Wednesday, November 29, 2006


   Yesterday morning I got a rather panicked e-mail from Journals Editor Jeff. "You gotta help me, it's an emergency!" he pleaded. "I have to go out of town for the weekend, and I'm leaving Thursday afternoon, and I haven't been successful in lining up a Guest Editor for this week, and I have to get something put together before noon on Thursday, and if you won't do it, I don't know what I'll do. [big breath] Please, Paul, I'm begging here."
   Yeah, I'm exaggerating. I think what he said was, "would you like to do it? If not, I'm sure I can find twenty other people who will." Or something like that. Anyway, ever the helpful type of guy, I agreed to step up and take the reins on short notice.
   In keeping with the emergency nature of this entry, I thought I would focus on something for which I have enormous respect and admiration: those who work in emergency services. I quite regularly will walk up to a police officer, firefighter, or EMS worker, offer to shake their hand, and thank them for the job they do.
   One of the earliest blogs I read here on AOL was by a gentleman named Scott Kirley, who worked in emergency medical services (read: he was an ambulance driver/attendant) in Honolulu, Hawaii, and blogged about his experiences. His entries were riveting, filled as they were with real life and death drama, and Scott had a way with words that kept people reading.
   Somewhere along the line Scott fell away from blogging, and his journal sat idle for many months. One day, not too long ago, Scott's girlfriend/fiancee posted a message there telling us that Scott was very busy, but thinking of us all. Today, when I went looking for it, I discovered that Scott's blog, Stories From My Ambulance, no longer exists. Wherever you are, Scott, I hope things are going well for you. We miss your words. If you have the chance one day, come back to us.

   Enough of the past. Here's to the present, and future of AOL journals. Listed below are several journals written by people who are employed in emergency services in some form. If you are an emergency service worker and have an AOL journal, send me an e-mail and I will add a link to your blog to this list.
   One word of caution: Some of the blogs linked below may use slightly colourful language at times. I don't remember seeing any outright profanity, but then again I probably wouldn't blink if I did, so just beware that I have not screened these blogs for content beyond a cursory glance at their front pages today. If you do see any language you consider mildly offensive, please just click the little red 'x' and move on to the next one.

Golf and Other Stuff... Sharon is a 911 operator and a golfaholic. Her journal  covers a wide variety of topics, including her job, and her golf obsession.

Becoming a Firefighter Brian is a volunteer firefighter who blogs about his experiences on the job and in training, and posts pictures of some weird-ass thing he saw in the pet store. (S-word on the front page - exercise your own discretion)(Also, that "weird-ass" term was a quote from his blog - so sue me).

Dead Investigations Dave is a cop. Currently a detective with major crimes, he has spent time as a sniper in a SWAT team as well. His stories of life on the job are peppered with humorous anecdotes about being out of shape, and jelly donuts. Not sure if those two things are related or not.

The Return of Kaseypalooza Kasey is training to be a paramedic. While she does that, she works as an EMT, a firefighter, and a security officer. Busy girl.

Life as a paramedic Mike is a paramedic with an ambulance service. His blog has been less active recently than in the past, but I always check it out to see if he has updated. Maybe a little traffic will encourage him to pick it up a bit. We're readin', Mikey.

Maria's Musings Maria is a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Illinois. She says her blog wasn't supposed to be about that, but that's just the way it has evolved.

Thin Blue Line (Dedicated to Fallen Officers On & Off duty for their Courage & Honor) The title kinda says it all here.

Behind the headset Donna is a 911 operator and former paramedic. Her AOL journal hasn't been updated in almost a year, but she appears to be blogging on MySpace now. Ah, well. We've lost another one to Internet Hell.

From Behind the Badge This is the non-AOL blog of an Ohio policeman who opines on virtually everything.

   That's it for emergency services blogs. At least that's all the one's I know about, or could find with a short Internet search. I will add to this list if I hear about any more.

   In addition to the above, I thought I would add a couple of links that I have come across recently that I found amusing. The first one is the first episode in an ongoing web comic called DM of the Rings. It is the story of The Lord Of The Rings told as if it were a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Sure, it has a limited kind of geeky appeal, but I find it hilarious.
   The second link below is to the website of a company that makes blenders. It's a little bit of viral marketing. You will find there several videos of things being put into blenders that probably shouldn't be. Yeah, it's a little bit infantile, but does that really surprise you coming from me?

Twenty Sided ? Blog Archive » DM of the Rings I:The Copious Backstory

Will It Blend? | Presented By Blendtec

Oh yeah! I almost forgot. CarnivAOL. A new edition was published yesterday.

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thursday post

   First, Happy Thanksgiving to my American cousins. No, today is not Thanksgiving in Canada, but not because we do not celebrate it. Just because we celebrate it on a different day. For more on that, read my Thanksgiving entry from 2004.

   B: Today marks the day after the publication of the
48th edition of The Skeptic's Circle. It was publiched a day early to allow the host to celebrate Thanksgiving without pulling his hair out in worry over whether he could get a blog carnival published on time. Head on over to Decorabilia to read the latest crop of skeptical blogging from, oh, everywhere.

   On the gripping hand, I keep my hair short so as to ensure I cannot pull it out every second Tuesday as I struggle to find the time to put together an edition of
CarnivAOL. I'll be doing that again this coming Tuesday, so get your entries to me before the weekend is over if you want them included.

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Yay me!

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

   Yes but remember, I am Canadian.

via: Courage


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What's your blog-lebrity?

   Apparently, I am a...

C-List Blogger

   Hey, that's pretty good. I expected to be on the F-list, or something. Click on the graphic to find out how you rank.

via: Pharyngula.


Monday, November 20, 2006


   I've been neglecting you, haven't I? I'm so, so sorry. You know how it is. Wife's on a week's vacation. We get all decorating the spare room. Next thing you know, it's the weekend and we're downtown hobnobbing with Internet friends from all around the world... Time passes. I'll be back here in full force again. Someday.
   In the meantime, here's a quiz for you. Are you as unbelievably awesome as I am?

You are 100% Canuck!

You rock, you are an almighty Canadian through and through. You have proven your worthiness and have won the elite prize of living in a country as awesome as Canada. Yes I know other countries think they are better, but we let them have that cuz we know better than they do, eh?

How Canadian Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

via: It's all about me


Thursday, November 16, 2006


   I believe I have devised the ultimate self-referential pun:
   "So, who is this Monty Green guy, anyway?"

   Ten points to the first person to identify the reference (Bright Weavers exempted from competition).

   So, a little Googling reveals that I am not, in fact, the first person to make this joke. And why would I be? It's so simple and obvious. I had fun with it anyway. So there!


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Oh noes! Teh Internets iz made uv peoplez!!!!eleventy-one

   Journals Editor Jeff lets us in on a recent Internets Kewl Trendzorz featuring pictures of cats in places doing things. Yeah, I don't get it either. Check out his entry for a better explanation.
   Also, here's mine:


Saturday, November 11, 2006

Musings on a Saturday afternoon

   I'm working on something in the background, but it's going slowly.


In the meantime, this is what I had for lunch today:

   Fried egg sandwich on fried butter croissant, topped with Smuckers apple jelly. A little messy, but truly yummy.


   Played poker last night. It was bad beat night. During the first game, with the original six at our table down to four, I went all in with kings and threes. Guy across from me beat me with kings and sevens. I thought he was riding a high pair.
   After we whittled the original eleven players (across two tables) down to five, those who had gone out early started a second game. I made it into the final three in that one, and, sitting with pocket twos, made the bad decision to call the all in to my left. Turns out he was bluffing, but caught a pair on the river. Unfortunately, it was a pair of twos, which gave me trips, and all his chips.
   Ended up head to head with the host. As I was the big stack, it was really just a matter of time. He was all in before the flop, and I had nothing, but I called him anyway, because, you know, I could afford it.



I caught a straight on the river, and put forty bucks in my pocket. It's always nice to come home from a poker game and give the wife spending money for the next day.
   Of course, who knows if I'll ever be invited back.


   I'm thinking dinner will be a plate of pasta with fresh tomato sauce. Maybe a honey tangerine for dessert. And an espresso with sambuca afterwards.


   Gonna watch me a movie tonight, I think. I borrowed Unleashed on DVD starring Jet Li from a friend, and the wife and the boy are out for the night, so I'm allowed to watch it. Might even drink me a beer.


   Read In Flanders Fields today. Several times. Used to roll my eyes and fidget when we had to listen to it every Rememberance Day in school, but now I am continually struck by the poingancy of it.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

   I do think my interpretation of it differs from that of many who read it. In the final verse, we are exhorted to "take up [the dead's] quarrel with the foe." Most would see "the foe" as the army across the lines. Whoever we happen to be fighting against at this moment. I think the foe is war itself, and those whose adolescent posturings lead to it. If, one day, we are able to rise above our differences, and abolish war once and for all, we will have truly held faith with those who died, and they will, finally, be able to sleep, where poppies grow, in Flanders Fields.


   Wow, that was kinda heavy, eh? Funny what happens when one lets his fingers loose on the keyboard with no agenda. Maybe I should try it more often. What do you think?

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Thursday, November 9, 2006

Thursday it is

   It's the Thursday carnival post.

1) CarnivAOL 26 is due to be published on Tuesday, and I am currently soliciting submissions. If you are an AOL or AIM blogger 
come on over and find out what it's all about. E-mail submissions to me before midnight Sunday for inclusion.

Skeptics' Circle #47 has been published by aptly named blogger Thursday, at her blog Polite Company. My most recent long winded entry is included this week. Drop in and enjoy the latest crop of skeptical blogging from across the country and around the world, as well as Marvel (I slay me) at her ingenious presentation.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Revisiting an older meme

   Remember the Johari Window?

(known to self and others)

logical, self-conscious

Blind Spot
(known only to others)

able, bold, brave, calm, caring, clever, complex, dignified, friendly, giving, happy, helpful, idealistic, independent, ingenious, intelligent, kind, knowledgeable, observant, organised, proud, reflective, searching, self-assertive, sensible, spontaneous, trustworthy, wise, witty

(known only to self)

adaptable, dependable, shy, silly

(known to nobody)

accepting, cheerful, confident, energetic, extroverted, introverted, loving, mature, modest, nervous, patient, powerful, quiet, relaxed, religious, responsive, sentimental, sympathetic, tense, warm

Dominant Traits
52% of people think that plittle is complex
52% of people think that plittle is intelligent
52% of people think that plittle is

All Percentages
able (17%) accepting (0%) adaptable (0%) bold (5%) brave (5%) calm (11%) caring (5%) cheerful (0%) clever (29%) complex (52%) confident (0%) dependable (0%) dignified (5%) energetic (0%) extroverted (0%) friendly (17%) giving (11%) happy (5%) helpful (5%) idealistic (11%) independent (5%) ingenious (5%) intelligent (52%) introverted (0%) kind (5%) knowledgeable (52%) logical (35%) loving (0%) mature (0%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (41%) organised (11%) patient (0%) powerful (0%) proud (11%) quiet (0%) reflective (5%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (0%) searching (23%) self-assertive (17%) self-conscious (5%) sensible (23%) sentimental (0%) shy (0%) silly (0%) spontaneous (11%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (11%) warm (0%) wise (5%) witty (47%)

Created by the Interactive Johari Window on 9.11.2006, using data from 17 respondents.
You can make your own Johari Window, or view plittle's full data.

   I did this, along with about everybody else in the known blogiverse,
back in February. Cool thing about the Internet: stuff don't go away. The results are still extant, and available for further participation. If you did not contribute to my Johari Window back then, please do so now.

   If you can't stand me and would prefer to tell me what is wrong with me, try my Nohari Window instead.

(known to self and others)


Blind Spot
(known only to others)

inflexible, blasé, dispassionate, predictable

(known only to self)

insecure, withdrawn, selfish, needy, impatient

(known to nobody)

incompetent, intolerant, timid, cowardly, violent, aloof, glum, stupid, simple, irresponsible, vulgar, lethargic, hostile, unhappy, unhelpful, unimaginative, inane, brash, cruel, ignorant, irrational, distant, childish, boastful, imperceptive, chaotic, weak, embarrassed, loud, vacuous, panicky, unethical, insensitive, self-satisfied, passive, smug, rash, overdramatic, dull, callous, inattentive, unreliable, cold, foolish, humourless

Dominant Traits
100% of people think that plittle is inflexible
100% of people agree that plittle is cynical
100% of people think that plittle is blasé
100% of people think that plittle is dispassionate
100% of people think that plittle is

All Percentages
incompetent (0%) intolerant (0%) inflexible (100%) timid (0%) cowardly (0%) violent (0%) aloof (0%) glum (0%) stupid (0%) simple (0%) insecure (0%) irresponsible (0%) vulgar (0%)lethargic (0%) withdrawn (0%) hostile (0%) selfish (0%) unhappy (0%) unhelpful (0%) cynical (100%) needy (0%) unimaginative (0%) inane (0%) brash (0%) cruel (0%) ignorant (0%) irrational (0%) distant (0%) childish (0%) boastful (0%) blasé (100%) imperceptive (0%) chaotic (0%) impatient (0%) weak (0%) embarrassed (0%) loud (0%) vacuous (0%) panicky (0%) unethical (0%) insensitive (0%) self-satisfied (0%) passive (0%) smug (0%) rash (0%) dispassionate (100%) overdramatic (0%) dull (0%) predictable (100%) callous (0%) inattentive (0%) unreliable (0%) cold (0%) foolish (0%)
humourless (0%)

Created by the Nohari Window on 8.11.2006, using data from 1 respondents.
You can make your own Nohari Window, or viewplittle's full data.


Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Sugar and spice and everything nice...


   It seems Cin, whose picture appears in the dictionary if you look up "sugar and spice," has expressed an interest in the recipe for the BBQ rub I mentioned yesterday. To be fair, I cannot claim responsibility for it. It came to me from a former daycare provider at a local daycare center we used to send Matthew to. He and the kids made a huge batch of the stuff, and each kid's Dad got a bottle of it for Fathers' Day a few years ago. I have no idea where he got it. The recipe was included, in case we wanted to make more.
   And make more we did. I'm now on my second batch. We go through the stuff pretty quickly. I primarily use it on ribs, but occasionally use it to spice french fries and sweet potato fries as well. Have fun with it, and let me know how you enjoy it. Here is the recipe, exactly as I received it. Note that the quantities listed make a pretty huge batch. I usually cut them down by a factor of four.


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Monday, November 6, 2006

An ill-considered action

   I'm on my way to the grocery store. Among the items on my list are the ingredients for a really yummy bar-b-que spice melange that the family enjoys. So, I'm going through the cupboard, toting up our collection of seasonings to see what I need to buy, and I come across a small, unmarked tupperware container half full of a reddish powder.
   Unsure of whether it is paprika, or cayenne pepper, I peel back the lid, and give it an exploratory sniff. Just as I do, a synapse fires somewhere in my brain, and a vague memory speaks to me. It says, "wait, haven't you done this before?" As usual, in the race between unconsidered thought, and protective memory, the memory is one measly neuron behind, and before I can react, the insides of my nostrils, sinuses, and throat are coated with a fine dusting of cayenne pepper.
   Fifteen coughing, choking, eye-watering, nose-blowing minutes later, I am getting out a small piece of masking tape, writing clearly upon it, "CAYENNE PEPPER," sticking it to the container, and asking myself, "why, why, oh why did you not do this last time you snorted a line of red-hot, South American, powdered spice?"
   Live and learn, as they say. Well, you know, eventually.


Friday, November 3, 2006


   Reader Barry Leiba, of Staring at Empty Pages, sent me this photograph he took while on vacation, which he was reminded of by my discussion of reflections as distortions of reality in the previous entry. He was particularly amused by the appearance that God was taking his picture, and how that idea fit in with my theme.


   He tells me he remembered to roll down the car window for susequent photographs. Thanks for sending the picture, Barry, and for reading.

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   Dawn has been reminding me, pretty much every day (no she's not my stalker), that I have not explained the theme I used to choose photographs to display during National Carry Your Camera Everywhere You Go Week. Most of you have pointed out that (almost) all of them feature reflections of some type, and that is a big part of my concept. The first day's photo featured a view through a car window wet with rain, and two of the photos feature windows in which detail can be seen both through, and reflected in them.
   Windows, and mirrors, and other reflective surfaces can fool us into thinking that they are portraying a realistic representation of our world, but in fact, they present us with a distorted version of reality, and of ourselves. The final picture, of myself reflected in the televison tube was, I thought, the best depiction of that. My reflected image is distorted by the front of the tube, which is close to, but not quite flat. As well, we tend to view the television as a window on the world, but we forget that everything we watch, even the six o'clock news, is heavily edited, and as such, heavily biased.
   Needless to say, I was tickled by all of the people who commented on Matthew apparently playing the guitar left handed, as that was exactly the reason I took that picture, that way. Remember, all is not always as it seems.
   There. Happy, Dawn?


Thursday, November 2, 2006

A stalker of my very own

   Let me tell you a little bit about my "stalker."

1) He isn't all that firmly connected to reality. He writes an AOL journal about astrology, where he claims to channel information from some spirit, or alien, or god, or something, and warns about cosmic UV rays bathing the planet and lifting us to a new level of consciousness. Comments expressing skepticism I left on his journal were deleted within minutes.

2) He is walking a fine line between nut-case Internet nuisance and dangerous real-life stalker. He has informed me that he will never leave me alone; that he will e-mail me every day (22 emails from him so far today); that he has me on his buddy list. He has threatened me with legal action for a comment I left on another blog that referred to him. He has told me that he is currently living in Toronto, and has threatened to "track me down." Suffice it to say that every communication he has sent me has been saved, and if I ever see his face in real life I'll be dialing 911 faster than you can say "cosmic UV rays."

3) He isn't really all that bright. He emailed the owner of the blog where the comment in question was left, demanded it be removed, and threatened him with legal action. The blog owner basically told him to go blow, which he somehow interpreted as acquiescence, and declared the matter closed. When he registered for the screen name he used to make that derogatory comment here, he put down my e-mail address. So I received all the confirmation e-mails for the registration. I went to, clicked on 'sign in,' entered the screen name he used, and clicked on 'I forgot my password.' Sure enough, they e-mailed me a new one, and now I own that screen name, and he can't access it any more.

   Yeah, this guy's a real winner.


New comment policy

   Well, not new so much, as I've never had a specific comment policy before. However, recent events here in J-Land (read stalker) have prompted this. So, here is the official Aurora Walking Vacation Comment Policy:

1) I can delete any comment, on any entry, at any time, for any reason. It doesn't matter if it's an offensive comment or one that is completely innocuous. If I take a fancy to the delete button, your ass is grass. Now, that being said, it's not like all that wasn't already the case. Now it's just been explicitly stated. And it's not like I'll make heavy use of this heady power anyway. I have no fear of anything anyone wants to say to or about me, and it has pretty much been my policy in the past to let people's behaviour speak for itself. If you want to reveal yourself for the ass you are in print for the world to see, knock yourself out. I pretty much reserve the delete button for spam, or significant obscenity.

2) Do not think that you can escape public examination of your comments by sending them via e-mail instead of posting them here. As of this moment, no e-mail sent to me making reference to this blog has any reasonable expectation of privacy. If you turn my crank, I'm likely to blog about it, and that could include reproducing your e-mail verbatim in these pages. If you don't want your comments made available to the world at large, keep them to yourself. (Note that private e-mails sent to me that are unrelated to this blog do not fall into this category. Note also that I am likely to interpret the words "related to this blog" in an extremely liberal manner, so don't try to slip one by me by calling me an asshole without making reference to why you think so. I'll call you on it.)

3) If you have thought about commenting, but have been put off by the restriction of needing an AOL screen name in order to do so, just go and get one. They're free, after all. Hey, I went out and signed up for a Blogger name, and a TypeKey ID, etc. so I could comment on your blogs.