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Journal Entries for September 2004
September 1, 2004 - 9:03 AM
Last night we were sitting here in the basement playing Simpson's Road Rage and it was really just another game. Nothing too terribly exciting was happening, we were just trying to unlock more cars. Jason was playing at the time and had just finished dropping off a fare. Jason started driving forward in search of his next customer and Luke called out, "Hey Jason, there's Apu behind you..." -- meaning, just reverse and you'll get your next passenger. Well, I sort of chuckled, then a moment later Luke caught it and before long we were all laughing uncontrollably. It was one of those things that just gets funnier the more times you play it through your head. So after a side-hurting hearty roar, we simmered back down and continued playing.

Today we're all going out to Mt. Romulus for a few days. This is apparantly the only time Luke can get off his work at the University, not for lack of days off but because the experiments he's working on cannot be interrupted once they've been started and I guess he's between experiments at the moment. So we're going camping, and we'll find out from Bo in a few hours whether or not he's well enough to come with us. Rest assured, the foursquare ball is also coming with us. We'll have to see if our foursquare court is still up there. Of course the catch to all this is that I will probably end up working all weekend, but it actually works out well because there is a lot I need to do on all the computers in the office and this will give me a chance to get it all done at once and without having to kick everyone off their computers for some time. Have I ever mentioned that I love my job? Because I love my job! Oh, incidently, I have some video clips from Bo's fight for anyone who wants to see. Please be aware, they are fairly big and might take a while to download. I haven't had a chance to convert them yet. Clip 1 Clip 2 Clip 3 Clip 4 (All are about 20-40 megs each)

There was something else I had been meaning to write about for a while and now for the life of me I cannot remember what it was. So I will let it pass for now but knowing my luck it will come back in full vigour as soon as I get to Kananaskis... And then it will be on my mind to write all weekend, and the first thing I'll do when I get back is sit down at the computer, open up my journal and go to write whatever it is down, at which point I shall promptly forget it again. Isn't that always the way?

September 3, 2004 - 7:07 PM

I don't think I've laughed so hard as I did this week while camping at Mount Romulus with my three best friends. Our trip started a little differently this time than our last Romulus trek; for starters, we traveled in the daylight this time, but not unlike last time it was pouring rain. Still, we made really good time on the way up there, only stopping once to wait out a bit of the rain under a huge rock ledge and a second time to survey the land from a convenient resting bench strategically placed atop a small cliff that overlooks a good portion of the valley through which you must travel to reach the camp site.

Once we reached the camp site, we unloaded our gear and set up our camp. I think you could count on one hand the number of hours of sunshine we saw the entire time we were out, so needless to say our first order of business was two-fold: Set up the tent, and get a fire started. We brought my tent this time because it would fit all of us easily, so Bo and Luke set up the tent while Jason and I set off to find dry wood and to make kindling. One nice thing about back country camping is that they provide you with all the wood you can burn, as well as an Axe to chop it with. It's all included in your $3.00 per person, per night fee. Not a bad deal if you ask me, and for that matter they had some of the nicer smelling outhouses I've ever used too... And you can imagine with a name like John... well, we won't explore that line of reasoning any further.

With the cold, wet, rainy weather, much of our time was spent around the fire. It was pretty funny, when we arrived at the camp site, our fire pit was fairly deep, with the level of ashes residing a good 3 inches or more below the bottom of the vent holes in the fire pit. By the time we left, a day and a half later, the fire pit was almost full to overflowing with ashes! I have no idea how many logs we burnt but it was a significant number, that's for sure! During one break in the rain we played foursquare for several hours, something some of us hadn't done since high school. Just you watch, some day it will become an Olympic sport! I love foursquare.

We actually had snow Thursday morning but it was light and melted instantly when it hit the ground, but all throughout the weekend you could see low, Grey-whitish clouds hanging near the tops of the mountain peaks around us and when the air cleared up you could see LOTS of snow on them... Still the coldness and pending winter dreary did not hamper the spirits of us campers and we laughed until our faces, stomaches, and all other parts of our bodies hurt. This is the first time the four of us have gone camping together since high school. I definitely hope it will not be the last! I've put my pictures from the week up in the Camping section, but bare in mind, not all pictures may be suitable for all viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

September 9, 2004 - 8:10 AM
It's amazing how in an instant your life can go from normal (and even mundane) to exciting and exhilerating in just a few moments, but then return to it's original state only a few days later. I never did remember what it was I was going to write about a few days ago before the camping trip so it couldn't have been that important. But I did find a song I've been looking for since our houseboat trip almost a year and a half ago... I heard this song while we were houseboating but it was playing off a burnt CD and the guy whose CD's they were didn't know any of the songs on them. So ever since then I've been hoping to hear it on the radio or something. It was funny too because I used to hear it all the time but never really paid any attention to it. When I was on the houseboat though it sparked my interest and I really wanted to listen to it more often than just *whenever it was on the radio*... But I had no idea who it was by or what it was called and couldn't even remember any of the words for that matter. Well yesterday I was going through some of Diana's music at work and what would you know it? I hear my song! Wanna know what it was? Jennifer Lopes and Ja Rule - I'm Real! So anyways, I'm off to work. It's supposed to rain all day so I'm going to take my van. It seems fall is pretty much in full swing. I don't know if it's weather related or just coincidence but I've been noticing a LOT more sirens going by outside... I know that every time the weather changes people forget how to drive though... That first snowfall that hits everyone still figures it's summer and drives accordingly so you end up with vehicles all over the roads. Tonight I'm going out with Christel and then I'm going to try to set her up with Jason. She'll either kill me or thank me, I'm not sure which yet but I guess we'll see tonight. I'm trying to help Becky find a job. One of the ladies at work has given me a lot of good leads so I'm going to pass along her resume to a number of them. It's so nice to have her back home again. I think we're going out for lunch today. Anyhow, gotta go.

September 11, 2004 - 2:11 PM
Three Years Ago

Hard to believe it's been three years already... I still remember that morning hearing that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. And then I remember the sinking feeling when we heard a second plane crashed into the other tower and it no longer looked like an accident. That morning everything came to a stand still and I recall watching a hastily setup TV in Eecol with probably 50 other tradesmen as not a soul was doing anything but staring in awe, shock, and horror at what they were seeing on the screen.

So what am I doing now? I am finally building that rear heater for my van! It's taken what, three years? But this year I decided I wasn't going to drive around in the cold anymore. My van's heater is good but a second heater would make SUCH a difference. And every winter I always go, "Shoot! Why didn't I do that while it was nice!?!" So today I had nothing else really planned for the day and figured it was high time to do that once and for all. I'll let you know how it turns out.

And now for something COMPLETELY different!

You probably won't believe this unless you try it, and I don't blame you if you do because I wouldn't have believed it unless I had tried it and even had several people confirm it. IF you take rice, just regular white rice, and pour plum sauce on it (I'll find out what brand we used, that might make a difference) but then add simulated bacon bits -- the first bite you take every time tastes like (you'd never guess) Apple Cider! It has got to be the wierdest thing I've ever encountered, at least as far as foods are concerned. But every first bite tastes almost exactly like Apple Cider. And what makes it so wierd is that there is absolutely nothing close to apple cider in the ingredients! Try it out sometime and see what you think.

September 13, 2004 - 1:08 PM
It's not very often that an email will change your life. In fact, it's probably something that will never happen to most people. But there I was, sitting at my desk when it occured to me that I hadn't checked my home email in a while. I opened up Pine and started deleting the junk mail. Someone sent me a joke that amused me so I smiled a bit at that (Thanks Diana -- it's so true! haha) and then I began to look through my personal folders for new mail. One in particular caught my eye so I opened it. And then it happened. My heart stopped, my eyes grew large and I clasped my hand over my mouth. The letter was from Becky's mom, written this morning. I couldn't even read past that first paragraph for some time, the words Becky, accident, fractured, and neck make for a sickening and heart wrenching sentence no matter how they are arranged.

September 14, 2004 - 12:29 AM
I can't even remember what I thought was important yesterday.

September 24, 2004 - 12:19 PM

Brace Buddies

Allright, so here's what happened: Becky and Selina planned a weekend trip to Saskatchewan to visit one of Becky's friends from Katimavik (Chris) and to pick up Selina's sister Jody to bring her back to Calgary because she had been staying in Saskatchewan. They drove Selina's car because Becky's was in the shop, and found it had a few mechanical problems while they were in Saskatchewan. For one, their headlights didn't work so instead of returning Friday night they (wisely) decided to stay over Friday and return home on Saturday. Bright and early on Saturday (September 11, no less) they started off back to Calgary from Kindersley. After driving about an hour and a half (?) Selina's driver's side window started to fall out of the car. While travelling down the two-way highway at 130 km/h, she began to struggle with the window, trying to keep it in the vehicle. She asked Jody to help her, who was in the back seat but somehow in the chaos of all this, she had drifted into the oncoming lane where there were three semi's driving towards them. She looked up and panic'd, cranked the steering wheel to the right and pulled the car back into her own lane, but slammed on the brakes putting the car into an uncontrolled skid at 130 km/h. The car swerved and again crossed the path of oncoming traffic, this time travelling between two of the three oncoming semi's. Once they reached the ditch on the far side of the highway, they began to flip -- side over side spanning a distance of over 200 feet and overturning at least 6 times according to witnesses, passing between telephone poles by the side of the road before coming to a rest back on the wheels.

Becky recalled feeling very calm about the whole sitution and had the presence of mind to grab her cell phone before exiting the vehicle on her own. She then went and layed down on the grass, and phoned Selina's mom on her cell phone. When Selina's mom was recounting this phone call, she thought it was a joke because Becky was stating things so calmly but it wasn't until she heard Selina screaming in the background that she realized that there was no prank involved and that everything Becky was telling her had in fact happened. By this time people on the highway had stopped and were approaching, someone had called an ambulance but just to give you an idea of the initial response -- the truck driver who saw the whole thing stopped his truck but didn't even bother to get out of the cab because he was sure everyone in the car would be dead. The battery was found in the trunk, various parts of the engine were found in the trunk, some rod or bar had gone through the windshield where Becky had been sitting but for whatever reason her head had been down at the time and it missed piercing her. The car had a full tank of gas and never even caught fire. Jody in the back seat wasn't even wearing her seatbelt! How she didn't get thrown out of the vehicle is a mystery... Ironically I think she fared the best of the three. I saw some pictures of what was left of the car and I'll try to get them to put up here as well. It actually wasn't until I saw the car that I realized just how close Becky (and her friends) had come to dying. It truly is a miracle any of them are alive at all, let alone expected to recover fully.

Becky fractured her C6 and C7 vertabrae's in her neck - so for those of you curious if you feel that 'bump' at the base of your neck between your shoulders, there are seven vertabrae along the neck from there to the base of the skull, labeled C1 thru C7, starting from the top. She fractured her bottom two and has to have her neck in a brace for 3 months. She's not allowed to take it off for any reason, not to shower, not to sleep, not to do anything at all! If she does, she runs the risk of doing irreparable damage to her spinal cord and possibly paralyzing herself. So Becka, I don't care HOW good it feels to loosen it so you can scratch! Suck it up. So help me if I have to push you around in a wheelchair the rest of your life and spoon feed you pizza bread at Pizza Hut...

Selina fractured her neck as well though not nearly as bad as Becky's and she already has her neck brace off. Jody walked away from the accident with only (a lot of) scrapes and bruises. I heard that she blew an eardrum when her ear hit one of the windows but I believe she had problems with it before. This accident may not have helped any, but I don't think it was the initial cause. Becky's doing a lot better, the pain seems to be under control now and she is a lot more mobile. She's really getting frustrated she can't work or drive or do much on her own but I hope her ambition doesn't cause her to do something stupid and make the situation worse for herself.

As for my own life, it's been an interesting couple of weeks since then. Last night I had a dream that my three budgies were still alive! Remember Cloud, Grass, and Sky? Well they were all in my dream last night. And it was wierd too because everything was current. I was over at my parents' house and went outside to the (first) green shed. All three of them were sitting in there (which surprised me, I guess I didn't know [in the dream] that they were alive.) I picked Grass up on my finger and brought him outside. Well of course, silly bird, what's the first thing he does? He flies way up into the air. He went pretty high, about 15 feet or so and then came back down. It looked like he was a little dis-coordinated or something though, but he got right back up and tried it again, this time flying much higher. However, something happened and he seemed to be having trouble. Back down he came, only this time not nearly so gracefully and he hit the ground so hard that he actually bounced. I figured he was dead. But later in the same dream I went back to the shed (this was later in the evening, after it was almost dark) and what do you suppose I found in the shed but Grass. His feathers were ruffled a bit and he looked sore, but he was still very much alive and well. But guess who else I found in the shed, stocking the birds -- Spot the Fourth! So I took him out and gave him a stern warning not to go back into the shed. Waste of breath, I know... But I figured if the poor little birdie could survive a fall like that the last thing I wanted to happen was him to get eaten by a cat. Even a nice cat.

I had a bit of a sour chuckle the other day, I was driving home and saw two flashing police cars up ahead. As I passed the cars I noticed a tow truck loading a motorcycle. But I couldn't help but notice the bike was in perfect condition -- not a scratch, and they were loading it onto a flatbed truck. That can only mean one thing -- somebody's in trouble! I'm guessing either he was speeding like crazy (hence the two cop cars on scene) or didn't have the required paperwork or perhaps he was 'at large', but whatever the case there's now a pretty nice looking motorcycle at the impound lot...

Last night as I was waiting in the waiting room (how appropriate, I know) Lee had bought me some of those mints they have. And they're the good kind too, I'm not sure what the flavour is called but I love it. Well Lee had gone in already and I was sitting there and this guy with his left arm in a sling sat down in the chair next to me. We didn't say anything for a bit and I started un-wravelling one of my mints. Well what would you know it, the mint fell out of the wrapper and down onto the floor. This guy looked at me, I looked at him, then looked at the mint and after a moment's hesitation I bent down, picked it up and put it in my mouth. "They're REALLY good mints," I explained. When I asked him if he wanted one he said sure and so we started talking. Turns out he had just moved here from Nova Scotia a few weeks ago, taken up a job at some insulation company and gotten his arm caught in a machine. The machine snapped the bone in his forearm and there he was in the doctor's office to get the dressing changed. About half an hour later he got called in so I sat again in silence by myself, waiting in the waiting room. Long story short, we got out of the MediCentre and went next door to the IGA to pick up Lee's perscription. Well who do we run into in line at the pharmacy but the guy from the waiting room. (Like nobody who goes to the doctors ever picks up a prescription at the pharmacy next door, I know!) So we started talking some more and he was telling us about how he came out here. He can't believe how cheap everything is over here compared with Nova Scotia. Gas out there he said was 96 cents / litre! Houses are more expensive, schooling is more expensive, and there's just 'nothing' out there. We had an interesting chat and ended up giving him a ride to his friend's place before stopping at Taco Bell ourselves and picking up some Taco's and Fries Supreme. I'm sure you know I love Fries Supreme but did you know that not every Taco Bell puts those lovely little green onions on their Fries' Supreme? The one by my house doesn't, neither does the one on 16th Ave at Home Road... But the good one, the one in Westhills does. And they make all the difference if you ask me.

Man I had a bunch of other things I wanted to write about too but for the life of me I cannot think of them right now. So it must not have been that important. Tony gets married tomorrow (Saturday)... Big day for him. I think that means I'm playing drums at Grace Sunday morning and evening for the next two weeks... (Well I normally play in the evenings) I've got my rear heater built and ready to install in the van. I just need some hoses to connect it up to the engine and a switch to turn it on and off (or select one of it's four speeds... That's right -- it has four speeds! hahaha My heater rocks!) Hmm. Note to self -- Gotta make the smiley's backgrounds transparant... Hmm. Yet another thing to do. Anyhow, back to work for me... Cost of living aint free... Man I've got to pee! Too bad I can't use a tree... Someone might see! In trouble I would be! Hee hee! You see? Sorr-ee.

No more rhyming! I mean it! Anybody wanna peanut?

September 26, 2004 - 8:38 AM
Happy Honeymoon to Tony and Laura. I don't know that I've ever seen a Hallmark to that affect but I'm sure there must be some cards out there. Like what sort of greeting are you supposed to endow on someone who's just gotten married? Happy Marriage? Happy Life? I don't know. But Happy Honeymoon makes use of some consonance so I'll go with that one.

Last night I sat up pretty late working one some songs I've been writing. I love composing music but get so little time to do it lately... I had a few hours to spare yesterday and so I grabbed the opportunity. Besides, with all that's happened in the last couple of days I was feeling rather inspired.

Here I was all ready to put the winter tires back on the van and then it got nice again. Friday afternoon I left work and had originally planned to go right home but once I got out on the road it was just too nice a day to waste so I went on a little tour of the city. I stopped and took some fall-ish pictures along the way but I don't know if anything really turned out. I passed one point of great interest during my journey. I was going to honk as I passed by but my coordination was all but paralyzed by the large quantity of colorful, winged insects fluttering around in my abdomen... Stupid butterflies! hahaha. I'll write more on the matter of flying insects later. Right now I have to get going.

September 27, 2004 - 12:11 AM
What a day! I came to the realization today that (amongst many other things,) I need to write more. Not necessarily in the public journal where everyone can read it, but I've kept a private diary since 1993 and really I haven't even opened it up in the past year or so to add anything worth mentioning. With a memory as bad as mine I figure that throughout my life I have forgotten more than I've remembered.

Tonight I finally got to see the end of Pay it Forward. I spent the afternoon and evening with Becky and amongst other things we watched that movie. Every day she seems to be getting better. She even tried driving her car but quickly realized that was going to be something that has to wait for some time still. Rebecca is such a joy to be around. From making fake scars on our hands with rubber cement to putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLABles in various words and finding humor in everyday language, I had a really good time with her and we had a really good talk too. Sitting outside in a double-decker chair thing, wearing her big poofy red slippers and telling each other stories -- these are the things I want to remember down the road. You just can't afford to take the people in your life for granted - you never know when a time shared with someone could be your last and this accident she was in has taught me that life it too short to waste worrying about trivial matters and hiding your true feelings. If something bothers you, say it. If you care about someone, tell them. Becky and I deepened our friendship today as a result of some simple, blunt honesty. I think everyone ought to have a friend like her.

Smiling but in a lot of pain, I am going to head to bed myself here. I just tossed a load of laundry into the dryer, but somehow the Downy ball found it's way into the pocket of a pair of shorts I was washing! It was pretty wierd. My head is just killing me. If I wouldn't look really funny without one, I might consider removing it! I think my neck is out of place or something. (Actually, I guess I wouldn't look at all without a head...) Oh, I did want to make one correction. I didn't think this was quite right at the time because I was trying to make a timeline in my head and it didn't seem to make sense, and today I was officially corrected: Becky's accident happened on September 12th, not the 11th as I had originally thought. Anyways, time to close eyes go seepies.

I said, Close eyes go seepies!

You're still reading... CLOSE EYES GO SEEPIES!!! September 27, 2004 - 7:14 PM
Two Fridays' ago I had an opportunity to go through two of the large 'washing machines' here at work. Basically what they are is a series of washing machines connected together, which the linen passes through and gets cleaner as it goes through each section or module. It is really hard to try to explain how it works but essentially the drum in each module is designed so that when the linen is to be washed, the drum rolls back and forth with the linen sloshing around in the bottom. If you've ever seen a front loading washing machine, imagine the drum like that only much larger, 6' in diameter to be exact. But the difference if you think about a front loader, you both put the clothes in and take them out from the front of the machine. In a wash tunnel, the clothes travel through in one direction only. They are loaded into the tunnel from one end via conveyer, begin to get washed in the first module, then get transferred into the next module. Anyways. If you don't understand the process it's not crucial to the story. So two fridays ago another guy here and I went into the tunnels to look for rust and stress cracks. The easiest way to go through the tunnels, however, is to enter from where the clothes come out right before they go into the extractor and work your way through the tunnel opposite to the direction the linen flows. Of course the machine is turned off, the steam valves are shut and all the water is drained out. Safety bars are placed over the hydraulics of the extractor so that it cannot return to the loading position. If a human were to somehow fall into an extractor and go through a spin cycle, it would literally suck every organ and all your tissue right off your bones. Full out our newest extractor will excert 700 G's of force on the linen! Not the way I want to go, that's for sure! But anyways, the fun part is how you have to get from one mod to the next. You can't climb with your feet first, you have to dive head first (and upside down) from one module to the next. So if you see where my feet are in the picture, that's where they end up after I dove into that module. If it sounds wierd trying to think about it, trust me! It doesn't get any easier when you're sitting in the load chute wondering how to do it. But ironically, once I figured out exactly how to do it, it became a lot of fun and I was having a blast. I didn't even care that I was getting soaked. A few of the mods didn't completely drain so there was a bit of water in the bottoms. But I was having a real blast. However, on my second transfer attempt, my belt got a little caught up on some of the metal and it actually gouged my stomach. At the same time, virtually all my weight was applied to my cell phone which was in my pocket and had unfortunately come between the metal I was hanging off of and my leg. The wierd thing was that the outer screen was fine, so when I pulled my phone out of my pocket to look at it, I figured the outside screen would have broken first. Seeing it was ok, I didn't even check it until later when it said I had missed a call. I opened it up to see who had phoned me and realized that I had somehow downloaded a new background. See if I ever download that background again... It is kind of colorful though. I think that's probably the only background you can download for free but that costs money to remove! hehehe So ya, my phone is in getting fixed right now and I've got a loaner. It's really wierd seeing people's phone numbers come up. On my old phone if I had your number saved (and I have a lot of numbers saved in it -- when they printed off my phonebook it took 6 or 7 pages!) it just shows the name and little picture icon. So most of these phone numbers I haven't seen for years! It's funny how reliable you can become on a piece of electronic gadgetry.

And now for something completely different... The other day I was sitting at Wendy's having a bite to eat when I observed a crow outside in the parking lot doing something which at first appeared to be most peculiar. It was poking at some garbage in a puddle and then began to do something very strange. It looked like it was putting it's ear to the puddle for a moment, and then straightening back up and looking up. Then again, and again, and it was repeating this odd behaviour quite a few times. At first I couldn't figure out what it was doing and then it dawned on me -- it was drinking! I suppose having a beak would make sipping water from a puddle very difficult, so it has to sort of scoop some water into it's beak and then lift it up and allow the water to run back into it's throat. I was quite amused by this little process.

Gotta love it! Anyone know what happened to Pepsi Blue? I was looking for it in a store the other day and couldn't find any. Did it get discontinued??? I sure hope not!

I have to go help my dad set up his online account with the University at my parents' house. I guess they're doing all their work orders online now and he wants to be able to do it all from home. You know what that means... I GET TO SEE MY PUPPY!!! (I love my puppy!) Have a good night.

September 28, 2004 - 1:29 AM
So about those butterflies... Funny creatures they are. There's no way to predict when one will be spotted (or striped - huh huh) But when they find you -- you'll know. Sometimes it's the strangest things that set them off too -- A knock on a door, a laugh, a girl sitting on a step... What do these seemingly un-related things have in common? I believe it's not something in and of themselves that makes them special for each of them are very common and normal. Instead, it is what they produce under the right circumstances that makes them significant. Specifically, it is the peak of anticipation. For example, I had long hoped that I might see a certain someone sitting on that step as I rode by, but it wasn't until I realized that person was actually there and I was about to ride by that the butterflies produced a cluster charge and attacked my entire abdomen. In the same way, I knew that a certain someone was coming over one night, but it wasn't until I heard their knock on the door that I realized that there was but one door between us that someone let the butterflies out of their jars and they tickled me horribly trying to find their way out. They seem to attack the fiercest at the moment of greatest anticipation, right at that point before that which is anticipated is actually realized but after it has become inevitable that what was anticipated is actually going to happen. Does that make sense? Here endith the lesson on butterflies. Hmm, I just got goosebumps. Perhaps another night I will have to analyze that which keeps the geese from speeding!

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