Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's been awhile

We got a new car. My old van finally bit the dust. It was 16 years old. It had 365,000 kms on it. It didn't owe anybody anything. When the water pump went I decided that was enough. We had planned on replacing it before the new baby came anyway so I wasn't going to bother putting much money into it.
We ended up getting a Ford Freestyle. We really like it. Lots of seats, lots of cupholders. It sits high too. We like that.
For the company Christmas party I won a limo ride to and from the party. It was pretty cool. It also meant we got to choose our table at the party and we were first called to the buffet. It was a white limo too which was neat. It matched the snow. We drank a bottle of rum on the way to the party so most of us were good to go! I don't think any of us had riden in a limo before. Now we have.  The roads were pretty bad that night so I was just happy to have somebody else do the driving. I ended up winning a door prize too. And the centrepiece. Lucky night! I should keep that horseshoe for next year.
First Christmas at the new house is getting close! Stoked!

Autopsy - The Tomb Within

Not horrible per se. What I can't really handle is the vocals. My problem
is this is a serious band but the vocals sound like a joke. Like Green
Jelly or The Thunderlords or somebody poking fun at death metal. Kinda sad
really. Better vocals and it would actually be pretty good I think. But I
can't get over them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Withered - Dualitas

I usually don't post album reviews to my personal blog but I think this one deserves to be read by more than just metalheads.

Now, it's been a while since I've heard Memento Mori or Folie Circulaire but I get a different feeling from Dualitas. It could just be my horrible memory, but it seems more spacious than previous releases. While the opressive parts are just as oppressive, they are interspersed with more, shall we say, reflective passages. After I actually shell out money to buy a physical copy of this (vinyl?) on Friday I may be able to confirm my theory that the theme of this album is duality. Not in a split-personality sense or "good and evil exist in all of us" way, but more of a two sides to every story idea. For example, some parts are loud and fast and powerful and make me think of war and destruction and all the adrenaline and hot blood that goes with that. That will then fall into a slower, more pensive sounding passage which brings to mind the other side of war. The loss and the sadness. But as I think about it more, the mournful side could be the reflection of the "victors" (no one wins in war). The part where the triumphant survey the destruction they have wrought and think, "What have we done?" "What have we become?" Every time I've listened to Dualitas I can't help but think about the two emotions that rise in my heart, triumph and sorrow. The driving black metal aspect conjuring images of militaristic conquest and victory and the slower, doomier aspect revealing the bloody aftermath and an overwhelming sense of loss. "Interlude" is one of the saddest sounding pieces of music I have ever heard while other parts of the record would flay the skin from your bones and laugh with terrible glee.

Withered have really outdone themselves in creating such an enjoyable yet emotionally draining album. Powerful, cerebral music with a soul.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A review of/commentary on/thoughts inspired by Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

I recently finished reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. What an excellent book. Basically, the author has bounced back and forth with being a vegetarian most of his adult life. He falls back into an omnivorous diet mostly due to convenience and taste. When he finds out he is going to be a father, it makes him think, "What do I want my child to eat?" So, he dives into research about the meat industry to be totally informed on whether or not he should feed his son meat. The book was not intended to try to convince people to stop eating meat. It's about the facts and letting people make their own decisions based on those facts. The book does make a very sound argument against meat though. If I wasn't already a vegetarian, it very well could make me one.

The majority of the book focuses on the horrors of factory farming. For those who don't know, factory farming has become the dominant method of farming in America. It is spreading throughout the world, including Canada. It has taken the family out of farming and replaced it with corporations. And what are corporations all about? The bottom line. Maximum profitibility. So how factory farming works is this: pack as many animals as you can into the smallest space you can, stifle all their natural instincts, cut them off from sunlight and fresh air, mess with their genetics and pump them full of anti-biotics and hormones to get the most meat on the least food in the shortest amount of time. Sound unnatural? That's because it is. It's also how 99% of the chicken, turkey and pork raised for meat are produced. Laying hens have it worse than meat chickens. Cattle have it "best". Only somewhere around 60% of dairy and beef cattle are produced by factory farms.

Foer discusses how not only does factory farming cause a life of suffering for billions of animals every year, it also harms us at the same time. Methane gas emissions (worse than carbon dioxide) from the feces of factory farmed animals (and farmed animals in general) is a greater contributor to global warming than the emissions from the burning of fossil fuels worldwide. 60% greater if I am not mistaken. Think about that. Eating a steak or hamburger, ham or bacon, chicken or turkey is worse for the environment than driving your car. And that's just air pollution. Water pollution from the farms, feedlots and slaughterhouses is just as devastating. Spills of untreated feces and urine have caused catastophic damage to ecosystems. One spill in particular causes twice as much ecological damage as the Exxon Valdez oil spill. And there is virtually no legislation regarding treatment anyway. So most of it ends up in waterways anyway because it costs money to treat it and that cuts into profit.

The heavy use of non-treatment anti-biotics on factory farms has been PROVEN to be the cause of major flu outbreaks. Bird flu and swine flu being the most familiar. What happens is, the "units" (remember, this is a factory. It's all numbers.) are fed food heavily laced with anti-biotics. The system has found that it is cheaper to just pump them all with drugs than to only treat the ones that get sick.  Besides, the conditions and warped genetics have destroyed the animals' immune systems. They can't not get sick. The goal is just keep them alive til slaughter. This overuse of anti-biotics leads to the buildup of anti-biotic resistant strains of viruses. These strains eventually evolve and hybridize with viruses that affect humans and BAM! H1N1. This is not conspiracy theory. This is fact.

I am not going to begin to list all the atrocities that occur on factory farms and in slaughterhouses but I will tell you about a few. Pigs are kept in such close quarters that often they can't even turn around. Their natural instincts are so stifled that they quite literally go insane. Open sores and cannibalism is the norm. Pregant sows are kept in gestation crates. (This practice has been outlawed in some states and a total ban is gaining momentum across North America) Beatings, burning and other sadistic acts are witnessed by auditors. During announced audits. So what happens when no one is looking? Industrial slaughterhouses are so bound by efficiency and profit that (way too) many animals are scalded, dismembered, skinned and/or eviscerated while fully conscious because workers aren't allowed to stop the line if the "knocking" (electric shock/bolt gun) doesn't work the first time. They aren't meant to be killed. Just stunned. The blood drains faster if the heart is still pumping. That's just hogs and cattle.

Some people only eat chicken. No pork, no beef. For whatever reason, that is the only meat they eat. Upon hearing I was a vegetarian, someone asked me, "Not even chicken?" It seems like the least morally damaging choice. It's just a bird, right? The fact is, chickens (and turkeys) have it worst of all. I can personally attest to this. I worked on a factory poultry farm for about 4 months. I wanted out after the first day. The birds are crammed into tiny cages. Each laying hen spends it's life standing on roughly 67 square inches of wire cage. That's a full grown chicken living in a space smaller than a sheet of paper. The only natural light they get is from what comes in the giant exhaust fans that must constantly circulate air. Otherwise the air quickly becomes unbreathable. Where I worked, there was 8 6ft fans in a barn. The air quality was so bad that while I was cleaning them, I could only have one fan turned off at a time and for no longer than 5 minutes. That's how bad the air is. In some cage styles there is nothing separating the tiers of cages. So all the feces from the birds above falls on the lower birds. The cycles of light and dark are manipulated to trick the bird's systems into producing more eggs. The average hen lays 10 times more eggs in a year than a century ago. I worked in the pullet barns. They are the birds that haven't started laying eggs yet. Part of my duties was "culling". I use quotations for that word because I think of it more as maximizing profit than anything else. You would go through the barn and look into all the cages. If I saw a rooster, pull it out and kill it. Lame? Kill it. Leg stuck in the cage so hard you have to break it to free the bird? Kill it. Smaller than the rest? Kill it. Roosters don't lay eggs. Lame birds will never get the chance to heal. And small birds won't be laying by the time they should. So why waste feed on them? It's all about the money. You can pretty much guarantee that any eggs you buy at a grocery store came from birds raised in this way. Oh, and don't forget the debeaking! They have to be debeaked (sometimes twice) so that when they go crazy due to the stress they don't kill each other. This is done without pain relief with implements similar to those used to trim a dog's nails. But they're heated. Broiler birds (raised for meat, not eggs) have it a little better. Mostly the same conditions but they get around 80 square inches of space. Plus, they get killed much earler than laying hens so they don't have to endure it for as long. I witnessed this first hand and I still ate chicken for another 6 years. I still eat eggs but I've never been a huge egg eater. However, since reading the book I was reminded of the way the egg industry works and it's been weighing on my mind. The problem is, not eating eggs is easy, not eating anything with eggs IN it, is hard. If I was to eat an egg at all, I'd rather just eat one outright because I can get that from the guy down the road, the farmer's market, my sister-in-law and I know that those eggs came from birds that lead good lives. But not eating anything with eggs in it (or at least not from locally sourced eggs) would require a drastic change in my eating habits. I am willing to make that change but as Foer points out....

Eating is more than just fueling our bodies. Eating is a social activity. Rarely do we eat alone. Eating is what we do with other people. It's a main point of interacting with family, friends etc. So the dilemna arises with the issue of social responsibility. Where do you draw the line between offending yourself and offending your host? Vegetarianism is becoming more commonplace in general but not where I come from. Aside from my Buddism teachers, the list of vegetarians I know is a short one. I've been lucky enough that I haven't met with hostile resistance to my choice of a meatless diet. Most of the reaction I get is, "Why?" dripping with shock and awe. Some of my more openminded friends/family are more understanding and I even get a few "Good for you!" comments (I'll get to that in a minute) What I am faced with already, and what would get even more complicated should I decide to go vegan, is, I can only makes choices for myself. I can't expect everyone to eat differently just because I choose to. I can't expect my family and friends to make a separate meal just for me. I also can't be expected to make a separate meal for myself every day either. Or can I? Every meal is like mental acrobatics. My mind swaying back and forth between what my heart says is right and what my mind says is convenient and politic and my stomach says is tasty. It's most definitely an issue I need to spend more time on.

Getting back to the "Good for you!" thing. It occurs to me that most people know, at least on some level that eating meat isn't the best choice you can make. Foer (inspired by Kafka) talks about conscious forgetting. Many of us know what it takes to put meat on a plate. We know that it was once a living breathing animal. We know it was killed and "processed" and packaged all nice for us to buy in the grocery store. But we choose to forget all that suffering and death because it tastes good. If you had to kill, skin, and dismember your dinner yourself would you do it? (Many people would I know but far from the majority) Would you be able to do it if you raised that animal? I don't believe your average consumer would. But the average consumer doesn't have to. Factory farming and its unfathomable pain and suffering has allowed the average consumer to eat an ever increasing quantity of cheap meat and not have to think about the details. It's the consumer demand for cheap meat that drives factory farming. You think meat isn't cheap? Just imagine what meat would cost if prices followed anywhere near inflation rates. So our tongues (the organ of our crudest of senses) and our pocketbooks have led us (the universal us. Not me!) to forget what we don't want to think about. To ignore so much for so little. Also, it seems that on a more basal level, the Good For You people know that eating meat is not good for you. On a purely health related basis. Yet those people are not able to overcome the habit, social pressure and/or tastiness enough to actually make a change.

Foer also touches on advocacy. He talks about the fact that while making the choice to eschew the consumption of meat is a very personal choice, staying silent about it is no way to effect change. It sounds cliche to say that one person can make a difference but you can't get the ball rolling if you don't push it. If I can make people think twice about how they eat, great. If I can convince one person to take the leap into vegetarianism, even better. My wife has been more than accomodating with our family meals (more so than I) and is almost a vegetarian herself. At least at home. I know she eats meat when she gets take out. By proxy, our children are close to vegetarians too. I can only hope that once they are old enough to understand why I am a vegetarian, that they will choose to be vegetarian too. To be part of a full vegetarian family would be aces!

Although Foer's book deals primarily with factory farming and its impact on animal welfare and the evironment, there are many other reasons for being vegetarian that he acknowledges but fall outside the scope of Eating Animals. Such reasons (plus some I've read elsewhere) include; a low conversion ratio of plant protein to animal protein makes for a very inefficient use of crops; a growing demand for meat worldwide means more land in developing nations is used for livestock that those nations can't afford to eat; which in turn, makes less land available for the growing of the crops they can afford; which in turn, drives up the prices of those crops; if all the land used specifically to grow food for livestock was used to grow food for human consumption, global hunger would be a non-issue. Instead, millions starve so a priveledged few (relatively speaking) can eat meat; even after a million plus years of human consumption of meat our bodies have not evolved to properly digest it (which makes me think we aren't meant to) so it putrifies as it passes through our digestive tract which may be the cause of; an increased risk of developing colon cancer in meat eaters vs vegetarians along with an increased risk of heart disease; as fresh water availibility decreases globally, more and more livestock are drinking what water we have left; factory fish farming is very environmentally damaging; commercial fishing methods (long lines, trawling and skein nets for tuna, shrimp etc) are incredibly inefficient and devastate marine life. Over 145 species of marine life are hauled on to the decks (almost all dead) and tossed over the side because they aren't what was being fished for. As little as 10% of what is caught in nets and on long lines is actually what was intended; and finally (and this one is all me. sort of) the karmic consequences of indirectly causing the deaths of inmumerable animals over the course of your lifetime are pretty heavy.

Anyway, it's an excellent book and I highly recommend it. As I read the results of Foer's extensive research and interview and testimonials from industry workers, advocates and activists, I was filled with emotion. Sadness, compassion, anger, outrage, loneliness, helplessness and a glimmer of hope. I hope that by discussing it here I have at least made you think. Thinking is the first step towards doing. If you would like to discuss the book or vegetarianism with me in more depth, I can be contacted at  The book is available at major retailers but if you'd rather spend your money on vegetables I may be able to lend you my copy.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New house

So we are in our new house now and it is great. The view is amazing. Sunrise is a treat every morning.
The dogs have room to run outside and when we bring them on, they are tired and "cuddle" with us.
The girls are sharing a room. We thought it would be a struggle but they do better together than they did apart!
There is a different energy here. A better energy. We are more of a family now. It's hard to explain.
We still have some adjusting to do (earlier bus) but we are doing well. We also have lots to unpack yet but we have time yet.
All around is pasture. We often have staring contests with the cattle. And almost everyday we hear the coyotes. Haven't seem them yet.
I'm looking forward to using the woodstove. I have to clean the chimney first. And get an ash bucket. And a better axe.
And I should go.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I never wanna be an electrician.

Lemme get you up to speed. We sold our house. Buyers inspected. Inspector found something he didn't like. They wrote an Electrical Safety Authority sign-off into the offer. ESA comes and inspects. He finds defects. Over to us.

A total of 7 outlets were found to have open grounds and 3 outlets were loose. Both my step-dad (electrician) and the ESA guy said that unless I wanted to start tearing down walls and ceilings, all that needs to be done is to put GFCI outlets in instead and tighten the loose ones. Meh. I can fix that. I sourced the GFCIs from my step-dad. That saved me about $100. But I still had to do all the work.

NOW I understand why my step-dad drinks, smokes and swears as much as he does. I have never been so frustrated in my entire life. There were many times that the walls were in danger of  having pliers, a screwdriver or my fists slammed through them. Maybe a professional would have an easier time with it but I was not enjoying myself. At all. I think the worst thing about it was that in 3 weeks, I won't even live here anymore. All that hardship for the benefit of someone else. Now, doing something for the benefit of others is great for karma but any good karma generated was negated by the profusion of language spewing from my mouth all day. What caused such language you say? Well,......

I used to wonder why some places had plugs halfway up the wall. That's because it's a lot FUCKING easier to work on something at chest level than 2 inches off the floor. I spent the better part of 7 hours, sitting/squatting/kneeling/laying on the floor. Hardwood floor. WIth arms and legs contorted because I had to work 2 inches from the wall also.

5 of the 7 plugs were upstairs. Which means, every time I had to turn the breaker on or off, I had to go down 2 flights of stairs and back up 2 flights. I must have gone up and down 50 times. Add to that the fact that the breaker panel is labelled VERY SHITTILY makes finding the right one to turn off quite "interesting". And by "interesting" I mean pain in the FUCKING ass.

The difference between the outlets I was taking out and the ones I was putting in was this: on the old ones, the bolts/posts that the wire is wrapped around stayed out when screwed all the way out. On the new ones, the posts do NOT stay out. So I had to try and hold it out, hold the outlet steady, and wrap the wire around all at the same time. Last time I checked, I only had 2 hands. Oh, and keep a flashlight pointed in the right spot because when the power is turned off, it's not FUCKING bright enough!! While on my back pretzeled against the wall with my hands themselves blocking the light.

(Keep in mind that although my step-dad is an electrician, I never really stuck around home enough for him to teach me everything he knows. And he wasn't into the whole "Bring Your Child to Work Day" thing. I'm sure there was an easier way to do all this.)

The FUCKING asshat (who shall remains nameless) who rewired the house less than 5 years ago needs to go back to school. a) I shouldn't have had to do any of this work to begin with because he should have done it right the first time. i.e. If you can't remove all the knob and tube wiring, don't just leave it ungounded!! Put a FUCKING GFCI on it!! b) There are 2 posts on each side of the outlet. One set is for the power coming in and the other goes to another outlet. (wiring in sequence vs wiring in parallel)  As far as I know, they should match up. TWICE the wires were crossed. And because I am not a trained electrician, and the person who wired it originally was, I copied them. Guess what? It didn't FUCKING work! And what happened when I matched the wires up? It worked! Amazing!! Meanwhile it took me over a FUCKING hour to hook the goddamn wires up in the first place!!!! I don't even know how they were working before that. Must have been that regular outlets aren't as finicky as GFCIs. c) If there is a ground wire in the box, HOOK IT UP!! I found one outlet (the one my computer was plugged into no less) that came up ungrounded and when I took the plug out, the ground wire was neatly folded up sitting at the back of the box. It's not that it had come off the plug. No no. It was more than obvious it had never been hooked up. What the fuck, dude!!?

The loose boxes/plugs I cannot totally blame Sir Sucksalot for. It's an OLD house and some of the wood is a little soft.  So I can understand how it would loosen up over time. And some was panelling aswell. BUT! Sometimes when there are postions for 4 screws, 4 screws would probably hold better than the 2 that were solely used in every box I looked at. They're only screws. Don't be so cheap.

So, after 7 hours of back-breaking, knee bruising, leg muscle toning, fingertip destroying fucks, shits, cocksuckers, motherfuckers, for-the-love-of-gods, oh-come-ons and just-fucking-work-alreadys, I got everything I needed to done and came to the conclusion that I never want to be an electrician. That was probably one of the easiest things that electricians have to do and it made me want to stangle someone. And I'm a Buddhism practicing vegetarian. I need a fucking drink.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"To old friends!"

Over the past couple weeks I've had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends. That doesn't sound like a big deal in today's world of social networking but there's nothing like sitting face-to-face over some (or several) beers.

Two weekends ago I went to a bachelor weekend for one of my oldest and best friends. We don't get to see each other nearly enough so it was nice just to hang for a couple days. On top of that, the rest of the guys there, for the most part, were also old friends. We all stayed in a townhouse near the base of Blue Mountain near Collingwood. There were more guys than beds but after a few beers, couches and floors work just as well. Eventhough I was one of the last to go to bed, I ended up with a proper bed. Cool.

For the most part we just hung out. We talked about what we'd been up to for the last however-many years. Ate lots of food. Drank, etc and played videogames. On the Saturday afternoon, after the game of "Cups" didn't pan out, we played Ultimate frisbee. I'd never played before but the guys that play regularly said I was a natural. Maybe on offense. My defense left much to be desired. Cardio is a HUGE part of Ultimate and Cardio and I don't see eachother very much either. Despite the near respiratory arrest, I had a lot of fun. Then we headed back and resumed the hang-drink(etc)-videogame routine until it was time to eat again. The guys were thoughtful enough to buy veggie burgers for me (and unknowingly another guy too). They were Lick's brand and were they ever good. But filling! I had covered my ass and brought my own veggie burgers which went missing Sunday morning. I wonder if someone was packing up the food and took them home. I'd be interested to hear what they thought of them!

I had a great weekend. It sucked being away from my girls but it was a special weekend for my friend and that's important too.

The next weekend might have been even better. Well, ya it was better. (If not for any other reason than not sitting for HOURS in a car with two stubborn brothers and developing a "Jeep Seat" flare-up)

It was the wedding weekend. And it was pretty flippin' awesome. It was held at the National Yacht Club in Toronto. Nice venue. Becky and I drove up on the Saturday morning and checked in to the Hilton Toronto. (Thank you, It's a pretty nice hotel! I didn't see Paris anywhere but I do know how the Hiltons got so rich. Virtually nothing is free. On priceline, it said the average room at that hotel goes for $192/night. At that price, you would expect some freebies. Not really. Breafast was not included. Continental was $17. Drink was extra. ($3 shit-ass coffee) We even had to pay for local phone calls. $1.38 +HST each. I almost expected the shampoo and in-room coffee to show up on my credit card. But the room was nice and in general the hotel was great. Just don't order the Earl Grey tea.

The wedding ceremony itself was out on the balcony/deck at the NYC. We had to compete with air traffic a bit but we just concentrated on the sitar. The bride and groom looked great and it was wonderful to witness two great people commit to each other. Inside at the reception was great too. It was very well set up. And open bar.

The bride and groom were so genuinely honoured that everyone was there. They have this way of making you feel special. Becky and I feel blessed to have them as friends. Their speech was very nice and the rest of the speeches were pretty super too. The Best Man's speech (with visual aids) was simply spectacular! The music was good too. No Country! Double Rainbow! Food wise, it was primo. I had the tofu. There was tofu! It was grilled. It was good. Anyone we talked to said the meal was great. The portions were perfect. You could finish your plate without feeling like some poor country was starving because of you. The whole wedding was overall awesomeness.

What made it all that much better was that we were sitting with more old friends! One buddy I hadn't seen since our wedding (I think) 8 years ago. And the other moved out of province 4-5 years ago. We did a lot of catching up. Despite not seeing each other for years, it was like we never missed a day. We could have talked all night. On one side I talked about Eastern philosophies, lucid dreaming and alternate views of reality, and on the other side, life as fathers of 2 girls each. I have very few friends into that weird stuff and very few friends I can talk to about fatherhood. You have no idea how awesome it was to talk to those guys. There's no reason we can't at least email each other more often.

So for two weekends I got to hang out with old and dearly missed, elementary school, high school and university friends that I haven't seen in ages. And only time will tell when I'll see them again. I suppose growing up and drifting apart geographically is a natural part of life. The important thing is to remember that no matter how far apart you are, true friendship will always be there.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

We got a house!

For all of you that read this (of which I can count on one hand) and haven't heard yet, we bought a new house!!

Last Friday we signed all the waivers and made it official. It's a big 2 story on 1.5 acres. It's only 13 years old and has a new furnace and oil tank. Nice. We have to get a new fridge and stove but that's no biggie. There's a tree swing and lots of hiding places around the property. It has a giant shed thinger that we may turn into a chicken coop. After a fair bit of research.

It's a beautiful home and we look forward to being there for a long time. I think we said that about the house we just sold but the new one just feels right. I've never really felt right in our current house.

They do both have green steel roofs!

Countdown til moving day begins!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010



We finally sold our house! 6 months of patience, stress and hard work has paid off!

It's been very frustrating. Since we listed back in January, we've seen dozens of houses in the Napanee area get listed and sell in far less time. Some were sold before the sign even went on the lawn! Meanwhile we worked hard to make our house as appealing as we could. Without sacrificing our own comfort and convenience. We waited as dozens and dozens of people looked through the house (over 50 I'm sure) and no one made an offer. Your house is an extention of yourself and it kinda hurt to think that no one else wanted it. It felt like failure. As difficult as it was, we tried to stay positive. We kept telling ourselves that the right people would come along. Eventually they did and we weren't going to let them get away.

As far as us finding a new house, that's been frustrating too. We put an offer on a house in January. Someone came in with cash and swiped it. As nice as it was, it would have been too small anyway. Then we had our eye on a place and would ahve put an offer on it had our house sold. Instead, some people who said our house didn't have anough yard went in with cash and swiped it from the people who had a conditional offer on it. It was heated by a wood furnace so maybe that wasn't the best.  Then we put an offer on another house that seemed near perfect. Again, someone came in with cash and swiped it. We still have a hard time finding fault with that house but there may have been a lack of water and apparently the neighbour has a dog that barks alot.

With each successive let down we have found better and better houses. So maybe our house hadn't sold yet because we hadn't found the right house for us. Which means that the right house is out there now.

Skip this if you don't like sports

Just because I think it might start a discussion (and I'm bored) I thought I'd talk about my favorite sports teams. By league. Yes, I'm that bored.


Chicago Blackhawks: My dad is a Maple Leafs fan so perhaps I was born one too. But my dad also bought me my first Blackhawks jersey. We got it at a yard sale for me to use as a practice jersey back in the mid-80's. One thing lead to another (Denis Savard, Chelios, Larmer, Belfour, Roenick etc) and the Blackhawks became my team. It might even have been fate. Bobby Orr announced his retirement on the very day that I was born. As a Blackhawk.

Chicago is the only team I really cheer for. But if I really had to choose some other teams they'd be the Minnesota Wild, Boston Bruins and Edmonton Oilers.


American League

Toronto Blue Jays: I've always been a Jays fan. Despite many terrible seasons. They are the "hometown team". No matter how bad they get, they'll always be my favourite.

Cleveland Indians: As if the Jays weren't bad enough. I've been a fan for a long time. From back when Albert Belle and Man-Ram patrolled the OF. I bought a pair of red and blue batting gloves about 15 years ago because they matched the ones the Indians wore. I still wear them today.

I also have soft spots for Minnesota (Morneau!), Oakland Athletics and Josh Hamilton is making me into a Rangers fan.

National League

Philadelphia Phillies: This is not a jump on the bandwagon. I've like them, at least a little, for a long time. John Kruk had a lot to do with that. Over the years they have developed and brought in players to assemble a great team. Probably the best infield in the league, a great outfield and the league's best pitcher in Roy Halladay. What's not to love?!

I'm also a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, New York Mets and (not as much as I used to be) Arizona Diamondbacks.



Philadelphia Eagles: I've been an Eagles fan since Randall Cunningham was QB. He was awesome. The Eagles seem like a team that is destined NOT to win. They look like they are going all the way but never bring home the prize.  They are my team anyway. They'll win the Super Bowl eventually. Look how long I had to wait for the Blackhawks!

I also like the New Orleans Saints (not a bandwagon jumper. When I was a kid I thought their uniforms were awesome.), Minnesota Vikings and to a lesser extent the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers.


San Diego Chargers: A lot of my choices are based on how much I liked their uniforms as a kid. When I was 11 I thought lightning bolts were so cool! So I've been a fan ever since. Drew Brees and LT helped with that too. I like Philip Rivers too.

I also like the Cinncinati Bengals and New York Jets.


Edmonton Eskimos: Shortly after I started watching the CFL and decided I liked the Eskies, I found out that my step-dad was buddies with the Eskimo's Leroy Blough.  He even came by the house a few times. They are pretty bad this year but that's no reason to bail on the team.

I don't mind the BC Lions. Partly because I went to elementary and high school with Brent Johnson. We even rode the same bus for a while.


Toronto FC: I don't watch soccer that much but TFC is the only team I care about. I don't follow any of the European leagues.


I don't mind playing basketball but I can't watch it. No interest what so ever. I do like Steve Nash though.


Well, that burned some time. And now you know what teams I like when you want to buy me something for Christmas or my birthday!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Well that's disappointing.

During the 2009 season the Arizona Diamondbacks hired A.J. Hinch to be their new Manager. I followed his career as a catcher and thought it was really cool when he was hired. Eventhough we aren't related I still felt a little pride when I heard the name on TV or read it in the paper/online. I meant to write him a letter to congratulate him and wish him success but I never got around to it. And now it's too late.

A couple weeks ago, Manager A.J. Hinch the club's GM were both fired. Honestly, I'm surprised it took this long. At the halfway point of the season their winning percentage is just .392  They play in what could be considered the weakest Division in the NL and they are dead last. At least Baltimore and Pittsburgh are worse. They have some decent offensive pop (Reynolds, Johnson, Upton) but their pitching is stinkin' up the joint. I am struggling to name a starter other than Dan Haren and the bullpen is so bad I forget their names on purpose.

I would put their bad season on the GM's head before Hinch's but in the world of sports, you can only be so bad for so long before the coach/manager gets axed. I don't think a healthy Brandon Webb would have saved these guys. And if he was, I doubt he'd be a D'back past the trade deadline.

So I'm disappointed the I won't be hearing my last name on Sportsentre or in the papers but I don't think he's done. The Blue Jays will be looking for a manager after this season. I am getting the feeling I already posted this post. I found it in my Drafts folder and couldn't remember if I finished it or not. Huh.

Arizona has hired Kirk Gibson and their new Manager. Gibson enjoyed much more success as a player than Hinch but it remains to be seen if that will translate to success as a Manager. For Arizona's sake, I hope it does because every team deserves to be a winner.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Former NHL enforcer Probert dead at 45

Former NHL enforcer Probert dead at 45

Wicked sad. Probert was one of my fave Blackhawks!! I am not a big supporter of fighting in hockey but Probert was the man! (Well, not a big fan of the way fighting is promoted by the NHL)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Graduation Day!

Today was my daughter Grace's Kindergarden Graduation. Or is it -garten? Shows how much attention I was paying! The kids said a sentence that started with each letter of Kinderwhatever. Grace was the "E" was that's really the only one I heard. I'm awful. I know. Sue me. With the exception of a short nap, I had basically been up for over 26 hours. So you can cut me some slack.

It wasn't a big production. They did their little poem thing. Then they called them up one by one and handed out their diplomas. We clapped. Then we had fruit and juice and cake. We took some pictures and stuff. We took a picture of "The Crew" as we call them. Grace, Samantha, Pareza, Aliyah and Sierra. It was actually pretty cute. Them all together with their arms over their shoulders and stuff.

They weren't even planning on having a graduation. But enough of us parents said "Hey, our kids had to sit through it last year when they were juniors. They've been looking forward to this. If it's too much work, us parents will prepare everything. You just show up." And basically that's what happened. It's only Kindergarten but it's important to the kids. They all looked so proud and so did their families. I'm so proud of my little girl. Go Grace!

Today was also my sister's graduation from her PSW course. I was unable to attend because of work. She's made some unwise decisions and faced some adversity in her life but instead of giving up and taking the easy road, she went back to school and has become someone she can be proud of. I am very proud of her too.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Plan

OK. So. Mentally it's been a rough week. But it's been a rough week in general. Other than this week, I am doing really well. Mentally. Physically however, I got some work to do. I've been doing the EA Sports Active thing 3-4 times a week but I can't really do the challenging workouts. The challenging ones, at least for lower body and cardio, involved jumping and/or running in place. I can do those things but it makes some noise and since I workout when everybody else is sleeping, it wakes people up.  So what's the plan now?

Well, I'm going to (try to) start with cycling. I got my roadbike fixed. I will try and go for a ride in the mornings. That will work legs and cardio. I am gonna try to get some dumbells for toning my upper body. There is thing thing I'd like that you hook your feet on to help with sit-ups, you hook it on the door frame for pull-ups, and you hold it instead of the floor for push-ups.

Nutrition wise, I gotta cut down on the beer. Lots of calories in all that flavour. Lots of calories that I ingest while sitting on the couch at night. Not a good idea. If I buy beer, I will drink it so I have to just save buying it for occasions. The hard part would be finding a suitable replacement. The other beverage I have to cut down on/quit drinking is energy drinks. I don't drink much coffee anymore so they are my boost. But I am sure that just as much of the boost, if not, more so comes from the sugar rather than the caffeine. Black coffee is virtually calorie free. But I don't really like it black, not a fan of sweetener, and sugar, well, duh.

So that's the plan. Cycle, cut the beer, and cut the expensive energy drinks. Gotta start somewhere!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I can't believe it! The Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup. Their first since 1961!! My dad was 6! It's just incredible.  I've been a fan as long as I can remember and I have waited my whole life for this to happen. It was a super intense Game 6. I was on the edge of my seat the whole game. I couldn't relax! My heart was pumpin'! For the Chicago goals in regulation, I would just fist pump. The girls were sleeping and I didn't want to wake them up. When Philly scored, I'd curse and hang my head in my hands. But when Kane scored in OT, I was jumpin' up and down like crazy! I managed not to yell but OH MAN was I excited!! I still am!! It hasn't really sunk in yet that my all-time, all sport, favourite team has won the ultimate prize in sports. The Stanley Cup.

I've already started thinking about buying a Cup Champs hat as soon as possible. Of the framed prints of Toews with the Conn Smythe and the team shot with the Cup. Plus all the other Cup Champs stuff I'll buy. T-shirts, boxers, socks, etc

This is a great feeling. Hopefully they can keep enough of the team together to start a dynasty!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

milk please

I don't know if I told you on here or not but a few weeks ago my doctor
told me that I am probably lactose intolerant. To a degree anyway. Not good
news for a lactophiliac like me. Milk is my all time fave drink. I love
cheese. and I try to eat a yogurt everyday. It's been a hard few weeks.
Obstaining from dairy isn't the hard part. (because I'm not) The hard part
is remembering to take the overpriced digestive aids before consuming
dairy. I've learned to live with the smell over the years, it's just not so
pleasant for the rest of the world.


As a Chicago Blackhawks fan, I can't help but be frustrated (royally)
watching the Stanley Cup finals. It is painful to watch. After Game 4 last
night, it's tied 2-2 going back to Chicago. It should be 4-0 Philly. The
Hawks are playing like shit. They've got no hustle! It's like they forgot
how big this stage is. This isn't a pre-season exhibition game. This is the
Stanley Fucking Cup FINALS!! Nothing to saying to me "we wanna win". They
look confused. They look slow. They look weak. Philly is playing the kind
of game Chicago needs to be playing. They are winning battles, they are
skating hard. They are blocking shots. They are playing to WIN.
Chicago demoralised the Canucks, blew the doors off the Sharks and now they
are getting severly outplayed by the Flyers? They weren't even supposed to
make the playoffs! A shootout win on the last day of the season! I hate
shootouts. Always have, always will. Granted, Philly has some good talent
there. (Carter, Briere, Richards, Pronger etc) but it isn't even those guys
that are doing all the damage! My heart skips a beat everytime I hear Ville
Leino or Claude Giroux's name on the play-by-play. Even Carle and Hartnell
make me nervous.
Chicago needs to start playing like they know what is at stake. Coach Q
needs to light a fire under some asses and quit messing up the line
changes. I know he wants fesh legs, but 10 sec shifts are shit. They get no
momentum! Toews needs to be the captain we all know he is. The whole team
just needs to wake up! They started to the last bit of Game 4 but it was
too little too late. They better carry that into Game 5. I don't wanna wait
another 18 years for them to reach the final (or 50 to win it). If they
can't do it with this team, I fear they never will. Because guaranteed it
will be a very different team next year. Hopefully better.

Monday, May 31, 2010


As of yesterday, May 26, I have been a vegetarian for one month. My conviction to this new lifesytle has not wavered. If anything, it's only gotten stronger. The more I read about the reasons not to eat meat, the more peaceful I am with my decision. At first it was based on 2 factors. Nutrition and ethics. I totally forgot about the environmental!! The amount of  water and air pollution generated by the meat industry is astronomical! And the wasted resources! So much feed is given to animals raised for meat. If that land was used for crops for humans, world hunger would be a non-issue. As it is,the VAST majority of wheat, corn, soy etc is feed to livestock. Livestock destined for the plates of the world's elite.

I could go on and on but you either get it or you don't.

I'm pretty much just wasting time right now anyway.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I'm gettin' there

I've made some big changes recently. The most profound change has been the decision to become a vegetarian. My motivations are two-fold. The first is strictly nutritional. Meat proteins are not easily digestible. Therefore they are not properly broken down. This can lead to intestinal problems such as constipation or irregularity, or even colon cancer. The undigested meat can interfere with the absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutritional necessities. Your digestive system works harder and achieves less. Also, the by-products of meat are acidic in the body. This can contribute to acidosis. This is when the pH of the body is below 7 (neutral) into the acid range. Our bodies work best in a slighly alkaline range. (above 7 pH) Acidosis creates the conditions for disease to manifest itself. Some studies claim that a properly maintained bodily pH can eliminate sickness of any kind. So there is that side of it. Basically, meat is not good for you.

The other side is ethical. All life is precious. Whether it's mine, yours, a cow, a fish, a bug or a slug. In Buddhist teachings, all living beings (animals, insects, people) have a soul (so to speak). And all those souls are equal. The soul of a house fly is equal to that of the Dalai Lama. Over countless previous and future lives every living being was or will be our mother. Do you want to cause harm or death to your mother? The intention is that we never cause another soul suffering. (You don't think that cow is scared shitless before the bolt-gun hits it?) While it's not expected that we never cause harm or death under any circumstance, the aim is that we don't intentionally cause harm or death to another living being for our benefit. In the case of food, while I may not actually kill the chicken and make it into a meal, it suffered and died because I wanted to eat chicken. If there is no demand, there will be no supply. If no one wanted to eat chicken, no chickens would have to die. The argument could be made that if we only ate meat that came from animals that had died of natural causes, we would be in the clear morally. However, this brings us back to Argument #1. Nutrition.

For the record, I make no condemnations for those who choose a different lifestyle than my own. I merely ask the same in return.

The other big change in my life is exercise! For the past few years I've been fairly sedentary. Sure, I'd play the odd round of golf, baseball in the summer, yard/housework as necessary but I haven't made the effort to be active everyday. As a result, my energy level has gone down and my weight has gone up. My muscles are tense and my joints hurt. In other words, I feel like an old man. So, I decided that enough was enough and it was time to do something about it. I've started small by actually using the EA Active for the Wii that we bought MONTHS ago.We worked out once, sweated like pigs and ached for days. And there it sat. Around 2 weeks ago I started using it again. After the first day, I took 4 off til the pain subsided but I've done it almost every day since and I've had no lingering pain. It's low impact right now. Resistance band, my own body weight kinda a stuff. I'll get into cardio and weight training eventually. For now, I am happy to increase tone and get those joints moving again. (Bowflex donations greatly accepted.)

I am starting to feel better physically (I haven't lost any weight yet) and I feel better mentally than I have in years. I don't know if it's an actual biochemical change or simply a placebo effect. Frankly, I don't care. As long as it works. So please don't try and psych me out of it.

I'm still a long way from where I want to be but I'm getting there.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What the?

That's what the girls have taken to saying. And in context I might add. Becky and I don't use that expression so they must have gotten it somewhere else. TV or some other kid. Whatever additional word you'd like to put after it, (Fuck, hell, crap..) it's still not something we want them saying. Even if all they are saying is What The. Soon might have to break out the soap. HAHA

Occasionally they will say, "Come on!" This I will tolerate. Not thrilled about it, but I am not upset by it. I also understand because they get it, at least partially, from me. When they aren't doing what I asked, "Come on!". When I come across a big mess, "Come. ON!" When a fellow driver or pedestrian is taking to long to do whatever they are doing, "Come on!" Proving that kids will repeat what they hear and yes, they do understand what it means.

I think that in a previous life, Amelia was French. Or at least French was her first language. I can't remember all the examples right now but there are a few. For instance, when we lived with French exchange students I noticed that with some words that started with "h", they didn't pronounce it, and with some words that started with "a", they'd pronounce it as if I started with "h". Like "happle" or "amburger". Amelia will do that sometimes too. In Amelia's case, one example is the letter "h" itself. When she recites the alphabet, she says it like "heych" instead of "eych". When she sings the Hannah Montana song "Best of Both Worlds", she pronouced both as "boat". And very often when she is saying "to" she actually says "a". Like instead of "Are we going to the store?" it's "are we gun go a store?" Maybe it's me being weird. But I believe that sometimes there is hints as to where we came from.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Summer Classes For Men

              Summer Classes for Men at

              by Monday April 28, 2008

              Class 1
              How To Fill Up The Ice Cube Trays--Step by Step, with Slide Presentation.
              Meets 4 weeks, Monday and Wednesday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

              Class 2
              The Toilet Paper Roll--Does It Change Itself?
              Round Table Discussion.
              Meets 2 weeks, Saturday 12:00 for 2 hours.

              Class 3
              Is It Possible To Urinate Using The Technique Of Lifting The Seat and
              Avoiding The Floor, Walls and Nearby Bathtub?--Group Practice.
              Meets 4 weeks, Saturday 10:00 PM for 2 hours.

              Class 4
              Fundamental Differences Between The Laundry Hamper and The
              Floor--Pictures and Explanatory Graphics.
              Meets Saturdays at 2:00 PM for 3 weeks.

              Class 5
              Dinner Dishes--Can They Levitate and Fly Into The Kitchen Sink?
              Examples on Video.
              Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning
              at 7:00 PM

              Class 6
              Loss Of Identity--Losing The Remote To Your Significant Other.
              Help Line Support and Support Groups.
              Meets 4 Weeks, Friday and Sunday 7:00 PM

              Class 7
              Learning How To Find Things--Starting With Looking In The Right Places
              And Not Turning The House Upside Down While Screaming.
              Open Forum
              Monday at 8:00 PM, 2 hours.

              Class 8
              Health Watch--Bringing Her Flowers Is Not Harmful To Your Health.
              Graphics and Audio Tapes.
              Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

              Class 9
              Real Men Ask For Directions When Lost--Real Life Testimonials.
              Tuesdays at 6:00 PM Location to be determined

              Class 10
              Is It Genetically Impossible To Sit Quietly While She Parallel Parks?
              Driving Simulations.
              4 weeks, Saturday's noon, 2 hours.

              Class 11
              Learning to Live--Basic Differences Between Mother and Wife.
              Online Classes and role-playing
              Tuesdays at 7:00 PM , location to be determined

              Class 12
              How to be the Ideal Shopping Companion
              Relaxation Exercises, Meditation and Breathing Techniques.
              Meets 4 weeks, Tuesday and Thursday for 2 hours beginning at 7:00 PM.

              Class 13
              How to Fight Cerebral Atrophy--Remembering Birthdays, Anniversaries
              and Other Important Dates and Calling When You're Going To Be Late.
              Cerebral Shock Therapy Sessions and Full Lobotomies Offered.
              Three nights; Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 7:00 PM for 2 hours.

              Class 14
              The Stove/Oven--What It Is and How It Is Used.
              Live Demonstration.
              Tuesdays at 6:00 PM, location to be determined.

              Upon completion of any of the above courses, diplomas will be issued
              to the survivors.

"GO BACK!!!!!"

The other day I took the girls on a walk after we went to the park. I had them both in the double stroller. When we went under the bridge on Centre, we came across a dead cat. Yikes. It wasn't bloody, but it was dead. It was on Amelia's side but she didn't see it. Grace did. She very calmly asked if that was a dead cat. I said yes. Amelia says "I dint see it! I wanna see it!" I just told her it was back there and kept on truckin'.

On the way back, it was on Grace's side. She knew it was coming. Before we got close enough that she could make it out, she covered her face and started chanting, "Are we past it yet?" At this point, Amelia is actively looking for the dead cat. As we slip past it, I tell Grace it's gone and Amelia tells Grace "I sawd it, Grace. I sawd the cat." The whole thing went better than I expected given that the cat looked the same as ours but with short hair instead of long.

But the drama is not over yet. Not by a long shot.

I'd say less than 50 feet further down the sidewalk (which is now bordered by a cement wall on one side, and a railing on the other) we encounter the most terrifying creature known to mankind. (DUN DUN DUN!) The Garter Snake. From my lookout position well over 5 feet off the ground I spotted the creature first. Not wanting to have the girls surprised, I stopped the stroller and informed them of the situation. Amelia remained calm (and oblivious I'm sure) but Grace had spotted the serpent herself over my shoulder as I bravely put myself between the girls and the monster. In essence, all hell broke loose. Grace was beside herself. A torrent of tears threatened to drown the cries of "GO BACK! GO THE OTHER WAY! AAAHHHHH!!!!!!" With much effort and pleading I was able to convince my dear lovely scaredy cat (whoops.) that we could pass without incident. I instructed her to close her eyes and I would get us past the evil serpent. (Amelia still cool as a cucumber and probably wondering what the hell Grace's problem is.)  I wanted to pick up the snake and show them how harmless it was but honestly, I've never touched a snake before. Not that I can remember anyway. During this time, the snake had graciously slithered over the side of the sidewalk to allow us to complete our journey unimpeded.

Neither damsel nor beast were harmed and all parties went on their merry way. That is, until the giant killer bumble bee dancing among the daffodils rendered the girls incapable of leaving the house or van. This time, Amelia was just as terrified. What are they gonna do when we move to the country?!

Because I'm bored, occasionally gross, and almost funny.

I am fighting some allergies right now. Hence, sniffing. Hard. I sniffed hard a little while ago and a huge chunk dislodged itself from my nasal passage and damn near choked me! I hacked it up and horked it out. Satisfying but even I will admit that's gross.

Becky made a good point. (she does that a lot. I'm not trying to highlight a special acheivement.) Why DO they sterilize the injection site for a lethal injection?

If you peeled a lemon, would it split apart like an orange?

Did you know that raw celery juice is an antidote for alcohol?

On the way to Kingston yesterday, I took the 401. I set the cruise at 118-119. Around Camden East there is a bunch of cones so people don't try and go into the now closed service centre. In that coned off area was a cop. On the westbound side of the highway. I was on the eastbound. I noticed it just as I was taking a sip of my drink. By the time I brought my drink down, I was past it. I looked in the rearview and the lights were flashing!! Shit! Why me?! But I never saw the cop again. Coincedence.

I like my toothbrush.

Now I have writer's block.

I don't know what a tisket OR a tasket is. I don't even know if I spelled them right.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Hunt Continues....

So Becky went and looked at 4 houses yesterday. All 4 were a no-go.

1. Our agents listing. We knew we wouldn't like it but she went through kind of to please the agent. More or less. She said it was weird, had electric baseboard heat, smaller lot than we want and it was a bungalow.

2. Another of his. Why he took her throught it I don't know. "I just want you to see what a modular home looks like". Why would we want to! Needless to say, it was uselessly tiny.

3. On 6 acres, barn, garage, overlooking the river, very nicely landscaped. Baseboard heat, shitass kitchen, obvious water damage in basement, in need of a new roof.

4. This one had promise. 3 beds + 2 bed apartment with access. Very large, very nice. Very windy location, very hard water, (like damaged the plumbing hard), and foundation damage.

tomorrow we are going to look at the most promising house yet. We said way back that if we could just move our house out of town, we would. This looks like the next best thing. Old Victorian centre-hall plan. Pretty much what we have now but on 2 acres, out of town. With a new roof, windows and wiring. And a granny suite. It needs updating (wallpaper!!) but that's no big thing.

The most important thing is that we sell our house. We can't own two. ASAP would be great. This may sound like hokum but, Becky and I think that there is some sort of force/spirit/entity/energy in the house that doesn't like us. Amelia has seen a "bad man" in her room. Becky has seen strange shadows. There has been times when I was in the shower and I swore I could hear voices and knew there was nobody home. I feel that whatever it is, it drains our energy. At our old house, I used to run everyday, ride my bike to work, walk into town, play outside with Grace, stay up late(r) and be wide awake in the morning. When we moved, I stopped running, I rode my bike to work less and less frequently (not at ALL last year), I have no energy to play with the girls, I'm tired all day, I can sleep 10 hours and still be wiped. I've been to the doctor and the sleep clinic and there is nothing physically to explain it. Becky is constantly tired no matter how much sleep she gets. Her B12 shots work for shorter and shorter durations. Grace looks like a zombie half the time. Amelia has never slept well. And now that she can talk, she still can't explain. It's always "something". Grace is never content to stay at home. We always have to go somewhere. Amelia never wants to come home when we are out. Something just doesn't add up here. Home should be the place you want to be. A place to rest, relax, recharge. Not so. We never feel rested. We never feel recharged. Something is not right. We need to get out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

What's up, Pussycat?

Well, we still haven't sold our house. We were pretty optimistic to start, then we got pessimistic. Fast. With an increasing number of showings, we are getting some of that optimism back. But, with no offers being tabled, I worry. Why isn't it selling? Is there something very wrong with it? Is there something about the house that is turning people away that I am unable/unwilling to remedy? Is it unsellable?  These are the things I worry about. They don't keep me up at night though. Nothing keeps me up at night.

We had a "pro" come and stage our house. It looks great. I cleaned up the dog kennel. It looks (and smells) much better. We started putting out ourdoor furniture. Yesterday we started attacking the gardens and taking out all the leaves. The plants are starting to come up so we want to be able to see them! The gardens will be worked on some more this weekend. But already the outside is looking better. Some people have said "I bet you are falling in love with the house all over again, eh?" No. LMAO. We've never not liked the house. It's more (lack of) yard and the location. It's in a good location if you want to be in town, but we don't. We want to be in the country.

We have another showing tomorrow. We had one a couple days ago. Let's hope someone likes it enough to buy it soon. This whole things is stressin' me out and I'd prefer if it was done with. And by done with, I mean us in our new house.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Universal Laws



1.Law of Mechanical Repair - After your hands become coated with grease,
your nose will begin to itch and you'll have to pee.

2. Law of Gravity - Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.

3. Law of Probability -The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.

4. Law of Random Numbers - If you dial a wrong number,
you never get a busy signal and someone always answers.

6.Variation Law - If you change lines (or traffic lanes),
the one you were in will always move faster than the one you are in now (works every time).

7. Law of the Bath - When the body is fully immersed in water, the telephone rings.

8. Law of Close Encounters -The probability of meeting someone you know increases dramatically
when you are with someone you don't want to be seen with.

9. Law of the Result - When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

10. Law of Biomechanics - The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the reach.

11. Law of the Theater - At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle arrive last.

12. The Starbucks Law - As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee,
your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

13. Murphy's Law of Lockers - If there are only two people in a locker room,
they will have adjacent lockers.

14. Law of Physical Surfaces - The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down
on a floor covering are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet/rug.

15. Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.

16. Brown's Law of Physical Appearance - If the clothes fit, they're ugly.

17. Oliver's Law of Public Speaking - A closed mouth gathers no feet.

19. Doctors' Law - If you don't feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor,
by the time you get there you'll feel better. Don't make an appointment and you'll stay sick.

18. Wilson's Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy - As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it.    

Friday, February 19, 2010

On My Now Unadorned Tongue

Earlier this week, I decided to take out my tongue ring. It was a very hard decision. Ultimately, it came down to the fact that it was causing me pain. I had been thinking about taking it out for a couple weeks. On one hand, I had no real reason to take it out. On the other hand, after 11+ years, the novelty was wearing off. When I first got it, it was part of a whole ensemble. And now it was the only thing left of the image of that 20 year old guy. (baggy pants, big earrings, backwards hat etc) That's precisely what made the decision so hard. I got it done only a few months after Becky and I got together, so it was almost like a symbol of "us". (The tattoo on my finger and our wedding rings are the real symbols) I had basically gone my whole adult life with it. It had become so much a part of me that I hardly ever noticed it.

But I noticed when it hurt.

I've been sick a couple times this year. When I saw the doctor the first time I mentioned that the back of my tongue hurt. He said it was because of my tongue stud. I said, no, it doesn't hurt there, it hurts at the back. He said yes, but if a bit of food or something causes a small infection at the piercing, the lymph system drains at the back and could cause a secondary infection. Hence, the back hurts.

With my most recent sickness, it wasn't the back that hurt. The top and through the middle of the piercing hurt. Enough so that I felt I should take it out. I thought I'd clean it, give the tongue a rest and go from there. I cleaned it up. (lots of crusty stuff on the bottom ball. Not a good sign) I put it back in a day or so later. When I was pushing it back through a bunch of white gross stuff came out the hole. Not a good sign either. But I left in for most of the day. When I had it back in it felt awkward. I was amazed at how quickly I had adjusted. Alas, near the end of the day it was hurting again. I figured the pain was for a reason so I took it out again.Possibly for the last time. I doubt I'll put it back in but it's hard to let go of something that you've had for so long.

I've gotten used to not having it in pretty quick. And I feel okay with my decision. I can do a razzberry again! Although, I have noticed that I fiddled with it ALOT. No worries. My dentist is happier this way. Other happy people may include my parents and conservative friends and relatives. But I didn't take it out for them. If that was the case, I would have done it 11 years ago. No, it was just time.

Mind you, if I was a girl, I would have toughed it out and left it in. It's way cooler/sexier on a girl. Always has been, always will be.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snowboard Cross, The Secret Doctrine and if I have time, something else.

As much as I enjoy rooting for Canada I haven't watched much of the Olympics. Mainly because I'm the only one in the house that wants to watch it. I'm not the kind of guy that goes to another room to watch, or makes everyone else go to a different room. I'm just not. But I did catch the final of the Women's Snowboard Cross. Wherein Maelle Ricker of Canada won Gold. What impressed me most wasn't the race itself. (But, damn they fast) It was the sportsmanship. All 3 medallists were thrilled. I saw no disappointment at all. The were congratulating each other and all that. Then, when they had the flower ceremony, the silver and bronze medallists were practically pulling Ricker up on to the podium. And Ricker, being Canadian, modest and polite and was waiting til her name was announced. I just thought the whole thing exemplified the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play that the Games are all about.


For the last little while I've been picking away at The Secret Doctrine by H.P. Blavatsky.  I think I'm going to take a break from it. It's WAY over my head. There are so many terms and concepts that are going in one eye and out the other. I'm not doing myself any good by continuing to read it without understanding. I didn't pay anything for the book so if I never feel I am up to tackling it, I'm not out anything. Maybe if I read Isis Unveiled first, I might get it more.

Do I have time? Yeah I have time. Who was I asking? Myself. And I answered myself. That's bad,  right? Yup. AH! I did it again! OK.  There is a machine at work that has an alarm that sounds like the Ku Ka Ra Cha (or however it's spelled) (cucaracha?) and it's annoying. That is all.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Come on!

Did you see those clowns protesting the Olympics in Vancouver? What a bunch of idiots! Smashing some innocent merchant's window, throwing newpaper boxes into the streets. Attacking a guy voicing his opinion and then kicking him while he's down! Violently resisting arrest. How do they think any of this is going to benefit their cause? Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars on the Olympics, they'll waste it on the Olympics AND cleaning up the mess, paying the extra police, and prosecuting the offenders! The best part is that most of them were wearing masks! Show your face you chickenshit cowards!! Sorry about the language.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Summer vs. Winter Olympics

Yay! The Winter Olympics are underway! Nothing but figure skating in prime time for 2 weeks!!  Anyway, I got thinking (I know, dangerous) and it occured to me that the Summer Games are for normal people and Winter Games are for lunatics.

Here's what I mean. Most of the Summer Games events are events that normal, everyday people could participate in. Not at an elite level, but in some capacity. We all did Track & Field in public school. Everybody (able-bodied) can run, jump, throw, cycle, swim, play tennis, basketball, badminton, or volleyball, etc. All without huge risk of serious injury. There are exceptions, don't get me wrong. Like Pole Vault, lots of the gymnastics stuff and diving for example. But even so, the risk of serious (I mean like KILL YOU) injury is appreciably low compared to the Winter Games.

The majority of the Winter Games events carry a huge risk. Like luge/skeleton/bobsled. Hurtling yourself down a giant ice slide at well over 100kph is not something you do in Phys. Ed. or at the local YMCA. Ski-jumping! Are you nuts!! That's like skydiving without a parachute! Downhill skiing is dangerous too. They are going FAST! Some of those wipeouts are pretty horrific. Even aerials and snowboarding carry a decent risk. In the Winter Games you have to look for exceptions for events that don't entail the possibility of breaking your neck. Like Cross-country skiing/biathalon. Even speedskating requires a helmet.  Don't think figure skating is immune either. A bad landing could thwap your head pretty hard on that ice.

So basically, like I said, any normal person with enough training and good genes could do Summer Games. Even high(er) risk ones. But Winter Olympians (at least ski jumping and luge etc) have to be stone cold crazy to even try it!

Also, may the Georgian luger who died during training this week rest in peace or be granted a pleasant rebirth. (Depending on your beliefs)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

We're on the move!

Becky and I (and the kids) are hopefully moving sometime in the very near future. We have found a new home which we have put an offer in on, and will be listing our house this week. If all goes well, we could be moving in April. (I'm on vacation the first 10 days of April so that might work out well)  Some people are wondering why we would want to move anyway.


When we moved into our current house we thought it was perfect. We thought it was all we'd ever need. Big rooms, lots of them. A workshop of sorts, etc. Close to schools, and downtown. We knew it didn't have a big yard but at the time, we only had 1 child. And since we were so close to TPCS, we'd just take her to the park there. Everything sounds good right? And it was, for a while.

But things change.

We had Amelia. But we had four bedrooms so that's not a problem. But it's not as easy to take 2 kids to the park. By yourself. Or with both of us really. This is when we started to realize that the yard just wasn't big enough. But we dealt with it. And we started to make some changes to try and make it more appealing. I put up a fence. I put on a new deck. But it still wasn't working. Meanwhile, inside, we were constantly switching rooms, painting rooms and rearranging rooms. I think this may have been a subconscious manifestation of a need for change. Or a sense of dissatisfaction. I think we had a revelation sometime in late November/early December. It's time to move on. We aren't happy here anymore.

There are some other reasons too. It's loud. There is always people rippin' up and down the street driving cars that need serious exhaust work. A thousand buses drive by every day. The garbage/recycling truck wakes us up every time. And the dogs! Our dogs aren't quiet but there are enough dogs in the neighbourhood that make such a racket we think our dogs are outside barking when they are inside sleeping!

Also, being on a corner lot offers ZERO privacy.

So more or less, we're unhappy with the location of our house. Even moving to a bigger lot in town doesn't seem like the solution we're looking for. From the moment we started looking, we didn't even consider anything in town. Getting out of town is what we want in our hearts. We want a big yard, with privacy and quiet.

We've found a beautiful (if unconventional) house which fits our requirements with a few added bonuses. We know it might slip through our fingers, and we are okay with that. There's other houses out there and we aren't in a desperation situation. That being said, as great as the house we've found is, we have no delusions that we'll be there forever. Nothing is forever. Needs change. Desires change. And you have to change along with them. If nothing ever changed, the world would be a VERY boring place.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

My First Blackhawks Game

The Time: 7:30pm Tuesday, January 19, 2010. The Place: Scotiabank Place, Ottawa, ON. The Event: Ottawa Senators vs. (The next Stanley Cup Champion) Chicago Blackhawks.

I'd been looking forward to this game my entire life. The first Blackhawks game I've ever seen live in person. I'd been feeling ill for a week prior and I would be damned if any sickness prevented me from going to the game. And of course, the worst I'd felt was that day. The lingering sore throat was still bothering me and now it was accompanied by a headache, fatigue and nausea. I didn't care. I was going no matter what. No way was I going to miss it. By the time we got there I was feeling fine. Still had a sore throat but other than that, all was good. We had a couple (or a few, depending on who you were) beers and headed inside.

Both on the bus and inside the arena there was an abundance of Blackhawks fans. Love it. With the team only coming to Ottawa every couple years, it's really no surprise. Said Blackhawk fans were plenty vocal as well. Possibly most vocal would be my Uncle Karl. He was part of the "few group" outside the bus. I'm not much of a chanter but he more than made up for me. We managed to squeeze my (life long Leaf fan) Dad into a Blackhawks jersey for the game. The Kimmerly's have the photographic evidence.

I was really excited to see the players in person (from a distance). Eventhough I am older than the vast majority of the team, I felt like a kid. It was a great feeling. Another great feeling was watching Marian Hossa score a shorthanded goal on a breakaway. It may have been the single most exciting moment of my life. (Marriage, kids births etc excepted) Chicago ended up losing the game 4-1 due to some lackluster play on Chicago's part, some questionable officiating, and a very lucky Senators goaltender.

Despite the loss, I had a great time. I look forward to next time. Although, it'll likely be Montreal or Toronto. Either way, I'm doing what I have to to get tickets. I'm addicted now.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Boredy Bored Bored

Gah! I am so bored!! I emailed myself 3 books to read today. All 3 are duds.

1. Crowley's Book of Lies. It's all weird. Structured like poems and stuff. I can't make heads or tails of it. It makes no sense. It's all references and symbolism. There's notes and commentary after each "chapter" but that doesn't help. If anything, it makes me more confused!

2. Some Big Long Word That Starts With An "R" by Nostradamus. It's not in English. And I can't read whatever language it's in.

3. Death in Dunwich - A Call of Cthulu Adventure. I had no idea what this was about. It was in a big folder I downloaded with hundreds of occult and conspiracy books. Turns out, it's some kind of murder mystery game. Apparently there is a die to roll and depending on what comes up it determines what information you are given. In any case, it made about as much sense as the other two books.

I tried to email myself The Secret Doctrine by Madame Helena P. Blavatsky but it was too big for Gmail. Then I tried Isis Unveiled by Blavatsky but it was too big for the email at work. Rats. I really want to read those. Guess I'll have to another way.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sometimes I wonder

Sometimes I wonder how alot of the things we eat and drink came to be. Fruits and vegetables are pretty self explanitory. As are nuts. But what about bread? It's a fairly involved process. It can't have been done by accident. I mean, who's idea was it to even grind up wheat to make flour?

I guess an even more inexplicable item would be beer. Let's make a drink out of barley and hops! Again, I fail to see how this could be an accident. Someone had to come up with this stuff. Cake, pasta, rum, the list goes on.

There's all kinds of geniuses out there. Some are astronauts, some are particle physicists, and some are cooks.

Can you tell I'm bored today?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My annual sickness has arrived

Every year I get strep throat. It usually comes in Jan or Feb. Well, it's Jan this year. Last night my throat was feeling a little sore but I thought it was just dry. As the night progressed I figured it wasn't as simple as that. I stopped on the way home and got some Strepsils. When I woke up I knew what was going on. I know that kind of pain anywhere. So I've been poppin' sore throat drops like they are going out of style and it still hurts. To make matters worse, the headache is here now, I'm sweaty and my energy level is dropping fast. I hope I can make it thru the last 5 hours of the shift. When I get home I have anti-biotics to start poppin'. I'm gonna sleep all day and then go to bed early. I really want to take the girls sledding Thursday but now I don't know. Let's hope I get over it faster than Becky did.


Also tonight, I've had a craving for cashews and for pepper. Weird.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It did sting a little.

I come back from holidays and I ask my trainee, "Are you back with me now?" She says "If it's okay with you, I'd rather stay with "Joe"." (names have been changed to protect the innocent) OK. "I just learned so much more from him," she says. The conversation lasted another 20 seconds or so. I respected her wishes and told her where "Joe" was.

I have mixed feelings about the whole thing. One one hand, it's kind of a slap in the face. And on the other hand, I'm almost glad to be rid of her. She said that Joe explained things to her and let her do it, whereas I would show her how to do it the first time (while explaining) and then got her to do it. Actually doing it myself helps me explain it better. She learns better by doing it herself. Her learning style and my teaching style didn't match. Sometimes when I was explaining things to her I felt she was ignoring me. And other times, I'd tell her how to correct something and ten minutes later she'd totally ignore the problem and not implement the solution. I think I'd be better off training a new hire instead of a transfer. Sometimes I got the feeling she thought I was "just a kid".

Yeah, Joe's been here longer than me and has been doing this job longer than me and has been training longer than me and probably knows more than me but for her to be so blunt about it....Like I said, it was a blow to my ego, but if she ends up sucking at her job, at least you can't pin it on me. Besides, watching someone work, waiting for a training opp is pretty damn boring.