop on which they projected slides of photos he'd taken on tour. Understated and very cool.

I quickly threw together Turtle's Traditional Sampler: A collection of tunes from "A Few Simple Verses". It's a little choppy, but a taste of four tunes:

Jack Haggerty/Le Tourment
Harvest Train
My Blood
Sweet Thames Flow Softly

Buy this album - it's good food for your soul.

Friday, November 10, 2006

My first ash tray

Well, after four months at pottery, last night I finally made my first ash tray!

Um... it's not supposed to work that way, is it? Ash trays are supposed to come before fine dining pieces.

Well, truth be known, my first piece which turned out rather well is far from high-end stoneware!

I tried posting photos, but "blasted Blogger" was being uncooperative. I'll get some pics up as soon as I am able.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

About getting the "A"

One of my life observations as of late is that of those who focus on "making the grade".

I returned to school this year after having spent a lot of my life believing that if you couldn't "make the grade" there was really no point in pursuing a higher education.

What bunk.

How do you GET the higher grade if you don't first GET the education?

Comments left at my last post seemed to, in general, prod me on the grade I received on my first University essay.

Who cares?

I have the opportunity for a re-write and will take it to learn how to write an "A" paper. I'm taking this course to learn - not to get a grade.

It blows my mind how many of the students in my class have been programmed through the system of things that "grades" are the ultimate objective.

I say again, what bunk.

To paraphrase my prof.:

"If I had my way, the grading system would not exist. At the end of my course you would receive 'fulfilled requirement' or 'did not fulfill requirement'. Grades are the best way to demotivate students - especially those in the beginning stages of higher learning."

She also said,

"You may have heard our school referred to as the 'U-of-C-plus-averages'. If it's within my power, I will NOT allow you good people to achieve a C+ degree! My standards are pretty high."

The grade I received on my paper is quite passable. I choose to upgrade it simply because I can. Regardless of this opportunity I still would have asked,

"What can I do to make this an 'A' paper?"

simply because I want to know the stuff, and demonstrate that I do.

Truth be known, what I'd like to learn most of all is how to read my prof.'s handwriting... then again, she is a Doctor!


POST SCRIPT - The grades ranged from A- to F and to that M. encouraged,

"Even to those who received an F grade, this does not mean you're stupid. From what I read, an F grade - in this case - simply meant you did not follow or understand the assignment."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cookie Monster

We received our essays in class tonight.

Most of the class was shocked with their grades.

Mind you, most of the class is fresh out of High School.

M. has offered us the opportunity of a re-write. I'm going to accept - not because I'm hell-bent on getting an "A", but I'm fascinated to learn what it takes to get one.

Monday, November 06, 2006

CAT TAILS 5: This one's trouble!

As I made my way to the bathroom, as is my customary morning ritual, I came on this sight. Nothing unusual, right? Except to say that the TP is usually rolled up.

Who could be responsible??

It appears the culprit's been busted!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday Dear Blo-og... Happy Birthday to you!

OK, that was a cheesy title, but it's true! Today is my blog's first birthday. As most do, I'm sure, my space here started small with this post.

Thank you to Sarah for the inspiration and to Ann who was my first visitor. (Ann and I had a chat on the phone a while back, and it was delightful!)

At the time of posting, this site has seen 1518 visits - an average of 4 visits per day. I've posted 185 times and when you consider each post sees an average of 5 comments, that's a lot of response! (almost 1000!)

Thank you all for sharing in a wonderful year of reading, reflection and contemplation!


The Original Turtle

About Me

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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
English student, Pottery enthusiast, Yoga novice and lover of all people. I make friends over a warm handshake and a beverage. I discover, every day, someone willing to help me along my path.