The Weekend

The weekend is never long enough, right? On the Thanksgiving long weekend, my wife had a medical conference in Jasper, so we all stayed at the Jasper Park Lodge. That doesn’t happen often, so we enjoy that opportunity whenever it arises. But it still wasn’t long enough. Here’s a look at my past weekend:


I come home from work, and pick up my kids from daycare. Everyone’s excited: my wife and I are going out for dinner, just the two of us. My daughters are happy to have their Oma and Opa come and babysit them.

My wife and I go out to dinner at least once a year, for our anniversary. And, usually, that’s it. Yup. Once a year. So for us to do this is definitely out of the ordinary. But I recently had my contract extended for another year, and that’s as good a reason as any to go out to dinner. Destination: Violino.

We’re at the restaurant 15 minutes late, but it’s still pretty early and it’s not busy yet. Our food comes fast--really fast: 10 minutes. (Waiter: “It’s pasta. How long does that take?”) We linger over dinner, but it’s still early. If we return home now, the kids will wail at us for coming home too soon. What to do? Eh, let’s hit the mall. (Listen, if you have kids, this is considered an indulgence, okay?)

After the kids are in bed, my wife and I watch part of a movie. We’re tired, and it’s getting late, so we only manage to watch the middle third of Her. Yeah, it takes us several days to watch a movie. It feels like such an indulgence. See above, re: kids.


I get to sleep in, which means about 9:30 (yay!). By that time, the noise level in the house is enough to wake up any sleepyheads. I make a cup of go-juice, which helps my eyelids to open, and I grab the newspaper. A funny thing happens, which is: nothing. Nobody’s hollering for me because somebody hit somebody else, or they need this lid off of that jar, or...anything. So I keep my head down and keep reading the newspaper until I’m finished it.

That never happens. I mean, never. I’ve never read the whole weekend newspaper in one day before--much less in one morning. Typically, it’s still sitting there unread on Monday morning. Feeling somewhat guilty, I check and answer my email for the first of a half-dozen or so times, and then start work on my consulting project.

I’ve got a hard deadline coming up, and I’ve barely started my work. It’s consulting; nothing to do with the university at all. So that means I can’t use my university computer, electricity, or Internet--I’ve got to do it all at home. But home is where the family is, and that means interruptions and noise. Taking advantage of the blanket of calm that has mysteriously descended, I dive into my work until it’s time to come up for lunch.

Naturally, everyone in the family wants something different for lunch. Sigh. The kitchen is now open!

After lunch, my eldest daughter has a friend’s birthday party to go to. The first part of the party is at the friend’s house, but then it moves to a local hall for a Halloween party. In the middle, I have to chauffeur my daughter to her soccer game on the opposite side of town. So I drive her back and forth across the city, grabbing dinner at a drive-thru on the way. (At least the Whiplash won their game, and my daughter scored a goal. Yeah!)

After the hall party ends, it’s time for bed. My wife and I watch the last third of Her. (It’s original, but in the end, I felt like I had just spent the whole time looking at Joaquin Phoenix’s face while listening to a radio play.)


Another day, another birthday party in the afternoon, so I should have some more quiet time then. My wife’s at brunch with a friend when I get a call--would my girls like to come over for a playdate? Um, sure. I walk them over to the playdate, and then it’s back to work for me. In the silent, empty house I finish my consulting project. And then I start updating my lecture notes. There’s an exam coming up, which means I’ve got to post the next set of notes online. First, however, I’ve got to make a couple of dozen changes--updating, correcting, clarifying things. Oops, nope--first, it’s another round of email.

I’m halfway done, when the peace and quiet disappears. My wife’s back, and so are the kids, who now want lunch. Then it’s off to the birthday party for my youngest daughter. I do a bit of work here and there, in between doing loads of laundry. I’m feeling pretty good about everything I’ve gotten done and decide to reward myself. Kaffeezeit! As I’m making my coffee, I look out the window and am momentarily puzzled by the fact that I can’t see past the end of the yard--there’s all this white stuff in the air. No, it’s actually falling. Snow!? Sigh. That must mean Halloween is coming soon. Looks like everyone will have to bundle up again this year.

It’s time to start making dinner, then lunches for school, bath time for my daughters (made much more enjoyable by the presence of foam soap), then it’s time for bed. But...but...there was so much more I wanted to do!

No, the weekend is never long enough. Need more evidence? I’m writing this on Monday morning.

Why aren’t you studying?

The Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo (2014 edition)

Last weekend was the annual Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo. Some people were disappointed with the celebrity "guests". Surely there was someone there who would make you geek out, no? Alice Cooper? Summer Glau? J. August Richards? (Ok, I admit. There weren't the same calibre of guests as the Calgary Expo gets--no offence to anyone. Why can't we get the reunion of the entire cast of Aliens? *sigh* OK, I really need to shut up--after all, I did have the opportunity to go to the pinnacle of nerd-dom. Yeah, I could have gone to the San Diego Comic-Con this year and turned it down. *sigh*)

Still, it was fun to go to panels and meet some cool celebs. Like Kunal Nayyar and Simon Helberg. I had to get their autographs. No, really: I had to. My wife insisted. And seeing as how she was looking after the kids all weekend while her husband got to go to the Comic Expo, how could I say no? You can really judge the status of a celebrity by how much they charge you for their autograph. Each of these gentlemen charged $70. I guess when you're on the top TV show, you can do that. (I've heard that Sigourney Weaver was asking $175 in Calgary. Yikes!)

I also got a couple of Tiny Titans comics, that were autographed by Art Baltazar. No, he wasn't at the con; I scored these out of a bin--only $5 each.

I also got an autograph from Dirk Benedict. It's hard to convey how much impact the original Battlestar Galactica had on me. As a kid, it was like having Star Wars every week on TV. We all ran around and recess pew-pew-pewing at each other, and everyone wanted to be Starbuck. He had a great panel discussion with Dwight Schultz. Those two guys could have gone on talking about The A-Team, Hollywood, and their lives for the rest of the day. I wish they could have.

Man, the Expo has grown. I've been going to it for a few years, and every time it's just bigger and bigger. More exhibitors, more fans, more costumes, more everything. (No, I don't dress up. What would I go as? No, really, I need suggestions. One person has suggested that I look Bruce Boxleitner-ish. Should I get a Tron costume? A skin-tight, body-hugging suit that lights up? See, this is why I don't dress up.)

Ooh, here's a cool thing (above). It's now one of my most prized nerd possessions. Anyone know what it is? (And do you get why there's a Superman logo on the box?) Hint: here's some info that comes with it:
Warning: Ring does not allow wearer to fly, does not protect wearer from adverse environmental conditions, provides no tracking or navigational aids, does not come with communication or recording capabilities
However, owning one does contribute to an enhanced sense of well-being, because, well, you have this awesome ring

Like last year, as a VIP I was lucky enough to get a bag of Expo merchandise, including an Edmonton Expo shoulder-strap bag, water-bottle thingy (never used), T-shirt (size medium, never worn), Telus World of Science drink holder, comic book, and blue dice (?). If you would like to win this package, leave a comment below describing your particular brand of nerdliness. I will pick one commenter on Thursday, October 9 at noon, and after successfully answering a skill-testing question, that person will be the proud owner of this cool swag.)

Why aren't you studying?

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