Sunday, October 16, 2016

"A fine foray"/ "Tonight's top story: we're all growing old"

Sept. 10, 2016 "A fine foray": I cut out this article by Robert J. Wiersema in the National Post on Jul. 31, 2010:

Stories: All-New Tales
Edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio
430 pp.; $29.99
Reviewed by Robert J. Wiersema

Fantasy writer Neil Gamain — the closest the literary world comes to a rock star — throws down the gauntlet in Just Four Words, his introduction to Stories: All-New Tales, which he edited with writer Al Sarrantonio. “What we missed,” he writes of contemporary short fiction, “what we wanted to read, were stories that made us care, stories that forced us to turn the page. And yes, we wanted good writing (why be satisfied with less?).

But we wanted more than that. We wanted to read stories that used a lightning flash of magic as a way of showing us something we have already seen a thousand times as if we have never seen it before”.

The difference between Gaiman and the average reader — who has long been calling for more literate, absorbing, narrative fiction — is that, as this anthology of 27 stories attests, Gaiman can deliver the antidote to this literary malaise. Stories is a powerful collection of new fiction from some of the best writers, both genre and literary, currently at work.

The blend of writers and styles means that Stories is a volume in which, literally, anything can happen, both within each story and from story to story. There is nothing predictable here, nothing staid or routine. And, perhaps more significantly, there’s not a single misstep, not a single story that can, or should, be skipped: Stories is a winner from cover to cover.

The majority of the stories in the anthology have some fantastic component, however slight, which allows for unpredictability and for a rewarding twist in the tale. It also allows writers to be seen in a perhaps unaccustomed light. Readers familiar with Jodi Picoult for her children-in-peril novels, for example, will assume they’re on steady ground with Weights and Measures, which follows the aftermath of a child’s death. That steadiness quickly fades, however as the mother and father begin to change, literally and physically, as a result of their grief.

Similarly, Walter Mosley is best known for his hard-boiled Easy Rawlins novels. Some of that voice carries over to Juvenal Nyx, but this is not a detective novel but a dark, passionate vampire story that will make Twilight-lovers blanch.

Other writers are writing solidly within both reader expectations and their comfort zone.

Gaiman himself weighs in with what feels like a traditional tale, The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains. His contribution has a quest, hidden treasure, mysterious islands and, at the close, a sense of what might almost be a moral teaching: that which you seek is not necessarily what you find.

That Chuck Palahniuk is represented with a skewed take on a pop culture icon will likely not come as much of a surprise: his Loser is a surreal, acid-addled journey through The Price is Right, which “still looks exactly like when you were sick with a really high fever and you stayed home to watch TV all day.” It’s not among his best stories, but it definitely satisfies, both in its startling conclusion and its immersive use of a drugged-out, dislocated, second-person point of view.

Readers will find their own favourites. Personally, it is the stories that address, in some way, the act of storytelling itself that I find the most powerful. Kat Howard’s A Life in Fictions, for example, is a strangely powerful account of what happens to a writer’s muse in both good times (when she is becoming different characters, taking on their traits and quirks) and bad (as when her world freezes, the writer suffering from writer’s block). The condition she imposes upon the writer in the story’s last page speaks volumes not only about the value of artistic creation but of its considerable costs to those caught in its wake.

That cost is also the subject of Michael Moorcock’s stunning Stories. It’s a bit of delightful dissonance that one of the most straightforward, unadorned stories in this collection comes from one of the most celebrated, unabashed writers of the fantastic of the last half century. Stories is a chronicle of the intertwined lives of writers, editors, their lovers and friends, spanning decades, an account of love and friendship, sex and death, hatred and loss. It’s about the power of art to unite and divide, and the value of art, finally, as an aspect of self, the importance of having “a few stories of my own to tell and some rotten bloody friends to remember.” It’s a beautiful, haunting story.

The trouble with this collection is simply that there’s so much to recommend it. I haven’t even touched on Joe Hill’s brilliant, off-kilter The Devil on the Staircase, or the sad joyfulness of Elizabeth Hand’s The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon, or Lawrence Block’s chilling “Catch and Release or … there’s simply too much. With Stories, Gaiman and Sarrantonio have curated a glorious, breathtaking treasure box of story: Indulge yourself.

 "Tonight's top story: we're all growing old": I cut out this article Katherine Govier in the National Post on Jul. 31, 2010:

Catherine O’Flynn has chosen for the subject of her second novel ( What was Lost, her first, was published in 2007) the deliberately unsexy topic of local television news, its poignancy and its perilous state. The place is Birmingham; the hero is the gormless but kind Frank Allcroft, a news presenter at Midlands TV.

Frank seems out of place at work, where his ambitious and deeply concerned co-anchor, Julie, wants to take the coverage from the merely banal to the provocative. Instead of new eco-friendly fire engines for Coventry, she feels they should cover the local lady who makes replicas of world landmarks out of clothes pegs and burns them on Bonfire Night. This year she has made a replica of the Sacred Mosque of Mecca.

We never find out if this goes to air, unfortunately. The novel is composed of very short chapters that jump in point of view from that of Frank, to his older and more glamorous ex-colleague, Phil, to Phil’s friend Mikey, and back to Frank’s childhood. It’s a quiet, eventless existence, despite the odd unclaimed corpse on a park bench: Frank takes his daughter to look at the buildings designed by his father, who he never really knew, and he makes frequent visits to his mother, Maureen, who is in a senior’s home called Evergreen.

Maureen is a charmless woman who refuses to be happy in her son’s presence, although he knows for a fact that a man called Walter can bring a beam to her face. The exchanges between mother and son are the best in the book, hopeless and rather funny:

Frank ignored this and looked over toward the window. “They could do with someone clearing up the leaves out in the grounds.”
“Maybe they leave them there deliberately. Maybe they think that dead leaves are exactly what we should be contemplating as we sit here waiting to fall off the branch.” “Mom …” “You see how you fare. You’ll be old one day. You see how you cope when all your friends are dead, and you senses are gone.”
“Your senses aren’t gone, Mom. You’re in excellent health …” “Ha. That’s a joke.” “… You’re seventy-two Mom — that’s nothing. They sit and talk in the lounge, they listen to music, they walk in the garden.”

“ ‘Why aren’t they screaming’ Frank, ‘Why aren’t they screaming?’ Do you know who wrote that?”
“Larkin. You quote it ever time.”

There are also some comic accounts of the antics of live television in Britain’s heartland: Presenters using a carrot to entice a guinea pig to pull a cart carrying an obese rabbit, celebrities visiting people in their home to get married couples to tell each other what they don’t like in their spouse in what is called tough love. This is described in the publicity material as satire: It isn’t satire, it has no bite, it is merely an alternately scorning and affectionate tribute to a dying form of television. It was perhaps never so alive, in Canada, but what local TV we had is dying in this country too, and I sometimes miss going to the station in Calgary to talk about a book, between episodes on eyebrow plucking and an interview with the Shriners about their parade.

But O’Flynn’s observations, in whatever spirit they are made, do not make a novel. The failure of town planning that has seen Birmingham redesigned every two decades in an attempt to get it right — one attempt by Frank’s father — also comes in for comment. But that is not the driving force either, here. We are intended to care about Phil’s death, under mysterious circumstances, about Mikey, about Frank who is apparently 43 but feels 75.

And that is difficult because he is so placid, so limp. What can you say about a man who answers “That’s understandable,” when a colleague expresses outrage? Who lets himself be known as “the unfunniest man on earth” just because he doesn’t want to hurt the feeling of an out-of-work joke writer? Nice guy, but. We come to understand how his cold father damaged both Frank and his mother. And we can celebrate to know that at least the caustic Maureen manages to spring herself not out of Evergreen entirely, but out of her branch, and relocate in a new one near the sea.

But we somehow doubt Frank has it in him to effect change. Still he does, in his steady, quiet way, work through the puzzle of Phil’s death and find himself with a valuable and life-altering piece of news. Then he decides to keep quiet.
Definitely in the wrong business.

The News Where You Are is an easy, pleasant read, and offers some insights about growing old, at 75, or at 45, or perhaps refusing to do so at all.

Katherine Govier’s most recent novel is The Ghost Brush (HarperCollins).

"Dispersing the demons of doubt"/ "Hollingshead acts normal with return to short fiction"

Sept. 12, 2016 "Dispersing the demons of doubt": I cut out this article Jamie Portman in the Edmonton Journal on Sept. 18, 2015:

LONDON — Tessa Hadley has finished serving the tea and cookies. But she’s still not quite ready to discuss her late-flowering emergence as one of the English speaking world’s finest writers. She must first apologize for the distant rumble of a washing machine.
“It was stupid to put it on and have it spinning away in the kitchen,” she says with a smile.

In brief, this pleasant, unassuming woman is the picture of quiet domesticity as she sits in her North London apartment and finally begins discussing the mysterious processes of crafting fiction while also going out of her way to explain why Canada’s Alice Munro is one of her heroes.

But she’s also trying to come to terms with something that clearly confounds her — a London critic’s recent conclusion that she now touches greatness as a novelist.

Her newest book, The Past, has just arrived to the customary plaudits. But one review in the Guardian newspaper has gone even further, describing her as “one of the country’s great contemporary novelists.” Indeed, it also suggests Hadley, a late starter who didn’t publish her first novel until she was 46, may yet prove to be the “greatest” among her peers.

So how does she respond to that? “That could really go to my head, couldn’t it?” Hadley, now 59, is comfortable in her laughter. “That’s the kind of review you dream up in your delirium.”

Then common sense takes over. “It’s very lovely to have such supportive reviews. It’s quite liberating. … The demons of doubt are dispersed and you can write better.”

“But as a writer, you must never go around wondering whether you’re great or not. Who could know that? What matters is the work you put on the page and the mystery of writing words that may affect someone you’ve never met.”

Readers of The Past are likely to be affected by a great deal — including the very atmosphere of the old house that, in its own way, constitutes one of the novel’s most important characters.

Hadley gives us four adult siblings — three sisters and their brother — gathering for a traditional summer holiday in their grandparents’ crumbling country house. It’s a place overflowing with childhood memories, having become their second home after their mother left their father and sought sanctuary with her parents. But now, on what could be their last summer here, tensions are simmering.

There’s Alice — whom Hadley describes as “romantic and exuberant but with all kinds of inner fragilities and anxieties.” There’s matter-of fact Fran — “the only one of the sisters who has children.” And there’s Harriet, once of revolutionary bent, now shy and controlling, and soon to be challenged by an unexpected emotional crisis: “Suddenly, horribly, when she’s 50, the great tide of life will sweep her from her moorings.”

Roland the male sibling has brought along his latest wife, Pilar, who proves to be one of the wild cards in the narrative. Another is Kalim, the surly self-absorbed son of Alice’s current boyfriend, who has designs on Roland’s teenage daughter Molly.

Hadley’s previous novel, the highly praised Clever Girl, chronicled the surprising odyssey of lower-middle-class Stella, a character who at times seems to have everything working against her as she navigates her way through the turbulence of the last half of the 20th century.

That novel, ultimately a portrait of human resilience, encompasses one of Hadley’s favourite themes: “The highest test is not what you choose but living with what befalls you.”

My opinion: I'm going to that put that above line into my inspirational quotes.

This new novel, The Past, revisits this thesis. As a novelist and human being, Hadley is sensitive to the accidents of life — “where you were born, who you happen to meet, the mischance or good fortune that befalls you,” she says. “I love the old fashioned humility of that.”

But she risks being dismissed as an author of domestic fiction or, more pejoratively, “a woman’s writer.”

“Most novels are about families,” Hadley says, caustically. “Not all of them, but many. Yet, if a woman writes it, it’s called domestic fiction. If a man writes it, it’s called ‘revolutionary experiment.’ ” She finds reassurance in the observations of John Updike — a favourite writer — about “giving the mundane its beautiful due.”

Hadley, who teaches creative writing at Bath University, urges her students to study Alice Munro closely.

“We can come up with rules of thumb about writing … but she will break all of them,” Hadley says. “She is an extraordinarily innovative formalist. She invents things to do with the story that we are all beneficiaries of.”

Hadley is striking a personal note here.

“Alice Munro changed my life,” she says, “more perhaps than any other writer. She’s a genius.”

"Hollingshead acts normal with return to short fiction": I cut out this article by Michael Hingston in the Edmonton Journal on Sept. 18, 2015:

It’s tempting, when reading any story collection, to look for threads that might tie the individual works together and suggest some kind of larger purpose or intent. With Greg Hollingshead’s new collection, you have to start with the title. Act Normal (House of Anansi) suggests a person desperate to fit in: it’s the kind of thing you might whisper to an unruly significant other just before entering a dinner party, or maybe to a fellow bank robber as the two of you casually stroll past police headquarters. Regardless of the setting, if you need to say it, you aren’t doing it.

Still, I kept an eye out throughout the first story collection in 20 years from Hollingshead, a longtime Edmontonian whose writing has earned him a Governor General’s Award, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and, in 2012, the Order of Canada, for more potential keys. I didn’t come up with much. In a way it’s a testament to Hollingshead’s reliably off-kilter prose that one of the best contenders I found for an underlying thesis was the following: “One thing led to another. But let me be clear. Any Cheezie I touched I ate. These things are a lot of fun until someone gets hurt.”

So I figured I should ask him directly. While shaping the new book, Hollingshead and his editor, Janice Zawerbny, sat down with a stack of his 21 most recent stories and together whittled them down to the 12 strongest, which are the ones that appear in print. But strength aside, is there anything else the stories have in common?

“Nope,” Hollingshead says, reached by phone from his home in Toronto. “Nothing. Nothing. No, really. Nothing. No.”
OK, then.

Act Normal is Hollingshead’s first book since his 2004 historical novel Bedlam. But it wasn’t supposed to be. Of the intervening 11 years, Hollingshead figures he spent about half that time grappling with an autobiographical novel about his youth and adolescence (or as he puts it, “The novel that people usually write first”). What began as a relatively straightforward story became more and more complicated, until eventually Hollingshead found himself trying, and failing, to thread three separate storylines together.

“It was just an impossible object,” Hollingshead said. “It didn’t resonate, not even to me.”

At first he was reluctant to abandon the idea entirely. So he kept plugging away at the manuscript, polishing a sentence here, a paragraph there, until eventually time made the decision for him. After two years, Hollingshead says, “it’s unthinkable to stop,” because you don’t know for sure whether the novel is doomed.

“After five years,” he adds, “you know for sure.”

Hollingshead hasn’t entirely given up on novels — he’s since written a draft of an entirely new manuscript — but that creative drought allowed him to return to the short form that defined his early career. Hollingshead’s first two books were story collections, and his fourth, 1995’s The Roaring Girl, netted him his first national prize (the Governor General’s Award), and was later published in England, the United States, Germany, and China. But he hadn’t published a story collection since. Until now.

Hollingshead may claim that the stories in Act Normal are simply the best dozen pieces he’s written in the past two decades. (The Drug-Friendly House, for example, was nominated for a National Magazine Award when it first appeared in Edmonton’s Eighteen Bridges magazine.) He also says that several of the pieces detail the ways in which altered states, whether induced by alcohol, drugs, or even just stress, intrude on our everyday lives. Eventually, I found a few more through-lines of my own.

Chief among them is miscommunication — and, more specifically, the fact that even though we routinely misunderstand our fellow humans, our lives and routines keep ticking merrily, and obliviously, along. In The Amazing Insult, a character’s head trauma leads to a total psychological reawakening, as she realizes for the first time “how good people are at accommodating unexpected responses. Mainly they do it by not listening.”

A similar idea crops up in Wing Night, where Hollingshead introduces the concept of a Gettier case. This is a philosophical question about whether knowledge can be considered valid if a person believes it for invalid reasons. “For example,” Hollingshead writes, “you’re correct in believing that your wife is having an affair with Jim, but you’ve got the wrong Jim.” Such faulty information can sustain us for years.

Act Normal is also interested in the relative goodness of humanity. In Sense of an Ending, as a woman struggles to understand her husband’s family, she reflects on living one’s life according to principle. But “what was hers? People are dumb and I hate myself for being one?”

I ask Hollingshead about this line, and he bristles a little. “I mean, you look at the big picture, and it looks pretty hopeless,” he admits. “You take away people’s resources, and we very quickly start killing each other. So there’s that.” But then he recounts a story he heard on CBC Radio, about a man who spent years travelling all around the world, and who declared that, when you get right down to it, nine out of 10 people are decent.

“That’s where I tend to be,” Hollingshead says. “I’m more interested, I guess, in the surprising decency of most people.”
This response, it turns out, is where his character lands, too. “Most people weren’t especially dumb,” Hollingshead writes, “and she wouldn’t have minded being like one of the ones she liked, dumb or not.”

"Minimum wage, maximum hyperbole"

Sept. 12, 2015: I found this letter to the Edmonton Journal:

"Progress in Germany":

In January 2015, Germany introduced a national minimum wage of 8.50 euros per hour, which is 50 percent of the median wage.  Based on a study carried out by the German central bank, unemployment levels decreased by 250,000 in the first six months- a result contrary to the gloom-and-doom predictions of job losses of more than 200,000.  Of particular interest was the growth in jobs in the traditional low-wage sectors.

The new minimum wage forces employers to offer jobs at a reasonable wage.  Without this legislation, labour market flexibility drives good-paying jobs out of the market as employers are able to drive down wages to lower and lower standards." -Dave Jobson, Edmonton

Nov. 15, 2015 "Minimum wage, maximum hyperbole": I cut out this article by Dan Barnes in the Edmonton Journal on May. 30, 2015.  It was in the Insight section.

The NDP election promise of a $15 minimum wage by 2018 is either the end of small business in Alberta or the beginning of the end of poverty in the province.
That’s how polarizing and hyperbolic the debate has been.

A 47-per-cent hike from $10.20 phased in over three years would certainly be the most dramatic increase in Canada in recent times, but not unprecedented in the country’s history.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, minimum wage rates jumped significantly in the Maritimes, Quebec and Saskatchewan. The hourly rate in Newfoundland and Labrador rose from 50 cents to 85 cents between 1965 and 1968, an increase of 70 per cent in three years.

The rate in Nova Scotia rose 82 per cent between 1971 and 1974, from $1.10 to $2. The rate in Quebec rose 59 per cent and Saskatchewan’s increased by 50 per cent in the same time frame.

However, more recent increases across Canada have been modest. In Alberta, the minimum wage last increased Sept. 1, 2014 from $9.95 to $10.20. In 2013, it moved from $9.75 to $9.95. And in 2012, it increased from $9.40 to $9.75.
That’s a cumulative 8.5 per cent increase over three years.
Minimum wage
The NDP is proposing an initial move to $12 in the fall, an increase of 17.6 per cent.

The debate over $15 inevitably bogs down on the issue of economic impact, more specifically potential job loss versus theoretical poverty reduction.
“We think the NDP government is on exactly the right track,” said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “The fearmongering coming from low-wage employers is both predictable and easy to dismiss. We now have literally decades of experience with minimum wage increases from across the world and the conclusions are clear: Increasing the minimum wage does not result in significant job losses but it does have a big impact on the levels of poverty.”
The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce opposes increasing the minimum wage to $15, but wants to be a part of the consultation process, given concerns for its members in a delicate economy.

“Take a look from the perspective of a business owner,” said Chamber President Janet Riopel. “Oil is down, the economy is becoming increasingly fragile, there is lots of uncertainty and insecurity. We’ve got some pretty big hits and now this. You’ll probably see not as many businesses able to hire.

“The message is it will help combat poverty. If that’s the goal, what’s needed is a multi-pronged approach.”
Clarity would also be beneficial. But as economist David Green noted in his April review and endorsement of a minimum wage move from $10.25 to $15 in B.C., his conclusions of limited job loss and significant impact on poverty are fraught with uncertainty. That’s because such a massive hike is so far outside the norm.
Minimum wage
All chart data compiled by Dan Barnes/Edmonton Journal.
To scroll right, please hover your mouse over the image.

"Waging words: minimum versus living": This was also on the same page of the Edmonton Journal on May. 30, 2015:

A task force formed to eliminate poverty will recommend to city council in September that Edmonton adopt a living wage of $17.29 per hour.

All companies contracted or subcontracted to do business with the city would have to pay their employees at least that amount, which already exceeds the NDP government’s planned minimum wage of $15 for 2018.

“We know $15 is a move in the right direction but won’t completely address the issue of poverty,” said Jane Alexander, Anglican Bishop of Edmonton and co-chair of the task force.

She said the majority of Edmontonians living in poverty are fully employed, and would therefore benefit from a living wage.

A living wage calculation assumes two full-time wage earners, without employer benefits, living in a rental accommodation; with two healthy children, one in school, one in child care; making enough to cover all normal living expenses, including night school for one adult, not including credit card debt, RRSP contributions, mortgage payments or extensive medical bills.

The City of New Westminster, B.C. is the only jurisdiction in Canada to adopt a living wage policy, and set the rate at $20.68 per hour for this year.
The NDP claims the average living wage in Alberta is $15.

In 2012, the City of Grande Prairie calculated its living wage as $15.55. In 2013, Medicine Hat’s was $13. Also that year, an extensive study of central Alberta found the following rates: Red Deer $13.11, Blackfalds $16.48, Eckville $14.41, Innisfail $15.20, Lacombe $15.03, Penhold $15.37, Ponoka $15.59, Rimbey $17.38 and Sylvan Lake $15.13. Vibrant Calgary states the living wage in that city in 2014 was $17.29.

Outside of Alberta, it’s $18.73 in Victoria, $18.52 in Toronto, $14.07 in Winnipeg, and $15.05 in Hamilton.

The Alberta Federation of Labour supports the NDP initiative but makes the distinction between the two rates.

“If the goal is to establish a minimum wage that is a living wage, we should be talking about $17 or $18, but $15 is certainly a big step in the right direction,” said federation president Gil McGowan. “The bottom line is, $10.20 is a poverty wage that can simply no longer be tolerated.

“Our policy supports $15. I may be encouraging (the NDP) to think about implementing it more quickly than three years.”

Oct. 1, 2016 "Small-business owners in Alberta brace for minimum-wage hike": Today I read this article by Kelly Cryderman and Rachel Younglai in the Globe and Mail.  It talks about restaurants raising prices.  That's what's happening at my 2nd restaurant job.

Oct. 10, 2016: There are so many comments on this article.  I read a little of it:  

alg1 9 days ago
The minimum wage everywhere is far too low. It is shameful that the businesses and their middle class customers rely so much on an underclass of workers earning wages that are not livable. Is it so difficult to understand that if these low paid workers received a higher wage, they would go out and spend it, thereby boosting the economy? Governments everywhere should increase the minimum wage significantly. The economy would adjust quickly.

Oct. 12, 2016 2nd restaurant job: Last month, one of my co-workers S quit at the 2nd restaurant job after about a yr.  I have met her and she has worked with me in my first restaurant job in 2013.  After she quit, my manager told me I can work and get her hours by 1hr and 30min a day by washing dishes.  I am usually at the front serving customers.

I did the math and I would be working 7.5 hrs more a week. 

I asked the manager questions like what if I tried it out for a day, and if I don't like it, can I go back to working the front and not having those extra hours?  She says fine.  I would get 2 15min breaks instead of 1.  So I worked the extra 1 hr 30min in the last part of the day to close.  It was harder work and I didn't like it.

I like the job, but if I continue working where I have to wash dishes and close, I will dislike this job.

Yesterday I didn't close, but I did wash some dishes like I usually do.

Betty cartoon: I cut out this cartoon a long time ago.  There was one where Betty was talking to her son Jr.:

1st panel:

Betty: You either make more money or save more money.

2nd panel:

Betty: Simple is not always easy.

3rd panel:

Jr.: Yet, easy is always simple.

At the 2nd restaurant job, by not working more:

Con: I am not making as much money.

Pro: I am happier.

I wash dishes at home for like 15 min.  I don't mind that.

Quitting bad habits: There are some things like behavioral addictions:


My bad habit was watching crappy TV shows like Dr. Phil and Maury back in 2003-2006. 

Maury was always bad, but I did like watching the paternity tests from 2003-2005.  By 2005, I started disliking it and it was taking too much of my time (even though I may be on the computer and the show is on the background.)  I had watched one too many paternity tests and I had to quit because I was getting too angry and it wasn't good for my mental and emotional health.

The choices:

A. I continue to watch Maury and learn not to get angry at it.

B. I quit watching Maury altogether.

Both are simple, but not easy.  I had to choose the easier one, so I chose B.  It was really hard for me to quit that show.  I was allowed to watch Dr. Phil until the season ended in May 2006.  I relapsed a few times and watched a bit of Maury here and there.  By mid- 2006, I was totally able to quit. However, I still have random reminders of that show.

As for Dr. Phil: The first 2 seasons in 2003-2005 were good.  By the 3rd season, I started disliking it because he didn't seem to be helping people and the guests got me too angry.  The only way for me to quit is to watch the rest of the season.

After 2006, I hardly ever watched it.  I would watch 1 episode a yr if it's about something like teen pregnancy.

Watching the news: I don't watch the news because it's too depressing where I have to see and hear it.

Reading the news: I would rather read the news.  I see a sad article, and I can skim it or skip it.  Some may leave me feeling sad, but it won't have as much of an effect on me because I only read it.

My week:

Oct. 10, 2016 Reading the articles: I know you can't exactly tell, but I do reread all the articles I post onto my blog.  I read them, and not skim or scan them really fast.

Weather: It was cold, but I didn't want to put on my winter jacket until snow falls.  Then it does and then I wore my winter jacket.

Oct. 12, 2016 New graduates: I was reading the Globe and Mail today and found Lauren Friese (Talent Egg) article "Gen Y student guide for navigating career questions."  I'm 31 and I'm not a new graduate.  I graduated out of Professional Writing 2 yr college diploma in 2008.  I took 2 classes in the Office Assistant program in 2014. I still find these articles applicable to me.

Oct. 13, 2016 Alpha meeting: I went to another Alpha meeting last night.  I donated $5 because C made the chili.  It does cost money to make that and the beef in it.  I also talked to people, unlike at the family dinner table.  The other night, my little brother P was reading a magazine article.

Tracy: "Lisa, how was school?"  "School, school, it's not time for school."

It was from The Simpsons.  The family was eating dinner in front of the TV.

Marge: Lisa, how was school?
Lisa (is watching TV): School, school.  It's not time for school.

The topic at the meeting was: "Who is Jesus?"  There is a lot of evidence about Jesus being a real person, but I would have to look it up a bit more.