Friday, 19 August 2011

10 Things about my life, you didn't know.

This is a list of 10 things you probably didn't know about my life. Some of them are my fears, dislikes, routine, or family.

1. Large arching bridges.

It started a couple of years ago. I have a tough time driving over these things and will avoid them if I can. I can't explain it. I can ride over as a passenger just fine, but when I'm driving it's a different story. My vision goes tunnel, my mouth cotton dry, and my hands get clammy. I shake, have trouble breathing, and tune out anything that's happening inside the vehicle. It never used to be like this. I once, driving back from Burnaby, saw the Port Mann off in the distance, took the wrong exit and ended up on Annacis Island in South Delta to avoid the bridge. Fucked up, I know. Recently, I took the ferry from Nanaimo to North Van, and had to take the 2nd Narrows to Burnaby. Slightly better than the Lions Gate, but still got the shakes. And I drive professionally for a living!

I think it has something to do with my son, because I didn't feel this way before he was born.

2. Kole's bedtime security toy(s)

Most kids have a special toy, or item they bring to bed. Not my son. Every night it's something different. In the picture he has "Legoman" "Bob" and an empty iced tea bottle. Others include, spatula, cup, pen lid, toy car, letter magnet, puzzle piece. The list goes on. Tonight, he brought with him, a hot wheels car, a penny, and an inflated balloon that I brought home from ICBC. We tried introducing a stuffed giraffe, but he doesn't care. Whatever works I guess.

3. Melissa has 2 uvulas.

Ok. So this isn't about me. But I did say some of this things were family related. They're 10 things about my life, and Melissa and Kole are part of it.

Yup, this is a real picture of the inside of Melissa's mouth. She has 2 Uvulas. That is all.

4. Escalators.

Like bridges, I have a rough time with moving stairs. It's not as bad as the bridges, but I still have to focus each time I step onto one. Again, this is a new thing. A few years ago, I would have walked blindly onto an escalator. Backwards. Now I watch each foot and time it perfectly as I step onto it. Is this normal? When you get older, do everyday things start fucking with your psyche? Good thing I use the escalators at Walmart regularly to keep me in shape.

I just realized how that last sentence must sound.

5. Stove dials.

So. If you were to ignore a few of the last things. I would consider myself to be a pretty normal dude. I. Turn my stove dials in a clockwise motion from "off" to "max" as it is a shorter distance to travel and the dial allows it to do so.

Melissa on the other hand, can only turn the dial counter clockwise, going from "off" to "low" through to "med" then to "max". She refuses to turn the dial in a manner that would require less turning and essentially less work.

6. Same breakfast.

Since I moved back to Victoria over 5 years ago, I have been eating the same breakfast. Hard boiled eggs and oatmeal. Everyday. I boil 3 eggs for 10 minutes. It makes the perfect hard boiled egg. 8 minutes will give you the perfect soft boiled egg. I had a stint where I was doing soft boiled with toast. But I have perfected the ratio of cinnamon, sugar, and raisins in my oatmeal and see no reason to change as it gives me the best energy to start the day. Weekends sometimes offer variety of bacon or sausages.

7. Spread toes.

Spread toes are just plain fucking wrong.

I have hammer toes, and cannot spread them.
Melissa and Kole on the other hand can park a friggin' bike in between their feet digits. She likes to parade her talent all up in my face, and I don't like it.

8. English muffin holes.

This has been something that has bothered me for years. The tiny little holes in pastry like english muffins. I always look at it like tiny holes in human flesh. I don't know why, but it's been this way since I was kid. I imagine what my arm would look like with these tiny circumference yet cavernous holes. This doesn't ruin eggs benny for me, I just shutter a little bit when I see them.

9. Brown Paper Towels.
For some, it's nails on a chalkboard.
For me, it's nails on brown paper towels.

I use them, all the time. But if I were to drag my nails across them, I get a huge shiver. I've mentioned to this before to people, and they all have the same response....

"That's just fucking weird, dude."

I can't be the only one!

10. Feel good moments in kids movies.

Since becoming a parent, I have endured a fair amount of childrens T.V programming and movies. What I noticed during the 101th time that I watched the Chipmunks, "The Squeakquel", is that I got a little emotional. Now, you would think that after even just 20 mins of this film that you wouldn't give a shit. But I was watching it with Kole one day, and when Alvin flew in with the Chipettes on a remote helicopter at the end to save the show, I got that feel good feeling inside. They might as well have cured cancer and saved Chritsmas at the same time.
And of course any movie where there is a father/son moment, I get a little emotional too.

Aging does shit to you.

So there you have it. 10 things about my life that you probably didn't know.

Monday, 11 July 2011

When my son is 20

I often wonder about what the world is going to be like in 20 odd years.

This is the future right now. It's not the flying car, and robot servant future that Hollywood had predicted. But it is the future. Think about it. Imagine telling someone in the 80's this. "We have personal phones that can fit in our pockets. They have touch screens and can surf the internet." Inter-what?! "They can also record a T.V. show at home, and email." E-mail? "Oh yeah, and they have a video camera and can take pictures." "I can also store up to 32gigs of music on it." What the fuck is a gig?!

And this is just talking about the phone. Think of all the other marvels of science. We have discovered planets outside our own solar system. Hundreds of them! In 2006, researchers developed materials that can bend light around objects and shield them from view. Such as invisibility cloaks. Genome mapping, cloning, commercial space flight, ipads, netflix,...I'm sure there's more important advances other than the one's I can find at Best Buy, but I can't think of them. Then there's 2 teeny tiny problems. Climate change, and peak oil.

Now, I'm still not sure sure where on the climate change see-saw I sit, but it's leaning more to the side of "It's happening". I pollute as little as humanly possible, and recycle whatever I can. Even if the climate doesn't completely go off the charts and fuck up the order of the world, and we all parish or drown. I would still like to have a clean planet for my son to live on. I don't idle, and I pick up garbage when I see it. There's nothing wrong with using solar panels to heat your house. Even if it didn't help reduce pollution, it's still saving you some cash. Which is pretty cool. If cash is even worth anything in 20 years.

When a country or province starts digging up sand that has oil in it, you know there isn't much left. Now I know, I drive a truck that consumes gas. I'm a horrible person. But so are you. Everything that we use in our daily life has petroleum in it. The very keyboard that I use to type this post was made from it. Your shoes, your Starbucks coffee lid, your television remote, your sunglasses, your bike tires, your kids toys. So, when the world runs so low on oil, what's going to happen? Will we have measures in place to continue on? And by "we", I mean "other people", 'cause I'm sure as hell not smart enough. Or, will we be forced to go back to simpler times. Where we grow our own food, and get our own water. That would be cool, but what about all the millions that live in metropolis'? It's kind of an eerie thought, but quite frankly it's the truth. As a driving instructor, it's my job to teach these kids about fuel economy. How to drive their cars to the best they can to be not only safe, but fuel efficient. I'm surprised by the amount of them that think we are moving to Hydrogen fuel cell cars with out thinking how it can happen.
One girl even said they were inventing a car that can run on water. Yeah, it's called "Steam", and it doesn't work very well for pushing cars. She said something along the lines of hydrogen and water being the same thing. I'm pretty sure you don't pour water in a tank, and fuel a vehicle with it. I do know that Hydrogen fueled vehicles emit drinkable water. I'm sure that's what she meant. I then ask them, other than gas, what else does petroleum make? "Uhhh, plastic?" Yes, and what do you know, that is made with plastic? "Oh, Shit. Everything."

So back to my post title, "When my son is 20"
What will the world be like?
Here's what I think.
  • The personal car will be on it's way to becoming a very rare thing. 99% of people will get around by mass transit. Probably electric train or something. Your kids friend will have a cousin who knows someone who has a car, but it doesn't run of course.
  • Food will be very expensive. You would be wise to grow your own, maybe even have a few animals.
  • Currency might just be credits, or even gold. (Do you notice a lot of "Dollars for Gold" commercials lately?)
  • What was made from plastics will be made from a plant based material.
  • Life will be simpler, yet technology will be unfathomable.

Now of course, I could be way off. 20 years isn't that far away. But we are as a planet and society growing and changing at an exponential rate. 20 years may be all we need to see these changes happen. All I can do is teach my son to think for himself, make his own decisions. To be kind to others and plan ahead.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Qualicum Falls

A new tradition has been born.

As planned, The 5 of us met in Qualicum Beach to take on a camping/fishing long weekend extraordinaire. Melissa and Kole, went on a week long trip to Nelson, to visit family. They go every year with her cousin from Vancouver, who also has a kid the same age as our son. During that same week was Canada Day long weekend. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time. As in my previous post, I don't see my friends too often. But it was more than that. I work lots and I am a family man. I don't have any extracurricular activities or hobbies. I rarely play golf, which I'm not very good at. So, I guess you could say that this trip was needed. The night before I left, I was amped! I went over my list twice to make sure I had everything packed, and ready. I woke up early on Thursday morning, and had a few errands to run before I left. It seemed to take forever to get out of Victoria and hit the road. I finally did, and it didn't take more than 2 hours to get to Mike's place. The other 3 were driving out from Kelowna.

When the boys arrived at Mikes, we left for Little Qualicum Falls Campground, about 20 mins up Hwy 4. I had never been there before, it was quite beautiful. A true westcoast campground. It was more family oriented, but that didn't seem to matter. We're older now right, not so rowdy. Mike had paid for 2 spots side by side, but when we pulled up, some lady with her kid was in one of our spots. She clearly didn't read the tag on the sign that stated so. Unfortunately she had to move, but that's kinda her fault. We set up camp, and right across the road only a stone's throw away was the Qualicum river.

Buying firewood when you're surround by it seems a little crazy. I guess that's why the boys brought a chainsaw. You can just pick up shit off the ground, it's been soaked from the last rain. The best chance you have is by cutting down the dead ones. Done and done. Now it's drinkin' time. Some of the guys picked up fireworks from the local gas station were we stopped to pick up ice. Three things dominated this weekend. 1. Beer 2. Fish 3. Fireworks. Not necessarily in that order. Breakfast was made in the morning. What was so cool about the meals, was we all chipped in some way or another. Whether one cooked, or one did the dishes. Shit got done. We spent the first day on Cameron lake. Had a few bites, reeled some in, but no keepers.
we then tried out a few rivers and creeks. A few bites, but nothing solid. I think we drank harder that night due to the lack of fish. That, and it was our nation's birthday. MORE FIREWORKS! Now, before I catch a lot of shit for setting off fireworks in a forest, let me get something straight. They were small fireworks, not roman candles or some crazy rocket explosion monsters. Merely small little dancing devils or these weird little wick things that seemed to be the most fun. We were very watchful of what were were doing. Kind of.

The second day, breakfast was had, and Shane didn't have to whittle chopsticks to eat his food like he did the morning earlier. We got forks! Took the boat for a drive, after we ate to find a new lake. We tried Spider lake at first, but it prohibited motors. We then tried Horne Lake, but couldn't find a place to launch the boat. It was now 4 o'clock. Despair caused us to have a rock throwing competition at a sign in the water. Fishing was not happening today. Or was it? Kris wanted to see the ocean. As for a valley man, who sees the ocean once a year if that, it made sense. So we drove into town, to a beach. Mike showed us how to search for and dig up clams. There were clams to be dug up, clams to be steamed up, and we ate those little fuckers proudly.

This trip was about more than the fishing. It was about just chillin' with the boys. About sitting around a fire, telling stories, laughing our asses off, drinkin' beers and having a rad time.
I think moments like these are important. It's not just about getting drunk with your buddies. It's about keeping that bond strong. It's about creating memories that will last a lifetime. I may sound cheesy, but so what? I certainly treasure these times, as they are getting more and more rare as we age.

We agreed that this will have to be an annual thing. Next year the spot will be Douglas Lake.

I can hardly wait already.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Great Grocery Divider Standoff

What did my groceries ever do to your groceries?

Just about every time we're at the store to get our weekly rations, and it happens. We load our groceries onto the conveyor belt, there's no divider for the person behind us. Panic! They refuse to put their stuff on the counter because there's no divider. Holy shit! The world's ending! As our stuff moves up and the space behind our stuff gets a little bigger, they still don't put their shit down. As soon as the cashier gets to our goods, and puts the divider that was in front of us to the little divider rack below the gum and batteries, they make their move. Quickly snatching it up and putting it down as if to say "There! NOW I can put my groceries down."

I purposely don't put it down to see the reaction of the folks behind me. About 80% of the time, this happens. Now, I realize that it's there more for the cashiers. I guess they have a hard time keeping track of who's food is who's. But, due to my stubbornness, I will continue to do what I do in pissing off my fellow shopper. It's kinda fun watching them squirm.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

7 Days

1 week from now, I'll be sittin' in a boat with a line in the water and a beer in my hand under the July sun. I'm going Fishin'!!

When I moved out to Victoria almost 10 years ago, My best buds did the same. We rocked it out here! Had awesome adventures, killer parties, and tons of stories to go along with it. We've been close ever since high school. Now we're older. Some of us have kids, families, own homes. I'm the last one to remain in Vic. Some moved back to the Okanagan, another up island. Well, we all agreed that we should meet for a camping/fishing trip this summer. Mike in Qualicum Beach is the one setting us up at a camp spot at Cameron Lake. I'm not much of a fisherman. I own crab traps, and have gone, but I don't own rods, or tackle. Last year was when Shane got married, we had a Camping trip 40 mins out of Kelowna for his Stag. It was very suitable over peelers and bars. It was at a small spot at Windy Lake north of Westbank. Shane's brother had secured the spot a day earlier, so we had the entire lake to ourselves. I hadn't fished since I was 18 and even then I didn't catch a thing. But there's something to be said for just chillin' in the boat with your pals, cold beers, and the water calmly slapping against the side of the boat. Loons make up the background noise, and the sun glistens off the water in way that can make you religious.

I don't see my friends too often, and to have us ALL together is something that only happens once every year or two. I know how lucky I am to have such great friends, and even luckier to have remained close over the many years. Whenever I talk to other people about high school, it seems that not many still keep in contact with their old posse. Facebook help with that, sure. But Facebook wasn't really in play until '06. Our friendships have remained solid since they started. Even earlier for those who went to elementary school together. We have grown up together. And I see no reason why we won't be close friends when we're old farts. That's what is going to make this trip so rad. Good times, laughs and the Great Outdoors.

The countdown begins.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Vancouver Riot 2011

It's been almost a week since the city of Vancouver was raped.

Now I'm a Calgary Flames fan, and I was quite pleased to see our rival, The Vancouver Canucks fall in game 7 of the Stanley Cup final. I was not however pleased to see it's citizens take part in the worst riot of that city's history. I was working the night of the game, but was keeping tabs on it. When it was over, I saw Facebook posts about people flipping a car. Now, I had heard hype from many people that a riot may ensue. I believed that this was a different time than the '94 riot after Vancouver lost to New York in the finals. I believed that we as a "society" had matured. After the Olympics, and the jubilant celebrations that took place night after night, how could they turn?

Well they did, and boy, did they ever.

By now, everyone has heard of the destruction, the looting, the fires and fights that took place so I'm not going to bother explaining it. What I want to talk about is 3 particular points. 1. Who it was that took part in it. 2. The accused and the backlash. 3. The city's blind sense of identity.

First off. When the initial reports came out that it was a handful of anarchists that came from Surrey and surrounding areas that brought weapons and destruction tools. With a plan to start trouble regardless of the outcome of the game. While yes, there were those people around starting shit, there were non-anarchists that joined them. There were more average Joe's and Jane's causing a ruckus than those wielding hammers, and wearing face masks. They were your co-workers, your classmates, the person that serves you coffee, and the people you walk past on your way to work. A lot of them were teenagers too. And if it wasn't bad enough that they were reeking havoc on the streets, thousands more stood by to watch and take pictures only making those causing the shit to make it worse. Oddly enough those pictures are why most of them will be caught and prosecuted. Which brings me to my next point.

You got caught, and now your upset because people are mad at you. In this social media day and age, news travels very fast. Nathan Kotylak is the 17 year old from Maple Ridge who is the dipshit trying to set a police car on fire. He has since apologized. But the backlash he is receiving from this may even put his family at risk of being ostracized. Are some of the comments directed at him and his fellow rioters like Dustin Anderson or Camille Cacnio harsh? Yeah, they are. Are the actions that these drunken idiots did harsh. Absolutely. Now I'm not condoning death threats directed at them or their families, but I see nothing wrong with thousands of angry people letting these crooks know how they feel. What they did was atrocious, and appalling. Don't come whining that people are being mean and not accepting your apology. Now I'm not saying my shit don't stink, I did some dumb things in my youth, but never to this magnitude. What these people did to the city, the shop owners, the people watching disgusted, will stick with them for a very long time. I don't think that it's fair that after a week they want people to feel sorry for them. You made your bed, now lay in it.

And finally, Vancouver is not the latte sipping, hippie drumming, peaceful place that it thinks it is. It has a dark side. Don't get me wrong, I like Vancouver (the city, NOT the hockey team). I do. But it has is it's fair share of problems. Drug addicts, crooks, gangs, douchbags and lowlifes. It seems that when there is a celebration in that city, there is always people there to stir shit. For no reason other than to take away a good time from someone else. A problem that comes with being a port city I guess. Of course every city has it's problems. But after Calgary, Edmonton and Ottawa lost their Stanley Cup finals in the last 10 years. There were no riots. Mayor Robertson did shit all in preparing for this game. "Hey everyone, lets have a street party of over 100,00 people and have a only handful of cops nearby". "Nothing will go wrong, we're Vancouver after all." If I have one message of Gregor, it would be this. The next time you have an extremely large crowd, with emotions and booze running rampant, and a scar from the last time it happened, you might want to spend more money on police presence than on giant screens. Can't really point the finger in one direction on this one, too many variables, but I think they city should apologize too. For being ill prepared and foolish. It's kinda like the woman that gets beaten from her man, but she keeps saying "oh, he loves me though, you don't know him."

I would like to finish this post with a shout out to the brave men and women who took upon themselves to face an unruly crowd of thousands to defend their city. You guys deserve medals. Seriously.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Peacocks and Peanut Butter Sandwiches

This is a complete 180 of my last blog.

So, it was Sunday today and Melissa was working until 1:30. The overpaid liars at weather headquarters actually came through for us. Clear skies and a perfect 22 degrees Celsius.

The boy woke me up at 7:30, we went downstairs and started the day. I had a sweet plan of taking him to Beacon Hill Park today. I was packing a picnic lunch to bring. Peanut butter sandwiches, blueberries, and watermelon. They have a rockin' playground, a petting zoo, mini putt, and a water park. There's also resident peacocks that live at the zoo, but roam the park. If you've never heard of Beacon Hill Park, here ya go: I brought my video camera to capture the day, and anything that might happen. So we venture through the park around 10am. it has windy paths that wrap around ponds filled with multiple species of birds. My son LOVES birds. Usual crows and the occasional shithawk, ducks, geese, a blue heron, and peacocks. He runs around the paths saying hi to all the birds. After a close and intimate encounter with a squirrel, and beating a tree with a stick, he sees the playground through the brush. Bolts for it. I've never seen a playground so busy before in my life. I almost thought for a second that if I so much as closed my eyes if I sneezed, I could lose sight of my kid.

He climbed, scaled, ran, swung, jumped, laughed, and played. It was so great to see him behaving well around other kids. That twatty grandmother wasn't there. There was a scary moment when the little one ran into the path of some bigger kids on the swing. He ran right through the first one's swing, narrowly missing. At this point I'm diving and reaching for him in what seemed like slow motion. I managed to get a hand on his shoulder just enough to clear him of the second swinger. He fell into the woodchips, but that's far better that being smoked in the back by someone on a swing. A fellow dad there saw my actions and said "Nice reflexes." We left the playground to go have lunch, but Dad needed to take a wizz. For some bizarre reason, my son wanted to go and grab the rim of the urinal. Looking down at the wall toilet next to me that looked more like a beard, and him walking out with hands extended, I screamed DON'T TOUCH!!!! Luckily he didn't. I was not prepared to deal with pube hands. We found a nice shady spot under a gary oak and unpacked our lunch. We sat there peacefully eating and taking in the scenery. There were a couple peacocks in the trees behind us making their oddly human-like sounds. We completed a secondary round of the playground after lunch. The boy had no interest in the water park, and was showing signs of fatigue. I carried him home and put him down for a nap.

This is what I captured.

It was a perfect day. It was one of those days that make the rough ones go away. I often gripe about the perils of parenthood, but you can't have your ying without your yang.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Parenting 101

We drive on parkways, yet we park on driveways. This seems like an easier conundrum to solve than that of a 2yr olds mind.

I have a son who is in his 2nd year of life and acts like it to a tee. I know, they all go through the terrible two's right? They do, but I think mine seems to be taking it to the extreme. He's not talking yet, really. I don't compare him with other kids, but if you were to compare him to other kids, he would seem a little behind. He says "daddy", "mo". (That's what he calls mommy) Other words include, "hi", "bye", "take", and as of late "shit". That last one may be my fault. We are wanting to get him started on potty training, but it's impossible when he can't tell us when he's gotta go, or even care when he's got a Buick in his pants. My son could happily sit in a diaper that has 2lbs of piss and a few Lincoln logs in it, and not so much as wince. So, between his love for soiled pants, and a communication breakdown, it's an impossible feat.

I know, I know, he'll be talking and sitting on the throne in no time. I hear this from lots of parents. All of whom have kids doing this already. I take the lad to a toddler hang out place every Tuesday and sometimes Monday morning. Kind of a father-son thing I do. We've been going for over a year now, and I've gotten to know a lot of parents there, and their kids. My son is very needy. I mean, real separation issues. I can't even go take a piss without him losing his shit. So, one day, I have to use the can at toddler-time (something I avoid doing like the plague). I tell the facilitator that I'm doing this, and that the little one might throw a fit. She says, "Well, have you tried telling him that you're going?" She's a great lady, but had no idea that my son's understanding of time and space is a little different than most. So off I go. No sooner that I close the door to the bathroom do I hear,


Yup, he noticed I left.

It was last summer when his mother and I were addressing our concerns for his lack of speech, when I said "He'll be yakking up a storm by the end of summer, you watch. Didn't happen. So I go back to what I was saying earlier about not comparing my kid to other kids. I used to do that a lot. I didn't want to, I just kinda did. I have since matured as a father, and no longer do that. I think the point of this post, is just to express my frustration with his lack of speech, and our progress in parenting because of it. Something as simple as asking him if he needs to go poop, and him responding with a nod or "uh-huh" would be amazing. Our time will come. I take comfort in the fact that he spends a lot of time thinking. I can see it in his eyes when he's playing in his room, or sitting on the couch, and outside playing. He has this pensive look to him. I heard that this kind of behavior at his age usually means they will become very intelligent later in life.

That doesn't mean that he's always like that. He throws tantrums that remind me of Animal from the muppets going ape shit. I've often referred to his autistic-like spasms like a "Chimpanzee on cocaine". He likes to hit, claw, scratch, throw shit. He threw a wooden block in my face just the other day. Today at the park, some granny was there with her grandkids, and she just had to bring this big ass ball with her. My son, or course being 2, thinks everything is his. He went right over to it and picked it up. Happiest kid at the park. After 10 or so minutes playing with, the kid that it belonged to wanted it back. So, his grandma came over to get it. She told me that they were leaving the park, and needed it back. I knew this was going to end badly. So, pointlessly asking my son to give it back, he shockingly didn't give it back. She expressed again that they were leaving, and needed it. So, I did the horrible thing of taking it out of my sons hands and handed it to her. (Enter sound effect of epic explosion here) He screamed and dropped to the ground. Consoling him was no good, because he wanted me dead, so I let him lay down on the wood chip playground floor. Wood chips covered his tear soaked face, in his mouth, dirt on his clothes, and still not wanting dear 'ol dad. Guess where the blame finger was pointed? At this stupid old bitch who brought a ball to the park. Who the fuck does she thinks
is bringing fancy bouncy balls to the park? Doesn't she know what a shit storm she was going to create? I calmed down and let it go. It wasn't her fault, my son needs to learn to share. He finally calms down, and I convince him to go down the slide a few times. To my surprise, guess who hasn't left the park like she said she was? Lying fucking twat and her shitty ass grand kids. Not only did they NOT leave the park, they were playing with that ball, right in front of my son. The look on his face was devastating. I have never wanted to pull out a knife and stab a ball as much as I did at that moment. I didn't have a knife though. They'll get what's coming to them.

Chicken pox and diarrhea.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

My Better Is Better

This is the quote that has had me going tobacco free for the past 6 days.

That's right, I've said goodbye to cigarettes after 17 years. I had mentioned earlier in my blog about the 10k run that I had recently done, if I would continue on with my unhealthy ways. It would appear that I am not. It was Monday May the 9th, 2011 where I had what alcoholics call "a moment of clarity". It was late at night, around 11 or so, and I was was on my stoop with a smoke and beer in hand. I was listening to Raphael Saadiq on the ipod when it hit me. What the fuck am I doing? I looked at the cigarette and asked it again. "What the fuck am I doing?" I have a family, a little boy, and a lovely lady who needs me. I'm wasting countless dollars on a poison that I choose to ingest, only to discard the remnants of it in a stinky can. I looked at it as if that's what I think of my family, that can. So I said that's it!

Now let's rewind my past a little bit to tell you of my failed attempts before. I had tried to make an attempt about 6 years ago. It was the most feeble of attempts because I did not have the capacities to make it work. I was quitting for the wrong reasons. I quit in the morning, and by the end of my 8 hour shift, I had bought a new pack and was sucking them back like they gave me super powers. This was the last attempt for a few years. Now just last September, I was needing to get a new vehicle. My beloved 4Runner was dying, too many problems to fix, and it was time to move forward and get a new one. After some number crunching, I concluded that the only way I could afford a new truck, was to quit smoking. Smokes here in B.C. cost about $8-10 a pack. I was a pack-a-day smoker, you do the math. A friend of mine had told me of a book he read that helped him quit smoking. I was interested, so I went down to Chapters and picked the book up. It's called "Allan Carr's Easy Way To Quit Smoking." This book had been acclaimed by hundreds of people. The funny thing about it is, Allen wants you to keep smoking throughout the book. At the end, that's when you light your last smoke, say some line, and then poof, you're a non-smoker. Well, I chickened out just before that last part and put the book down. When I did find a new truck, and was ready to buy it, I had what I thought was my last smoke. I lasted 4 days. It wasn't even a true 4 days because I had a couple of smokes in between. So now I had huge truck payments and was still smoking.

So back to Monday night. This feeling that I had towards my smoking was unlike anything I have ever felt before. I was bound and determined to do it. With a combination of what Allen Carr had said, to what I needed to do for my family and for my health, I was ready. I feared that when my son was older, that his role model would be someone else, like an athlete or musician. I want to be his role model. I want him to be able to look up to me, and be proud of me. My own father was a chain smoker extraordinaire. He's in his 60's now, with COPD. I don't want to be in that position, looking back having that regret. So, I had 3 beers left and 3 cigarettes. I told myself, 1 smoke for every beer, and when it's gone, then I'll go to bed and wake up a non smoker. I have done it! I'm a non-smoker, and now feel more bound and determined to do this more than I ever. My family deserves it, and so do I. I now plan to exercise regularly, and workout religiously. Because my better is better. It doesn't have to be better than anyone else's better. It just has to be better than my better.

(I know it's from a Nike commercial, but it's a fucking awesome saying.) (I don't actually own any Nike sporting equipment or clothing.) (No, wait, that's a lie. I have a couple Nike golf balls.)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Moon Oil

So, about that picture of the squirrel on the moon.

It's true. People can drive, but they can't use their brain for anything else. The day that my pupil almost ran over a squirrel, and said that they fucking lay EGGS. Well,...Let me tell you, I thought that it could not be topped. Topped it was.

As well as in the car, I teach in the classroom. And just like in the car, the class is also a place for amazing things to be said. So there's a session where we talk about driving vs. the environment. One of my favorite parts of it, is the discussion on the future of driving. I love to explain to them the importance of understanding fossil fuels, and how we are running out of them. Kids these days don't seem to get that. A girl in this one such class reconfirmed my point. To my amazement, and to everyone's disbelief. And I quote: "But they're not really running out of oil, like, Obama or someone is like going to the moon to get oil."

Moon Oil. "Dinosaurs on the moon?" I replied. I couldn't not say something. I didn't want to make her feel any more stupid than she sounded, so I said something like, "I'll be sure to Google that." What the Hell are these kids learning in school these days? Soon after I had this thought, a student had to tell her that oil comes from dead dinosaurs, and that there couldn't be oil on the moon. I know who's not passing the course.

So the picture is a creation of another instructor and myself laughing about this. Moon Squirrel Oil Eggs.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Raphael Saadiq

Do yourself a favor. Go out and get these 2 albums. Or stay in, I don't care. "The Way I See It" or "Stone Rollin'" by Raphael Saadiq. Real music is making a comeback.

My brother sends me new music on a regular basis. I try to do the same. Two Christmas's ago, he got me XM radio as a present. If you have it you know what I mean when I say that it's the gift that keeps on giving. These last few weeks I've been listening a lot to the 70's channel. "70's on 7". It it's been nice listening to some old music that for whatever reason, hasn't really been on my playlists. So this weekend, my brother sends me 2 tracks from a group he heard at Coachella. He was also is very adamant that I proceed to download and listen to it right away. So I do. At first I didn't really get a good listen, as the little one was crying upstairs. But I listened to it again, and wow! It blew my head off. It's a recreation of the sounds of the 60's and 70's, Soul and R&B. This album is truly something right out of Mo-Town, and it's hard to believe that it's from this time. It reminds me of Marvin Gaye, or Stevie Wonder. It's quite a change from his previous work in Tony Tony Tone, and Lucy Pearl. Typical R&B that came out of the 90's. But now after some years producing and working on songs with other artists, he answers to his calling. This dude is definitely in the wrong era, but we should all be glad that he's not.

The first album (The Way I See It) was made in 2008, and then now there's (Stone Rollin') that came out this year. What makes these albums so incredible is how genuine it is. Here's a bunch of musicians that really jam together, in the studio, making good sounds and not worrying about the production. Just making cool tunes for people of all ages to groove too. Even the fact that they use the instruments from that era, it gives it that full soul. It's just so fresh! I haven't heard something like this in a long time. I have high hopes for the future of music, if people like Raphael and his band are putting these sweet sounds out there.

This is the video for the song 100 Yard Dash from "The Way I See It"

Sunday, 1 May 2011


This year was the 22nd annual Times Colonist marathon. It was my 2nd.

Last year, my boss had made a suggestion to everyone that we should enter as a team for the run. Now let me give you a brief breakdown of my oh so healthy lifestyle.

I don't run. Infact, I don't even exercise. I used to years ago, but it was more of a weight resistance routine, rather than a cardio one. I smoke, close to a pack a day. ( I know, I know.) I drink beer on a regular basis, and I sit in a car all day for work. The most exercise I see, is chasing my 2yr old around the house, and taking the occasional walk downtown. I'm on the computer a lot.

So, as I was saying, the big cheese was asking if anyone was interested. I, thinking of the time I ran at the 24hr relay when I was 20 and shitfaced on rye, said sure! So I bought a pair of running shoes, some track pants (chickenlegs) and said I was going to train for it! Yessir, I was bound and determined to train and run passed them all at the 10K. Well, months came and went, race day came, and I hadn't trained so much as wiggling my toes. Making matters worse, Melissa couldn't get her shift covered, so we had no one to look after the offspring. To give your word means a lot to me, so I got up early, strapped on my runners, put the lad in the mountain buggy and head out the door. I was supposed to meet up with everybody at a certain spot, but nobody was there. With the race starting in 15 mins, I had no choice but to make my way down to the starting line and get ready. There's something to be said about standing in the middle of 13,000 people when they all start running. You run.

I ran, and I ran and I moved my nonathletic body down the road. The legs burned, the feet blistered and my brain was shouting "You Fool!!!!" My ipod was keeping me going with the inspiring tunes, the boy was well behaved in the stroller, the sun was out, and I was going to finish that race. I crossed the finished line at 1hr and 10mins. Now, keeping in mind my fitness status, I would have to say that, for someone who never trained, had a smoke with his coffee before the race, I can't believe I did it. I felt so incredible! My legs were on fire, my heart was racing, I was nipples hurt? Now if you've ever run long distances, you know what I'm referring too. I loved this feeling so much, that I vowed to run all the time, and do it again the following year.

It is now the following year, and yes, I ran the 10K again. Did I keep my vow to run all the time, and get healthy and quit smoking, and train for the next 10K? No. In fact, this morning before the run I had 3 cigarettes. I had the boy with me this morning, mom, was at work. I made up a killer playlist, had my stroller all set with snacks and water for him, water for me. I had run into my boss on the way to the starting area. It was kind of cool to start the race with someone you know, rather than be in the middle of a place that you feel you have no purpose being there whatsoever. The gun went off and off we went. Nothing gets you fired up like blasting the hard rock on the ol' ipodicus. (what I refer to my ipod as) I ran better, smoother, smarter than I ever have. I ran the first half before I needed to take a walking break because my feet had fallen asleep. That's right, asleep. Apparently this happens to some people. Shoes too tight, bad arches, etc. I didn't think I would be able to finish, I thought, well, I tried. No. This couldn't be it, stopping at 5 and a half kilometers. Scarface's "Born Killer" wasn't doing it, so I changed the song to "Fire it up" by Thousand Foot Krutch and started running again. I bolted up hills, was ziggng, and zagging, passing people that had passed me, and ripped through the finish line. I had done it, all while pushing a stroller with a kid who was a year older than the last time. My time was 1hr 3mins. I beat my old time by 7mins! Hey that might not seem like a lot to a lot of people, but to me it was huge. Not only had I not trained, I still smoked just as much and exercised less. I did it.

Now, the question remains. Will I continue on my unhealthy ways, or will I actually change?

This picture is from last year. I stole it from the company that takes these shots. I wasn't about to pay for it. Not with crazy legs there almost beating me. I'm not that good at photoshop.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Goin' Fishin'

This Canada long weekend I'll be camping outside Qualicum Beach and fishing for 3 days with my best buds. So I wanted to get stuff ready early as it's the busiest weekend in the summer. I don't own a boat for fishing, so I'll need to rent or borrow one. A 10-12ft aluminum boat. I live on island with major fishing taking place on the ocean and in the hundreds of lakes that make up Vancouver Island. Thinking it would be easy getting a boat right? WRONG! There's a reason why we're all on an island because we know shit all about boats. I called every fishing, and sporting place that I could in town and in surronding areas. Not only do they not rent boats, but they know of no one that would either. I can however rent a kayak, a canoe, a 26ft salmon fishing boat, but I can't rent a small aluminum fishing boat.

How does everyone, know nothing about this subject? I can buy one, but I have nowhere to store it. My kingdom for a fucking boat.

Squirrel Eggs

There are times in life when someone tells you something so incredibly amazing that you have to hold back from smashing your head into a window.

It was a normal day at work, during a normal routine, when my pupil almost ran over a grey squirrel. Big whoop, these little shits are always playing frogger with my car. But she panics and hits the breaks. "eeeeek!" she announces. I remind her to check the mirror, and ask if it was worth it to hit the rodent only to get crashed into. A look to the ceiling tells me she remembers that this information might have been mentioned in class. As a long time listener to CFAX 1040, I have listened to many intellectual and informative talks about just about any subject you can think of. One of them being a story about the grey and black squirrels in the region. I learned that grey squirrels take up most of the population yet are not indigenous to the area, and in fact should be destroyed as they have a negative impact.

So I add to my instruction that perhaps it may have been better to just hit the animal as opposed to being slammed into by that f250 behind us. This is when the student became the teacher. "Ohh, I've heard of these squirrels." "They're bad because the grey squirrels eat the eggs of the black squirrels."
After a brief pause, with a cocked eyebrow and a slight twist of the head, I replied. "Ummm, I'm pretty sure Squirrels are mammals." I expected a response like "oh, right" or "oh, ahaha, I'm so dumb." But instead my brain was stymied once more. I got a very unsure yet assertive "No".

A longer pause. "Soooo, we're going to make the next right turn." I didn't bring it up again, I couldn't. I couldn't bring myself to correct her. Would you like to know why? It's because how could I be so selfish to keep that to myself? How could I take that moment away from the next person that dares bring up the topic of grey squirrels around this person. I'm not that mean.


There once was a man from Nantukit. I'm sure there was.

Blogging? Do I have it in me? Keep reading and you tell me. Facebook, Youtube, all big parts of my daily internet routine. Wimp, and Sportsnet along with the local newspaper complete the round. Melissa is and has been an avid blogger for many years, and I never have ever thought to start my own. Until now. I find myself doing my usual interweb visits, and saw a blog that got me thinking. It wasn't a blog about starting a new blog. It wasn't a blog that was about something that I feel passionate about. It was just a blog. Like any blog you might stumble across, like bacon lovers to parenting, to underwater basketweaving. But it was the moment where I thought.....ima gonna try! So here goes. My vision for this blog, is to just simply post anything and everything that I encounter, experince, and persue in my life. If this means sharing with you a moment that happened with my 2yr old son. Or maybe a story about what happened at work. Maybe I'll even share with you about the "Ghost Pepper" chilli I ate and the experience of expelling it from the body the next day. I don't know what's going to happen, but I'm 30 something, and I've got some stuff to say.