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Sunday, April 27th, 2003:

Donald John Currie

1925-2003

Saturday, April 26th, 2003: Forgive the lack of updates, it's been a rough week...

While in hospital, it was confirmed that my dad is suffering from congestive heart failure. Because his heart can't effectively pump blood to his extremities, his legs are retaining fluid, rendering him pretty much immobile. As well, blood is slowly leaking into the lower part of his lungs.

And if that weren't bad enough, he's also been diagnosed with an extremely rare degenerative disease called amyloidosis, specifically deposits of toxic tissue that have been found in a biopsy of his kidneys. The diseases cannot be treated, so sooner or later either his heart or kidneys will fail, and that will be that.

I've spent the past week getting everything in order for my father and helping my mother choose the nursing home she'll have to move into once my dad is gone.

But hey, this isn't a shout-out for pity, merely a setup for a sick joke that just happens to be true. The ambulance that brought dad home from hospital on Thursday was delayed, and because the staff had already brought him downstairs and had nowhere else to put him, they fed him his dinner in the morgue!

Thursday, April 17th, 2003: This will likely be my last post until after Easter. My father is still in hospital, but I'm taking one night off my family duties to celebrate my birthday. It's happening at my local watering hole, and all are welcome. You can get the details by clicking on the local of my jazz band.

Oh, and one more thing, even though yours truly will be bashing away behind the drumkit, karaoke will not be part of the festivities...

Wednesday, April 16th, 2003: So a Canadian southpaw is the first of his kind to win the Masters Tournament. Woo. Nobody seems to be fawning as much over the team of scientists in Vancouver who, at the same time, cracked the code for SARS. Mr. Prime Minister, perhaps they deserve a phone call too?
Monday, April 14th, 2003: It's been a good news/bad news kind of day...

The good: Fuck Wall Street; I am both convinced and thrilled that Apple is going to save the music industry. I look forward to meeting the soon-to-be-unemployed record company fat cats on the street, begging for change, so I can personally deride them for being so utterly clueless.

The bad: It seems that our "friends" down south aren't content with controlling Iraqi oil; now they're talking trash at Syria. It won't stop there, I'll bet; I'm predicting "liberations" of that country, Iran, Pakistan, Korea, and possibly France, in that order. Can anyone say "World War III"?

Sunday, April 13th, 2003: I'm not usually one to recycle my own content, but I thought it appropriate to cut and paste my posting in the Second Cine online forums here:

"Some of you have heard that I've been invited down to the Chicago Improv Festival in May to show a selection of Second Cine films. Some of you also know that even though I'm already listed in the program, I'm not sure if I'm going yet.

Here's the deal: Everyone who's been to a Second Cine show knows that I'm dead set against America's illegal invasion of Iraq. I've been to peace rallies and made my opinions publicly known, but big deal -- lots of folks are doing that; take Adrian Truss's anti-war blog as an excellent example. For me, complaining is not enough; I have to go further and actually do something to support my beliefs. And the best thing I can think of is to boycott any and all visits to the United States.

My wish is certainly not to punish the North American comedy community in any way -- I watch The Daily Show religiously like everyone else. More importantly, a visit to the birthplace of Second City might get some Second Cine films hosted on their new Tripwire website. But if I do go to Chicago I will certainly resent having to put my meagre earnings into supporting an economy run by a government that has blatantly given the United Nations the finger. I suppose I could go further and boycott all American products, but that would mean giving up my Apple computers and Palm smartphone -- and we all know that ain't gonna happen!

I haven't made a final decision yet; Air Canada still has plenty of cheap seats to the Windy City. But if herr Bush does indeed cancel his upcoming visit to Canada I'll take that as a cue to respond in kind. And filmmakers needn't worry, your films can be screened without me."

Saturday, April 12th, 2003: Japanese pop culture continues to haunt me...

Following our Prime Minister's lead, I decided to take a friend up to Pacific Mall, North America's largest Chinese shopping centre. I couldn't really afford the used, imported Nokia picture phone I saw, so I opted instead to replace my Treo's dangly-thingy.

What I ended up getting was some official merchandise from this fucked-up cartoon. Click on the disturbing image for more info -- that is, if your browser supports Japanese characters, and you can read 'em!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2003: Just as I managed to get it out of my head, I stumbled across this crazy JPop tune that followed me everywhere during my last trip to Tokyo. I've made it a low-bandwidth soundtrack on my photo pages so you can suffer just as much as I did!
Tuesday, April 8th, 2003: What's worse than residing in the country with the third-highest number of SARS cases in the world? Having to take your father to hospital there!

The decision was made yesterday to drive my dad over to Sunnybrook Emergency; since all hospital clinics have been shut down, the only way to get the medical attention he needs was to admit him. I walked through the doors of the emergency entrance, covered in warnings and yellow police tape, and was immediately presented with a surgical mask by a nurse. I was then told to hold out my palms so they could be smeared with some kind of disinfectant -- quite refreshing, actually -- but then got the bad news: I couldn't wait with my father to see whether or not he would be admitted, nor could anyone in my family visit him if he was. Any argument with the nurse would have been pointless; a police constable was right behind her, ready to toss me if I so much as raised my voice.

My Dad was dropped off at 2pm. Even in a supposedly quiet emergency department, as of dinnertime he was still in the waiting room, propped up in a chair waiting to be seen. I know from one of my best friends, an employee at Mount Sinai, that hospital workers all over the province are over-extended, trying to contain the SARS epidemic while carrying out their daily duties. Do me a favour and keep this in mind the next time you vote for a government that promises more "efficient" health care, okay?

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2003: My faith in America is restored, at least for the moment, thanks to some Second City brothers and sisters from Cleveland.

Peter John Ross brought his entourage of actors and filmmakers up to Toronto just to see their work screened at my Second Cine show. Interviewing them on stage made me realized that most Americans, at least the ones in my age range, are as dead set against the war in Iraq as the rest of the world.

I had been considering abstaining from my scheduled appearance at the Chicago Improv Festival, to give the U.S. some economic sanctions of my own. But meeting these friendly and talented folks made me think I just might go down after all...