Sunday, January 29, 2006

Go Raps!

I went to my first NBA Basketball game tonight! Yes I know, I live in a town that has had a basketball franchise for more than ten years and this is the first game I have seen live? What can I say, I pick lacrosse, hockey, football, and even baseball over basketball. It's hard to keep up in a town with five professional sports franchises. (Six if you count the Marlies, but I am talking major league teams here.)

I do have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself. The whole evening out with Maureen was wonderful in fact. We had a great dinner at Joe Badali's, (Black bean soup followed by chicken, mushroom and red pepper pesto penne. Maureen had a salad and butternut squash raviolli... mmm) Then, we made our way over to the ACC for the game between the Raptors and the Sacramento Kings.

Like the other Toronto teams playing right now, they had a good lead late into the fourth quarter, then gave it up to end the regulation time tied. Unlike the Leafs however, they pulled it out in overtime for a 124 to 123 win.

I'm just glad they beat Artest...the bum.

All for now,

Sorry about that

I do have to apologize. I don't know what came over me with the last post other than I was feeling just a little silly that night.

Funnily enough, that is not a new work. It is actually a reprint from something I found in an old journal. An old journal that ended up being a poetry and song lyrics book, with the occasional few pages of freeform writing. At one point I had actually shared this with my youth group and they decided that they wanted to act it out for one of our yearly events we call, "No Talent Night." I sat at the front in a fancy chair wearing a suit and holding a bubble pipe while about 10 or 12 of the youth "acted" out the story you see below. It was very funny to say the least.

I do this sometimes as a release. The writing that is. I start with a random thought, link it with a few more random thoughts, and eventually they start to shape a story, poem, or very silly song. Some of my friends, upon hearing some of these masterpieces, think that I am psychotic. I think it's fun. (The writing, not the psychosis.)

(I mean perceived psychosis.)

All for now,

Friday, January 27, 2006

Don't let this happen

The other day as I was leaving work I saw a little cow in the parking lot. I immediately thought to myself, "What the heck is a cow doing in the parking lot?" I didn't spend too much time on this obviously trivial matter however as there was a far more pressing situation to be attended to.

How was I going to get home?

Obviously I couldn't take my car because of the well known fact that I had been kidnapped by thirteen Scottish ping-pongers wearing hockey masks driving a Wesfalia that morning and my car was still at home. Nice guys. Fed me tea and crumpets with honey and the blindfold wasn't very tight, but I digress.

I considered walking, but the last time I did that, I was distracted by the sheer complexity of our urban landscape and missed the turn on to my street, resulting in my walking eighty-seven and a half kilometers out of my way, and finally realizing that I was no longer in what would traditionally be called a city, nor was I walking on what would traditionally be called a road, I hitched a ride with a family of reindeer farmers from Tomogamy, during which time I learned a great deal about how to survive in the foothills of Wales with nothing but a sharp stick and the boots on my feet, so walking was out of the question.

I contemplated taking a taxi cab, but then I found myself engaged in a debate with myself about the cost of a taxi cab ride and the fact that I had no money on me which would mean I would have to get the taxi cab driver to take me home to get my wallet, then out to a bank to get money to pay him, then back home, and I wondered whether it would be prudent to set up a cost benefit analysis of the scenario, but that proved difficult as the only basis that I had for the value of a ride home was the actual cost of a taxi cab ride home including the detours which led me to the conclusion that I should be indifferent about taking the taxi cab.

By this point the cow had come closer and I really didn't want to trouble myself with the cow so I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small package of jellybeans which I subsequently convinced the driver of a bus to take in place of the usual cash fare.

Stepping off the bus at a gas station I encountered a man that used to sell old shoelaces on the corner in the neighbourhood where I grew up. He offered me a ride in his Bentley stating that business had been good for the last few months. I conveyed to him that it would not be necessary as I was only steps away now from the late nineteenth century farm house in which I have a basement apartment.

Finally arriving home, I pick up the newspaper to see a headline of, "Mad cow mauls twenty-two year old dental hygenist in parking lot of local strip mall." I turn on the TV to the sports channel which was broadcasting highlights of the Scottish national table tennis team taking the World Cup when it is interrupted by a special report of a violent rally at city hall protesting the outlaw of reindeer farming in Northern Ontario.

The phone rings, "Hello? How are ya? What'd I do today? Not much. You?"

All for now,

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Laugh till my face hurts

I found something that makes me laugh.

It makes me laugh every time I watch it.

Every time. Until my face hurts.

It is this video.

It looks like they ended up on some TV show and now they are some kind of celebrities. They have three other songs but this one is the best.

K, thanks,

All for now,

Monday, January 23, 2006

I don't talk about politics

I don't talk about politics. I don't talk about it on my blog. I don't talk about it with my family. I don't talk about it with my friends except for brief conversations that I try to avoid with some at work. Politics can be a very messy thing to talk about and can create arguments of which I don't like to be a part. I would rather talk sports with my friends. I would rather talk about my job, (which I think is great but would bore the heck out of some.) I would rather talk about religion.

But maybe I am doing my friends and family an injustice. Probably more my friends because my family is usually pretty well informed. My friends on the other hand know very little about politics or even how this great country of ours is run. Maybe if I did talk about our government more, there would be a better voter turn out and a better informed voter turn out. I am consistently amazed at the lack of knowledge around how our federal government is even structured. I mean, we learned about this in high school, but you'd figure enough of the basics would stick for people to know the difference between City Counsel, Provincial Parliament, and the Federal Parliament. Maybe if more people would get informed and vote, I wouldn't find myself grinding my teeth in frustration when a year from now people are complaining about a government that was chosen in an election in which they did not even cast a ballot.

So, on the eve of a new government here in Canada, the wonderful country I call home, we see ourselves faced with another minority. You see, a government can find itself in power even when it did not receive the most votes. For my American readers, this is much the same way the Electoral College of the Presidential Election works, however when American polls are finally counted, one person leads the country. Canada's Prime Minister is the current leader of the party in power with the most seats in the House of Commons, but that does not always put that person in controlling power. Having more seats does not mean you have more than everyone else, so as we have experienced for the last two years under a Liberal minority, the party in power may not have that much power. It is up in the air about the pros and cons of having a leader that must gain the support of at least one opposing party to have any resolutions passed, but my opinion is that these governments are less than effective. This may lower Canada's stock with the rest of the Superpowers of the world if their confidence in our leadership is wavering.

But reality is setting in. A lot of our country wanted a change, and with the Conservatives that is what they'll most likely get. Just remember that these are not the Brian Mulroney, Joe Clark Progressive Conservatives of years gone by. These are the Preston Manning, Stockwell Day Reformers that changed their name and sit much farther right on the slider. They are a Conservative party led by a slightly scary man named Stephen Harper. A man with a George-W-Bush-like, "I know something that you don't and I'm not going to tell you until it's much too late" smirk.

That was it. I'll go back to not talking about politics again.

All for now,

Sunday, January 22, 2006

To Fall...

What happens when you fall?

You feel a jump
..........................that exciting feeling in the pit of your stomach
...............the rush, the sensation that stimulates you and can make you feel more alive

Sometimes is isn't just the initial jolt continues, lasts
...........Like an astronaut in orbit of the Earth
.................................falling endlessly to Earth
.......................but never coming closer

....................But to how many of us does that happen? many experience that feeling
..........................................When you fall, you fall towards something........You hit the ground
........The feeling ends, you land hard, and you get hurt
........................So be careful,
...........................................Watch your step,
...................................................................Falling hurts.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My November Resolution

It is about that time of year when everyone starts to back out of their resolutions for the new year. Those lifestyle changes that were going to be turning point to becoming a lighter, healthier, or more active person. This was going to be the year that the resolution would become a regular, if not essential part of the daily or weekly routine. But, as with a lot of things in life, one discovers that this type of change requires a radical commitment, or sticktoitiveness if you will, and there is a level of work for which many are not prepared.

I really noticed the swing this year. The gym that I go to on a regular basis saw a significant influx of new attenders as we rolled over to '06. People of all shapes and sizes that decided this was their year. Sadly, as we came to the third Monday of this new year, many of these people have already started a trial separation with their gym. I can hope that they have found alternate times to work out or run the treadmill, but I get a sense from the general fullness of the fieldhouse that many have already been lost. It seems that New Year's resolutions are difficult to keep up. It feels like the right thing to do because it is the time of year for fresh starts, but people set big goals with strict deadlines without the support network to keep it up.

That is why I made a November Resolution. While lying in bed late one Sunday night I decided that my half-hearted attempts to get myself fit were not going to cut it anymore. Granted I am 40 lbs lighter than I was three years ago, but I had come to a bit of a plateau. I am a 200 lb man with about 27% body fat which is still considered overweight by the multitude of tables and standards that can be found on the web. I decided I would hit the gym hard. I decided I would eat right. I decided I would make some changes that would make me feel all around healthier and better about myself. I was partly inspired by Jennifer as she and her husband started to hit the gym around that time and were even working with a trainer.

Since then I have done very well with the activity portion of my resolution and moderately well with the eating right side. I make my dinner most nights and it usually consists of some type of chicken and vegetable. I take lunches most days and try to buy healthy on days I don't get a lunch together. I am not a hard-core calorie counter, but I am aware of my general food intake in relation to how much my body needs and I can pretty much tell you how much protein I eat each day, (which is important when you are trying to get huge, (said with tongue firmly in cheek.))

On the activity side I am starting to go a little nuts. I was already curling twice a week so I had a head start. I then started hitting the gym three times a week. It made me feel great and I actually felt like I had more energy. Next I found out that some friends play squash and one even has courts at his condo that never get used, so now add squash once a week. Also, since I got my new toy, I have been going to the range once a week. Then, yesterday I decided to mix it up at the gym a bit and I tried a spinning class. Wow, that was a work out and a half. This five foot nothin' girl leading the class by shouting into a mic while music is cranked and twenty to twenty-five people peddling their butts off. I liked it though, so I'll probably go back there tomorrow morning.

Oh, did I mention that I am actually going to the gym at 6:00am for these classes? Yeah, I don't know what's wrong with me either. Let's hope it pays off.

Which way to the beach?

All for now,

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Neurotic One Turns...30?

Today is a good friend's birthday. He is turning 30. Every year for as long as I can remember, (which probably means grade seven since that is when I met him,) I have missed his birthday by exactly one day. Every year but this one it has truly been a mistake. I call on January 13 and say happy birthday, then apologize when he tells me it was yesterday, and we move on into another year. This year for some reason I remembered. It might partly be because his wife has inadvertently reminded me a few times. They are planning a big bash in the summer exactly half way between both of their 30th birthdays so I don't need to worry that I might be missing a party tonight. I was thinking about calling him tonight, but it just doesn't seem right.

I'll call him tomorrow. It's what I do.

All for now,

p.s. JWE if you are reading this: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I'll talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

New toy

I tried out one of my new toys today.

No, not my chair. One that I had been kind of saving up to buy. Ok, so I took all my Christmas money and pooled it for one present for myself. But it is a good one.

The TaylorMade r7 Quad HT driver. I haven't hit a driver in several years. In fact I have not even had one in the bag for the past three or four years. But, this past summer I got myself a set of Taylor rac HT irons and a 3 and 5 VSteel fairway wood. I was hitting them all so well that I decided it was time to put the driver back in the bag. DB suggested that I look into the Aldila shaft as an upgrade, too. They had one already put together so they didn't even charge me the upgrade cost for the NV-65.

Anyway, enough technical mumbo-jumbo. Can I hit it? I went up to Launch tonight to check it out, and the answer is most definitely:


They really know how to make a club these days. I mean I am not the best of golfers, (high 80s or low 90s with one round of 79 last summer,) so I don't have the most consistent drive off the tee. But, try as I might, I could not get this club to hit off center. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. I had a couple that I really opened up and one that I cranked around, but for the most part this new fangled club was really forgiving. And I haven't even started to play around with the movable weights to see what damage I can do with that yet!

Oh summer, where are you?

All for now,

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Chair: Some Assembly Required

Sticking with the Christmas theme for just a little bit here.

My Mum got me a chair for Christmas. Doesn't it look amazing? It is a leather pedestal swivel recliner with matching ottoman. This is a great gift because it gives me another place to sit in my living room and it is a really cool place to sit at that! A couple of weeks ago I came home after being out somewhere, (for the life of me I have no idea where, but it is not important to the story,) and had a sudden urge to sit in my new chair. At that point it still looked like it does in this first picture. But, even though it was late, I was hyper and wanted, maybe even needed to sit in my new chair.

My first thought was, "How did they get the whole chair and ottoman into this box?" This was a logistical nightmare as that curvey metal piece you see wrapped in foam goes down and under the rest of the pieces at the bottom of the box. I was going to have to pull it all out at once. Did I mention it was late and my roommate was already in his room? I was pretty sure that he wasn't asleep yet so I was moving on.

My next thought as I started to pull the pre-assembled chair from the box was, "I have yet to see an instruction booklet." Now I consider myself pretty handy, but I am no fool when it comes to putting together foreign made furniture. You do it how they tell you to do it.

Luckily I found this stuck to the bottom of the foot rest. Notice that this is not really a book per se, but a single page with slightly ambiguous diagrams outlining how to piece together this wonderful chair with numbers, arrows, but not a single word. Worry point number one.

I was mildly amused by the job that was done when packaging this kit. See how they obviously partially assembled the more complicated parts for me, but only after they had pre-wrapped the seat base in plastic? Interesting.

So here was the chair after completely removing any and all packaging and / or protective coatings. I was now faced with turning this jumble of leather and metal into a functioning recliner, (swivel pedestal recliner,) using only:

That's right! Two Allen keys. You'd think Mum went to an old school Ikea to pick this one up. Anyway, these two unassuming tools were going to be used in conjunction with:

This small collection of hardware. It was at this point that I came to my Worry Point number two.

If we take a closer look at my instruction page, you can see the parts breakdown will at some point be calling for six washers, of varying sizes. Do me a favour and go back to the picture of the small collection of hardware. See any washers in there? Neither did I. Now I had a decision to make. Continue on, hoping the washers were a redundant part of this kit, or set the project aside and maybe get back to it next quarter.

I mentioned earlier that I was hyper, so I didn't want to wait. I boldly proceeded and eventually had a chair and matching ottoman that was identical to the photo on the side of the original packaging.

And this is me enjoying the comforts of said chair and matching ottoman. Incidentally, I had two of those short bolt and nut things still on the coffee table when I got finished.

Worry Point number three.

All for now,

Wow I suck sometimes...

I was curling in the Energizer this past weekend and we finished up tonight. We finished up tonight because I suck.

I made a bad call on the sweeping of the last rock in the second end. The other team ended up stealing three instead of us taking one. That four point swing kind of took me out of the game. I tried to stay in it but I am still stewing. BAH!

If you don't care about my curling, then come back tomorrow.

I'll probably be over it by then.

All for now,

Friday, January 06, 2006

Canadian Boys are GOLD!

Congrats boys!

The Canadian team won the World Junior Championship in British Columbia last night. They beat the Russians in a decisive 5-0 victory to take Gold for a second straight year.

When it comes to hockey, Canada still rocks.

All for now,

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Moving in Kingston - (HISMCV II)

After finally leaving work on the Friday before Christmas, I could really get into Holiday mode. That is I could swear off shaving and dress shoes for the next ten days. I spent the rest of Friday afternoon at the mall. Did I mention that I love the mall at this time of year?! I love the crowds and the jostling. If someone bumps into me I just smile and say, "Don't worry about it. Merry Christmas!" I already told you what I did on Saturday in the afternoon. The evening of course was my family's traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Take-out Chinese Food. I can't tell you why and I really couldn't place when it actually started, but it is a tradition that we have carried on for years, and it is one of my favourite of the Holiday season. The funny part is that my parents have been apart for 22 years or so now and I have had the Christmas Eve Take-out Chinese with both the Mum and Dad families. For a while I thought everyone did it, but I have yet to meet someone with this cool a tradition in the family.

Christmas morning I got up and went to church before anyone else was out of bed. I was playing guitar in the band that morning so I had to go early for sound check and such. As a result of Christmas being on Sunday and my having to be there for the band, my Sis was forced to wait until after noon to open any presents. This was torture for her as she is the biggest six year old when it comes Christmas morning presents. (Incidentally she is 24.) She shakes every present under the tree and every year without fail she BEGS us to let her open "just one present" on Christmas Eve. We never let her. *evil grin* The pic is her and my BiL looking at one of the gifties.

This is my Mum surveying the damage.

This is the damage.

This is my Stepdad checking out one of the new books.

The rest of Christmas day is not documented because I didn't take my camera to my Aunt's place. That is all about that.

Boxing day I drove down to Belleville to see Dad and Stepmum. On the 27th, Sis decided she was going to do up the Christmas dinner again and she was going to do it all herself. Dad and Cheri weren't about to complain about this. She did a turkey and stuffing and yams and squash and potatoes and Bigos, (which is traditional hunter's stew originating in Poland. My BiL is Polish. The strange thing about this dish is it is cooked three times and actually gets better the more you reheat it. Oh those crazy Polish...) The whole dinner was pretty good considering how I feel about turkey. I even had to carve the turkey as my Dad wanted to only eat the meal and not be involved in the preparing in any way. He also wanted no part in the cleaning up which meant my BiL and I were at the sink for quite a while. Oh well, happy to do my part.

The next day was the move. My Sis and BiL live in Kingston and were moving from one apartment to another. They have a lot of stuff. They were sharing an apartment with another girl so a lot of their stuff was still at my Dad's place.

Their car,

my Dad's van,

and my car were packed to the gills with just the first trip from Belleville. There were two more van loads and two more of my car from their old apartment, then another two van loads to come from Belleville all told. They have enough stuff for a house packed into a two bedroom flat. It's nice though and they pay about half of what I pay for a two bedroom in the Tdot.

New Year's was awesome. I spent a couple days with JWE and Angel, (I'm not linking you guys until you update ;) ) We had two days of the best home cooked meals. Steaks on Friday, (GOOD steaks!) Omelets Saturday morning. Alaskan crab legs and mussels for New Year's Eve dinner. It seems like all I do is eat when I go over there. I am not complaining, but I owe them big for that weekend!

Plus we sat out in the hot tub minutes after the ball dropped. Can't beat that! That is JWE "getting the tub ready" for us. See the snow. Yeah, we got out and rolled in it then got back in the tub. Angie would have no part of it and just shook her head. Did I mention we were buddies in high school when it always seemed like a good idea to do stuff like that?

Anyway, back at work for a few days and already dreaming of the next Holiday.

I think I'll go surf the vacation websites.

All for now,

How I spent my Christmas Vacation

This work thing is for the dogs. I have been back for two days now and it really gets me thinking of the Christmas and New Year that just went by. I guess I'll reminisce a bit...

Before I went on Holiday I promised some pics from the office. I like to decorate my cube at work and here you can see how I try to bring some cheer to the office.

Since I had the camera out, I figured I'd snap some shots of the friends and neighbours at the quad, (or powercube as I like to call it.)

This is Trish. This is what I call her but I don't know if that is how she spells the short form of her name. That's ok though because she'll be way more pissed about the fact that I actually posted this pic than the name thing.

Colic always poses and smiles pretty for my pictures. Please don't look at how messy her cube is. The gas cans are killing us all slowly.

Truman on the other hand refused to turn around. I informed her that I would then take a picture of the back of her head and she said, "Fine!" After I took the picture however, she made me show her in case the back of her head looked funny. Girls...

Di Pede wasn't around so I couldn't get him. I did make my way out of the powercube to visit neighbouring pods for a while. This is Renata. She is pretending that she is working even though it is a little after noon on the last day of work before Christmas.

Warner on the other hand would have none of the pretending. "You excited about the Holiday Warner?" Response: see picture. Since this was taken, his wife had a baby boy. Mum, Dad, and little one are at home, all healthy and resting.

This is Afshan. (Did I mention that Warner was excited about the Holiday?)

This is Fennell, (one of six people I work with named Nicole, isn't that weird?) She will be mad that I posted this shot but I thought her hair looked cute in the pony tail and the one she made me take where she could pose and smile pretty didn't show that.

I better show that one, too. Incidentally, Fennell was a wild card entry into the Team 188 Bake Off. She isn't a part of Team 188 but she thought is was fun that we kept bringing desserts in so she wanted in. (Also she had some of every other entry since there was always left over.) She brought this nut, shortbread, cookie that was filled with caramel and drizzled with chocolate. It was really good. I haven't really heard from Di Pede what the final tally was but at last look, she was in the lead. She may get disqualified as an illegal entry though.

Well, I am tired and Blogger is giving me a hard time with the photos so this will have to continue tomorrow...

All for now,