Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Post of the Year.

Goodbye, 2011.

- I had thought of doing a year-end recap, but let's face it - I'd probably just venture off on some tangent, forget the point I was trying to make, and just resort to dick jokes. (Did you hear the one about the Dairy Guy?)

 But I would like to say thanks to everyone who stops by here - it always helps to have an audience.

Be Safe in the last moments of 2011, and I'll see you all in 2012.


Friday, December 30, 2011


Today is my Oldest Brother's Birthday.

He would have been 44.

Sonny (his name was Roy, but everyone called him Sonny) died when he was 27 at St.Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, B.C. of Aids-related pneumonia. The Twin and I were each holding his hand when he left this earth.

He was a huge outdoorsman - hunting, fishing, camping - he did it all - even his work (construction) had him outside for most of the year. Sonny was the picture of the average Canadian Redneck: Rock Music, Work Boots, and kicking ass. He was famous in the small town we lived in for fighting - I still tell a story to this day of he and I fighting at home and he picked me up over his head and threw me down a flight of stairs. He then walked down, picked me up again and threw me down the next flight, too. (You know, I can't recall what the fight was about. Possible brain damage, maybe?) But he was also cool enough to me that I would get into High-School parties when I was in Junior High just because he was my brother. His friends called me "Little Roy" because they said he and I looked more alike than the Twin and I do.

Sonny was also Gay.

His being gay never bothered me. It never came out until after we moved out of the small northern town and to Vancouver Island. Nothing was ever really said, but when your brother moves 5 times in 3 years because of work and every time he moves he has the same roommate, you wonder. And when you and your Twin go to visit his new apartment after one of the moves and there's only one bedroom, you stop wondering. On the way out to the car, the Twin and I discussed it like this:

Me: "Did you notice when he showed us around that there was only one bedroom and it only had one bed?"
Twin: "Yeah."
Me: "Does that bother you?"
Twin: "Nope - does it bother you?"
Me: "Nope."
Twin: "Let's go get something to eat."

And nothing else was ever said. It didn't have to be.

He was also a real family-type guy. Sonny was the first one up on Christmas morning (even when he was 18 -19) and would take time out from his work to take on projects like leveling and repairing my Grandparents foundation ( I helped with that one) and building my Parents storage shed. He loved family events and just having everyone together.

I think that's why I miss him a lot this year. Normally the passing of these occasions don't bother me, but for some reason this year just brought some things to mind:

He never got to see my wedding, or the Twin's.
He never got to visit my first house.
He never got to meet Zack and watch him at Karate, or to see Tristan score his first goal in Hockey.
He never got to see the Boys first days at school. Or birthdays. Or Christmases.
He never got to see Aiden and Hannah (the Twin's kids) and enjoy those moments in their lives.

He would have loved all that.

The picture on the right is of the 9th panel at the Vancouver Aids Memorial - go 11 rows down and right in the middle is his name. I went there six years ago and did a bunch of charcoal rubs and framed them for members of my family to mark the 10th Anniversary of his death. I ran by the memorial when I completed the Vancouver Half Marathon. It comforts me to know that there is a spot out there that his name will be forever etched.

Just like it is in my heart.

I miss ya Sonny.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Of Rice & Men.

This is what the fuss is about?

I'm not much of a chef (outside of Bar-B-Que season) but I'd like to try making Risotto.

The Wife watches a lot of cooking shows (Top Chef, Iron Chef, Chopped, The Next Food Network something) and if there's one thing I've picked up in my moments of half-watching these shows while on the laptop, it's that risotto is either the most difficult dish ever created or so fucking easy that if you mess it up it shows everyone else in existence that it was foolish to let you play near the stove.

I'm having a hard time figuring it out.

See, On Hell's Kitchen when some poor schmoe brings Gorden Ramsey a risotto that is anything less than perfect he reacts like you kicked him in the balls and called his mother a slut. He berates and belittles the offending chef so much about fucking up the risotto that it's like me getting mad at the Kids for improperly wiping their ass.

Me: "How do you mess up wiping your ass?!? What were you thinking?"
Kid: "I did my best Dad - I really tried!"
Me: "So then why is it all over the wall? Let's get your brother in here and see if he can do better!"

However, when you;re watching some competitive cooking show like Chopped or Top Chef, and some guy attempts to make risotto in under 30 minutes, other contestants who are in the cooking business themselves shake their heads at this maverick genius for even attempting it, and award him(or her) mad props if they pull it off.

So like I said - it's either easy-peasy simple or harder than I could possibly imagine.

So what's it gunna be, Risotto?
You and me, man-o et rice-o, at the flagpole stove after school?

I'll kick your ass.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


The writing's small, but it's there.

Today, with a measly 4 mile run, I broke the 3000 mile barrier on my Nike+. For a technically-obsessed, love-the-numbers-guy like me, it's a big deal.

(For those of you who have a Garmin, the Nike+ is what runners whose wives won't let them spend $400 on a watch wear.)

I'm feeling a mixture of elation and disappointment.

I'm totally thrilled to hit the milestone, but I also realize that if I had been able to keep my mileage the same as the previous two years, I'd have smashed through ages ago. (I started tracking in September 2009.) There was a whole month this summer where I didn't run once.

(For those of you who don't run, some of  us have Runner's Guilt - we feel guilty when we don't run, don't run far enough, don't run fast enough, see other people running when we're not, etc...)

I'm going to focus on the positives: I ran well, it felt good, and I could almost feel the Holiday Bulge starting to work off my gut. 

My one critique of Nike, though: when I crossed the 1000 mile marker and logged in, there was much fanfare - same at 2000 miles. Today? Nothing. Just a reminder that I need to run 105 more miles to reach the next "level". What's the next level, Nike? Nirvana? Enlightenment? Will I be able to juggle while running a 7-minute mile? Throw me a bone, here.

I kind of feel like a hamster on a wheel.

Sure, it's a totally buff hamster with sweet legs, but a hamster nonetheless.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


My Underwear - Not My Abs.
Of all the gifts I receive at Christmas, there is one that is perpetually my favorite.

New Underwear.

Every year I get a couple new packs of underwear in my stocking - it's not glamorous, but it's tradition. As soon as the presents are opened and the kids are settled down, I have my shower and slip into a fresh, new pair.

I'd try to describe the sensation of sliding on fresh underwear, but it's actually indescribable - the best I can say is that it's below that "first time having sex" and above "slipping into cool, crisp bedsheets".

I'm a boxer brief fan, and for those of you who don't rock that style - you should. Something about the extra length and tightness of the legs prevents the dreaded Underwear Creep that regular boxers or briefs succumb to, and they're styled to make sure everything stays snug and together. And that's a good thing -  'cause when I'm running on the treadmill, the road, or down an aisle at work, the last thing I need to feel is the awkward sensation of my bits and pieces slapping against my leg.

(Every woman who's ever worn a thong is rolling her eyes at my complaint of Underwear Creep)

Unfortunately, the New Underwear Sensation (Great name for a band, eh?) only lasts for the week after Christmas - after that all the packs are empty and the briefs have entered the regular rotation in the laundry - it's a sad, sad, day.

I think that if I won the lottery my eccentric splurge (You know you'd have one) wouldn't be something crazy like collecting Maseratis or juggling Faberge eggs. No, no - mine would be something much simpler:

Fresh, never-worn boxer briefs every single day.

I know - I need help.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Boxing Day Timeline.

  • 4:00am - Alarm goes off. Didn't even know there was a 4am. I know there's the 4am when I'm drinking, and the Wife assures me this is the same 4am as that one, but I don't believe her - it feels waaaay different. (Having drank a bunch of Gin last night didn't help.)
  • 4:30am  - After getting the kids up and making coffee, we hook up with the Sidekick for our pilgrimage to the Future Shop in Courtenay. The Sidekick brings me coffee, so I let him in the car instead of forcing him to run behind.
  • 5:15am - We arrive in Courtenay, and the Sidekick and I jump out of the car and get in the ever-growing lineup while the Wife finds a spot to park the car. 
  • 5:20am - The Sidekick and I have already charmed everyone within a 15 meter radius with our witty banter and irrepressible charm. I'm not kidding, when we get together, we are a living comedy/one-liner/pop-culture-reference duo. If you doubt my words, just listen for yourself.
  • 5:59am - The coffee runs out. This is unacceptable, and I start looking for someone to stab. I hold back for the sake of the kids, and because I might lose my place in line.
  • 6:00am - Sensing trouble in the air, Future Shop conveniently opens their doors. Having been smart and pre-ordered the camera package I came for, I safely stroll into the store, knowing that I can browse at my convenience.
  • 6:25am - The chaos in the store prevents any real form of shopping - I swear I saw a lady clutching an iPad box like it was her firstborn. (Assuming she had a firstborn and had left/traded them for the iPad.) When I couldn't look at a display because the lineup from the cash registers was too long and no one would move, I decide it's time to go.
  • 6:40am - I make my way to the camera department and get my package that's saved for me. When I inform the sales lady I want to pay with a mixture of Cash, Gift Cards, and Debit, she regretfully informs me that she can't take my payment in her department. After seeing my look of disappointment and realizing that I was the incredibly funny guy in the lineup outside, she takes all my purchases to a cashier, makes sure they have them, and tells me I'll only be in this line for 5 minutes.
  • 6:46am - I exit the store will all my purchases (Who says being charming doesn't pay off?)
  • 6:47am - I meet the Wife and Kids outside the store - they had already got the game The Boy wanted, and we only had to wait for the Sidekick for another couple of minutes. I ridicule his purchase of a tripod, calling it  "incredibly gay" - secretly I'm kinda envious - I just bought a camera, after all, and a tripod would be kinda sweet.
  • 7:19am - After drving around Courtenay for 20 minutes, we realize that there's no real breakfast - type restaurants open at this time of the morning. My dreams of Eggs Benedict die as we pull into McDonalds. Of course, the kids are thrilled.
  • 7:52am - We leave McDonalds, having experianced the most sub-par coffee in history. (McCafe? Really? It's the same swill from when I worked at the Arches.)
  • 8:46am - We make it back home and the Sidekick departs. After spending the drive in the backseat with the Kids, he probably needs the rest.
  • 9:00am - After unloading the car, we make a pact that every family memeber will leave every other member alone with their purchases for at least an hour - the kids don't really hear me as the already have their 3Ds's turned on and have escaped into Marioland.
  • 10:15am - We decide that since it's the Youngest Boy's birthday, we'll all take a family nap for a couple of hours - the house will be full of family later, so we better get rest.
  • 10:25am - As I drift off into sweet comerce-induced slumber, the doorbell rings. My neighbor drops off chocolates for the kids and wants to chat. I groggily mumble pleasantries and stagger back to bed after closing the door.
  • 12:30pm - The alarm goes off and I mistakenly think it's the 27th.
  • 12:35pm - The family gets up, coffee is made, and showers are had. (Forgoing showers at 4am  for the sake of commercial gain? Yeah, I did that.)
  • 1:00pm - After two cups of coffee, I'm feeling human again. The Wife says she's going to start baking the Boy's birthday cake, and I'm banished from being anywhere near the kitchen. I retreat to play NHL12 with the Boy. (For the record - during our game the Blackhawks were thoroughly crushed.)
  • 2:00pm - I decide to start writing.
  • 2:34pm - The smell of cake permeates the house, and I'm having trouble focusing.

And so far, that's it.

I can't complain at all - it's been a good day, the Kids have been great, and once the madness of the Birthday Party is over and done with, it's smooth sailing until New Years.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Eve of Christmas.

'Twas the day before Christmas,
And I am at work.
I only have to be here until 6,
So I'll try not to be a jerk.

I don't want to be here right now,
It's too busy to think,
But once it starts to slow down,
We get together and drink.

A beer or two for Christmas cheer,
And to chase the blues away.
The shopping's done, the door is locked,
And we're closed on Christmas Day.

Afterwards I'll go home,
To my Kids and Wife,
If I've had more than two beer,
She'll threaten me with a knife.

No wait, that's not true,
(Just in case she reads this)
I'll go home to a hero's welcome,
And probably a passionate kiss.

But that luxury is miles away,
As I still have 4 hours left
And it's going to be at least 2 more,
Before that first beer is heft.

But my tale is over,
For you who read this blog.
I'll probably take tomorrow off,
Due to overdose of Nogg.

I say it'll be Nogg
But it's a lie and a sin.
The reason that I stated that,
Was nothing rhymes with Gin.

I truly have to go now,
I'd love to stay, but can't.
I appreciate you reading this,
And listening to me rant.

Merry Christmas, people.


Friday, December 23, 2011

A Million Little Pieces.

I don't remember Lego being such a bitch.

When I was playing with Lego as a child, it wasn't as specialized as it is today. I'm pretty sure all we had were 6 different pieces (9 if you included the door, window, and wheel accessories) to fulfill our imagination. We made things like houses, towers, houses with wheels, towers with doors, bricks with windows - the possibilities were endless, right?

I've just spent most of the morning helping the Oldest Boy assemble one of his Birthday presents - the Lego Transformer pictured to the right. He was having some issues (one of them being that his brother was "helping" him) so I stepped in to see if I could lend a hand.

Now, contrary to what some people think and this blog probably shows, I'm not retarded. I can build with Lego. Sure, Starscream (the Transformer we were assembling) did start to look like a brick at times, and I did ask where the square green piece for the lawn was, but we did eventually get him put together. I didn't even phone the helpline - so there.

The thing is, to construct these intricate toys, you have to have the proper piece in the proper place in the proper order. I don't know if you've ever seen a 9 year old's organizational plan when it comes to Lego, but it pretty much involves just ripping open the bags and dumping the pieces on the floor. (This kills the neat freak in me to no end, but that's another post.) 99% of the assembly time is spent looking for a specific piece, and only finding it once you've moved some furniture and checked each kid's mouth to make sure they haven't swallowed anything.

After the marathon session of robotic construction I would equate the soreness of my back to someone who has spent 2 hours wrapping Christmas gifts (hence my preference for gift bags.) - and now I get to go to work, so that should help things in that department. (Sarcasm detected!)

The Boy was happy with the results, so it's worth the effort.

One problem. He asked if tomorrow we could build this:

See all those pieces? The instructions look like the builders manual to the Space Shuttle.

God help me.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Leave the Dog Behind.

We went to the movies tonight.

Don't kid yourself and think that this was some romantic excursion for the Wife and I - those are few and far between. (It goes with having kids, trust me.) This was a family excursion/treat for the Boys, and kind of a treat for me as well.

We went and saw Tintin.

I started reading the Tintin graphic novels when I was around 6-7 years old. Sure, they spoke kinda funny (I think it was because of the translation from French) but any story where the hero is a boy who flies planes, shoots guns, and outwits every adult around was right up my alley. Tintin kicked ass and was able to pull it off while wearing short pants and a fucked up hairdo.

I was glad for the chance to pass the story along to the boys via the movie. The clincher to going was the fact that our theatre was actually showing it in 3D - it's the first time I've ever seen a 3D movie in this town (Welcome to Hicksville, Canada - population: Us), and the Boys had never seen one at all. The 2-for-1 of childhood story and modern technology was to hard to resist.

First things first - Computer generated movies have moved to that creepy-real point. People look so close to being live without actually being live that it actually takes me out of the movie just a little bit. If I ever catch myself checkin' out the rack or admiring the curves on a computer generated woman, I'm just going to up and leave the theatre.

But the movie was great, the 3D was cool, and the overall experience was worth the financial pillaging my wallet took at the register. (I won't bore you with the details, but I might as well just have handed over one of the kids and call it even.)

If you have the chance, check it out - be it 2D or 3D, that little Belgian kid kicks ass,

And for the record, I'm damn sure I could pull off that hairdo if I wanted to.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I Feel: The Waiting Room Edition.

- That taking my Mother to Victoria for Doctor Appointments (3.5 hour drive each way) makes for a loooong day.

- That my Mother's agile mind and sharp verbal wit (and ability to mock everyone we pass) amaze me.

- That I'm embarrassed about some of my music (around Mom at least) - the Kings of Leon were ok, but as soon as "Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry came on, I changed Cd's.

- That Doctor's waiting rooms are what happen when a library, bus station, and an old folks home get together and have a dirty, dirty, three-way.

- That since I'm sitting in the waiting room right now, the previous statement kinda creeps me out.

- That it says a lot about me that my phone doesn't try to Autocorrect "Optimus Prime" or "Megatron" when texting Birthday/ Christmas ideas for the Boys.

- That you know technology has taken over when the lady doing crosswords in the paper is the "eccentric standout" in the waiting room. Isn't there an app for that, lady?

- That I'm not 100% sure, but it looks like that issue of Good Housekeeping on the table in here came out the same month I was born.

- That there's something hot about nurse's scrubs - I can't put my finger on it, but I'm willing to try..

- That the "place sample here" cupboard in the waiting room bathroom makes me feel like I should be doing something more productive than peeing.

- That the layer of dust on the waiting room plants makes me wonder how often the Doctor washes his hands. You can't keep fake plants clean and I trust you with my Mom?

- That, with the addition of me and the 20-something woman across the waiting room, the average age in here now 173 years old.

.... but not anymore - she's done and I'm outta here. Farewell, waiting room - I'll leave that magazine for the next generation.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Me vs Christmas.

Today is the day.

With this being my only day off work before Christmas, today is my one chance to wrap up all my shopping. It's not like I have a ton to do - the Wife has taken care of the kids and her family - so I just have to get her stuff, some things for my side of the family, and, of course, The Sidekick.

I could have taken care of some of these things earlier, but I chose not to. When it comes to Christmas shopping, I have one theory:
  • Go with your first instinct - if you leave it until the last minute, then you don't have any time to second guess yourself.
My only addendum would be to make use of gift-wrapping services whenever possible. You know those people who get a glass of wine and plop down in front of It's a Wonderful Life and wrap presents? That's not me. My wrapping skills are so sub-par that the addition of alcohol would only lead to even bigger disasters - seriously, I'm that bad.
Picture this - but not as good.

I'm the guy who thinks gift bags with that crinkly paper on top is the greatest thing ever - no fuss, no muss, and the double use of pulp products (paper + bag) keep the forestry industry rolling. And the recipient can even reuse the bag if they so desire - it's like another gift in itself, right?

So after I wrap this up, I'm free and clear to enjoy the holiday -and all the craziness that goes along with it. Thank God for gin and coffee. (Not mixed together.)

So I'm off to brave the trenches of retail hell in a small town - where the parking is minimal, the lines are long, and the service is surly.

Wish me luck.


Monday, December 19, 2011


Not My Legs


That's a big fucking number.

But let's break it down:
  • 606,000 steps /2000 steps to a mile (Approx) = 303 miles.
  • 303 miles /12 weeks = 25.25 miles a week.
  • 25.25 miles a week / 4 days = 6.31 miles a session.
Subtract the 13.1 miles for the Half Marathon I'll be running at the end of it, and the numbers look even smaller. See? Not so bad after all, eh?

Due to injury, I missed running the Comox Valley Half Marathon last year - I'd ran it the previous 2 years, and missing out on it really bothered me. I'm determined that through organization, proper training (including actually stretching after runs!) and sheer determination, I'm going to finish the training and have a successful race.

Do I expect to beat my 1:33:50 Half Marathon PR?
Do I expect to beat my 1:37:00 PR for this race?

The last time I ran a Half and didn't PR was in Victoria 2010 - it was the first time I didn't improve on my time and it really crushed me. I went into the next training session like a madman (for Comox 2011) and only ended up injuring myself and not running at all. This time I'm going to run just for the sake of doing it - I think the time will take care of itself.

That's a big step for me to take - changing my outlook like that - I've always been a competitor with myself and others when it came to running, so breaking that outlook will be difficult, but I'm doing it one step at a time.

605,999 and counting...


Sunday, December 18, 2011


This Video combines two things I really like: early Kings of Leon and Pulp Fiction.

To be fair, I like all Kings of Leon and I'll give anything involving Uma Thurman a chance.

(Yes, this means I've sat through The Truth About Cats and Dogs - sue me.)

I think it would be great if you could hang around my little part of the Internet and see it, but the guy who made the video has that official sounding "embeding disabled by request" thing goin' on, so YouTube won't let me. (And God knows I wouldn't want to piss off anyone on the Internet.)

Enjoy it as I do.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Hands On Pumping.

Does anyone else have one of these?

I hate them.

Hate may be a strong term, but it's what works right now. The Wife bought a couple of these ages ago - one for each bathroom and the kitchen sink as well. The magic of hands-free soap lured her into it's clutches. After the novelty of waving my hands around and getting soap wore off (about .03 seconds), I started to dislike it.

As a lover of all things new and techy, (computers, smartphones, flat screen T.V.) you think I would have embraced this glorious era of soapiness - never having to pick up a slimy bar of soap or handle a dirty, germ ridden pump again. This is the future the scientists have been dreaming of - the one only glimpsed in the works of the great science fiction writers.

(Who are we kidding? Those nerds were probably never within a hundred meters of a bar of soap.)

But I digress.

My issue with the magic soap spitter is one of sensitivity. That sucker shoots off the minute a hand gets near it (ah, to be young again) and if it gets jostled, watch out. I have problems with it when I move it off the corner of the sink in the morning while I'm shaving (I need my space) - the second I move it, splat! Soap on the counter/my razor/toothbrush. If I accidentally wave my hand around while getting ready, it happily dispenses a glob of soap on the counter whether I want it or not. This drives the mini neat-freak in me insane.

The madness has to stop. I yearn to go back to pumping it when I wanted it, where I wanted it, and getting exactly the amount I wanted.
Minds out of the gutter, people.

There's nothing wrong with pumping it yourself. We've been man-handling our soap for ages without complaint. Some things just don't need to be done for us. I can understand not wanting/liking the slimy bar of soap, but all you have to use is a wire soap dish. Still don't like it? Go back to pumpin' it ol'skool.

Has anyone ever seen a manual pump go off unexpectedly?

I rest my case.

If anyone needs me, I'll be in the bathroom pumping away.

I feel dirty now.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Chasing Waterfalls.

Where battles are won and lost.

Like any family domicile, my house has a certain rhythm to it in the mornings

The ebb and flow of getting the kids up and ready for school, going to and from the gym, and either the Wife or I getting ready for work. Some days this rhythm is like an incredible orchestra where each section is perfectly in sync with the other and the music it produces is incredible to behold.

Other days it's like someone has given a chimp some pots and pans and allowed it to go wild.

Today was one of those days.

I have a double-wide shower in my bathroom. (The one off of the master bedroom.)

It's not spectacularly huge by any means, but it does the job. One of the great things about it is that there's enough room for me to jump in if I get home from the gym while the Wife is in there, quickly shower and jump out before she's done.
(Sorry ladies, guys just have it easier in the shower.)

It doesn't matter how much room there is in the shower though, since there is only one showerhead, and that's where timing is everything. When my timing is right, I can be lathering when she's in the water, rinsing when she's shaving her legs, and out before the water gets cold.

My timing was not right today.

Like a second chair jumping in a half measure too early, it was apparent that it wasn't working from the start. What usually is a seamless transition to and fro under the water became a jumble of knees and elbows, and I'm pretty sure she even threatened to punch me at one time. Being the kind-hearted individual that I am, (and the fact she was holding a razor and I was naked) I backed into the corner of the shower until she was out of the way. (And I deemed it safe to return.) She was in there first, after all, and she's getting ready for work while I'm just getting clean.

The second attempt was much better - rinse, lather, repeat and I was done.
Coffee - is there anything you can't do?

In order to make up for my error I did one thing and didn't do two. The one thing I did was make sure there was a cup of coffee waiting for her when she got out of the shower, and the things I didn't do were to restrain from snapping her with my towel and to avoid any semblance of the Helicopter Dance.

Bam! Rhythm restored.


Thursday, December 15, 2011


Not My Kids.

There's two parts to any Christmas Concert:
  1. The part where your child is on stage, preforming like a Broadway Star, and your heart swells with pride to the extent that you just might pop a button and accidentally take out that kid in the first row.
  2. any other moment in the entire concert, where you have no interest whatsoever in what's going on and waterboarding would seem like a pleasant alternative.

My first Xmas concert, (or Non-Denominational singing joygasm) was about 4 years ago. I braved the snarled mess of parking on the school grounds to witness the big debut. My plan was simple - since the Boy was in Kindergarten, his class would be preforming first and I figured I'd let him do the song and dance, sneak out of the auditorium afterwards, and grab him from his class. With any luck, I'd still make it home in time to catch the third period of the Hockey game. Win win, right?


Looking back, I realize how naive I was.

If I was brilliant enough to come up with this plan, others had been as well. If you have tons of parents trying to leave right after their little bundle of joy has lit up the stage, you're going to have a logjam of people in the auditorium and the hallways, scrambling for their kids and cars.

The school has solved this in a most ingenious and evil way. Each child preforms twice.

They preform with their class, of course, but after all the classes are done, the entire student body sings one last Christmas Carol - then, and only then are you permitted to exit.

Did I mention the Concerts are usually two hours long?

Not My Hand. (Or camera.)

No one told me about this.

Not one parent, not one teacher, not even my sister who has kids at the same damn school - no one said a thing. I'm in my seat and see all these people sitting down around me. Every single one of them has a travel mug of coffee or whatever in their hand. When I jokingly ask if they are preparing for an overnight stay, they inform me that they bring it every year since the wait can be so long. One glance at my puzzled visage told them everything they needed to know.

Them: "Little one in Kindergarten, eh?"
Me: "Yup - I'm lucky he's first on - I get to bolt right after - I feel bad for those Grade Six parents who have to suffer through the whole thing."
Them: "Oh - you don't know, do you?"
Me: "Know what?"

They then explained the deal to me - the programme layout, the Carol at the end, my inability to leave. It wasn't too bad, really - I could enjoy a little bit of Christmas spirit and really, what's a couple of hours? It was only 30 seconds later when I realized that, unlike everyone else, I didn't have a coffee or other beverage to enjoy. (If you're familiar with my love of the caffeinated nectar, you'd understand why this would be an issue.) No problem, I thought, I'll just make a quick run to Timmy's for a coffee and I'll be right ba-
My Emotion. (But still not me.)

Then the lights dimmed.

What followed was two of the most boring hours of my life - broken only by the excitement of seeing my son on stage. He was like a beacon of excellence amid the mediocrity of the other kids. (Except for that spoiled brat who had the fuzzy reindeer-horns headband - what's wrong with construction paper like the rest of the class, Princess? Huh?) Let's just say that the lack of coffee only exacerbated the situation.

I've never made the same mistake again. When concert time comes I'm ready with a mug full of coffee and the mental preparedness to outlast whatever feel-good schlock the music teacher is chucking at us this year.

And unlike those before me, I pass along what I've learned. Just the other day I overheard another Dad talking about his concert-night plans as we were picking up the kids. He was thinking he was going to have time after his child's song to go and finish off some Christmas shopping.

"Excuse me" I said, tapping him on the shoulder, "First kid in Kindergarten, right?"
"You bet." He replied.
I shook my head. "I've got some bad news for you, my friend..."

Lets just say he didn't take it as well as I did.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Buddists don't use coasters

Right now is one of my favorite times of the day.

I've been to the gym, my run is done, the Boys are fed, dressed and off to school, and the Wife is fed, dressed, and off to do errands. The house is peaceful, I've got some tunes chillin in the background, and it's just me, my coffee, and the keyboard.

I have exactly 15 minutes before I have to leave for work, and I'm going to savor every second of it.

I'm not suprised that the Zen symbol to the right looks like a coffee-cup ring - those Buddists were onto something. I'm sure the modern-day version would include an iPod and a laptop.

So for the next 7 minutes (yes, I type slow) I'm going to sit back and just enjoy the moment. If I had a cat I would be scratching it behind the ears and listening to the satisfying purr. (Or having the craziest conversation ever, who knows?)

How Zen is that?


Time's up - reality can come crashing back in now.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For Your Protection.

I'm working yesterday, near the front of the store, and this guy walks up to me:

"Hey Buddy - could you ring me through the till?"

He's got a couple of items in his hands, so I take a look at the cashier area - (I figured maybe they were busy and he was in a hurry) - it's a ghost town up there, so I say "I'd love to, sir, but there are 3 wonderful cashiers available to help you right there."

He glances at the 3 ladies standing there and turns to me. "I'd really rather have you do it." 

Since I'm not a guy to argue with a customer for no reason, I head up to the spare till, my new best friend trailing along behind me, and start to ring his groceries in. Thoughts race through my head: Does he have a complaint he wants me to deal with? Is he going to try and rob the place? Is he going to hit on me? Am I putting out that kinda vibe? I'm wearing my wedding band, right? 

My questions are answered as I ring in the second-to-last item.

After glancing around, he leans in and says "I'd also like a box of condoms."

Now it all makes sense.

The location that I'm at is a small store - we don't have a pharmacy or anything like that - just an aisle with some cough syrup and toothpaste, and things like condoms are kept behind the tills with the cigarettes. (One will kill ya, one will keep ya safe - strange, eh?)

Romeo here didn't want to go through the other cashiers and have to ask a girl for condoms.

Now I don't understand the shame involved in purchasing condoms. When I was young and in my prime, I would boldly go up and announce to the cashier and whomever was in the vicinity that I was buying condoms. There's no reason to be embarrassed. What does buying condoms mean? You're going to be having sex. Right there you're ahead of everybody else who isn't having sex that night. You win. I would look at the person behind me in line and say, "Hey - whatcha got there? T.V. Dinners? That's great - night of watching movies, eh? I'm buying condoms - I'm gunna be too busy to watch movies yaknowwhatImean?"

(Please tell me you can picture the huge fucking smile plastered on my face.)

I don't buy them anymore, but I almost wish I could - just to get the fun of proclaiming my activities to the world.

But the fact that my poor friend across the turntable was ashamed to go up and ask for condoms from a woman is kinda sad. He should be proud - the guy was older than me - all he's letting the woman know is a) all his plumbing still works fine and b) he's going to be using it later.

I grabbed the box for him and rang it through - he paid quickly after that and left.

As he was going out the door, I made sure to loudly say "Have a great night!" and as he turned to look at me I gave him a knowing wink. His wide-eyed look made my day.

Yeah - I'm great at customer service, but I'm also an asshole at times.


Monday, December 12, 2011

I Feel:

- That having my Twin bring his dog up with his family for the weekend made me learn one thing - I hate having my feet licked. (And that his dog is fucking nuts.)

- That the Tryptophan coma after the Early Xmas dinner with said Twin was worth it.

- That in my fond remembrance of my young Hockey career I somehow forgot about early practices/games. As a parent, I'm now suffering for my lack of foresight in my child's choice of sport. Is there not something that starts at noon?

- That after being around family, friends, and kids all weekend, sometimes coming back to work is a relief. (Don't quote me on that - it may change by the end of the week.)

- That openly stating you are a "cat person" in a room full of "dog people" is similar to admitting you like Hitler's mustache while MC-ing a bar mitsvah.

- That, while great, my guilt about missing the gym this weekend was not enough to drag my ass out of bed this morning. I swear, tomorrow - I promise.

- That the Wife's incessant baking is secretly some sort of coping mechanism - for what, I don't know - but I'm almost terrified to ask. Thankfully, the treats are delicious.

- That no matter how crazy I may think I am, I'm certainly no Alec Baldwin. (Go look up his American Airline fiasco.... overcoat much, Alec?)

- That reading this made me look at my most recent playlist and hang my head in shame. (It's not my fault, but I do feel guilty.)

- That whether you like them or not, you'll notice I bust out the "I Feel" list when my mind is blank and I can't think of anything to write.


Saturday, December 10, 2011


I'm on the fence about Google AdSense.

(And I can rhyme, too.)

Let's make one thing clear: this place isn't about money. (But if it can help supplement my coffee/not wanting to work addiction, I'll take it.) I had AdSense set up ages ago and made a whopping $13 on it over the course of 2 years. I technically haven't even made any money because Google doesn't send out a cheque until your total is over $100. At that rate I won't receive my cash until 2026. (And they'll have to make it out to "Geriatric Rambler".)

I'm also worried about the potential ads that could pop up on my blog. Google will post stuff that goes along with what I write about, and if you look at some of the crap that I post you'd see how that could be a problem. Sure -  writing about sleep, heartburn, and Gin is okay, but what about some of the other stuff I touch upon? (Click the link - you'll see how horrible that pun really was.) There's the possibility of extreme awkwardness for the first-time visitor if they are inundated with ads for anal creams because I posted about Movember?

Don't laugh - you'd never guess how many visitors that post got because the word "Anal" was in the title. Let's just say people search for some weird things online.

What do you think?

Would you click on an ad for something on this site? If I blogged about meatloaf, would you click on an ad for Beef tubesteak?

Be Honest - I don't judge.


Friday, December 09, 2011


Dear Lady on the Stairclimber in front of me at the Gym:

I just wanted to say thank you. I know it sounds creepy and weird, but you were an inspiration to me today, and I really wanted you to know that.

I will admit that as I ran on the treadmill behind you, I initially wasn't looking - I was fascinated with the news about Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment being bought out by the two major media giants in our fine country. (Until I realized that it meant potentially more Maple Leaf games on my T.V. - I then immediately lost interest.)

At first I noticed your calves - you were on the StairMaster after all, and I must say that as a guy who appreciates his own calves (I think they are my best feature, actually) yours looked stellar. Having read recently about Stilettos and high heels, I imagined you slipping into a pair of 5 inch ones when you change out of your runners. Maybe you did, maybe you didn't - I wasn't there to see it.

But I was there when you took off your warm up jacket and reveled a pair of back dimples the likes of which I have never seen. The sight of those Dimples of Venus (seriously, that's the name - I looked it up) were actually what kept me going for the last half mile today - I was fading fast, but somehow felt rejuvenated and I have to give the credit to your ahem...assets.

Unlike the creeper guy on the treadmill beside me, I didn't openly stare - I have some class after all - but I did just want you to know that all the hard work you do is appreciated, albeit silently. I found out guys can also have these sexy things, so now you've given me something to work for.

So thank you, dear lady - your efforts helped my efforts.

It's a win-win situation, see?


Thursday, December 08, 2011

Circadian Rythm.

I've changed when I go to the gym recently.

Due to the way my work schedule was, I was going after the kids went to school and just before work. This worked well, but due to work/social/family stuff, I've had to revert back to the wee hours of the morning.

That means by the middle of the day, I'm really fucking tired. I was at home on my dinner break (4 to 5 pm. Working the late shift, yo.) and felt like I could have just laid on the couch and been comatose in minutes.

But now (and when I get home) I'll be wide awake. I know I'm going to have a bitch of a time falling asleep - and since both I and the Wife work tomorrow, my only time to run is going to be 5:30am - 6 at the latest.

That means another day of being tired halfway through and wide awake at the end.

I'm not a fan of taking medication for sleep (and don't have any anyway), but I'm guessing I might just have to treat myself to a NyQuil cocktail before I go to bed.

Or maybe Red Wine & Eggnog - word on the street is it's a bitchin' combination.

We'll see. Wish me luck.


Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Burning Up.

Wishful Thinking.
If there is anything that makes me feel old, it's heartburn.

I know it's common and goes across all age groups, but thanks to the mindless masses of media, it's always portrayed as something only fat, balding old men get. (Unless it's a Pepto Bismol commercial - then it's a waitress, a construction worker, a secretary, and some Latino guy.)

While I'm not as toned as the picture to the right, I'm not obese and I'm only losing a bit of hair in the back, so that just leaves the "old" stereotype for me to fall into.

It's kinda frustrating too - I've had it for about 3 days (can't recall it I had it before that - too much Gin left me kinda fuzzy) and nothing seems to help it. I haven't changed anything in my diet in the last couple of days, and it even started bothering me on my run this morning - and that never happens.

(Do you think it was from all the time I used to spend in the tanning booth? Did it cook me from the inside? Is Orville Redenbacher haunting me from beyond the grave?)

I'm going to chalk it up to bad food (really good, but bad-for-you food) from the Xmas party, Sweet Lady Gin taking her toll on me, and too much Coffee. I'm willing to fix the first two, but they can take coffee away from me on my deathbed - if the heartburn gets really bad, I can duct-tape my cup to my chest and use it as a portable warmer. Mmmmm hot coffee - delicious!

If it persists, I'll see someone about it. Although having to make a Doctor appointment just for heartburn makes me feel even older.

Just watch - with my luck, the nurse will probably ask if I'm there for a gout check-up too.


Tuesday, December 06, 2011


I'll get you, Christmas.

Because it's Christmas, because it's expected, and because we have company coming this weekend, I had to go under the house and retrieve the Xmas decorations.

To get to said Decorations, I had to go into the crawlspace.

You know those crawlspaces you see on HGTV with cement, floors, easy access, and incredible lighting? Well, mine is nothing like that.

My crawlspace is a dark, cramped and cold place, and as much as I may wish it was a doorway to Narnia, it isn't.

I treat a trip to the crawlspace like Indiana Jones treats a Peruvian Temple - with caution, guts, and at least two days stubble.

I avoided the traps and arrows (Bikes and Hockey sticks) and carefully opened the entrance to the tomb, where I was exposed to the dust and fetid air of a thousand years. (About 4 months.)

After insuring the area was safe, (no spiders) I proceeded into the dark, carefully crawling through the labyrinth of boxes, bales, and bundles until I spied my treasure. To my dismay I realized that like any other treasure, it was buried under what appeared to be eons of accumulated crap.

Have you ever tried to retrieve a fragile package or box that was underneath a a tonne of other fragile, breakable boxes? While you were on your knees? in the dark, with only a tiny flashlight? And without a whip or fedora? Indy had it easy with that whole bag of sand/idol thing.

(BTW, who had the brilliant idea of stacking all the fragile item boxes together? ...oh, wait - it was me. Seemed like a good idea at the time.)

Once my treasure was retrieved. I slowly and painfully made my way back to the glimmer of light at the entrance.

She looked less amused than this.

And just like Belloq greeted Indy as he exited the temple, there in the blinding light of the garage stood my Wife. Except unlike Belloq, she didn't take the coveted prize and run - All I got was a glace, a frown, and a "Wrong box.".

And I headed back into the breech once more....


Monday, December 05, 2011

Gin is a Harsh Mistress.

I have a love affair with Gin that goes back to my teenage years.

It started when I realized that if I brought Vodka, Beer, or, Rum to a party, others would help themselves to my beverages and deprive me of much-needed alcohol. When I brought Gin, this didn't happen. People would avoid that bottle like it contained some sort of poison instead of the distilled essence of Juniper berries. This worked completely in my favor, and Gin and I have been together ever since.

Occasionally this bites me in the ass.

Last night was a perfect example.

We had our Christmas Staff Party last night, and while I had a great time, I know I drank waaaaay too much. I wasn't sloppy drunk or anything, but I was in my cups pretty deep.

One of the reasons I've stuck with Gin for so long is that I can usually drink a lot of it and not have any real adverse effects. I run into problems when I mix other alcoholic beverages during the night. Gin is an exceptional drink, but it does not play well with others of its ilk. It really hated the tequila shots and beer my boss bought me, and being the jealous girl that she is, Gin is making me pay the price today.

Stomach? Ok.

Headache? Fuck yes.

Like someone has stabbed me through a frontal lobe, Gin is making me pay today. Advil and coffee have not helped my cause, and I think only time will ease the pain sweet lady Gin has inflicted on me.

I'm sorry Gin, I beg for forgiveness - I'll never mix again.


Saturday, December 03, 2011

Partied Out.

Today was the combined Birthday Party for both of The Boys.

I need a drink.

Technically, we did it the easy way - we had it at the bowling alley instead of at home, had them make pizzas instead of us worrying about food, and they took care of all the clean up. Sounds easy, right?

Have you ever tried to herd cats? Neither have I, but it's the only thing I can compare it to.

Each of the boys was allowed to have 4 friends.
4 kids x 2 boys + family friends = 13 kids over 3 lanes. (Two different age groups - 6 and 9 year olds - so...multiply the confusion level by .69 )
13 kids / 3 parents (Us + the one that stayed) means it was like trying to contain a swarm of hamsters by only grabbing the left-handed ones.

Of course, they all had to go to the bathroom at least once.
Of course, none of those were at the same time.

Our lanes were conveniently located next to the video arcade - and even though I'm sure almost all the kids had electronic toys at home that made the 80's style games in the wooden cabinets look like a polygonic mess, they just couldn't stay away. I would have had better luck keeping them on the lanes if I would have used Krazy Glue. (File that away for next year.)

Rule #37 of a under-10 Birthday Party: Don't worry about what kind of cake you get - only half the kids will like it, and only half of that half will even eat the piece you give them. Donate the rest to charity or eat it yourself. (Go ahead, fatty - do it.)

Present time was a neat, orderly affair fucking mad scramble - I can see wanting to be the first to receive gifts, but what's the point of being first to give them? It doesn't mean anything - we still had to remind the Boys who gave them what when we got home. Thankfully, none of these kids has the body mass to do any real damage in a crowd.

After all was said and done, it wasn't too bad. The bonus of having both of the Boy's Birthdays in the same month is that we don't have to do this madness for another 52 weeks. (That's a lie - this was their friend-party - the Grandparents/Aunts & Uncles parties are on their respective Birthdays, the 21st and the 26th.) But at least the main tumultuous gathering is over and done with - the biggest struggle at the family ones are making sure Grandma stays awake long enough for the kids to thank her for her gift.

Now, where's that drink I was talking about?


Friday, December 02, 2011

I Feel:

-That December would be a better month if it was condensed into 2 weeks. We've been putting up with all the Christmas shit since November 1st, why prolong the agony?

- That there's a special place in hell for the radio DJ that plays "I don't like Mondays" on a Friday afternoon - right with the asshole who plays "Workin' for the Weekend" on a Monday.

- That after a long run, chocolate milk is the greatest beverage ever - and I'm saying that as a runner, not as a guy who sells Dairy products for a living.

- That the potential of having morning sex is greatly increased after the kids go to school. (Having them knocking on the door mid-coitus is a turn-off.)

- That there are many questions I get asked everyday, and next to "Can I use your bathroom?" it's "Where's the Shake 'n Bake?". - I pray to God the two are not related.

- That no matter what Maroon 5 says, I don't want to move like Jagger - Mick Jagger always looked like an epileptic stickman.

- That the only way I could accomplish every thing I want to in a day would be if I invented a time machine or lived on Neptune.

- That either one of those things would be really bitchin'. (Yeah - I said bitchin' - I was a teenager in 1985, I'm allowed to.)

- That because both the kids are having their Birthday Party tomorrow, I know that by 3pm, I'm going to be unwrapping a Gin & Tonic just to stay sane.


Thursday, December 01, 2011

Movember to Remember.

Here's a picture of my Movember Mustache on the last day of the Month:

Note: Fire in back not fueled by kittens.

Majestic, wasn't it?

The Ginger-stache going to white from the corners on down - you can't plan that. with the brown hair, strawberry 'stache tapering to white ends, my head looked like a living bucket of Neopolitain Ice Cream.:


While I think I looked like a younger, less grizzled version of Sam Elliot:

From Tombstone - my man-crush western.

..I don't think everyone else saw it that way. Their loss.

But now Movember is over - the 'stache has to go. I'm not sure of the money we raised at work - that still has to be tallied and handed in - but we've already decided that next year we are going to go all out and try and get really creative with our effort. After all, if you can't have fun while telling people to get their ass checked, what's the point?

So if you'll just excuse me for a second, I'll go shave - and then have to put up with all the people who will want to touch my baby-smooth skin....

Compared to this, a baby's ass is like steel wool.

The things I do for charity (and my prostate.)