We spent the weekend in Red Deer, pre-harmonizing for the holiday season, preparing mind, body, and soul for the inevitable crush of party days that are to come.
Ryan spent the weekend hung-over on the couch. He anticipated a little too much and surely waxed illusions of a simpler life. I tried to explain to him the consequences of dabbling in the triad of pleasures (wine, women, and song) and suggested that he might have better success with the outcomes of each were he to try them in the maximums of “duets” — but his insistence to the contrary didn’t instill much confidence that he’d take that advice.
Saturday, I pulled my alto from the dust of nine-months of silence, and wailed a few tunes sans musik at the family sing-along night. I could have blamed the alcohol for my lack of skill, but there was none in the coca-cola I was sipping earlier. Perhaps I am just out of practice. Even so, the ability to marginally carry a tune on the old sax even after such a long absence is one of those vague encouragements to try and pursue that practice with a little more regularity.
Plausably, everyone must go through the doubting phase of the holidays. I’ve reached that (for a day, week, year, or decade — I can’t tell yet) place when one wonders what might be the point of all the spending and the buying. I used the example of the el-cheapo brand DVD players that everyone got for the holidays last year. You know: the forty-dollar specials that no one could resist. It was the ultimate great super-selfish present for you and your loved ones. Never mind the local cost of buying a product that was so shoddy many — if not most — of them now live at the local landfill wasting money, space, and resources. Never mind the enviromental cost of manufacturing and shipping hundreds of thousands of useless toys across the oceans and countries, burning oil, polluting the air, and generally wasting energy. And, never mind the human cost of the (proven) third-world sweatshops used to manufacture said products, thus making them so cheap that, well, we should have bought two! Never mind all that. It’s Christmas, and who cares what the price is for eight minutes of focussed joy. We are at the top of the resource pyramid after all, right???
Karin and I tried to buy most of our presents from the pool of local industry. We don’t know if we completely succeeded, but we tried. Mostly. And it’s sad, because if someone like stick-in-the mud me can’t succeed at that, there’s not much hope for the rest of the populous.
I tried iTunes for the first time last week. Yes. My money was where my mouth was gabbing just about a year ago. I said, if they ever sell it for a reasonable price, I’d kick in and buy some. Pay. Legal-like. And considering that the levy is no longer on blank media (as of last week) there is no more little plastic shield to protect folks and their illegal music collections from the local record industry’s lawyers. I took a double whammy, and actually bought — yes, paid for — the Band Aid Do They Know it’s Christmas singles “for a good cause” and all. It wasn’t so painful. And the quality is stellar. (Well, the encryption quality. We’re still not sure about the new version of the song.)
And yes, it snowed last night. Stormed and snowed. I’ve tried to avoid mentioning this, but they poured some cement in our basement last Friday. Footings, or something. They were pretty much dry (and thus safe) yesterday afternoon when we stopped by to look — but I don’t think the weather is going to cooperate for a pre-holiday wall raising.
So what now? Holidays? Soon.
I mean, for the last three years we’ve had the Lord of the Rings to distract us from our troubles. And even last year we got a heaping dose of Mad Cow nearly just in time for the holidays — at least the media was hyping the impact of it all by then. This year? Well. We still have nearly a week, I suppose.