Category Archives: Distractions

That Darn Coat

Distractions, Personal Bits 2 Replies

The phone rings, Mom picks it up.

“Rita! It’s Lidia. I need your help.”

Mom’s sister calls out of the blue, somewhere around the fall of 1980. She sounds worried. Scared. Mom talks her down, saying “Take it to a bank and then get a safety deposit box.”

A week later she’s on a train to Toronto. She arrives at her old home out by Keele Avenue and is greeted by Lidia and their mother. Grandmother is beside herself. After some reassurance from Mom, the three head out to the bank.

My mother is wearing her near-black mink coat. Grandmother was probably in her usual garb: understated Italian grandmother floral print. Lidia was probably in the same, but more youthful. The three enter the bank and are taken to the safety box area.

They open the box. Mom groans. It’s a pile of cash. A LARGE pile of cash. As an accountant, free range cash held in captivity is her worst nightmare. Grandfather, long before and during his Alzheimer’s attacks had been squirreling away money under the stairs in their home. For years. As Grandfather spiralled down the well of forgetfulness, Grandmother began to fear the box under the stairs, like an Italian Telltale Heart.

They decide to count it. After reaching some grotesquely large number, Mom stops and goes to find the bank manager. They need to deposit this money.

They’re ushered into a private room with a counting machine. Lidia and grandmother are sitting staring at the whirring machine, their faces probably drawn and long, like a wet cat. Meanwhile mother paces behind the manager, still in her mink. They count it once all the while explaining to the manager how this money came to be.

The manager turns to my grandmother and very pointedly says to her: “This is illegal, you know.”

Mom turns and says, “This is a deposit of our money. Money they saved honestly and are now putting into your bank. You have no right to speak to her that way.”

The manager says nothing more other than business transaction concerns.

My mother, just turned 80, pushes herself back from the table, having finished telling us this story. “She was really scared, that manager. I really scared her!” She says, proud of sticking up for her mother in front of a total stranger.

“Um. You know she was probably scared when she actually saw the money, right?” I say.

“How so?” Mom asks.

“Three ladies come into her bank, two generation of Italians, one wearing an expensive mink coat, and demand a large sum of money that materialized out of nowhere, be deposited into her bank?”

The punchline races along 30 years of time. Mom starts laughing. We all start laughing.


Why I Need Your Money

501st, Distractions, Toronto 2 Replies

You’d expect this of me, seeing how I’m less than 5 days away from the Toronto AIDS Walk, right? Good for you!

ACT has been around since 1983. I’ll let that sink in. Nearly 30 years. Thirty years of bringing comfort and assistance to people living with HIV/AIDS in Toronto. That’s a lot of caring. And now, living in Rob Ford’s Toronto, ACT’s programs are constantly under scrutiny by City Hall.

According to ACT, 2 people are infected daily and preventing one infection saves $370,000 over a lifetime. 1 in 4 new HIV diagnoses are people under 30. 1 in 5 new HIV diagnoses are women. 1 in 5 are gay men.

“But Dead Robot!” you say, “The new cocktail prolongs life!”

The current run of cocktails are doing a bang up job on suppressing the virus, but the cost of these drugs are still shockingly high. The most popular pill, Atripla (a carefully combined pill of three top performing antiretroviral medications) costs nearly $60 per pill. Not everyone can afford this, obviously. ACT helps bridge that gap by being an access point for provincial and federal health programs. Combine this with outreach and education programs, ACT has been busy over it’s near-30 year run.

Okay so the pamphlet is out of the way…

Why do I think dressing up in Star Wars outfits helps this cause?

I want to rattle a cage or two, like my brother did back in the 70s when he joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. But in this case, this is the closest to drag I can comfortably get!

Seriously, I want to further demystify the stigma. I want someone who might still think HIV/AIDS is not part of their life, see Stormtroopers and Jedi and think that it’s not just a “gay disease”. It’s my hope that in seeing us at this event, we make people question their (non?) acceptance of this disease, or shake their complacency towards it. I want people to take away that there is more than just a set class of people who are affected by this disease (like “gay men” or “women”), and that Geeks and Nerds are aware and active against HIV/AIDS too.

That’s why I’m walking. And I am so very glad that my friends from the 501st are coming along too. As of writing this, we’ve got a Vader, a Boba Fett, a Rebel pilot, a Sith lord (or two?) and 4-5 TK (troopers!).

Here’s the pitch. Donate today. The time is running out!



Newzy Grab Bag

Celebs and Media, Disney, Distractions 2 Replies

Darth Vader tries to shoo an Angry Bird with his lightsabre, gets sued when he hits a bystander. Oh and said bystander is suing the Orange County AIDS Walk too. Just because. Dick.

Robert Sherman died last night. Sadly, the co-creator of such childhood tunes like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and the theme from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (which in turn spawned countless childish poo songs – at least at the school where I grew up) passed away last night in London.

I could talk about how our Mayor took another body blow in his loss of control over the TTC board yesterday but I think I’ll just mention he gained another pound (2 weeks running!) in his “Cut the Waist!” campaign. I think it’s reflective as to how he’s running this city, really.

What do you think tomorrow’s Apple/iPad 3 event will bring? A landscape aspect iPad, you say??

Here are some unearthed (ha!) behind-the-scenes pictures from the set of Star Trek. I detect 94% Awesome, 3% WTF and trace elements of clicking.