What Happens Next?

Chaos in Print

It’s become a staple of every sitcom. When our young, female lead finally gets engaged, she begins planning her dream wedding. I don’t know if this is true of all young women, but on the sitcoms, the wedding is something she’s been planning since she was 6. It generally involves horse-drawn carriages, a legion of bridesmaids, and, of course, Prince Charming as the groom. I have been going through something similar in my life. I have been planning it in my mind and organizing it for a long time. Not my wedding. Ever since I learned that I was going to die someday, I’ve been planning my funeral. Like little girls planning their weddings, I currently want it to be a grand affair. There will be legions of bereaved, all gathered to mourn the loss of this, one of the greatest people they’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. You might think, then, that I look forward to funerals with a certain morbid glee. You might think I look upon them as places of research and gathering to add to my own dream funeral. Well, not the most recent one I went to.

Recently, my next door neighbor died. Throughout the past 6 years or so, my family had taken it upon ourselves to be her caretakers. We’d look after her place, doing things like cutting the grass and shoveling the walk. When we knew that she could no longer look after herself, we worked with her family on getting her into a nursing home. With her family being from Ottawa, we looked after her financial affairs while she was in the home, and continued tending to her property. Last time her family was out three years ago, they felt it best that a proper will be written up. My father was deeply involved in the process, and approached me about being a pallbearer. Not being able to see so far into the future, I agreed. So, when our neighbor died about a week ago, a flash of fear went through me. I knew we’d be having the funeral soon, and I only had one day off in the days ahead: Thursday. I was really looking forward to finally seeing Tomb Raider. As my father and her family began discussing the best day to hold the funeral, I listened at the door with anticipation. I kept repeating one silent prayer over and over. “Please don’t say Thursday. Please don’t say Thursday.” And that’s when I heard those dreaded words. “So, it’s agreed then. The best day to have this is Thursday.” Death had screwed me out of my day off.

Thursday morning came, and I was still more upset about missing Tomb Raider than laying my next door neighbor to rest. The family of the deceased was gathering at our home. We were to be hosting the fellowship after the services. My brother, also asked to be a pallbearer three years ago, was soon arrived with his wife and kids in tow. I mingled as best I could, and then I knew I had to get into my formal clothes. I retreated to my inner sanctum and dug out my suit. I hadn’t worn it since my sister’s high school graduation two years ago, so I was a little worried as to whether it would fit or not. To my surprise, it actually fit better than it did two years ago. When it comes to formal wear, what always sets off a suit is a tie. I went through my small collection of ties, trying to figure out which one would be the best to wear. I ultimately decided to go with my black bow tie, just because they don’t let me at work and I was going to have some fun with my day off. I finished putting together my outfit and checked myself out in the mirror. And, if I may say so, I clean up good.

From there, it was down to the community hall to begin setting up. We arrived before the funeral director, so first we had to spend some time waiting in the van. The hearse finally pulled up, and we were given our instructions. The instructions for a pallbearer are rather simple: grab a handle and lift. I grabbed and lifted. We brought her inside, and set her down on the stand that was set up. My brother, father and I grouped up as the director told us that she’d be set up shortly if we wanted to pay our final respects. As my brother and father started talking about what they always talk about, I wandered off to take a look at the body. It’s always unsettling looking at the body. Here’s this body, once full of life and vibrancy, now in eternal slumber. The questions started pouring in. Where is she now? Is there a heaven? Is there a hell? Was she going up or going down? What does happen next? We’ll all find out eventually. We all headed back up the house. We had an hour to kill before the service began.

And hour later, we all started arriving with the various obscure members of her family that had come out for this. Still, though, it was a small funeral. As with all things, I had good seats. Right up front. The service began, and the minister started quoting passages from the Bible. As has been ingrained in my mind since the age of six, Bible passages are a signal to start tuning out. I was soon brought back by the first song that the deceased had wanted played: Peace in the Valley. By Elvis Presley. I’m sorry, but Elvis just doesn’t work for a funeral. Yes, it’s a hymn, but Elvis? It was an unorthodox choice. Now that I was back in the real world, I started listening to the minister’s words. It all soon got the better of me, and I felt the tears welling up. It wasn’t enough to cry, but the emotion was there. In my own, weird little way, I’m going to miss her. Soon, it was time to head out to the graveyard. More heavy lifting for me.

Spirits were high in my brother’s minivan. As we all drove out there, we talked about the family that had shown up and how some had gotten really fat and others really skinny. We criticized the driving of the other mourners and made really bad jokes. My family has a really weird way of mourning. Soon, we were out at the graveyard and it was time for the last little bit of heavy lifting. We all grabbed and lifted, and soon the casket was suspended in mid-air over its future eternal resting place. The last words were spoken by the minister, and then, it was over. She was literally dead and buried. It was time to head back to the house.

When we got back home, my mother had a special task for my brother and I. We were to head back to the community hall and collect all the flowers that had been donated. My brother and I got back into his minivan and proceeded down the street. My brother hit play on his van’s CD player, and we were soon listing to that rock classic You Shook Me All Night Long by AC/DC. My warped sense of humour kicked in. I turned to my brother and asked one simple question. “Do you have any funeral appropriate songs on that disc?” My brother, operating on a similar wavelength, smiled, and hit a few buttons on his CD player. When we arrived at the community hall, we were both singing along, loudly and badly, to AC/DC. “HIIIIIIIIIIGHWAY TO HELL! HIIIIIIIIIIGHWAY TO HELL!” Finally, my sense of good taste kicked in, and we shut off the song.

But why must there be good taste? I do know this about my funeral. I want it to be fun. The song I want played is Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life by Monty Python. It’s OK to make plans like this, but soon a reality sets in. This is death. It’s the end. No one knows what happens next, if something happens next. I, personally, have always believed that something happens next. As a wise man once said, “There can be no happy endings for nothing truly ends.” That’s why my funeral’s not going to be depressing. Nothing ended. A new chapter will have begun, just as it has begun for my next door neighbor. It’s good to have a plan in place, but I don’t want to see it come to fruition just yet. God willing, I will find out what happens next in 70 years or so, with my wife among the grieving. I’ll worry about the funeral, as I’m sure she (whoever she may be) already has our wedding planned.

Movie Review – Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes

Directed by Tim Burton

Starring Mark Whalberg, Estelle Warren, Helena Bonham Carter, Paul Gimatti, Michael Clarke Duncan, and Tim Roth.

The original Planet of the Apes is high on my list of “classic movies I must see someday.” Think about it. This film spawned the first true science-fiction franchise. There were four sequels, a short-lived TV show, and an even shorter-lived Saturday morning cartoon. Hell, it was even the first film to spawn an action figure line! And besides, we all know Charlton Heston’s classic catch-phrase from the film: “Get your stinkin’ paws off me yadda yadda yadda.” We’ve seen it spoofed on the The Simpson. And we all know the now-classic twist ending. With a franchise this successful, we all knew they’d try to revitalize it someday. So, who did they bring in to do this? My man, one of my favorite directors, Tim Burton. So, I walked into the theater somewhat excited. It was going to be my first exposure to this long-running sci-fi series, and the latest offering from a man who can do no wrong in my eyes.

It’s the future. We catch up with the USAF research vessel Oberon in orbit around Saturn. On this ship, in the classic NASA tradition, chimps and other forms of apes are being trained in how to pilot spacecraft, to test whether it’s safe for humans or not. Enter one of those humans, Capt. Leo Davidson (Whalberg). He’s training a chimp named Periclese to pilot his ship. All is going well, until the Oberon detects a mysterious electromagnetic storm. Periclese is sent out to investigate, but contact is soon lost. Davidson defies orders to go out and rescue Periclese, but he’s not prepared for the storm. It somehow throws his ship across space and time to a distant planet. His ship crash lands, and he’s startled by his discovery. On this planet, apes of various species have evolved into intelligent life, and humans, while seeming intelligent, are treated as wild creatures. Davidson is soon captured by the apes, and sold into slavery with a fellow tribe of humans, including Daena (Warren). Whether it be luck or fate, he’s sold to the chimp Ari (Carter), who’s a sympathizer to the human plight. With her aid, Davidson escapes, and, after getting some equipment from his downed vessel, he sets out to find the Oberon. Apparently, it found him, and is on the planet somewhere. And so, he begins his odyssey across the planet, with Ari, Daena, and a few other humans in tow. But, his trek is not to be easy. He is pursued by the power-mad General Thade (Roth) and his right-hand man, the spiritual warrior Attar (Duncan). Thade sees Davidson and all humans as threat to be wiped out, and will stop at nothing to kill Davidson. Will Davidson find the Oberon? Will he get home before Thade catches up to him? Will humans and apes learn to live together in peace? Will it be learned how the apes evolved the way they are? Is the new twist ending destined to become as iconic as the original?

I do so love Tim Burton movies, but sadly, this is not a Tim Burton movie. True, you can detect echos of his style, but it’s not as hardcore as you find in, say, Beetlejuice. And, as with all Tim Burton films, there’s a rockin’ Danny Elfman score. But, what about the characters? Whalberg plays Davidson as a character we’ve seen a lot of lately: a soldier who wants nothing to do with this war and just get home. Roth, however, is a wonderfully slimy, stop-at-nothing villain. And it’s very cool to see who plays his father. I loved Attar, and truly wish we got to see some more of him. And while this story isn’t as action-oriented as most of the other summer blockbuster fare out there, it did do something to me that only one other movie this summer has been able to do: it made me think. You actually will ponder our treatment of animals when you see humans being treated the same way. And yes, that ending does require some digestion, but that’s good. We can’t have all the answers spoon-fed to us, as one of my old enemies used to say. It had good effects, great acting, it made me think, and to top it all off, it’s Tim Burton. Will this one be as classic as the original? Only time will tell. But, I liked it.

3 Nibs


Chaos in Print

I recently attended yet another family reunion. I don’t care much for these family events. My cousins and I grew apart a long time ago. They’re all from the Lacombe area. They went to school together. They hung out together. They were a nice little clique. Then, at these functions, they would naturally group together and do what it is they do on a daily basis. I was often left out, tending to the campfire, reading a book, or just doing what I do on a daily basis. They would always see another excuse to hang out with friends. I would always see another school dance where I’d be sitting by myself in the corner. Now that I’m this 24-year old, I’m mature enough to send an RSVP in the negative whenever I hear that one of these events is on the horizon. Except this time.

By its very nature, this reunion was different. It was being organized by my father and a cousin of his. This reunion was to focus on a different facet of the family. It was going to focus on all the descendants of the siblings of my grandmother. We were talking about third and fourth cousins who hadn’t seen me since I was probably about six weeks old. Since this event was scheduled to take place on my birthday, I was hoping to weasel out of this function and spend a day in Edmonton partying with friends. But, as previously mentioned, one very important fact made this different. It was being organized by my father. And since my siblings had already beaten me to RSVP-ing in the negative, I knew one of us kids had to go to throw support behind the family. Since I am living in the parents’ basement, the duty fell to me. No birthday movie. No intellectual discussions with friends about Junkyard Wars and the hilariously-imploding Alliance Party. Just sitting by myself in the corner at the school dance. I was looking more forward to the drive to the campground than the weekend.

I arrived at the site with little fanfare. I pulled up the car next to my parents’ truck and sought out my folks. Dad was already catching up with some long-lost uncles. Mom was doing similar at the other end of the campground. It also didn’t help that a lot of these people were significantly older than me. Most were middle-aged. Most hadn’t seen each other in a long time. I found my corner and prepared to sit. But I was intrigued.

For a campground so close to the Saskatchewan border, it was rather hilly area. The campground itself was situated in a valley. As I drove in, I was astonished by what I saw. There was this marvelous old steel bridge over the North Saskatchewan River. I knew I had to get a closer look at it. And the most startling part of the landscape was this hill that stood over the campground. True, by all definitions it was a hill, but in geometry it looked like a mountain. A scaled down mountain. It was rather unique. I knew that if nothing there was one thing I could do at this campground. Explore.

After I found my parents and they introduced me to a few people, it was time to go sit in my corner. The old uncles and not-so-old distant cousins got into their cliques and began visiting with each other. I was starting to get bored. I was starting to get really bored. It was time to do some of this exploring. I grabbed my camera (you never know if you’re going to find something photogenic when exploring) and started walking.

My first trek was to get a closer look at this bridge that had me spellbound. I started following the many roads of the campground to get back out to the highway. It was a clear sunny day in this little valley. The sun was beating down, as though it were trying to force me back into my shady corner. But not today. That bridge had captivated me, and I wanted to get a closer look. There weren’t a lot of trees along my chosen route, so I just tried to enjoy the sun as best I could. Soon, I was passing the rodeo grounds. This campground was built as part of the local rodeo grounds, so it dominated the majority of the camp’s parkland. The locals kept saying it was a world-renowned rodeo, but I had never heard of it. I kept my eyes forward and kept walking.

After about twenty minutes or so, I had made it back out to the highway. I turned left, and started marching towards the bridge. It was starting to get even hotter, as the sun reflected up from the asphalt onto my bare legs. But I kept marching. When I was halfway towards the bridge, I stopped and turned around. I was amazed at how far I had come. I’m always amazed at how much distance I can cover just by simply walking. I turned my back to what was behind me, and kept going towards that bridge.

When I got there, I was amazed. Fortunately, I was at the side with the dedication plaque. This bridge, spanning the North Saskatchewan River, was built by an ironworks company from Winnipeg. It was opened in the mid-50’s, and the plaque even gave a file number. No doubt, were I to look up that file in the provincial archives, I could get a wealth of information on that bridge. What just impressed me, though, was its length. It was one of the longest bridges I had ever seen. From what I could tell, it had five distinct spans. I had this urge to keep walking. I wanted to walk across this monster bridge. But, as it was a highway bridge, there wasn’t much of a shoulder to walk on. What finally convinced me to not cross it was the gravel truck that passed me by inches. I decided to head back to camp.

The evening came, and all the various families grouped together and went back to their individual camps for supper. There, in our little trailer, my parents presented me with my birthday presents. Yay! I got clothes and Chicken Run on DVD. We had some birthday cake, and then the inevitable truth came. I was 24. Wee-ha. After dinner, more visiting happened, and I was once again in my corner.

The next morning was when it was instrumental I be around. See, my father and his cousin couldn’t hold this event without financial support from viewers like you. So, we were going to politely charge these relatives $1 at breakfast to cover the pancake batter and $5 at supper to cover the steaks. Since I am a cashier in a grocery store and I wind up working the door at every Liberal fund-raiser, my Dad volunteered me to work the door. My corner was moved to a little table by the front door in our communal hall, and I had a little Tupperware container to use as a cashbox. I sat there, politely smiling and saying, “Yes, you can pay for your steaks here at breakfast.” At least working political fund-raisers, I learned how to smile and thank you when I take you for all your worth. Breakfast soon came to a close, and I was relieved of duty until supper. Time for more exploring.

This mini-mountain that stood over the campground had a viewpoint at the top. A lot of the kids under 10 who were dragged along to this event had taken to climbing the mini-mountain to this viewpoint. Dad suggested that perhaps Mom climb to the top and take a picture of our campsite from above. Mom, in her polite and political way, said that Dad was out of his gourd. Showing an unusual display of ambition, I volunteered to do it. It was then that Dad pointed out that there was a road up to the viewpoint. I hopped in the car and went for a drive. I arrived at the viewpoint, and was met with a spectacular view. Directly in front of me was the campground. The collection of trucks, cars and trailers looked like a collection of Hot Wheels. To my left was a view of the North Saskatchewan, rolling continuously in the direction it had rolled for centuries. To my right I could see pretty much the entire golf course that bordered our campground. I took a moment to snap a few pictures, and another moment to take it all in. It was then back into the car, but I didn’t head straight back to the campground. I headed out to highway, and drove across that bridge that had captivated me so. On the other side, I noticed the high riverbank that formed one of the walls of the valley the campground was in. I conjectured that there must be a great view of the bridge from the top of that bank. I drove back across the bridge and headed back to camp. My next trek was planned.

After a few more hours of sitting in the corner, I grabbed my camera and once again went trekking. I headed the route I had went yesterday, until I arrived at the turn-off into the campground. To my right was the highway. To my left was a gravel road that headed to parts unknown. Straight ahead of me was the gentlest slope to the top of the valley. I was going straight. There was only one obstacle in front of me: a barbed-wire fence. I hadn’t needed to crawl under a barbed-wire fence since I played out at McDougall’s farm when I was a kid. It was a skill that quickly came back to me. On the other side of the fence, I checked my camera to make sure that I hadn’t crushed it by rolling on top of it, and then started climbing. Halfway up the climb, I began passing the rocks. The name of the campground was spelled out on the side of this hill in large rocks, painted white. You quite often see signs like this, but when you’re driving at 80-km/h along a highway, you can never tell how large the rocks are. Now that I was a stone’s throw away from them, they were boulders. How they got them up this hill I’ll never know. I continued climbing. Off in the distance, I could hear the moos of cows. I began to wonder if this sign was ever obstructed by grazing cattle.

At long last, I reached the summit. I looked back at the bottom of the valley and the now-distant campground. It’s always good to look back once in a while, just to see how far you’ve come. I turned around, and gazed at what was in front of me. The ground in front of me gently sloped down to some grazing land, and then the North Saskatchewan River. I was right. There was a great view of the bridge from up here. I pulled out my camera, and took a few pictures of the bridge. Then, mission accomplished, it was time to head back to camp.

When I arrived, it was getting near suppertime, and I knew it was time to head back to my post. But first, my parents had another job for me. The barbeque was all fired up, and I was to sample the first steak. Using a tiny plastic picnic knife and a tiny plastic picnic fork, I began sawing my way through the steak. A tiny plastic picnic knife is not the optimal tool to use to cut a steak. After five minutes of sawing, I was finally able to make a cut large enough for my Dad to see that he had in fact made a perfectly well done steak. I continued sawing so I could get a piece off and tell him it tasted good. With Dad satisfied that he would be an OK cook tonight, I got myself a baked potato, headed to my station, and continued collecting money while eating my steak. The evening was the followed by more uneventful visiting.

It was during this evening visiting that I looked at my dog. I felt sorry for her. Every other dog was running around free, but not my Buck. My parents, being the sticklers for the rules that they are, were the only ones who kept their dog on a leash. Buck would walk to the extreme end of her chain, and look at us, just 10 feet away, laughing and talking. I knew it was time for her to have a little freedom. I unchained Buck, put on her leash, and took her for a walk down on the golf course. There, we marveled at how cool this valley got when the sun went down. We wandered around a bit on the first green. We crossed the bridge over the creek and walked into the rough for a little bit. We were both grateful for our freedom. But, it had to end, and we headed back to the camp.

The next morning, the reunion broke up pretty quickly. By noon, my folks and I were the only ones left. It was getting time for me to head out, as well. I took out my camera and snapped a picture of that mini-mountain. I can hardly wait to finish that roll so I can get the pictures developed. I took one last moment to take it all in. It’s funny to be the outsider looking in. You get so used to that perspective that, most times, you force yourself into it. When you reach the age of 24, you’re supposed to be past cliques, and in a place where you can be sociable with those who are different. But, when you’re on your own for so long, it grows comfortable. Sometimes, you amaze yourself at what you can do on a daily basis. Perhaps sitting by yourself in the corner isn’t as bad as some make it out to be. With my parents’ assurance that they didn’t need myself to help break camp, I got in my car, and headed for home.

Movie Review – Jurassic Park III

Jurassic Park III

Directed by Joe Johnston

Starring Sam Neill, William H. Macy, Tea Leoni, Alessandro Nivola, Trevor Morgan, and Laura Dern.

Ahh, yes, who could forget Jurassic Park? It was my birthday movie of 1993. Remember how we gazed in awe and amazement at these living, breathing, dinosaurs on the big screen? Remember the chills we felt when we heard the booming of T-Rex’s footsteps? We all left the theater wanting more. So, The Lost World came along. It was more, all right, but not more of what we wanted. It was missing that something that made us fall in love with that first film. But still, Lost World made a boatload of money, and we were all left hoping that they’d get it right with #3. So, eight years after I fell in love with dinosaurs all over again, I was back in the exact same theater where it happened, hoping it would happen again.

We catch up with Dr. Alan Grant (Neill) after his adventures in the Park. He’s back to digging up dinosaur bones in the dirt, having very little interest in studying the “genetic monsters” created at Jurassic Park and its Site B. He’s made great advancments in his research, and has developed all new theories in regards to velociraptor intelligence and communication. But, the world doesn’t agree with Grant’s methods. Why go digging in the dirt when you can see the real thing? And thusly, Grant finds his funding drying up. Enter wealthy socialites Paul and Amanda Kirby (Macy and Leoni). They approach Grant and offer him a huge amount of money to be their guide on a fly-over tour of Site B. Grant can’t help but accept, and even brings along Billy (Nivola), a grad student working with him and his protege. But when the Kirbys land the plane on the island, their true intentions become clear. It seems that their son Eric (Morgan) is shipwrecked on the island, and they needed Grant’s dinosaur expertise to help them find him. So, then, Grant finds himself running from dinosaurs he never encountered the first time, like pterodactyls and the giant Spinosaurus. But, that is nothing compared to the true menace. It seems that Grant’s theories of raptor intelligence were right. Can Grant and the Kirbys find Eric and escape from the island? Or will Grant have to call in some fellow Jurassic Park survivors for help?

Do you like your movies to be thrill rides? Do you wish that films would just quit with all that plot and character development and just put lots of kick-ass action on the screen? Well, then, this is the movie for you. For just about the whole 90 minutes (yeah, it’s kinda short), it’s just RUN FROM THE DINOSAURS! RUN FROM THE DINOSAURS! RUN FROM THE DINOSAURS! Don’t get me wrong, we all know who the real stars of the Jurassic Park films are, and it’s nice to see them get center stage. The animators at ILM and the animatronics folks at Stan Winston Studios have again done a top-notch job. The Spinosaurus is a classic movie monster, and I love those pterodactyls. The actors are pretty good, too. We are all reminded of what made Dr. Grant such a cool character, and I’ve always had a thing for Tea Leoni. Macy is pretty good, too. And you think that in this kind of movie things would get kind of serious, but they do find a way to inject moments of humor and help keep it from getting too serious. It’s better than The Lost World but still missing the quality of the first film that amazed us all. Maybe that one critic said it best. “Who would have thought that seeing dinosaurs eat people would get old fast?” All in all, this movie is just fun.

3 Nibs


Chaos in Print

Driving is one of the few simple pleasures I have in life. Nothing pleases me more than just hopping behind the wheel and going where the wind takes me. I never feel more joy than when I get back in the car after filling up with gas, and watching that little needle rise from “E” to “F.” It’s a feeling of power. The power to just go anywhere you desire. Just give me clear skies, an open road, and a full tank of gas. I was kind of looking forward to the journey ahead of me, then. My father had been organizing this family reunion out by Lloydminster, and I felt I should go to help out. My parents had headed out the day before to start setting up, so now I was going out to the camp to hook-up with them. The weather report from the night before, and a quick trip to the 7-11 close to work, had given me everything I needed to head out bright and early on Saturday morning: clear skies, an open road, and a full tank of gas.

I awoke on Saturday at 7am, with the intention of being on the road by 8. But, in the true traveler fashion, I wasn’t exactly on schedule. It took me longer to pack than expected. I was caught up in too many articles in the morning paper. As I was getting dressed, I was hit by a disturbing thought. “Dude,” I said to myself. “Today is your birthday. Just take a moment.” Yes, I was heading out on my birthday. I don’t know if it was because I was focused on this trip, or just the stresses from work, but I hadn’t gotten as moody and introspective on this July 7 as I had in the past few years. I took exactly that, a moment, to acknowledge the fact that I was now 24. I then continued to get dressed. My traveling outfit consisted of my nifty Darth Maul shorts and my Decepticon logo T-shirt. I made sure the cat was in the house, locked the cat in, and started the car. It was 9am.

My route was simple. Straight east on the Yellowhead highway until I hit the town of Kitscoty. From there, it was north on Secondary Highway 893 to the campground. One of the greatest joys of driving by yourself is you choose the music. To accompany me on this route, I had selected my greatest collection of traveling tapes. It was going to be country I hadn’t seen in ages, with the best assemblage of car music ever. As I left Entwistle and hit the Yellowhead, I popped in Space: The Imagination Compilation. My voyage began with the main theme from Star Wars.

The stretch of the Yellowhead from Entwistle to Edmonton is the most boring stretch to me. I had been driving it into the city since I was in diapers. I have ridden over it so many times, that I could probably do it in my sleep. The landmarks sit there, some built 20 years ago, some recently put up. I can anticipate their appearance on the highway, and time how long my trip is taking them. It’s a checklist of the familiar. The Magnolia Trestle. The Town of Gainford. The Seba Beach overpass. The Wabamun power plant and coal mine. Kim’s #1 Gas Station. Cougar Creek Golf Course. All where they have been for as long as I can remember.

Since I had left without breakfast, I had decided to stop in Spruce Grove for one of my coveted Egg McMuffins. My watch said quarter to 10. Normally, I’m a slave to the clock, but not so much today. That was good, because the line in McDonald’s was phenomenal. Only two cash registers open, and a line of 10 people at each one. Whenever I see lines like this, I think one thought. “You stood in line for 4 hours for Episode I tickets. This is nothing.” And so I waited. After about 15 minutes, I ordered my Egg McMuffin. I sat at my table and proceeded to have breakfast. As I looked around at the deserted dining area (most people get breakfast to go, apparently), I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself. I always wanted to have my birthday at McDonald’s. With a full stomach, it was time to hit the road again. Stopping in Spruce Grove meant detouring down Highway 16A, the Parkland Highway. It would take me 5 minutes to get back on the Yellowhead. Not a problem.

On the Yellowhead, it only takes you about 10 minutes to get from the Spruce Grove overpass to Edmonton. When you go through Edmonton on the Yellowhead, you are suddenly transported from a lovely rural highway to a big city freeway. When you first enter the city from the west end, I am sort of enraptured by the industrial beauty of it all. Rising like a monolith is the Inland Cement Plant, marking the western border of the CN Rail Yard. For the first half of your trip through Edmonton, that rail yard is right next to the freeway. As I child, I was often captivated by the sheer volume of locomotives and rolling stock. Now, an alleged grown-up, it still makes me smile. While heading east, that rail yard is on your left until you start getting to the City Center Airport. Then, you’ve got railroads on your left, and runways on your right. It’s all rather beautiful. But, you pass the airport, the road takes a turn, and then you are in one of the ugliest parts of Edmonton. For the rest of you drive through the city, you will see nothing but abandoned factories and run down industrial shops to your left. On your right is this big brown wall, keeping the residential areas safe from the constant noise pollution of the road and eyesores across the road. It soon just ends. The railroad starts following you on your left hand side again. You cross the North Saskatchewan River. And you’re out of the city. Time for more travel music. I put in one of the greatest road trip tapes ever made: the soundtrack to the 1994 blockbuster, The Flintstones.

Shortly after you leave Edmonton, you drive through what I consider to be one of the greatest oddities of Western Canada: Elk Island National Park. I have often wondered what makes this tiny strip of prairie on the east end of Edmonton worthy of being a national park. The people I wonder aloud to tell me it’s because it is home to one of the largest free-roaming herds of buffalo. But, seeing as to how it’s the only completely fenced national park in the country, are they really free-roaming? The Yellowhead is an expressway through the park. There are no gates like you find on the Trans-Canada at Banff, or on the opposite end of the Yellowhead that goes through Jasper. The actual entrance is at an intersection, about halfway along the Yellowhead’s park stretch. I looked down the road into the park as I drove by it. Someday, I’m going to have to stop at this park and see why it’s so park-worthy. But not on this day. Before I left the park, I smiled at one of the greatest oddities. All these trademark Parks Canada brown signposts, and road signs in the brown and yellow colour scheme, but no mountains around them. The park was behind me, and once again, I was heading east.

After Elk Island, you soon become surrounded by nothing but acres and acres of farmland. As far as the eye can see in every direction, you are surrounded by farmland. For all the fuss made of our province’s oil and gas industry, it makes you realize just what a great deal of our economy must be farming. I just kept rolling past the golden fields of canola.

Soon, I found an oasis in this desert of cash crops: Vegreville. I thought to myself, “What better place to stop for a break than the world’s largest Easter Egg?” I pulled off the highway into Vegreville. I drove down main street, seeing the requisite Dairy Queen and A & W. Those seem to be the fast food places in towns that are still too small for a McDonald’s. I continued driving, wondering how much farther I’d have to go to get this egg. And then, it appeared to me on my right. That was a big egg. I parked the car, and walked with awe-filled reverence towards that glorious, huge majestic sphere. Yup, it’s an egg, alright. Apparently, they’ve been building up a bit of a town park around that egg. There’s a smaller, less grand monument to the town’s Ukranian community in the egg’s shadow, and an old CN caboose there. I whipped out my camera and took a few pictures for posterity. There was a large gathering of tourists there that day. Others were staring at the egg. Children laughed and played in its shadow. I was soon approached by another couple of tourists wanting me to take their picture beneath the egg. This was the third time in my life that tourists have given me their camera and asked that I take their picture. I must have a non-threatening face or something. Feeling thirsty, I headed off to the information booth/gift shop/concession to get a drink.

In the gift shop, I proceeded to look over the various souvenirs. I chose a requisite postcard of the egg for my collection. I went over to the cooler and got myself a Pepsi. As I was looking for a snow globe with the giant egg in it (as featured on an episode of The X-Files), I noticed this elderly couple on the phone. By the worried look on the clerk’s face, I could tell that they had been on it for a while, and that they were making a lot of long-distance calls. The couple started talking loudly, and I couldn’t help but overhear them. They kept repeating one thing over and over that caught my attention: Seba Beach. Hearing the name of the place of my high school this far east had piqued my curiosity. I walked up to them and said, “I don’t mean to intrude, but I couldn’t help but overhear that you’re looking for someone in Seba Beach. I’m from that area. Is there anything I can do to help?” It turned out they were looking for a guy named “Getson” or something like that. I’d never heard the name. They told me a little more about this person. They said something about how he runs the boat launch. I suggested they try the village office, but then remembered it was closed on Saturdays. Then, the wife mentioned how he ran the hamburger stand on the beach. That clicked something in my mind. I said, “The hamburger stand on the beach? Why, they tore that down 10 years ago and built a big restaurant in its place called the Pier. That’s who you’d need to call.” So, they placed their call, and found out that this guy sold the hamburger stand 10 years ago, and retired to the smaller community of Alberta Beach. A quick call to directory assistance got them his number. Sadly, though, he wasn’t home. But now, he was found. As they went to the clerk to settle up their phone bill, I made a discrete exit. That’s the kind of exit I like to make; just slip out quietly after I’ve said my piece. I jumped in my car, put Star Trek: The Astral Symphony in the tape player, and continued east.

My journey continued with more farmland on either side of the highway. It tended to get boring after a while. I soon came over a hill and spotted the town of Innisfree. At the top of this hill was a massive Petro-Canada station and rest stop. It struck me as being kind of cool, and I made a mental note to check it out on my way home. I continued east. After another hour of driving, I soon started seeing the signs for Vermillion. I looked at the gas gauge. It was hovering just above the quarter-tank mark. Should I stop in Vermillion? From prior experience, I knew I could get about another 100 km or so out of that much gas. But I didn’t know how much farther Kitscoty was. Should I stop in Vermillion? I did a quick check of bodily functions. Stomach: full. Bladder: empty. Legs: not tired. Should I stop in Vermillion? No. With a new exhilaration, I drove under the Vermillion overpass and saw the sign saying Kitscoty was 40 km away. I could do that easy.

After 20 minutes on the road, I noticed an oddity about Kitscoty. It had a grain elevator. Grain elevators are fast becoming a rare sight on the prairies, so I took a moment to take it in. My gas gauge was now exactly on a quarter tank, and since I had no idea how far north I’d have to go to the campground, I thought I’d better stop for gas. Kitscoty is a one horse town, or in our modern talk, that would be a one gas station town. There was only one gas station with two pumps. The pumps were being blocked off by a big white van, but there were no signs saying it was closed or anything. I reasoned that the van belonged to a local named Clem, and he was probably inside talking to Jed about the weather. The van was parked in an awkward spot, and my attempts to drive around it or back in in front of it were only met with frustration. I glanced at the directions my father had given me to the campground, and saw that I had to drive through a town called Marwayne. I prayed that Marwayne had a gas station, and headed north. Since Marwayne was only 20 km up the road, I decided not to put in a new traveling tape. I was now too far from Edmonton for Power 92, so I tuned my radio to the local AM station, 1080 Lloydminster.

Luckily, Marwayne did have a gas station. Two pumps, no waiting. Now, armed with a full tank of gas, I continued north to the campground. It wasn’t that far from Marwayne, and I was treated to more views of farmland. As I pulled into the campground, It was around 2pm. It had taken me a full 5 hours to make this trip. I parked the car, and walked over to meet the parents.

Two days later, it was time to do it all over again on the drive home. How come the drive home is always so much quicker? Yes, I did stop at that Innisfree Petro-Canada, but for all of 5 minutes. I went straight past Vegreville, all the way through Edmonton, and it wasn’t until Spruce Grove that I felt I should stop for a break. After a supper at Wendy’s, I continued forth to Entwistle. None of the grand adventure from the drive out. Maybe it’s because, on the drive home, you have a much more worthy goal in mind: home. The promise of your own bed and the friendly greeting from a locked-in pet just urge you to get there all the faster.

They say that getting there is half the fun. Sometimes, it’s more like three quarters. But what if you’re going no where in particular? Is it possible that it can be all the fun? What’s that quote from The Lord Of The Rings? “The road is like a river. When you step onto it, it is very easy to get swept away.” Clear skies, an open road, and a full tank of gas. There’s nothing like it.

Movie Review – Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Directed by Hironobu Sakaguchi

Starring the voices of Ming-Na, Alec Baldwin, James Woods, Donald Sutherland, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Peri Gilpin, and Keith David.

I remember Augustana’s first-ever anime festival. At one of the (well, actually, only) round-table discussion, mention was made of the Final Fantasy movie, which was already in production at the time. I clued in the panel that it was going to be an original story, along the lines of the then-popular Final Fantasy VII. A collective moan went through the panel, as they were hoping for something more along the lines of the swords-and-sorcery of the earlier games. They perked up, though, when I mentioned what got people like me interested in it. It was going to attempt to be the first computer animated film with photo-realistic people. That is, CGI people that look just like you and me. It’s been two years since that anime festival, and we finally get to see the finished product.

Earth. 2065. For the past 35 years, Earth has been under attack by ghost-like aliens dubbed “Phantoms.” They attack by sucking the lifeforce out of Earth life. The last remnants of humanity live in giant, shielded cities, while most of the planet has been turned into a lifeless wasteland. Dr. Aki Ross (Ming-Na) and her mentor, Dr. Sid (Sutherland) have been working on a plan to defeat the Phantoms. It’s Dr. Sid’s theory that all planets have a spirit, and each spirit has its own distinct wave. If the inverse wave of the Phantoms could be constructed, it could wipe them out. Discovering the inverse wave, though, involves discovering Gai’s wave, or the wave of the Earth spirit. The wave fragments, which Sid dubbed “spirits,” lie in the remaining life on Earth. Only two more need to be found, and then he and Aki can save the planet. General Hein (Woods) however, has a different theory. The best way to get rid of the Phantoms, he believes, is with bigger guns, mainly his orbital weapons platform called the Zeus cannon. So, the race is on for Aki to find the last two spirits before Hein gets all trigger happy. Fortunately, Aki has help from Capt. Grey Edwards (Baldwin), and his elite army unit, the Deep Eyes Squadron (Rhames, Buscemi, and Gilpin). Did I mention that Aki and Grey are former lovers? Can Aki and the Deep Eyes find the last two spirits? Will Hein accidentally destroy the Earth with the Zeus cannon? Will Aki and Grey rediscover their feelings for each other? And what’s the deal with those weird dreams Aki keeps having?

I once read somewhere that, here in North America, we only get about the top 10% of anime. Final Fantasy must come from that other 90%. It’s not terrible, but I found it to be…lacking. The animation, however, is truly spellbinding. No wonder this movie took four years to make. Computers do have a long way to go, though, before producing a fully fluid human face. And, it does seem to borrow from other sci-fi films. As I’m sure every other film critic has pointed out by now, the Deep Eyes are a bit like the Marines in Aliens. They were creative, though, in making Steve Buscemi play the normal guy. And I always love hearing Keith David giving a character his “Goliath” voice. All that aside, there are some great visuals, and a not-to-bad plot. Don’t get me wrong. I liked this film. But, ultimately, I have the same complaint that I had with Titan A.E.: it’s good, but I sooooo wanted great. Animation is trying very hard to grow up in North America, but it’s still going through a painful puberty.

2.5 Nibs

A Dilemma Everyone Should Have

Chaos in Print

It’s a very strange time for me. I’ve been doing this column for two years now, and a trend has started over the past two years. Here, in the column closest to my birthday, I’m supposed to do some moody and introspective piece about what’s behind me and where my life is headed. But, I’m not feeling moody and introspective this year. Maybe it’s because I have to charge off to this family reunion thing, and my mind’s too focused on that. So, this one is something a little more upbeat. My savings account has just hit the magic number where I contemplate making a major purchase. The last time I was in this position was in January, and I went and bought my DVD player. In a little bit of thinking out loud, I’m going to contemplate what major purchase I should make. Come now! Come feel envious of me as I ramble on and on about how to spend my money!

A new computer – Ahh, the one that’s been at the forefront of my mind for many a year now. Since I’ve always wanted to get into building my own computer (and thus upgrading whenever I feel like or can afford to), I’ve been going over this one with my ol’ buddy Darmok. Darmok has built his own, and he has quite a sweet set-up. It’s great talking this over with Darmok. He reminds me of this character from the book Space. This one character was a NASA scientist who believed that nothing was impossible. When asked if men could be place on the moon, he’d say, “I can start building the rocket tomorrow!” When asked about going to Mars, he’d say, “We can go tomorrow!” When asked about putting a radio telescope in orbit that was 50 football fields across, he said, “I can build it tomorrow!” When I ask Darmok about a new computer, he says, “We can build it tomorrow!” Here’s the latest set-up Darmok’s planned out for me: 256M SDRAM, 40G hard drive, 800 MHZ Celeron processor, 16X DVD-ROM drive, burner, 56k modem, and of course, requisite sound card, video card, floppy drive, and case to stick it all in. All for around $1500. That’s not too bad, seeing as to how that’s what I paid for my current machine 4 years ago. Pro: I really, really, really want one. Con: 4 years ago, I was making $10/h in a gravel pit. I made $1500 in a month and a half. Now, I’m making just above minimum wage in a grocery store. It’s taken me 8 months to make $1500. Plus, the most heartbreaking thing I ever did was write that cheque for $1500 to pay for my computer. I’m afraid to love again.

A video camera – Perhaps the one thing on this list that I’ve wanted the longest. I’ve always dreamed of just picking one up and going off and pretending I’m Steven Spielberg. Most of the newer cameras are all digital now, making ones that still use video tape relatively cheap. I can get a good one for less than what I paid for my DVD player! 11 years ago, Francis Ford Coppola, director of the Godfather movies and mentor to George Lucas, said, “Very soon, some fat little 10-year old girl will make the world’s greatest movie, using nothing but her father’s video camera.” I believe I am that fat little girl. Pro: I’ve wanted one for so long, I should quit torturing myself. Con: No new computer means no video capture card means no fancy editing on my computer. I’m stuck in Entwistle, meaning no friends, meaning no cast, meaning no audience. I’ll have a camera, but not much else.

My URL – chaosinabox.com. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I’ve been exploring this one through a number of websites and such, but I’ll admit, I don’t really know much about the market, and so I get lost quite easily. Every time I go to sign up for one, it asks me for IP’s and such, and I just don’t have that information. Essentially, I want my URL, but not something so labour-intensive that I have to move the site off of Angelfire. I guess all I really need is a redirect service. Type in chaosinabox.com, and go to my angelfire.com/hi/chaosinabox. Pro: Wanted it for a long time, plus perhaps the cheapest on the list. Con: Don’t know much about the market, and quite easy to get screwed.

The surround sound set-up – I knew that when I bought the DVD player, I would start spiraling down towards a whole home theater. The next most logical step would be a surround sound decoder, a subwoofer, and 5 huge-ass speakers. Like with my DVD player, though, I would probably spend the next two months doing market research and such before settling on something. However, my parents’ living room, where the DVD player is currently located, is somewhat oddly shaped, making speaker placement difficult. And besides, every time I fire up a DVD, my Dad complains that I’ve already watched that movie several times. Now he’ll be complaining that I’ve seen it too many times and it’s too loud. Pro: Just think of the sound quality! Con: Awkward to set up, and complaining father means I won’t be using it much.

Travel – So Chuck and L are living out in Vancouver now. I’ve always wanted to get out and see my country. What better way to do it than to go crash with a couple friends? I’ve fished for an invitation, and I’ve gotten it. I’d want to go by train, though, and a round trip ticket from Edmonton to Vancouver is about what I paid for my DVD player. The Rockies by rail, and enjoying the sights and sounds of a new city with dear friends! What could be better? Pro: Potential grand adventure! Con: Chuck and L currently have business to attend to in Victoria, and head off to Japan in September. The only time this could be done is August, meaning I’d have to start putting things in place NOW!

Student Loans – Interest relief essentially means I get charged no interest on my loans. None of these purchases can be made guilt-free as long as I have that $20,000 debt hanging over my head. Since no interest is being charged, why not pay down that principle a little? Pro: The landscape can be changed with a single flower. Con: It’s just a drop in the bucket, so what’s the point?

Investments – When my sister was saving her money to go backpacking across Europe, she’d lock away her money in these short-term, high interest savings accounts. You’d lock away $500 in this account, you’re unable to touch for two years, and when it unlocks, it’s gone up to $700. Why not start planning for the future? Pro: More money! Con: In two years, in which case I’ll be in this dilemma all over again.

So, these are essentially the options I’m considering. I know, now you’re all envious and ready to beat the crap out of me. I’ll have something angst-ridden next week, OK? Sheesh, at least give me this.

Sunday Sucks

Chaos in Print

And on the seventh day, He rested — The Bible, somewhere near the beginning
No rest for the wicked — An old cliche

Here in Canada, we used to have this thing called the Lord’s Day Act. Essentially, it was the law for businesses to close on Sunday. If you stayed open, you’d be fined. There was this one drugstore in Calgary, however, that felt it was an unjust law, and would forever remain open on Sunday. This resulted in lots of fines for the store. But this store had a plan. In the early 80s, Canada’s constitution was repatriated, and we were given the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The little drugstore rubbed their hands with glee, and little dollar signs appeared in their eyes like in a cartoon. Now that Canada’s constitution had come home, and we had this Charter thing, the constitutionality of the Lord’s Day Act could be challenged. So the battle was taken to the Supreme Court. The little drugstore argued that the Lord’s Day Act was unconstitutional; that it rammed Christianity down people’s throats. Defenders of the Act said that that may have been the intent when it was first passed, but the purpose of the Act grew and changed over the decades that it had been in effect; that it had a “shifting purpose.” Well, the Supreme Court ruled that laws don’t have shifting purposes in Canada, and therefore the Lord’s Day Act was unconstitutional. Rather than repeal it altogether, it was decided that municipalities could pass similar legislation to keep businesses closed on Sundays. Most municipalities decided not to, though. The logic was that businesses in their county would lose profits on Sunday if all a customer had to do was cross the county line to get to a store that was open. So, thanks to this little drugstore in Calgary, businesses could now stay open on Sundays. Thanks to this little drugstore in Calgary, I have to work on Sundays.

Being a front end supervisor for Extra Foods, Sunday is the day of hell. We’re only open for 8 hours, so it’s believed that only one front end supervisor is needed for the day. Factor in the half hour it takes me to open, the two hours it takes me to close, and my one hour off for lunch, and I usually wind up working 9.5 to 10 hours on Sunday. But that’s not the only headache. Sunday is also the day that the new flyer, and all of the week’s new prices, go into effect. So, the grocery staff spends most of the day running around taking the old price signs down and putting up the new ones. The manager spends most of his day sitting in his office punching the new prices into the computer. What’s the end result of old prices coming down, new ones going up, and the prices in a constant state of flux in the computer? About three quarters of all merchandise goes in at the wrong price. This results in a lot of irate customers. And, to top it all off, since the day does fall on a weekend, three quarters of the staff are airheaded teenagers. It is not a pleasant experience for me, as I am the one expected to keep the whole thing running smoothly.

The first Sunday I worked, I learned very quickly that you have to keep the doors closed until it’s time to open. Normally, we keep them open just a crack so the employees can get in. But, on Sunday, people will come through that crack, start complaining to you that you don’t have the doors open yet, and proceed to shop. And, as is the case with customers like this, if you try to explain that the store isn’t open for another 10 minutes, they’ll get all huffy, make vague threats about going up the street to IGA, and proceed to shop anyway. I don’t know if that’s just the mentality of these people, or if I have an inability to properly communicate.

The fact that most things go in for the wrong price is rough on every one. There’s no greater feeling of dread for a cashier when you’re ringing in items and then the customer says, “It’s not supposed to be that price.” Then, you ask the customer what it’s supposed to be. Most of the time, the customer will say, “I don’t know.” So, proper procedure is you send the bagger to go see what the proper price is. But, since the bagger is an airhead teenager and often nowhere to be found, you have to do it for yourself. You go out into the store, find the proper price, and then head back. If last week’s price happens to be lower, and it’s still up, that’s the one you have to use. You always use the lower price. What makes this really fun is if the customer took it when last week’s price was up, and a few minutes later the grocery person comes by and puts up the newer, more expensive price. That new price is the one you find when you go to check the price, and then you’re left trying to explain to that customer that the price changed during the half-hour that started when they grabbed it from the shelf and ended when they came to the till. Most often, it’ll end with the customer grumbling, “Fine, then. I don’t want it. It’s probably cheaper at IGA, anyway.” (It’s actually not, but threats of going to the competition don’t bother me. It’s not like I shop at Extra Foods because I work there.)

But say you find last week’s price still up, in which case you have to punch that price into your cash register. This process requires the supervisor to punch in an override code, authorizing the price change. But what if I, the supervisor, need an override? Then, I have to call the manager on duty for that day. This usually results in a longer wait for the customer, as the manager has to come all the way down from his office and all the way up to the front of the store. Since managers don’t like strenuous work, the walk usually upsets them. So, by the time they get to the front of the store, they’re all huffy. The assistant manager has this one philosophy, though. You know, the good old “Ignore it and it’ll go away” philosophy. The last Sunday I worked, I had to call her four times before she came to give me my override. And her excuse for taking so long? “YOU DON’T HAVE TO CALL ME FOUR TIMES!! I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME!! I’M BUSY TOO!!” I, too, then have adopted a new philosophy. If no one comes within 3 minutes of the second time I call, I use my own override code. I’m not supposed to, as it really pisses of the big bosses in Edmonton, but sometimes, it has to be done.

I do get my reprieve, however. A one hour lunch. Sadly, though, I don’t know what to do with all that free time, so I usually wind up taking only half-an-hour or 45 minutes. My fast food restaurant of choice on Sunday tends to be Kentucky Fried Chicken, since they are the slowest fast food place in town. I just can’t relax on my lunch, though. I’m usually bereft with worry over what the airhead teenagers are doing in my absence. This one time, I came back from my lunch to find long lines at all the tills, and that one of those airhead teenagers had closed down her till and was chatting with the photo lab manager. When I asked her why she did that, her reply was, “Well, the photo lab manager here is running behind, so I thought she needed my help more than we needed another till open.” I told her to reopen. Needless to say, she didn’t.

I swear, those teenagers will be the death of me. On the most recent Sunday I had to work, it got really busy at about 10 minutes to 5. I asked the airhead teenager who was off at 5 if she’d stay until things slowed down. She gave me a lot of belly aching and vague answers. At 5, this teenager cuts off her line and proceeds to close down her till. Again, I ask her to stay open. Again, she gives me some belly aching and vague answers, but she reopens. Thinking that she’s come to her senses, I place the call for another cashier. The teenager pipes up, “The new grocery manager can do it! I’ll call her!” I agree. True, the new grocery manager has only had about 20 minutes of training behind a register, but that’s about as much training as most of us got. And besides, she’d do to at least get a couple of big carts on the way. I let the teenager place the call. As soon as the grocery manager gets to the front, the airhead teenager waves her over. The airhead teenager tells the grocery manager to take over, and the airhead teenager takes off. Did I mention this airhead teenager was on the express lane? The grocery manager was not ready for the express lane. After a few moments of panic, the store manager came to bail her out.

Want to know the end of that story? A few days later, my boss chewed out that airhead teenager for doing that. The airhead teenager promptly came to me. “Why didn’t you tell me she didn’t have enough training for the express lane? We cashiers need to know this!” Actually, they don’t. The supervisor needs to know because it’s the supervisor who decides who goes on what till. Since I’m not good at confrontation, I just glared at her as she attempted to tear me a new one.

I will say this. At least closing the store is easier on Sunday. Since it’s the start of the fiscal week, the majority of paperwork involves putting starting totals on forms. And since we close at 6 on Sunday, I get out of there at 8. I love it when I close the store and there’s still daylight out.

At least the boss has ruled that we supervisors should only have to go through this day of hell once a month. July 22 will probably be my next one. But what it all boils down to is I have to work on Sundays because of that one little drugstore in Calgary. What’s so wrong with taking a day off once a week? Even God had enough sense to take a day off. I say we should urge our municipalities to pass the legislation. Better yet, I say we need to spearhead a new initiative. Let’s have the “Day for Yourself Act.” One day a week, everything closes for the purposes of kickin’ back and takin’ it easy. And to avoid religious intonations, it won’t be Sunday. It’ll be Friday. Wait a minute. Isn’t that the Sabbath for the Jews? Mondays, then. No one likes working on Mondays anyway. So, write your MLA! Let’s get the Day for Yourself Act moving! People must take a day off once a week, even if it means losing money. Take that, Extra Foods! Take that, you Calgary drugstore! And I’ll see you on the beach on Monday.