Saturday, November 21, 2020

One of the high points of the week was watching a clearly inebriated and/or mentally ill man enter our neighbourhood, only to pause and marvel at my neighbour’s giant inflatable yard display for about 45 minutes, all while talking to himself and ignoring any passing pedestrians. One of the low points occurred shortly thereafter, when four police trucks showed up to haul the man away, which included a couple of the officers walking up and down our street with machine guns at the ready. That was unnecessary and a sincere bummer. This has nothing to do with our celebrations, but it’s been guiding my mood lately so there it is. Here’s what we got up to yesterday:

National Absurdity Day

And what, might I ask, is more absurd than the fact that we have been celebrating constantly and reporting on said celebrations for 325 consecutive days? Is it any more absurd that we plan to continue doing this for the next 41? We are now less than six weeks from the end of this project, and the only real absurdity is that it even exists to begin with.

But how do we translate that realization into a celebration? Do we even want to? Is there not enough absurdity in our world already? For example:

  • In the midst of a pandemic, our government advised people should be working from home whenever possible. Meanwhile, my employer (the same government) is trying to get all of its staff back in the office. Why? No reason, just absurdity.
  • People are legitimately complaining that the fact they have to wear masks while they shop for Twinkies and arugula is a violation of their freedoms. People who were alive during apartheid and watched footage of a man being choked out by police earlier this year truly believe this. Absurdity.
  • The presidential race in America has presently nearly 6 million votes separating the winner from the loser, and the loser still claims he won. That people are still following this guy is pure absurdity.
  • Next year we are looking at getting new Star Wars and Star Trek series to match the ones that are ongoing. This is absurdly wonderful.
  • My dogs. My dogs are constant examples of absurdity.

There is absurdity everywhere, and much of it is clogging the headlines and dragging our society through one hell of a mess. I’d welcome some banality for a change, honestly. When is National Banality Day?


Name Your PC Day

This is easy to do, folks. In Windows 10, simply go to your Settings, click on ‘System’, then find ‘About’ down the left-hand side. From there you can rename your PC to anything you want, which is great for identifying it on your network. I am also aware that I may periodically connect to my PC with my Bluetooth headphones, so I went with something I’d hear whenever they linked together. “I-C-U-R-A-0” (the last one is a zero, not an ‘O’) when spoken out loud is a bit of an insult, but it sounds funny in the Bose lady’s voice.

That’s all. There is nothing deeper to this day, no great origin story. I would also advise any and all of you to rename your wifi network with something clever, because that would be seen by folks who live near you, and you can really mess with them.

Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day

Organized by a group called Run The Edge – really a company dispensing running advice – this is a good excuse to create a fundraising run for charity. And this has been done from their website in the past, raising money for deaf children, for folks without shoes, and other assorted charities. I don’t know if anyone is organizing a big running event this year for brutally obvious reasons, but I do appreciate the commitment to doing good in the world.

Naturally, neither Jodie nor myself are runners. We would have to be motivated by genuine danger in order to justify running, and even then we might just turn around and deal with the danger. Not because we’re badass, but because we really hate running. So why on earth is this day showing up in our roster of celebrations for November 20? Why didn’t we just skip it?

Liberty. Not the notion of freedom or the statue in New York Harbor, but our #3 canine research assistant, the golden retriever who joined our celebrate-a-thon earlier this year. The girl loves to run. And given that she can’t run along beside us she instead saves her energy for the end of our walks when I let go of her leash and allow her to gallop wildly into our backyard. She’ll run like a crazed fiend around that yard, in particular when doing so includes the opportunity for her to frolic in the deep snow.

She is our runner. And we hugged her. Not the purpose of the day as it was originally intended, but it follows the spirit of the day. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the celebration’s odd name, it’s an acronym. GO HARD. That’s a term used both in the running world and on porn sets everywhere. Neat.

Beautiful Day

With no specific origin, this is simply the next “appreciate the beauty in the world” celebration in a lengthy succession of similar festivities throughout 2020. I’m going to revert back to the bullet-point format for this one, as I glance around my immediate surroundings and report on the beauty:

  • My dogs, of course. My wife isn’t here at the moment, but my dogs are, and they are plenty beautiful.
  • The snow outside. Winter hasn’t yet been overtaken by dirt and grime, so it still looks pretty pristine out there, especially with a blue sky to break up the monotony of grey.
  • My daughter’s baby picture, which you can see above. She was a gorgeous kid. And since our dogs tried to use that little flower picture frame as a chew toy a few weeks ago, I am now keeping a closer eye on it every day.
  • The art on my office walls. We’ve got a great impressionist skyline above my computer, a beautifully cross-stitched Chrysler Building to my right, made by our project’s official craftsperson (hi, Mom!), and paintings depicting our two bulldogs as Tupac and Biggie, courtesy of our daughter.
  • My ratty Bose headphones. They are charging beside me, and while I need to swap out the foam pads for new ones (which have been purchased, we just lost the little plastic tool that came with it), the sound that comes through them is still phenomenally beautiful.
  • It’s the weekend. That in itself is beautiful.

There is no shortage of beauty, and a focus on it every so often may appear repetitive (and this year it certainly is, with us acknowledging all of these similarly-themed days), but it’s good for the soul.

Geography Awareness Week

What? Geography? Where’s the fun in that?

I went to and did a few quizzes. Why? So I could test my awareness, of course. First off, I named all 13 Canadian provinces and territories accurately. I figured that if I failed that one, I should probably just give up. How about naming all 50 US states? Well, I messed up on identifying six of them. Those southern states and New England states get a bit confusing when you haven’t spent any time in either location.

Moving on to state capitals. I knew I’d bungle this one quite badly. This quiz gives you a four-choice multiple choice for each state. But they aren’t as difficult as I’d expected. The first question is pictured above. Had they included four places that were actually in Tennessee it might have been a bit of a challenge. For Florida, for example, was anyone going to guess Honolulu? I got five wrong. I should have gotten many more wrong.

Lastly, just to make things nice and difficult, I played the world nation identification game. It was only 25 questions, but all countries were in play. I felt particularly smart when I correctly identified Lesotho for question #1. Then it all fell apart when I had no idea where Sudan is located. I wound up finding 17 of the 25 countries. Not bad. It made me more aware of geography and now I’ve found a new place to perfect my knowledge of where the hell places are on the planet. I’d say that’s a victorious celebration.

Today we hope to acquire a snowblower, which should lead to less griping about the weather over the next 41 days. Maybe. I make no promises. Here’s our celebrations for the day:

  • National Gingerbread Cookie Day. We have ginger cookies and they are packed with a delightful secret ingredient!
  • National Stuffing Day. Do we make Stove-top tonight? Probably not.
  • National Red Mitten Day. There is a charitable component to this as well, but we could just wear our red mittens.
  • World Television Day. A day to appreciate my third parent, the one who taught me so much about the world.
  • International Survivors of Suicide Day. How dark do we want to get with this one? We could get pretty damn dark.
  • Alascattalo Day. A day for… something. It’s Alaskan and some sort of fictional creature.
  • False Confession Day. Ah, a day to lie. I like those.
  • World Hello Day. Anyong.
  • Pumpkin Pie Day: I doubt we’ll eat one of these – shouldn’t this be a Thanksgiving Day celebration?

Friday, November 20, 2020

If there exists the tiniest fissure in space-time which would allow us to slip ahead to a predetermined point in the future, how many folks would take a shortcut to 2021? I feel that most who bemoan the current calendar have an unrealistic expectation that the spectre of doom that has blanketed this year for many will magically vanish when we throw our bread against the wall on New Year’s Eve. There is no logical reason to assume this to be true. That said, I can state with certain that this mandated celebrate-a-thon will come to an end at that time, so I’ll start stretching out my bread-tossing arm now. December may fly by. Meanwhile, here was yesterday:

National Play Monopoly Day

For a slight twist on the guts of this day I opted to play McDonalds Monopoly yesterday, in that I finally went online and entered the various contest pieces we’d collected over the last few weeks into our virtual game board. As luck would have it, we are just one shy of winning a Transat family vacation for 4, so if anyone out there has the Vancouver Airport and wants to join our ‘family’ and take a trip together, hit me up.

Monopoly itself is not our favourite board game, nor would it break the top 20. If played properly the game does not take a marathon session to finish, but everyone has their own slight variants on the rules. And the purpose of this board game was to show how dangerous and economically unhealthy a monopoly is, so by winning the game you are essentially becoming the largest threat to the in-game universe’s national economy. You become the 1%. And still you pay a $75 Luxury Tax, same as us poor schlubs.

The McDonalds version, which has been around since 1987, is more pleasant. First off, most people end up winning some actual prize at some point – though I’d bet most never cash in their free muffin pieces because who thinks of McDonalds if they’re craving a muffin? Just as a person can cheat in the board game, that has also been tried with the McGame. And very successfully. The head of security for the company that operates the contest (by law it has to be a 3rd party company) snagged every top prize from the game between 1995 and 2000. He pilfered the super-rare winning pieces and gave them to family and friends, sold them to strangers, or (and this is where it gets weird) passed them along to a contact he made with the Colombo crime family. It was an impressive fraud, and one that should prompt us all to avoid participating in games like this unless we happened to be headed to the restaurant anyway. No point in clogging up the arteries unnecessarily if the game can be fixed. McDonalds insists the game has been clean since that one gigantic fraud case, but still. The doubt persists.

And now we don’t have to pretend to enjoy playing the actual board game to celebrate this one.

World Toilet Day

The United Nations, crafter of the super-communist New World Order and various other conspiracies your weird aunt is frothing about on social media these days, came up with this celebration to bring attention to toilets. Toilets are grand, and while we’d like to think they are plentiful everywhere around the world, the reality is that they are not. 4.2 billion people on this planet don’t have access to a top-notch sanitation system. That’s more than half the humans.

This year’s theme for World Toilet Day is climate change, and the effects that climate change can have on poorly-maintained sanitations systems around the world. Just imagine the smell when an unexpected flood wreaks havoc on a run-down system.

There are numerous streaming videos and extensive reports available online if you’re interested in learning more about the toilet situation on the planet. I glanced through it, but couldn’t commit to making a day out of it. How did we celebrate? We made a point of deeply appreciating our comfy toilets and their effective poop-removal capabilities. I’d go into more detail, but I’m pretty sure no one wants that.

Have A Bad Day Day

Did I have a bad day yesterday? Not really, but I can certainly find a few things to complain about. This is one of those ultra-weird celebrations concocted by Ruth & Thomas Roy, strictly for the sake of padding the list of holidays with heaps of strangeness. Store owners are encouraged to tell their employees to wish customers a bad day today, something I’m confident roughly zero store owners are doing. Because nobody would be in on the joke.

So to celebrate this one, I thought we should simply try to have a bad day. We didn’t try very hard, as that’s trickier to manage than one would expect, but we did have some issues. First off, Jodie was working until well after 8:00, so we hardly saw one another all day. Secondly, it was cold as all hell and I had to go outside and clear off new snow from our walks. Thirdly, I had to sit through a lengthy training session during the afternoon, one that will have almost no impact on my life.

It wasn’t a bad day, but it was a tedious one.

National Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day

We couldn’t find the source for this day, which is deeply generic and remarkably easy to celebrate. We try to keep our carbonated beverage consumption at one per day (not counting frothy, yummy beer or soda water), and Coke Zero is our standard go-to. Yesterday I tried to pretty it up from the usual drink-out-of-the-can tradition.

We once again ramp up to a weekend with a deep hope that we’ll actually get around to counting our progress thus far. This count would determine just how much of our remaining 40-ish days will be devoted to manic celebration and how many we can cruise through. Here’s what’s up today:

  • National Peanut Butter Fudge Day. Our team baker (hi, Mom!) may need to help us out here.
  • National Absurdity Day. Isn’t every day of our lives an absurdity? I’d argue it is, if you’re living your life right.
  • Name Your PC Day. What will we name our computer? So many possibilities! So little drama!
  • Beautiful Day. Literally a day to appreciate all the beautiful stuff in our lives. After acknowledging my wife, what else remains?
  • Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day. Well, our dogs do a lot of running. We could hug them. The other alternative is running.