New Car

As a 40 year old driver, it’s not typical that I’ve only ever had two cars in my life. But then I’m not big on change. I like what I like and take care of it. Always have. My first car was a blue 91 Sprint five door. Had a raging 1 liter inline 3 cylinder with a five speed. Hardly a racer but it was mine and I loved it. I bought it three years old and drove it for the next ten years, which got me through university, a year off, tech school, and university. After I’d been working a couple of years, I found myself married, living in my first house, and expecting our first child. It was time to move on and get something safer, warmer, and less likely to be a subject of a prank (some teens picked it up and turned it sideways in a parking lot once… It was actually pretty funny). I sold it to a teenaged girl from a nearby small town. I’ve often wondered what ever came of that car.

Next came the silver Protege sedan. I have never had even a moment of buyer’s remorse in picking up that car despite the nagging feeling of being ripped off by a skeezy sales manager. Seriously, who in 2003 wears a mullet, short sleeve button down, and hard-soled loafers.

The black on black interior is comfortable, well finished, and classy compared to other models I was choosing from in 2003; it’s tossable, but flat in the corners; responsive and quick. Sure, once again, it’s no racecar, but it’s sporty enough for getting me where I need to go. Still, it’s eleven years old now and starting to show its age with a touch of the surface rust that plagues Mazdas and their thin paint. I’ve only got 119,000km on the odometer, and it’s mechanically sound. It still drives as well as it ever did and I know I can depend on it. But I’m ready to move on. I’m ready for something with a cabin filter so I don’t need to stock a supply of Swiffer cloths. I’m ready for a turbo. I’m ready for all wheel drive so I don’t have to waste four hours attempting to escape the valley after the first big storm of the winter. And as much as I love to row my own, my last couple of arthritis flares tell me I’m ready for an automatic.

I learned to drive stick at the age of twelve on my uncle’s old Case tractor. We grew up with trikes, dirt bikes, and quads so piloting a vehicle was easy enough and we learned pretty early on about gear selection. Gravity is a good teacher when you don’t choose appropriately while driving a rainbow down at the sand dunes or the gravel pit. What I learned on the Case was the feel of a shift gate and how to manage a clutch with my foot instead of more nimble fingers. I’ll miss it. I know I will. Just like I sometimes miss the old Sprint with its poorly supported side windows and laughable acceleration.

I’m overly sentimental, but for now I’m looking forward. I’ve put my name on a factory order to get a 2015 Subaru WRX. Sure I can joke that I’m looking forward to hypermiling with my new CVT, but this thing takes premium fuel. What I’m more likely to experience is the difficulty of explaining yet another speeding ticket to my wife and parole officer. Whatever happens, I’m sure it’s going to be a hell of a ride.


I wonder if light ever acts like a liquid. I mean, if it has elements of both waves and particles, and if we generally learn about light using water as an example, what if other qualities cross over? Like surface tension and wicking. How cool would it be to discover that light passes more easily through something that already has a light trail established? Or to find that the reason light bends around planets and stars and whole galaxies of them is because light sticks to light? I wish I were smart enough to look into it, but more than that, I expect that anyone smart enough would simply scoff at the thought.

Are deaf people who are fluent in sign languages better at understanding three dimensional concepts? Because the grammar and movements of their speech should provide an appropriate scaffold for that understanding. Signs kept closer and others kept farther or lower are altered in meaning and connotation. This connection, this bond between physical space and idea making seems like it would be an ideal garden for growing the ability to visualize. Sculpting, architecture, or even a facility with understanding the ballistics of firearms should be easier… shouldn’t it?

What’s in a Name

Whenever I deal with police, a question comes up about nicknames that I have a hard time answering. Or at least I did until I learned that they really don’t what the whole truth, just the big parts.

Do you have any nicknames? Yeah, I guess I do. I’ve had hundreds over the course of my days: some self-generated, but most by others. No, I don’t have any aliases or second passports or anything, but to a few people out there I AM Relic (wore a toque in university that made me look like a longshoreman), and to others I’m Millhouse. I’ve responded to Asshole, G-Spot, Bubby, and Stone Face with varying levels of affection and amusement.

Looking back, I’ve always been me. I mean, the variety of roles didn’t ever change the fundamental person who was playing them and it’s not like I was hiding behind anything. So that’s why it’s easy now to say no when they ask. Cops aren’t big on complex answers.

Yelling in my Car

I’m so far less patient than I used to be.  There was a time when I could endure most any discomfort if it was for the right reason.  Not so much anymore.  Sure, I’m still more laid back than the average gent, but I’m significantly less tolerant than I was.  Noticeably more raw.  I used to tell people that I was so jaded that Chinese people would rub me for luck.  That cynicism was in fact the reason I could pass off nearly anything that offended me as banal and little worth getting my hackles up over.  But my life is different now.  My trust in people and my tendency to reach out have been sharply diminished leaving me much less connected to the world around me and much more critical than I ever was before. This is never more clear than when I’m driving to work in the morning.

Why the hell don’t all automakers use amber turn signals in their tail lights for God’s sake?  I’ve been behind too many people too lazy to maintain their vehicles yet bursting with brake-tapping energy not to be pissed about this design flaw.  A single brake light on one side when repeatedly tapped no longer looks or functions like a brake light indicating that you’re slowing down.  It’s not like there is some magic to an all red taillight section either.  It doesn’t look any better.  And moreover, with modern LEDs, a clear light can shine whichever damned colour you want without affecting the overall palette.  Someone’s gotta fix that.


Had to bust my roomate today on account of his NOT taking drugs. Ironic, that. But I don’t know what these pills floating in the toilet are supposed to be doing for this guy, so seeing one floating there? Whatever. Seeing one floating there every night? Being accosted by an increasingly chatty and twitchy guy with a rapidly diminishing appreciation of personal space and (more importantly) access to the place where I sleep? No. Too much. So, I had to say something. And did. Save the guy from himself, I guess. Poor bastard, living under a pall of medicinal fog. Must be rough. But then, you have to wonder what he’ll be like or do if he lets it all go. What fires in his brain are quenched or diminished by that pinkish-orange capsule? I’m not sorry.

There was a time when I would be irritated by a person’s mistaking of arc and ark. One is a path, the other a vessel of salvation. But then I found myself thrust from the safe harbour of my middle class, do-everything-right life and discovered that maybe just maybe the arc IS the ark. Maybe the path and the salvation are one in the same afterall.