Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I don't have much of anything new to talk about, but I figure I should make some kind of an update before I start getting hate mail, so here are some dreams that I have had in the last few years.

"Superman's Wedding"

I was walking down 10th Avenue in Lethbridge, and I saw Noah and Heidi’s dogs running around. People were afraid of them, but I knew that they wouldn't hurt anybody. Noah was with me, and we turned onto the street that I lived on looking for his house. Unfortunately, his house had collapsed, so we figured we should find a nice house for him quick. In the front window of the nicest house on the block, we saw Gary Bialik, so we went inside and helped him move a huge sofa. Once that was over, I went outside without Noah and found myself in a large parking lot in England. A bunch of people had gathered for Superman's wedding to Lois Lane. I watched from my car. At the climax of the wedding ceremony, when Superman was supposed to show up, there was a glorious chorus of trumpeting from the heavens accompanied by an angelic choir. I looked up and, instead of Superman arriving, Jesus was descending from Heaven with a host of angels. When Jesus got close to the ground, Superman grabbed Him triumphantly, and it turned out to be a banner with an incredibly life-like and glowing image of Christ on it. The wedding was over, but someone pointed out that Lois wasn't there. Superman explained that the ceremony had been performed, and all Lois had to do now was show up and accept it. Then, in the distance, nuclear missiles started falling. We all watched in awe at the dozens of mushroom clouds blooming in the distance. I said to Avril (who was suddenly beside me, and we weren't in a car anymore) that we'd be find because we were in a small town that wouldn't be a target. "Look, that mushroom cloud over there is probably London." As I was saying this, a nuclear bomb exploded much closer to us. As the shock wave radiated out from it, I realized that it would reach us. I turned and ran with Avril and her parents away from the shock wave, which was blowing the ground to pieces and sending rubble about 50 feet into the air. As we ran, I knew that we weren't going to outrun it, and I realized, with a weird calm horror, that we were about to die. I stopped running, and, in a moment of conscious control over my dream, I kind of phased myself out of reality and the shock wave passed me without hurting me. I had intended to save Avril and her parents, but they vanished as the shock wave passed. I was left alone in a gray, desolate landscape, and that's when I woke up.

I didn't record any of the details of this next one, but it's amusing enough to mention:

"Moon Brothers"

I dreamt that Rob and I went to the moon in a rocket-powered minivan.

This next one is kind of disturbing, and I was trying to be a little artsy when I wrote it down. I had this dream while Avril was pregnant with Alex. Also, my shoulder had been hurting for the last few weeks, and I jokingly referred to it as my shoulder cancer (kind of like the eye cancer I had on Facebook, only obviously a joke because I was saying it in real life):


I'm in the unfinished basement of my house with Avril. It's completely bare, just concrete floor and walls and a skeletal wooden staircase leading up to the main floor. I don't feel well, but I'm not concerned about it. Avril is having complications with her pregnancy. Her life and the life of the baby are in danger. Dr. Terry Smith is there with us watching over her.

I have a secret about the baby. He's half Martian. I'm the father, and Avril is the mother, yet somehow my unborn son is half Martian. That's probably what's wrong, the reason the pregnancy has gone awry. I should tell Dr. Smith, but I'm afraid to.

I feel worse now. I'm nauseated, and my left arm hurts. Do I have cancer? I should talk to Dr. Smith and get tested before it's too late.

Avril is lying on the cold floor. She's barely conscious. A few more people are here trying to make her comfortable. I don't recognize the newcomers, but their presence doesn't alarm me.

My nausea is worse. The pain in my arm has spread to the rest of my body. I'm getting weak and light-headed. It probably is cancer. I should tell the doctor.

Dr. Smith comes near and I stop him. "The baby is half Martian," I say.

"That will make it hard for him to adjust," Dr. Smith says and moves on.

There are more people in the basement now gathered around Avril. I'm standing alone on the other side of the room holding a narrow slab of concrete that came from the floor. I'm growing weaker. I know now that I have cancer. I'm dying. I'm naked and frail, my body withered and covered with radiation burns. My teeth feel loose in their sockets. I can't hold the concrete slab anymore, and it tips over, cracking in half when it hits the floor.

I look over towards Avril. She is surrounded by about a dozen people. They are laying her down on the dirt where the concrete slab had originally been. It looks like a shallow grave. She's still alive, but they're preparing for the worst. I try to go to her, but there are too many people and I'm too weak to push my way through. I want to say good-bye to her before I die, but they won't let me near her.

They lay a sheet of linoleum on the floor. It covers Avril. Since I can't be near her, I start making my way upstairs. My father is up there. I can at least say good-bye to him. Halfway up the stairs, I meet Aunt Cheryl. It has been a while since we've seen each other, and she wants to talk. I love Cheryl, but I'm desperate to reach Dad. When I open my mouth to say so, two of my teeth fall out.

And that's when I woke up and ran my tongue along my teeth to make sure they were all still there. I was still in pain, but it was just my left arm. I had been laying on it awkwardly, and it was aching considerably.

And, for no particular reason, here's a picture from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association's annual gala in October:

Monday, November 17, 2008

It's All My Fault

So I went to church yesterday, and all anyone could talk to me about was "my" curfew by-law. Apparently, while I was in Edmonton, this was front-page news for the Three Hills Capital. I went out and bought a copy and was a little disturbed to read this sentence from the first paragraph of the article: "The entire by-law was developed and put together by the Town's municipal intern--Mike MacKenzie." As if it was my idea and my decision to pass the by-law. A glaring omission from the sentence was this phrase: "under the direction of the Town Council." Yes, I researched the curfew by-laws of other towns in Alberta. Yes, I wrote the by-law. Why? Because they told me to. I'm an administrator. It's my job to carry out the wishes of Council. They're the ones who told me to make the penalties harsher. They're the ones who voted unanimously to enact the by-law. Thankfully, the local nogoodnik teenagers have no clue who I am, and they probably don't have the smarts and the will to look through past issues of the paper to find my picture.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Orange or Marmalade

My experience at the downtown Edmonton Swiss Chalet drive-thru reminded me of a story that one of the elders on my mission told me. To get to the Philippines, we flew Eva Airlines, which is based out of Taiwan. So, of course, all of the flight attendants were from Taiwan and thus spoke Mandarin. They knew enough English to function as flight attendants on an international airline, but it was heavily accented. This particular elder, whose name escapes me for the moment, was being served breakfast near the end of the 14-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean. The flight attendant said something that Elder Whosit heard as "Orange or marmalade?"

"Um...Orange?" he said.

The flight attendant repeated what she had said.

"Marmalade?" the elder said.

Obviously flustered, the flight attendant repeated herself a third time and finally got across what she meant. She was asking if he want porridge or omelet.

I was thinking about this because I thought the girl in the drive-thru was asking if I wanted chipotle ketchup when she was asking if I wanted utensils and ketchup.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I Wanna Go Home!

Starting at the end of September, I've pretty much been constantly on the road, which is the main reason why I haven't updated my blog in a while. On September 26, I went to a career fair at the University of Lethbridge finding recruits for the Alberta Municipal Affairs Internship program. I left Avril and the boys with her sister Afton in Lethbridge while I went to Edmonton for the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association's annual convention at the Shaw Conference Centre. Highlights from that conference were seeing Patrick LaForge (President of hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers) and Premier Ed Stelmach speak. When that was over, I went back to Lethbridge to pick up my family and took them back to Trochu.

The week of October 20-25 found me back in Edmonton for Executive Week for Interns. It was a nice chance to meet up with my fellow interns from around Alberta and see how they're doing. We also got to meet Ray Danyluk, the Minister of Municipal Affairs. He's a cool guy.

November 4 and 5 found me back in Lethbridge for another career fair, this time at Lethbridge College, which is where I went to school. I took an extra day off so that I could head out to Purple Springs on Saturday to visit Noah and Heidi. Avril headed home with Alex because she had to be at church on Sunday. Heidi babysat Kenny while Noah and I headed to Medicine Hat for a Matthew Good concert. It was a great concert. I've been wanting to see Matt Good live since 2001, so it was great to finally see him. I'll upload some really poor-quality photos of it from my phone once I'm on my own computer. The opening band, Secret Broadcast, was pretty good, too.

Noah drove me back to Trochu on Sunday, and then on Tuesday, Avril and I packed up the boys and headed back to Edmonton for the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties' annual fall convention. I'm the still in the middle of it. Darryl Sittler (former Toronto Maple Leaf) will be speaking to us tomorrow.

I got sick at the AUMA convention, I got sick during Executive Week, and Avril and Alex are sick now, so I'll probably get sick again, too.

Fortunately, this is the last conference or convention I'll have to go to until February, and I plan on staying put (except for the move from Trochu to Three Hills) until then. That means no Christmas traveling. Feel free to come visit us, though.

Pictures coming soon.