Too Far

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I’d like to blame it on Covid-19, on two and a half years of restrictions and lockdowns, but maybe I’m just getting old.

There was a time when the six hour drive from Toronto to Montreal was no big deal, when a four and a half hour drive to Ottawa to pick up a jumpsuit at Hudson’s Bay seemed reasonable, and a five hour round trip to see Dracula in Stratford—seven times—made perfect sense.

That time is long gone.

Since March of 2020, my car has barely been out of the garage. Between Amazon, Instacart, and Uber Eats I never have to leave the house—and I don’t.

Now, that restrictions are a thing of the past and shops, restaurants, and theatres are open again. Now, that there are people and places to visit, and drives to take—it’s too late.

There’s a new phrase in my life these days, one I’d never thought I’d say…

It’s too far.

How did this happen? When did I start worrying about things like traffic and walking to my car after dark?

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When did I become my parents?

I blame Covid-19 🙂

Aimer at Amazon

In The Navy

Knowing absolutely nothing about what the Royal Canadian Navy does, the image that comes to mind is something like this…

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But it’s not all Arctic waters and icebergs; the Navy gets around—all the way around to the Tacugama Chimpanzee Sanctuary in Sierra Leone.

On a three-month diplomatic tour, the crews of HMCS Goose Bay and HMCS Moncton were invited to visit the Chimpanzee Sanctuary. The invitation came with a request, “You wouldn’t happen to have any extra rope that you’re not using?”

As it happened, they did.

In consultation with the staff at the sanctuary, the Canadian crew refurbished the chimpanzee play area with old rigging from the HMCS Oriole out of Halifax.

(Cpl. Jaclyn Buell ©2022 DND-MDN Canada)

Due to Covid-19 restrictions only ten crew members could participate in what Cmdr. Daniel Rice calls, “a unique experience.”

(Cpl. Jaclyn Buell ©2022 DND-MDN Canada)

Making this mom and her little one very happy.

Aimer at Amazon

Bereft

I’m in mourning, devasted.

It’s over.

I’ve seen all 20 episodes of Netflix’s Vincenzo.

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I didn’t expect to become addicted to this tongue-in-cheek mafia-inspired drama. While Vincenzo starts off with a bang…

It devolves into silly secondary plotlines and odd-ball characters eking out a living in Geumga Plaza. Comic relief? Maybe, but I didn’t find them funny.

I was ready to give up on Vincenzo about four episodes in, but perving on a good looking actor isn’t a bad way to kill thirty minutes on the treadmill.

And then…

Murder and mayhem. White-collar criminals with blood on their hands. Corporate greed and political corruption. Betrayal and Mafia-style revenge.

As episode built on episode, I started to appreciate the style of the show, the differences between this Korean crime story and the American versions I’m more familiar with.

Two words: dramatic, romantic.

Sweeping shots and grand entrances. Slow motion and a gazillion close ups. The lead actors, Song Joong-ki and Jeon Yeo-been, dressed to kill in great suits and designer sunglasses beat the hell out of Tony Soprano in his bathrobe, chomping on a cigar.

A relationship builds between the two leads, and builds, and builds—and no one gets naked. Cue the close ups and the lingering glances. Vincenzo and Hong Cha-yeong don’t share a meaningful embrace until the final episode…

How am I going to climb on the treadmill tomorrow without this show to make the effort slightly more appealing?

Aimer at Amazon

Best Laid Plans

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While God may or may not laugh when men make plans, Covid-19 certainly does.

You don’t hear the expression much anymore, but some of my older relatives when asked if they would attend a family birthday party or wedding would reply, “God willing.”

More than two years into the pandemic, with flights, travel plans, concerts, theatre performances, and family gatherings being cancelled daily, perhaps we should all be saying, “Covid willing.”

This weekend as we celebrate Ramadan, Easter, and Passover

or the warmer days of Spring,

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I’m reminded of a traditional Irish blessing…

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Covid Willing!

Aimer at Amazon

Flatulence Fascination

There are words I prefer not to say, vagaries of the body I see no need to mention.

Apparently, I am alone in this regard because they are mentioned—frequently.

As any five-year-old can attest, there is one noxious noise in particular that is greeted with glee, and awarded with laughter.

Kate Beaton, a Cape Breton cartoonist, has worked this fascination with flatulence into her children’s book, The Princess and the Pony, giving her warrior princess a steed with intestinal issues.

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Based on Kate’s book, AppleTV+ is releasing a new animated series, Pinecone and Pony.

Let the laughter begin.

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Aimer at Amazon

Phantom of the Opera

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The first time I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom, I wasn’t impressed. I didn’t see what all the fuss was about. Of course, I didn’t see much. From my seat buried in the back section of the orchestra, the falling chandelier was barely visible.

The Phantom music was everywhere in 1989, or it certainly seemed that way. Despite any real effort on my part, I became familiar with the songs and contrary to the old adage, familiarity did not breed contempt.

The next time I saw the Phantom—and every time since—I was entranced.

How do you improve on a classic?

What if the Phantom doesn’t end with Erik fleeing through underground tunnels? What if Christine were Christian?

Questions Joel Abernathy asks and answers with his book, “Masquerade: An MM Phantom of the Opera retelling.

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I’m not usually a fan of ‘retelling’ versions of beloved stories, but Joel handles the transition well, keeping the original flavour while adding a touch of spice. His Christian, while as young and sheltered as Andrew’s Christine, is more than a myopic, sentimental wuss.

With his sequel to the Phantom, “Love Never Dies,”

Andrew wrote Erik a happy ending of sorts, giving him a son, but having Christine die in his arms. Joel skips the heart-wrenching and goes straight to the happy ending which is fine with me.

Now, when I hear Andrew’s “Think of me

I think of Joel’s “Masquerade.”

Aimer at Amazon

Grammarly

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I’ve been hanging out with Grammarly lately. Not a lot of fun. She’s still the same nit-picking pain she was the last time we got together. No personality, no sense of humour.

To give the program her due, Grammarly has some good points…

Canadian spelling is a mixed bag of U.K. and U.S. practices. Generally, we side with England, writing defence with a C not an S, colour with the addition of a U, and theatre with an RE instead of ER.

Occasionally, we switch allegiance and go with American custom, writing organize with a Z instead of an S, and hemoglobin with an E not an AE.

Confusing?

Not to us, and not to Grammarly.

Canadian spelling is an area where Grammarly absolutely shines, gently reminding me of what is or is not Canadian style.

The girl knows her way around commas and hyphens, too, but she’s a tad bit prejudiced. Grammarly hates Passive Voice and despises ellipses. Those three little dots really piss her off.

In the program’s defence, Grammarly is an excellent teacher, tirelessly patient, and generous with her praise. Whenever I’ve rearranged a sentence to her satisfaction, she gives me a pat on the back and a ‘Well done, you.’

Embarrassing, but true, when that little green check mark pops up, and Grammarly says, “You must have been practicing.” I do a little happy dance.

Aimer at Amazon