Monday, December 9, 2013

It’s been a crazy few weeks, and I honestly haven’t had time to write. It’s unfortunate, because I think it’ll help my mood.

I’ve been really busy with work, and am pretty exhausted. It seems every Friday night I pass out on the couch at around 8 o’clock and sleep for 12 hours. Between that and Christmas parties, I haven’t had much time to be bored or depressed.
It’s hectic enough that I was at a dinner last night, and a friend asked if I’d been hit in the face. The bags under my eyes combined with the slight redness from a 4th glass of wine, and it looked like there was a bruise on my cheekbone! hahaha

I also found a winter hobby: Music! Shock and awe…. I’ve got 1 album recorded, and another 90% recorded. But I’m not particularly adept at mixing. A good song that’s mixed badly still sounds mediocre. I picked up Mixing Audio, by Roey Izhaki a few weeks ago. Each few pages is giving me an “ah-ha moment.” The kind where I want to rush down to my studio and tweak, not the kind where I want you to “Take On Me” in a half-animated world…
I'm pretty excited about my music again.

Anyway, I only had a few minutes to stop by and let you know that I’m alive. I am.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 3. Not counting weekends.

Okay, it’s Monday.
I don’t know if it’s the writing or just generally trying to be less negative and cynical, but I’m feeling pretty good.

It was a decent weekend overall.
On Saturday night Wife and I went to see Eddie Izzard at Massey Hall. Walking to the show (without Wife), I was approached by a strange woman that offered me $100 “for my company.” Interesting, but not interested. It gave me a good chuckle afterwards.
The show itself was incredibly poor. I’ve been an Izzard fan for over a decade, and was really looking forward to this night. I spent $180 months ago for 2 tickets.
He just wasn’t funny. He rambled for ages about unfunny topics such as moles digging underground, had no sense of timing, and forgot his place in the jokes more times than I could count. Around 40 minutes into his set, it was evident that he had lost the crowd. He seemed to try to regain us by telling the tried-and-true/ overused/ overfamiliar jokes to get some cheap laughs, but it didn’t really work. At the end of the show, Izzard announced that he would be having a Q&A session afterwards that we could stick around for. I was surprised when most of the audience got up and left before he came back on. What a disappointment. Everybody has bad nights, but at his level (and cost) he should be talented enough to win the crowd. I probably laughed for 10 of the 110-minute show. Midway through I was contemplating heading down to the basement bar to have a beer and wait for Wife to finish watching the set. As it was Wife and not just another friend, I stayed as company.
Dickeybird: Disappointed Ex-Eddie Izzard fan.

Sunday was good. I relaxed at home, before heading out to watch a movie with friends.

That’s it, now it’s Monday. Back to work, and working on plans to fill my evenings so I don’t get cabin fever this winter.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Day 2

Day 2.

(i wrote this yesterday, but couldn't post)

Yesterday was better.
In an effort to feel better, I’m trying to not make negative comments or jokes. I’m a pessimist with a sense of “gallows humour,” so this is new for me. But for most of the day, I behaved.
My basement studio has had a sewage backup 3 times this year, and Wife and I are planning to move soon. Until then, my studio is mostly dismantled. Last night I spent a couple of hours moving the equipment away from the “danger zone” but tried to set it up in a quasi-usable configuration. I can’t mix my current projects properly in this state, but I can probably get 80% there.
I hope a new townhouse opens up in the co-op soon, I don’t really want to leave the neighbourhood. But I can’t live with the constant fear of coming down the stairs and discovering a pool of sewage on the floor again. Not to mention the damage of any more equipment… The house just isn’t ‘home’ anymore, and that’s something I need in my life.

One vent:
Last month, Wife and I suggested that my father and siblings come to Toronto for Christmas this year. For the last 15-20 years, I’ve been renting a car and heading to BFNowhere for the holidays. It’s time to return the favour… They agreed, so Wife and I bought theatre tickets for my sisters for that weekend – a gift they’ll LOVE.
So I was quite annoyed yesterday when I got an email saying that my father had changed his mind and they won’t be coming after all. I’m pretty pissed off. I haven’t phoned him to discuss yet, I’m waiting until I’m in a more conciliatory mood. Right now I just want to yell at him for being selfish. I can’t think of a single reason for him to change plans, I’m guessing he got a “better offer” from his church. And that’s not a good enough reason to ditch your family for Christmas.
This leads to further resentment. I was a “problem” teenager. I got into a lot of trouble, had issues with authority, etc… And I’ve spent the last two decades trying to be a good son. I’ve also realized that I still have the same views and attitude now that I had then. I wasn’t wrong. But all of my effort to please my family has gone unappreciated. And I’m done with that. I haven’t visited them since an awful visit last New Years, which showed the lack of value they feel I give. So I’m not giving any more. My family really is Wife, and the great circle of friends that I have earned.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dark Place - Returning Once More

This morning I stood at the intersection, waiting to cross. A dump truck flew past, missing my face by less than a foot. Whoah, that was close! Then again, what if he’d hit me?
I wouldn’t have to go to work today. Or ever again. I wouldn’t have to endure the upcoming winter, already so cold that my eyes feel like someone has pressed them back into my skull.
And that’s where I’m at these days.

Wife suggested that I start writing again, but this time to battle the unhappiness I have. To try to work out how to enjoy my life.

The basics? I’m nearly 40. I get up in the morning, and head to work. At work, I spend 8 hours of my day with complete morons and religious right-wing fools. Then I head home, and wait for bedtime, so I can sleep for a few hours before getting up and doing it all again. By the time the weekend arrives, I’m exhausted and just want to relax and lounge for 2 days. I have no energy. Anything else that comes into my schedule is an intrusion, adding more to my day. I have Eddie Izzard tickets for Saturday night, and I’m thinking of skipping it. I’m sure I’ll go, but HOPE that it’s worth the cold trek to Massey Hall, and the crowds.

In the summer, I’m outside as much as possible. Sailing, for the most part. This summer I couldn’t do much of that due to my broken elbow. It healed just enough for me to enjoy the last sail of the year. In the winter, I really feel the cold. It hurts. Really, I don’t know anyone else that has described it this way, but it’s PAINFUL! So I stay indoors as much as I can. My only winter pastime is music, and unfortunately that’s not something you can fake. If you’re uninspired (as I am), it doesn’t work. I have no other hobbies. I’ve looked, and the couple of interesting suggestions are unavailable in downtown Toronto.

Money? I have none. I’m drowning in debt for some reason, but can’t figure out why. I’m struggling to stick to a budget, but am encountering obstacles every day. So I can’t afford to pay for any sort of pastime, if I found one I’d be interested in.

So that’s my life these days: Struggling through a loathsome day, to wait for the next loathsome day. To pay down my bills. Maybe in a couple of years, I will have the financial ability to do something I enjoy. But that’s a long time away.

Or maybe I’ll get hit by a dump truck and not have to deal with it anymore.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Hey, whaddya know?  Suddenly this morning I can type with both hands!
My 1st physiotherapist visit last week went really well, focussing on improving the range of movement in my arm and getting some strength back.  Four days later, and my hand is 1/2 the size it was, and i'm no longer totally gimpy.  I'm going to have to try not to push it too hard, but I think typing is within the range/tension window my treatment is planned for.

And what a day for a new blog post.  I turned on my PC this morning, and saw this news story about a woman in Dubai who was raped and then charged with "having sex outside marriage."

I'm all for religious freedom.  I personally don't believe in a higher power, I'm not spiritual.  I'm an evolutionist, and don't really care enough about faith to investigate the opinions that, as unlikely as I think, could actually be true.  My opinion is just as valid as a believer's.

Having said that, when religion shapes law so strictly that no common sense can be allowed, something has to change.  How on earth should that poor woman have had to endure this violation, and then be punished when she notified the police???  There's something seriously wrong, evident from the fact that it went as far as it did.
You want to outlaw consentual sex outside of marriage, in a country with a fundamental religious link to the state?  That's fair, I guess.  I don't agree with it, but I'm not forced to live there or follow these rules.  I can live in a place that fits MY values (current local and federal governments aside).  There is certainly a valid arguement to force separation of church and state, however I don't want to devote the time to that today.  Basically, it's YOUR country and if you want to have religious laws, and this is in line with your national values, so be it.  But when someone is forced to "commit this crime,"  especially a crime that is only really victimizing the perpetrator, how on earth can she be assigned the blame?

It makes me want to put the UAE on my list of no-go locations, just to protest the only way I can!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Forced Haitus

I’m still alive.

Last Friday I had a bike accident.  Because of a set of slippery streetcar tracks i broke my elbow, mashed up my hand, and hit my head hard enough to cause a seizure.

I’ll be fine, but for now I’m in constant pain.  And typing 1-handed takes FOREVER.  I just don’t have time to write.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Yesterday morning I biked to work.  Seeing a friend as I walked to the door, I stopped to chat for a few minutes.
The world suddenly went flippy, and I had to sit down for a few minutes.  As I sat, my body exploded with sweat.
When I felt better (but still a little shaky), I went up to my office.  Dropping my bag and coffee off, I went to the bathroom to splash some water on my face.  Looking in the mirror, my skin was a pasty white/green palour.  After a couple of minutes of holding cold wet paper towels to my head, I knew what was coming and not to fight it.
I sat down and passed out.  Waking a couple of minutes later I knew that I’d just had another seizure.  The first since November, the second since 2008.
I staggered back to my desk and sat for about 45 minutes while I regained enough strength to take a cab home, where I slept the day and night away.

Today I’m back to my lovely chipper self.  Just a slight hiccup in a life of hiccups…

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I did it.  I bought a new bike, and hopefully will end the frustration related to what should be a simple mode of transportation.

Last year I bought a used bike from a friend.  We discussed what I wanted, and worked out a price of $250-300.  When he pieced it together, he handed it over asking for $360.  Due to his financial issues at the time, I paid without complaint.  $60 is nothing for me, but significant for him.
I then spent about $100 getting it to the state that it should have been purchased in.
Then I spent another $100 for random bits and pieces necessary (helmet, lights, etc).
Since then I’ve had the brake cable fray, the chain was too big and damaged the cassette requiring both be replaced.  With the spring check-up, this was around $125.
The bold holding the seat to the seat post sheared one day.  That cost around $40 for a new post and bracket, and also a lot of fear when the seat wiggled between my thighs and fell off on a bumpy road.  Those few seat-less seconds were terrifying, worried about what body parts it would damage.
In 7 months of riding, I’ve also popped 5 inner tubes.  Not a lot of cost, but it always happened when I had something planned that had to be cancelled to deal with the f’ing bike.
All in, with a few other minor issues, I estimate that it’s cost me around $850 for 7 months of inner-city biking.

On Saturday, I bought a brand new bike from a reputable shop.  With taxes it came to $580.  It has a 5-year warranty on the frame, 2-year warranty on parts, 2 years of tune-ups, and the shop is around the corner from my house.  It rides a lot better than the old one, and gives me much more confidence in it’s reliability.  I ride around 150km per week, over 6 days.  I'm pretty busy, and don't have time for the related failures of an old piece of s**t.

I big chunk of change to blow, but I’m looking at it as an investment.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Strike Fail

For the last month or so, there has been a strike by the Elevator Repair Contractors (or whatever they’re calling themselves).

At first the strike annoyed me.  I haven’t been able to discern what they’re actually striking for, and they’re picketing in front of my office.  They are blocking traffic, both pedestrian and auto, and causing issues with the shipping aspects of my job.
In general, a pain in the ass.

It’s been at least a month, and I’ve just realized 2 things:

1.       The elevators are working perfectly.
2.       In most high-rises, the elevator cars are double-decker.  To get to my odd-numbered floor, I have to go down to the concourse to get a car that will stop at my floor.  The ground floor car will NOT get me to my office.  Since the strike started the building has removed this feature.  The ground floor car will now stop at all floors, not just the even-numbered ones.  This means that I don’t have to go downstairs to go upstairs.  I like this.

So guys – Keep up the strike!

Although I have to say, the danger of a strike is that the populace appreciates your not working.  So yeah, ummm, good luck.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cycle VS Car

What is going on with drivers this Spring?  As a cyclist, I’m getting afraid.

On Sunday I nearly got hit by 2 cars between Yonge and Rees Streets!
The first, as I approached Yonge on the right side of traffic:  I’m just entering the intersection as I am supposed to.  Rolling past cars, I keep an eye on who does and doesn’t have their indicator on.  I’m not about to cut off a car, he gets a dent and I get broken.
So of course, the car beside me cuts right with no indicator on!  He hammered on the gas and I just managed to turn away and bump the side of the car.  He just kept driving like nothing was wrong.
2 blocks later I turned off Queens Quay.  A car pulled out of a parking lot and I watched him not look left (towards me).  Then he slowed right down, so I went to pass. Suddenly he accelerated and moved right.  Right into me.


Then this morning, I was turning left onto Yonge from Shuter.  The car ahead of me was stopped at the green light, no indicators, no sign of anything.  Just not moving.  So I cautiously passed on the left, assuming that this car would drive straight through the intersection into the Eaton Centre parking lot.  Of course, she turned left, barely missing me.  She hadn’t indicated and hadn’t even looked before moving.

I used to feel stupid wearing a helmet, but these days I’m quite grateful.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


One of the guys that works in my office is in his early twenties, and a “heels-to-jesus” campy gay boy.  My only issue with that is that he’s totally in the closet.

So imagine my surprise today when someone mentioned seeing a transgendered girl in the coffee line, and he developed this look of absolute disgust.

If he’d actually said anything, I would have called him on it immediately.  However, facial expressions are hard to judge, especially when HR might get brought into the picture…

Little twit deserves two slaps.  One for being a closeted adult (living on his own, paying his way) and another for transphobia.  Or overcompensation.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Land Of The Living

I had a great week off work (and as little internet as possible).

I started off by going to the sailing club on Friday night. There was no wind, and nobody felt like bobbing on the water.  We started drinking instead.  A great night followed…
Saturday morning I woke up and decided to head to the recording studio.  For 5 days, I only left to head to a couple of birthday parties.  By early Wednesday, I had recorded a whole new album!  I’m VERY excited.
Thursday I cleaned.  Whooo-hoooo
Friday was good – I hung around the house for most of the day, and went out for an extremely gusty sail.  Met more of this year’s “Newbie Crop,” and they seem a good bunch.
Saturday was more sailing, this time there was a Small Craft Warning in effect.  We shouldn’t have gone out, but we did.  And WOW, it was awesome.  Lots of work, but thrilling.
Sunday I sailed again.  Had my first Man Overboard situation.  He went overboard, and we probably got him back in 10 seconds since he didn’t let go of the shrouds.  But holy crap, that was unnerving.  30 minutes later I was STILL shaking from the adrenaline.  On the upside, nobody on my boat panicked.  Not even Mr. Fish, the wet one.

Now I’m back at work.   I feel refreshed and ready to deal with society again.  I won’t get another holiday until September when Wife and I go away somewhere.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Dropped The Sail For Sleep

Plans have changed.

I was to be setting sail tomorrow morning at 9am.
That would have meant ditching “date night” with Wife to stock up on food and booze, pack, and prepare anything else required while I’m out of contact for 3 days.  Too much too soon.

Without any downtime since last summer/fall, I’m exhausted.  Last night I actually slept for 8 hours without waking up at all during the night.  I don’t remember the last time that happened, but it’s probably an annual experience at best.
I can’t deal with 3 days in nonstop close contact with my friends and also prepare for the trek.  So I’ve backed out.

Instead I’ll relax at home, head to a pub for a friend’s birthday, have a Victoria Day/ birthday barbecue, and generally live the life of the unemployed for 9 days (but with cash).

I’ve got mixed feelings about skipping the sail, but I think I’ve just bitten off more than I can chew.  Gotta drop what I can to recover from a long, stressful slog through winter.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Looking Towards The Night

I'm having a day full of stupid people.

I can't wait to get out of here at 5pm.  I'll be meeting Wife on a patio for a pint, before watching the new Ironman movie.
Then home to change the aquarium water, pack for the weekend, throw a load of laundry in the machine, and head to bed.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lonely and Suspicious


It’s interesting – I think I’m writing to nobody.
There are a few daily readers, but I can’t tell if they’re randomly finding me or if they’re part of the “old crew.”  I used to have many daily readers, to the point where if I skipped a couple of days I would receive emails checking to see if I’m okay.
It was quite fun back then, 2006-ish, and a circle of Toronto bloggers became “real world friends.”

Now, in 2013, I feel like I’m in an empty room.  And it’s getting harder to speak my mind.  I’m not sure if that’s because of the silence or if I’m just becoming sedate in my adulthood.

What should I write about today? 


Tim Bosna was murdered last week, with no apparent motive.  Two men took his truck for a ‘test drive’ before buying, and he was never seen alive again.
They’ve arrested Dellen Millard for his apparent part in this crime.
Something doesn’t seem right here though:  Millard is apparently an intelligent person from an affluent family.  He has the word “Ambition” tattooed on his forearm.
Whoever took that truck out with Tim had this visible tattoo.  If an intelligent person was to murder a stranger, why wouldn’t he hide such a unique marking?  Also, the truck was found inside a trailer at his mother’s house.  That just seems too easy.  Too many simple errors for someone with the intellect to hide his tracks.
What don’t we know?  Prisons are full of stupid criminals that didn’t cover their tracks to a reasonable level, and from what I’ve heard of Millard he’s smarter than that.  I'mnot professing his innocence, just questioning the current information...

If I was a praying man, they would be with Bosna’s family.  I can’t imagine the pain his wife and child (and parents, I assume) are going through right now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Yesterday I was talking with a coworker about people becoming parents at a young age.
For the record, I’m nearly 40 with no kids and no interest in being a parent.

When I was 20, I FINALLY slept with a girl I’d been crushing on for a few years.  Unfortunately she had a boyfriend, but he was in jail.  I honestly wanted a relationship with her, and we planned our future.  Her boyfriend got released a week or two after we spent the night together (me and his gf, that is).  She changed her mind and decided to stay with him.  I was heartbroken.

A month or so later, she phoned me up.  “I’m pregnant,” she said.  My heart leapt into my throat.  Parenthood?  Can I deal with that?  I guess we’ll find out…
Her next statement was not to worry, it was his.  This actually came as no surprise as I didn’t “finish.”  There would have still been a chance, but only a slim one.

Their relationship didn’t last much past birth from what I understand, but we didn’t reconnect.  I had left town before the baby was even born.

That close call would have sent my life into a completely different realm.  Had I been ‘dad’, I’d have been stuck in  a minimum-wage town, struggling to make ends meet. I’d have stayed, being the best father that I could be.  However, I wouldn’t have the life that I have now, the life with Wife with a house in Toronto.

Facebook friends with the “lost love” now, I’ve caught a glimpse of the girl conceived within weeks of my being with her mother.  I see a wonderful girl that’s in her first year of university.  I see a loving family (without jailbird dad).  It does make me wonder what would have happened if my wish had come true?  If I’d stayed with her?  Would I have been a good father?  Would I enjoy that life in small-town Ontario?  Or would I have turned into a regretful alcoholic factory worker?


Actually, a few months before that hookup I was living in a disasterous, volatile relationship with a beautiful psychopath.  I was 20 and employed (a relative success in the town).  What do you do when you have a full time job and you feel that you’ve reached your peak?  Have a baby.

We decided to stop using birth control and just “see what happens.”  Of course, within a few weeks she was pregnant.  I was overjoyed.  We broke up (before I hooked up with the other girl), but I still wanted to be a parent.  In fact, I wanted custody of our child.  My family had more money, time, and resources than hers, which would have given the child a more stable life.  She miscarried before we were able to come to a solution. 


Those are the two times that I could have become a parent.  Even though my first wife wanted children, our marriage was too rocky to bring a child into it.  And after that marriage, I decided that I wasn’t getting involved in the role.  Uncle Dickeybird is the best for me. 

Funny how many tangents one life could have.  But I’m glad I’ve got the path I’m on.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Flash Weekend

Wow, what happened to that weekend????

Friday night Wife was managing a play.  I went, and enjoyed myself thoroughly.  Afterwards, she asked me to help pack up as she’d hurt her hand.  She fell, landed badly, and we were pretty sure it was broken.  Off to the hospital we went, where they said (after four hours) that it was only badly bruised but not broken.
A couple of hours later, we were up having breakfast as Wife’s parents were visiting for the show and night.

After breakfast, I went to the pet store and bought a few more fish for the aquarium.  Among the bunch were a few Assassin Snails to eat the Garden Snail infestation that I’m currently fighting.  I also bought a second Bristlenose Pleco, just ‘cause they’re cool.
Then I went shopping with a neighbour, buying a new lamp for our living room.  When I got home, I looked in the aquarium.  I saw an Assassin Snail munching on the new Pleco’s corpse!  I’m pretty sure that the change killed the pleco and the snail was just getting rid of the evidence, I don’t think the snails can/will kill fish…  Still, it’s made me uncomfortable – I just don’t want my fish to disappear.  I may remove the snails just to be safe.

Sunday I got up and wrote a new song.  Then had brunch with an old friend, which included 5 glasses of wine.  Afterwards I headed home and watched Skyfall in the bubblebath.  I fell asleep and woke up when I accidentally kicked the laptop (which was balanced on the edge of the tub) onto the floor.
Damned wine.

Those 2 days just FLEW by!  At least next weekend’s a 3-day version.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sailing - Fish - Wife!

Wow, what a busy week.  It’s FLOWN by.

Sailing on Wednesday night was a fantastic clusterf**k of mistakes.
To start the evening, I rigged our spinnaker upside down.  When we went to raise the sail, I was at the back of the boat wondering what the hell my team was doing wrong.  Suddenly I realized that it was my fault, and shut up quickly.  Everyone had a good laugh at my expense, and I bought the first round of drinks afterwards.
Everyone else made equally  stupid errors, and hopefully by getting them out of our systems we’ll move up the ladder.

Last night I had to euthanize one of my fish.  I was changing the water, and noticed that Larry the Platy had her left eye bulging out of her head and bloodshot.  It was really gross and about 3 times the size it should be.  There was blood and puffy skin all around it…  I filled a ziplock bag with ice cubes and water, gave it a few minutes to chill properly.  Then netted Larry and dropped her quickly into the bag.  The shock stunned her instantly, so hopefully there was no (more) pain.  I hate it when the fish die.  I’ve had 5 or 6 go in the year I’ve had this hobby, and it’s never been pleasant.  There’s very little you can do to help or heal them, there’s almost no research and information online about most treatments.  I suppose because most fish are in the $2-5 range, it’s more effective to just replace them.  Medication is sketchy at best if you can even diagnose the problem, and not easily available.  Sad.

Wife is producing a play that is being put on (played?) tonight.  I’m pretty excited to go.  It’s a fundraiser, and should raise a fair bit of cash for her concern.  The rest of the weekend?  Saturday I’ll do nothing, then Sunday I’m having brunch with an old friend.  I’m looking forward to all 3 things coming up this weekend.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Shock And Horror

I’ve spent a couple of days reading the news about the kidnappers in Cleveland Ohio, and the 3 women they kept for over a decade.

I really just can’t comprehend the brutality of these guys, or living through what the women endured.  I actually feel a similar “stun” to what I did on September 11, 2001.
What would my reaction be if either side was part of my family?
What would my reaction be if either side were friends of mine?
What would my reaction be if either side were friends of neighbours?

There’s a mental block, I just can’t imagine.
I think that if I was one of the victims, I’d rather die than live through a decade of that.  How are they going to recover emotionally?

My sympathies go out to these poor girls, and I really hope that they exceed my expectations.

Unfortunately, this incomprehensible evil seems to be happening more and more often.  Prevention and punishment both need to be addressed, but damned if I know how…

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Time Off For Good Beer

I missed a day.  I didn’t do anything anyway.

Had a great weekend, if a bit boozy.

Saturday I sailed with most of my racing team.  A beautiful day, 8 knots of wind, hot sun…
We went up and down the harbour a few times, with our big colourful spinnaker flying on the downwind runs.  That preceeded a few hours sitting on a patio guzzling beer.  As heavy as guzzling sounds, we had to wait in a 20-minute lineup every time we wanted refills.  There was only 1 person working as cook/cashier/bartender at the harbourfront on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  And he was a SLOW lone worker!

Sunday I was supposed to have brunch with a friend, but that got cancelled at the last minute.  Instead, I went to the social thingy that my co-op was hosting.  An afternoon in the sun, with more beer and cigars…  By the time I went to a birthday dinner that night, I was HAMMERED.

I might take a few days without beer.  I feel the need to dry out, even if this means not sitting on sunny patios after work.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Let 'Em Fly

Last night I heard more gunshots from the neighbourhood.

There were a lot last summer, but the winter was quiet.  I guess the gangstas calm down for the Christmas season…

To be honest, if it was just gansta shooting gangsta, a drug deal gone bad, whatever, I wouldn’t really care.  Early death is one of the expected results from that high-risk/ high-yield career path.  What does cause a problem is when bystanders get shot.
It happened a couple of times last year, and the mayor increased police presence in the area.  I don’t know if it helped or not, but I’m glad he did it.

I’m also glad we don’t live in the end unit of our townhouses – I was recently told that there are a couple of bullet pock-marks in the side wall, the results of a shootout last spring.

Still, when I heard the shots last night I was sitting on my porch with a beer and a cigar.  Talking to a neighbour, neither of us did more than flinch slightly. 

Acclimatization sets in…  Hand me another beer.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


I think I’m a good sailor.  I think I’m a good racer.  But now I see why we don’t win very often…

I was at the club last night to “qualify.”  We had to pass a Racing Rules test. 
A pass was 20/30.  I scored 21/30.  Yikes.  But at least I get to sail this year, a fail would have sucked.

I thought I did better, and am not sure where I failed.  Guess I’m going back to the rule book.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


What can I say, Spring is FINALLY here!

Yesterday I rode over a screw, popping the front tire on my bike.  I had to cancel my evening plans, as I wouldn’t have time to get the bike back home, replace the tire, and ride down to my seminar.

Wife knew that I’d had a rough day (lots of crap at work too), so when I got home there were a few cans of beer in the fridge.  She'd gone out, but made sure to take care of me before rushing to her rehearsal.

I grabbed a can, a couple of wrenches, and a new inner tube and headed out to the porch to fix the bike.  It was a quick fix, so I ran back in to get a second can and a cigar.  Then I sat outside with the neighbours for a while, smoking, drinking, and enjoying the sunshine.

A good recovery from a frustrating day. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My 8 Year-Old Self

Okay, so as my (fourth or fifth) re-introduction to blogging, I’ll be stealing a friend’s idea.  You can read about it HERE.

Basically, if I was to run into my 8 year-old self, what advice would I give?  What would I say?

“Hey Dweeb, stop letting your mum cut your hair.”

Really, here goes.

You’re in for a tough few years.  Your mum is growing a brain tumour, and she’s going to be in the hospital for a while.  But don’t worry, she’ll be okay.
Don’t worry so much about fitting in with the other kids.  You’re weird, you’ll always be weird, own it.  People will like you much better if you stop trying to be like them and unapologetically be yourself.
That goes for moving to the rat-hole of a town where your family just moved.  You’ll make some great friends, you’ll make some rotten friends.  And your next ten years are going to see you getting more and more isolated because of the lack of stimulation in that town.   AGAIN, stop trying to make it work.  It won’t.  Bide your time, read, learn about the outside world and what you want to do in it.  You’ll avoid a lot of hurt by not trying to be like THEM.  You will get out, and you will have a great life.  Watch those “it gets better” videos on YouTube, they’re not just for the sexual minorities.
Speaking of which, you like girls, right?  That’s not going to change much.  But here’s a shocker.  You like guys too.  You just haven’t met an attractive one yet.  But when you do, it won’t be an issue.  One or two friends will turn their backs on you, but they don’t matter.  They have no value for you, and you’ll know this before you let them in on it.  The ones that count, the ones you trust, will stand by you.  Every one of them.  Your parents will be really upset because of their religious beliefs.  But when a couple of homophobic murders happen to other kids, they’ll see your value and support you as well.  Coming out to mum and dad will be one of the most important days of your life.  You will look back on it as the day you proved yourself, reassured that you’re the man you say you are.
Don’t get so stressed out about education.  Those people running your school have inflated egos, and are trying to get you to buy into “the system.”  Trying to brainwash you into working hard even though you’re a child.  Trying to make you think like everyone else, so that nobody challenges them.  Challenge them every chance you get.  Don’t be rude, don’t be offensive.  But stand your ground.  Ask ‘why’ every chance you get.  It’ll make you a better person, and you’ll come out winning in the end.  Or at lease at my time, nearly 40 years old.
Girls like you as much as you like them.  Don’t be so god-damned shy.  Talk to them like you would anyone else.  You’ll have A LOT more sex before you realize later in life that they just want a good shag sometimes too.  They’re not all waiting for a marriage proposal.”

Or do I just say this?

Go nuts, live your life.  You’ll have some tough times.  You’ll have some good times.  It’ll toughen you up, and you’ll need that for the rest of your life.  But in the end, I think you’ll be a pretty good guy.”

Monday, April 29, 2013

Not a Sparkling Adventure

Alright, let’s try this again… hahaha

I changed jobs recently, and can now access Facebook, blogs, and such.  I may not be the most PRODUCTIVE employee, but I’m much nicer these days.

So what’s been going on for the last 5 months?  Work, work, work, work, sailing in the Caribbean, work, work, work.

I assume that out of those options, the sailing might be the most interesting.

In February, myself and 19 other Toronto sailors chartered a few boats from Sparkling Charter out of Guadeloupe.
The adventures started during our overnight stopover in Montreal, where we found a bar in Dorval and got incredibly drunk.  One quick pint at 10pm turned into closing the bar at 3:30-ish full of whiskey.  The hotel in Guadeloupe was alright, a bit quiet and more expensive than we’d expected.  But the food, drink, and swimming pool were appreciated.

The remainder of the holiday was what nightmares are made of:
1.        Our boat had leaking water tanks, and after 2 days of using our smaller tank, we moved to the bigger one and discovered that it had leaked.  We could not find fresh water for the remaining 5 days of our week.  We called the charter company, and they gave us incorrect information on where to get more water.  Cuts got infected, and we were dirty for the holiday.
2.       Our foresail was worn when we got the boat, and it tore in a gust on the 3rd day.  Sparkling Charter refused to bring us a replacement (violating our contract), and this forced us to limit our travels. 
3.       There were many other minor problems with the boat that added to our frustration, but not as big as the other 2.
We gave up and returned the boat a day early, to ensure that we had enough time to discuss the failures.  Also because we were desperate for a shower.

The charter company was friendly and apologized profusely for the failures on the boat.  On the Saturday morning, they arranged a taxi to drive us to the airport.  As soon as we cleared customs, they phoned us saying “where are you?  We didn’t know you’d left.  You owe us 4000 Euros for the damaged sail!”

While we were disputing it, they managed to take the funds from our credit card.  We’ve written them disputing the charge, but with no response.

An awful end to a terrible holiday.  For any search engines that find this:  DO NOT RENT BOATS FROM SPARKLING CHARTER.  READ THIS POST FOR DETAILS.  OUR DAMAGE DEPOSIT WAS TAKEN IN AN UNETHICAL MANNER WITH NO RECOURSE.  It turned a $3500 boat rental into a $9000 disaster.

As far as Guadeloupe in general, we found the majority of people were friendly if you spoke French, but condescending and rude to Anglophones.  We were asked to leave one store because we weren’t fluent enough, a pharmacist refused to give me something for the infected cut on my hand, and a waitress stole money from me and denied it while the cash was still in her hand!  It wasn’t all bad – the staff at the hotel had some friendly people, and Terre-Haute on Iles Des Saintes had one fantastic restaurant/bar (whose name eludes me) that we frequented as often as we could.

High Point of the trip:  Motor-sailing (because we had no foresail) from Dominica to Iles Des Saintes.
2nd High Point of the trip:  The shower I had on the 2nd last day, once we returned to Point-a-Pitre.
Low point of the trip:  Realizing that we were washing our dishes in the seawater in a mooring field with no ‘holding tank rules’, where people dumped their toilets directly overboard.  I was also putting my hand with the open cut into that water every time.  But for the record, we poured bleach on the cups and plates after washing, just to make sure they were clean.

I will never ever go back to Guadeloupe.  I was actually glad to come back to work after that trip.