Archive for the ‘Improbable Mutterings’ Category


In Improbable Mutterings on January 17, 2012 at 4:52 pm

My grandfather, Philip Watson Willis, taken in late 2010 when he was 93.

My grandfather, Philip Watson Willis, was best known amongst his large family and circle of friends as “Favie” – the name a product of my father’s lisping toddler attempts to say “Father.” My family has always prided itself on being articulate in speech and in writing – education always at a premium! – so I find it entertaining that this was allowed to let slide. And it stuck, too – even some of his university students knew him by this name. Read the rest of this entry »


Sleep is my enemy

In Improbable Mutterings on November 7, 2011 at 3:24 pm

One of cinema's most famous insomniacs, Fight Club's Narrator/Tyler Durden.

Have you ever read a study in the popular media that made you feel like a freak? At some point, we all stumble across testimony by experts, revealing that some inherent, chronic, recurring, or simply preferred part of your existence is abnormal and unhealthy, and may even lead to an untimely death. For some people, it’s body type, or how much salt you like in your foods, or how many “casual” drinks you have in a week, or how many hours you spend seated per week.

For me, it’s sleep. But do you know what? I sometimes wonder what life would be like without it entirely. Read the rest of this entry »

Atlantic Canadian “expats”

In Culture, Improbable Mutterings on August 10, 2011 at 10:13 am

My weird and wonderful home – outside Hampton, NB

In conversation with friends or new acquaintances, I often refer to myself as an “Atlantic Canadian expat,” or “expatriate.” I know I’m not the only one who does this, which makes me wonder at this tendency. It does not seem to happen often in my circles of friends who are not from Atlantic Canada. Is this just a regional peculiarity? What about Atlantic Canadian or Maritime Canadian culture encourages the use of this term? And why do those of us who have left think of ourselves as being somehow cast out? Read the rest of this entry »