Archive for September, 2010

My son, Miles, turns 24 today

That’s him on the left.

Two claims you can make …

… that your antagonist will typically corroborate without further ado:

“You’re being defensive.”

“You always need to have the last word.”

English Bay Silhouette

English Bay Silhouette


I flew into New York City two weeks after the Twin Towers were destroyed. Driving into Manhattan from the airport, I could see, illuminated by huge lights, dust still rising from the debris.

That next morning: I saw strangers in the subway talking to one another. New Yorkers didn’t seem to do that before. A city I loved so much gave me and everybody else in the world even more to love.

This was one of thousands and thousands of memorials placed throughout the city. It was in front of the Washington Square Park Arch, through which, standing on Fifth Avenue, before September 11, 2001, one would see the Twin Towers.

Val McMeekin

I am so lucky I met Val before she left Vancouver for Lethbridge, Alberta, where she’s working as a hair stylist. Val is a wonderful and magical artist. Her new montage of road- and sidewalk-scapes, “All Things Have Meaning,” gave me, it felt, new eyes.


I would write more about the riff-raff I know and meet except that I believe, in my heart, that I *am* riff-raff, often enough, anyway, and: “I won’t write about you if you don’t write about me.” (Same goes for photographs.)

I dream about etymologies, and woke up last night because I couldn’t suss out the etymology for “riff-raff.” I was so glad I got out of bed, because the etymology is perfect, coming from the French, meaning several things at once: “one and everybody” as well as “people regarded as disreputable or worthless.” Made sense to this lapsed Catholic: catholic and Catholic.

September Eleventh

Most of the world marks this day because of what happened nine years ago. I mark that day as well, and call it what the rest of the world does: “9/11,” leaving “September Eleventh” to mean what it has meant all my life, the day my parents, Maureen and George, got married, in 1954. The above photo was taken in Montreal, sometime between now and then. My parents have always done all they could to support the endeavors of their children and their grandchildren.


Under the pseudonym “ellyvon” I’ve started posting public-transit stories on the vantransient.CA blog, which was started by “barefootwriter,” the first friend I’ve ever made via Twitter. I’m taking the buses and trains out to Kwantlen’s Langley, Surrey, and Richmond campuses this semester, so I will be happily collecting lots of material.

Fall semester

This semester is going to be the busiest one in my teaching career: four classes, three “preps,” new duties as the department’s chair. I’m looking forward to developing my latent organizational skills. Two of my classes will have significant social media components; I’ll post links to those once there’s a bunch of content. Here‘s some of what my students will be addressing this semester.

Facebook Birthday

I am a big fan of Facebook for a lot of reasons. I like becoming friends with people I wish I knew better back in the day, I like being able to confirm friendships with old good friends (“you can’t make new old friends”), and I like, so very much, all the birthday greetings. I’m 51 today.