Thursday, January 27, 2011


A couple of weeks ago, I helped out a friend and had a great time doing it.

An extremely talented pianist, he now wants to learn how to play the guitar. He knew enough to spend a reasonable amount of money for a quality instrument, but didn't know what attributes he wanted. So, he asked me to accompany him. Whatever instrument I liked best in his price range, he would buy it. Great for me, I get all the pleasure of shopping but without the cost!

I knew the best options off the bat, so when the salesgirl approached I noted requirements for a built-in preamp and dreadnaught-style body. I played quite a few guitars, and we narrowed the options down to two really nice Tanglewood guitars. I'd never heard of them before, but they're pretty awesome.  My next acoustic might just be the same one we bought for my friend.

Checking the resonance and intonation, I was playing chords that involved droning open strings along with frets up at the high end of the neck. For some reason, I started playing "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by Iggy & The Stooges. An old punk classic.

Suddenly our salesgirl, replete with pompadour and shitty rockabilly tats, got excited. This old fart with grey in his moustache and a Blackberry on his hip… was hip! She gave me "props" for "rocking some acoustic Iggy."

For the brief moment that I held some long-lost cred, I encouraged her to buy "Please Kill Me," by Legs McNeil - a compilation of fantastic interviews with 1970s punk legends.

That "cool" feeling kept me going for a few days.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gearing Up

I'm really excited. 72 hours from now, OLK and I will be at Pearson Airport ready to board our charter flight to Antigua.
Why Antigua? I have no idea why, but I've always wanted to go there. It could be the yachts in Falmouth Harbour, Nelson's Dockyard, the world-class beaches around the entire island, the shipwrecks to dive… it could be any number of things. Honestly, it's probably just because Antigua is the first island listed alphabetically in lists of Caribbean islands.

Our passports were taken from the safe deposit box. Banks and credit card companies have been advised of where we'll be, so they don't put a hold on our cards. We bought our currency (both US and Eastern Caribbean dollars). Lactaid, bathing suits, and sunglasses bought. OLK's cousin will be cat-sitting for the week. Tonight I'm buying a new bag of catfood and sunscreen.

Then it's a matter of OLK getting a haircut and stuffing a few outfits into suitcases.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Denise Natalie Rogers, You Have My Heart

If I am damaged beyond reasonable repair, I want to die.  I don't mean to pull my plug when I get the flu, but if I'm likely to wake up a quadripilegic or with severe brain damage.  I think my tipping point would be if I were unable to feed myself or use the toilet without a personal wiper.  I don't want to live like that.
I've felt this way for my entire life - the quality is much more important than the quantity.

OLK and I are in total agreement about this, and I don't doubt that she would honour my wishes no matter how hard it was or how angry it made my parents.

To take it one step further, I have recently been contemplating getting 'DNR' tattooed on my chest in large, easy-to-read letters.  Just to make sure that a well-meaning paramedic doesn't crack my chestplate and break a bunch of my ribs trying to resucitate my unconscious and fatally damaged body.  OLK was okay with that idea as long as she chose the font (i'm sure she'd vote for a conservative Helvetica or Arial - no gangsta "old english" for me).

Researching the topic online yesterday, I realized that a DNR request in this manner would never be respected.  How could our friendly paramedic be sure that it wasn't someone's initials or that I had changed my mind after getting tattooed?
I was at the point where I was going to schedule my session at Exotix for the Saturday after returning from Antigua, just to keep from procrastinating (not because of the DNR, just because the chest is such a painful place for a man to get tattooed).

Alas, after discovering that it would likely be a huge waste of time, I'm not getting the tattoo.

Friday, January 21, 2011


I started my latest course at University last night. This is the last of my 8-course program.
It was a strange first night. Almost everyone in the room knew each other. I was having a conversation with someone I'd studied with last fall, when someone from my Procurement Management course (early 2009) walked over. Turns out they had worked together too!
It was a very communal evening. Everyone cracking jokes and mumbling "oh, I forgot he did that…" occasionally. We all seemed to appreciate being in a group of knowledgeable, like-minded people with the same goals in mind.

The only downside was having to read a history on Quantity Surveying.

But it looks like it might be a good end to my education.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


The news this morning was discussing the clip I've posted below.
Basically, a girl was walking through a mall and texting at the same time.  Oblivious to what was going on around her, she walked headstrong into a water fountain. She quickly jumped out and left the mall.
According to the newscast, she is contemplating suing the mall! Along with Security not finding her for 20 minutes, the other customers just laughed and jeered at her.

I'm out of patience with dummies like this. Seriously - how could anyone lay blame anywhere but at her feet? This instance hints at the surge of irresponsibility growing in society these days, along with the expectation to have one's desires met without earning them.

I saw this clip and thought it was hilarious. If I see someone walking on a collision course with me, if they don't look up in a reasonable time I DO NOT change my path. I have no objection to walking into someone who's distracting themselves. Maybe we should just paint signs on the bottom of each mall water fountain that says "Watch Where You're Going, DUMMY!"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


In ten days, OLK and I are going to Antigua for a week. To afford this Carribean holiday, we spent our honeymoon in… Halifax.

Preparations have started: I went to Chapters last night to buy a couple of books that varied from that "I shot up and walked onstage" story.
I chose my selections and approached the cashier. He thumbed through my three novels and look at me. "Irvine Welsh, interesting writer…"
"Yeah," I said. "I'm going on holiday and other than these it's Keith Richards and Ozzy Osbourne autobiographies."
"If you read all four of those books in a row, you'll probably be the strangest man in Toronto."
He's probably right.

Monday, January 17, 2011


On Saturday, I went to the Toronto Boat Show. I've never been to one, and didn't really know what to expect.

My friend Col and I arrived early in the morning, to avoid the crowds. The first thing we saw at the entrance was a huge powerboat worth around $400,000. All leather and lights, it would fly atop the waves. Electronic removable hardtop, two roomy bathrooms with showers, autopilots, barbecues… With the twin 500ph motors, it was a perfectly phallic mid-life crisis moment. The floating Porsche.
We crawled over a few of these, and they all seemed the same. Plush, comfy, and incredibly expensive to run. $500 of fuel will get you to the horizon.  But boring.

Then we headed over to the sailboats, and that's where I fell in love. Not with Col (although many of the vendors assumed we were a couple), but with the boats. Balancing at the bowsprits of the 3 Beneteau yachts, we analyzed the benefits and drawbacks of each.
Then we headed over to the Hunter yachts. Similar qualities, just a little uglier. Then the Jenneau's: They were more expensive and nicer outside. But inside there were problems. Random steps with no apparent use, laid out in a claustrophobic way… not somewhere I'd want to spend a lot of time.
We checked out a 34' Tartan yacht, and it was beautiful (and expensive). Full of dark wood, it was cozy and reminded me of being in a humidor. When we climbed off, I commented to the salesman that "of all the yachts we've been on today, this is definitely the nicest." He just turned away…
We saw a few others, but nothing really struck our fancy. Unfortunately, there were no Nordhavn's, Selene's, or Kadey Krogens. Those would have been nice...

Getting thirsty, we headed over to the snack bar. $8 for two small Minute Maid OJ's. Yup.

Not long after that, we left. The crowds were starting to get thicker and we'd seen all we came to see.

The followup? I'm hooked. I want to buy a yacht, find an internet-based job or one that only requires face-to-face meetings a couple of times a year, sail to warmer climates, and live "the life."
If Toronto didn't freeze every winter, I'd be happy to live aboard here! The 37' Beneteau yacht was 1/2 the price of a basic condo in the city, and the docking fees are pretty similar to condo maintenance.

OLK is really lucky I didn't take out a mortgage on a $175,000 floating home...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bad Dreams

I had a strange dream last night. Life was normal, I lived in Toronto with my wife, same job, same appearance, etc… The only difference was that OLK wasn't my wife.
This was disturbing because (in the dream) I had just met OLK and realized that she was the woman for me. It was really upsetting because I was about to start my second divorce in half a decade!!
In mid-2006 I got married. We separated 9 months later, and haven't seen each other since. Then, in mid-2008 I met OLK, and my divorce was finalized at the same time. A year later, I proposed to OLK. Four months ago we were married.
So I'm in a good place, but don't have a good track record. The thought of ending another marriage was a nightmare. Literally. I was going to do it for OLK, but still… yikes. TWO failed marriages so quick? Not gonna happen.

I was glad to wake up and notice OLK beside me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Darwinism Taking Hold?

At around 4:15 this morning, someone described as "a guy with no shoes" ran out of an apartment building and stole a snowplow.
He proceeded to drive around Toronto while being chased by the police (who were also tracking remotely via the plow's GPS system). At some time before 7am he rammed a police car, seriously injuring the officer.
A few minutes ago, the "guy with no shoes" was shot and has no vital signs (but the newscast has yet to declare 'dead').

What are you running from? Was it important enough to ram a police car and end up dead? If so, why didn't you steal a less-conspicuous vehicle?
Was it just a joyride?

Is this just Darwinism starting to thin the herd?

Monday, January 10, 2011

First Sight

The weekend was productive, if not good.
I saw my mum for the first time since she (noticably) got sick, and she's not in good shape. It was heartbreaking to see her so disoriented and… decayed. She looks a decade older than when I saw her 3 months ago. But OLK and I spoke to the nurses, and got a solid idea of where she is and what's in the plan. And they know to phone me to be included in all meetings and plans.
We also set out a custody/support plan for my sisters, should something happen to my dad, and made contact with local social service groups that need to be handy.

And for the first time in 20 years I got good Christmas presents from my family! Historically, I've received things like $10 dress shirts from Sears, framed sketches of wolves, removable locker shelves, and AC/DC cassettes. This year I actually got a couple of good DVDS and Ozzy Osbourne's autobiography! Shocking.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Home Is Not Home, But It's Still Somewhere I Have To Be

I noticed last night that I had a voicemail from a support group located in my parents' town.
I'm listed as emergency guardian for my sisters in case something happens.  The support worker said that he'd been speaking with my dad, and that he wanted to get in touch with me to confirm that we have a plan for when things go downhill.  The support worker said that "if you have a plan, that's great.  We just want to confirm that everyone is on the same page.  And if there is no plan, then I think it's time to put one together."
For those not in-the-know, my father had a couple of brutal strokes 20 years ago, and is now partially paralyzed with very limited vocabulary.  And my sisters have Downs Syndrome.

I spoke to my brother last night, and we've agreed to go out for a drink and try to put together a couple of plans on sibling custody/support based on a couple of different scenarios.  While nothing needs to be set in stone, we need to have something reasonably complete to whip out when the inevitable happens.  Then I can call back the support worker on Monday with some solid information and contact.

OLK and I are off to see the family this morning, to do a late Christmas.  We'll be exchanging gifts, along with visiting my mum who's still in the hospital.  And from my Dad's tone of voice I don't think he expects her to leave either...    We're taking my portable DVD player for her, along with copies of Pretty Woman and Pride & Prejudice.  Hopefully that'll get her through a few hours of boredom.  Besides, she might not remember having seen them that morning and just be happy to rewatch the same films daily.

For anyone wondering why I don't see my family so often, here's why:
Car rental:  $175
Hotel room: $150
Food not at parents' house: probably another $50.

On the upside, we're going out for drinks tonight with one of my oldest and most important friends.

It's gonna be a rough weekend, wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


OLK (wife) and I are lazy.  We decided months ago that we wanted to avoid the crowded Toronto streets on New Years Eve.  We wanted to avoid the subway, the bars, and the obnoxious drunken strangers on New Years Eve.  Instead, we offered to host the party.  A quick trip (or two) to the liquor store beforehand, and all we had to do was unlock the door and wash some dishes afterwards.
We had around a dozen friends over for a relaxed evening of laughter, food, and drink.

I don't normally believe in New Years Resolutions, I've usually believed that if you need to promise yourself something then the date shouldn't matter.  However, this year I've made a resolution.
In some ways, my life is better than it has ever been.  I have a great wife, unbelievable friends, (relative) job security, food, a roof over my head, a swimming pool four floors above that....   But in a couple of areas, my life has never been worse.  And those are aspects that I can't post about online.  Not permanent situations, but still bad for the time being.
My resolution is to cut down on my bitching and whining.  And also to be a little more patient with the fucktards that populate my city.  Two, two resolutions.  The first because I am working to make the negative situations pay off.  And the second because if I get angry every time a moron shows their true colours I'll have a stroke.
I have to accept that the bad parts of my life will make me stronger, and that the morons will become victims of Darwinism (at it's most vengeful).

On the Dementia side, my mum is still in the hospital.  OLK and I are headed down to celebrate a belated Christmas with my family this weekend, and will spend some of it visiting her.  I don't know how much of it will be there, as I haven't seen her since October and don't know the damage firsthand yet, but it'll be as much as I can handle.
And then we'll have a few drinks with an old friend from "back home."

It'll be an expensive weekend though.  Along with the car rental ($175), we want to avoid spending the night at my parents' house.  One, we don't want to be a burden - my parents always insist on playing host, and we don't want to put them through the worry.  Two, their guestroom is f'ing cold!  So for another $150, we get a warm, private, hotel room.