I Got Jury Duty…Again

This is the second time I’ve been “randomly selected” for jury duty. Surprisingly, it’s not as exciting as TV would have you believe. It’s a lot of waiting and standing around. If you’ve ever wondered what jury duty is like, it’s basically like waiting at an airport terminal for a plane that’s delayed, indefinately.

Most people tell you that as long as you present a half-decent reason, they’ll excuse you from jury duty. These people are wrong. Even if you work at an institution that works heavily with lawyers and your boss tells you that as long as you tell them what you do for a living, they’ll excuse you. He’s wrong. However, these people aren’t monsters. If you have a legitimate excuse, they’ll let you go home. Make sure you check your mail, though. Your deferral letter should arrive within the next few weeks.

The first fun-filled jury duty activity is the informational video. This video is filled with people telling you how much they love jury duty and how it’s a priviledge to be chosen. They also lay on pretty thick how it’s the most wonderful legal system. Don’t worry, they chose the best actors for this video. They’re very lifelike and convincing. “Even though I didn’t get paid, I would jump at the chance to serve on another jury. It gave me a deep appreciation of our legal system.” Yeah, okay… And now the video’s playing in French. Oh right, this is Canada.

You always can pick out the veteran jurors by their big books. They’re not fooled into thinking they’ll be in and out in 10 minutes. Speaking of long waits, “They’ll  be with you shortly,” has lost all meaning.


My First (Authentic) Halloween

Dr Agon

Growing up in the country turns experiences like Halloween into a challenge. Living on a rural road with houses great distances from each other makes trick-or-treating tricky. Okay, maybe not so much tricky as it is dangerous. Only the brave or those with parents willing to drive, venture out that way. And with the lack of trick-or-treaters brings the lack of prepared homeowners who aren’t expecting visitors. If you’re able to get a front door to open, you’re more likely to end up with a box of raisins or a can of coke. Needless to say, I often travelled to the neighbourhood of friends or family to collect candy from strangers.

When most people grow older and stop trick-or-treating, they naturally transition into handing out candy. Problem. I still live in farm country.

Then this year happened. I received the rare opportunity to hand out candy to young, costumed travellers. Here are a few things I learned through my experience:

  • One piece candy is free. Two pieces of candy is earned with an exceptional costume or if you’re a baby. Three pieces of candy if my brother successfully scares the kid into wetting themselves.
  • Kids trick-or-treat for more than 30 minutes, so maybe don’t start shovelling out handfuls because you don’t think anymore kids will arrive.
  • Watching kids get the crap scared out of them by the life-like zombie (aka my brother who also grew up in the country and is clearly making up for all the years he felt deprived of this magical holiday) in the yard is more fun than handing out candy.
  • Some kids are dedicated enough to trick-or-treat in a little rain.
  • Choose a costume that keeps you warm or you’ll just end up covering your creation with a winter coat. This is Canada at the end of October, remember?

Forever Loading: The Slow Internet-Havers Lament

internet_construction_workersHello, out there. I’m sure many of you are reading this through the wonderful world of high speed internet. I’m here to tell you there’s a whole world out there you thought died long ago. Sadly, there are still people (like me) who live with the struggle of painstakingly slow internet.

No, it’s not dial-up. At least with dial-up, there’s consistency. It might take a good three minutes for anything to load, but you know eventually, it will load. With slow, wireless internet, everyday is a surprise. No, not the fun kind. One day you might think all your (internet) problems are solved and the next, you’re forced to pull out the ‘ole DVD player.

As you more fortunate individuals speed through the 21st century, others less fortunate are forced to stare in the face of the spinning wheel of death. Sure, the country looks nice, but it comes at a price. The price: high speed internet. People will tell you that you can enjoy the crazy fast download speeds as any city-dweller enjoys. They’re wrong. What they’ll (conveniently) leave out is to even catch a glimpse of instant downloads, you need to build a 60 foot tower in your backyard. And even then, there’s no guarantees.

The worst is the false hope created by the appearance of a supposed connection… just to later learn that it was a figment of your imagination, that the connection wasn’t actually strong enough to do anything. You sit, watching those “three bars” taunting you, like a carrot on a stick, just out of reach.

A Polite Ode to Canada Day

great_white_north_1Today is Canada Day. For you non-Canadian readers, every July 1st, Canada pauses to think about what truly makes us Canadian. We celebrate that fateful day where the Britain politely asked us if we wanted to be an independent country and we said sure. To commemorate this polite entrance into independence, most of us head up north, sit on a calm lake (or the dock in front of it), and think to ourselves, “It’s nice I didn’t have to go to work today.”

Unfourtunately, this year, Canada Day falls on a Wednesday. So unless you have some vacation time stored up, it’s back to work tomorrow. Needless to say, there’s not a whole lot to do with one day off in the middle of the week, especially when everything’s closed.

Right now, I’m sitting on my front porch watching the neighbour’s dog chase a fly. Some dogs are brighter than others…So maybe my dog’s not the sharpest tool in the shed (she may have tried to run through a sliding glass window), but she doesn’t chase flies! And there she goes. Master calls. Oh look, it’s starting to rain. I wonder how long it will crawl up those steps before I have to go inside. There it goes. Well, that didn’t take long.

Ok, so we’ve moved inside. Sorry, as I was saying, Canada is a pretty great place to live. Where else can you drop your wallet in the subway, have people help gather your things and not steal anything. Yeah, I checked.

Sure, Independence Day is flashy and full of heave ho (I assume), but sitting calmly and being politely grateful is kind of nice.

To check out a few more reasons why I love living in Canada, click here.

Victoria Day: A Belated Tribute

IMG_2433I realize it’s been some time since the Victoria Day long weekend (for you Americans, it happened May 18), however, since another fireworks holiday is fast approaching and I forgot I wrote this blog, I thought I would go ahead and post it for your reading pleasure (or not).

Like most North American families, my family loves fireworks. The thought of a holiday that lets you throw explosives  into the sky brings out all the feels. Give me a lawn chair, a blanket, a bowl of chips, and a spectacular display of fire in the sky and I’m in heaven.

Then came the discovery of the US fireworks superstore. It’s basically a Walmart, but all fireworks, every aisle. I no longer had to wait for a special holiday and an abandoned convenience store to suddenly transform into a”FIREWORKS FIREWORKS FIREWORKS” store. Let the stockpiling begin!

Don’t get carried away, though. There are still only three or four firework-appropriate holidays in the year. Don’t try to set off fireworks outside of those approved dates. Suddenly your neighbours will feel like they’re “under attack”. Wimps…

I’m not sure what fireworks have to do with the late queen’s birthday anyways. Although, aside from the name,  Victoria Day has very little to do with the queen. It’s not like we all gather around and say a few words about why we’re thankful for England and the queen. Streets aren’t filled with balloons with the queen’s face on them. Most people (I assume) don’t even know who Queen Victoria is. Full disclosure, I Googled her as I wrote this post. I had no idea she died so long ago.

To conclude this post, here are some random out of context quotes from Victoria Day with my family. Enjoy.

“Never underestimate the power of ‘this side up.'”

“It’s starting to rain. Just light the whole box on fire.”

“Lets try not to light anyone on fire this year.”

“There’s bucket pieces all over the lawn!”