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.