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Journal Entries for April 2006
April 2, 2006 - 11:14 PM
Two... Four... Six...

Or rather, Oh Two, Oh Four, Oh Six. I am, of course, referring to the date. It's the second day of the fourth month in the sixth year. And what a crazy day it was too. I think I drove close to 200 kilometers today. Usually they're pretty good at giving you a route that's roughly in the same quadrant of the city, but today I had calls all over the place, ranging from Bowness to Coventry Hills. I even had one around 53rd Street and 32nd Ave SW !!! Of 13 calls, 11 were NW, one was NE and then I had one way down in the South West. And dispatch was no help on that one, when I called to have someone who was actually WORKING in the SW pick it up, I was told that all the floaters had been given other work or had gone home and that I'd have to do it myself. Nevermind it's on the wrong end of the city. Sometimes dispatch can be very frustrating. For supposedly being on the same team they sure can screw you over sometimes. I guess if everyone's booked, everyone's booked and there's not much they can do so I can't really get too upset with dispatch... But Customer Service is a different story! I spent over THREE HOURS today, on the phone with Provisioning trying to sort out whacky calls these new sales reps created. THREE HOURS! That would have made the difference between me being home at 10:45 PM and being home at 7:45 PM! I went to one house, my work order said they wanted full cable, two rental Digital Cable Terminals (DCT's) and High Speed Internet on a purchased modem. Pretty straight forward. I went in, hooked everything up, and called provisioning to activate it. What should have been a 30-40 minute call ender up taking nearly two and a half hours because of the time I had to spend on the phone waiting for provisioning to fix the work order because apparantly it had been done up wrong and was completely unusable. There were some other problems with the account, but the long and the short of it is that I SAT there, in the customer's home, with the phone to my ear listening to sappy elevator music for nearly two hours watching TV while I had many other calls spaced few and far between that I should have been doing. Grrr. It was a frustrating day. I find the most frustrating days are the ones where I'm behind for circumstances and situations beyond my control, and dispatch can't or won't help me out by getting calls picked up. Like tonight, I have to then call the customer, let them know I'm not going to be arriving at their house until 10 or 11:00 pm and ask them if that's allright. Then one of two things happens, if they say no and want to rebook the call, I lose money on it, and if they say yes, it's still ok to come, I've got a very late night ahead of me! The solution seems quite simple. Have more than two people a day doing floater runs. There are four quadrants of the city. At least have one floater working in each of the four quadrants, that way they're not driving 30 minutes between each call and there's a better chance if (we installers) get in trouble, we can get calls picked up. Whould that not make more sense? And the other side of that coin is the hours. Most floaters are done at 7:00 PM. And I understand that, they want to get home and do their thing, but have late floaters who'll work till 9:00. Because most times it's not your early calls that put you behind, or if they do you usually manager to stay afloat until you run into trouble at night, and then you get screwed because you don't realize you're stuck at a call until 7:30 and you've still got 3 or 4 evening calls to do but there's nobody floating to pick up calls. Same with provisioning. If they could cut down on the time we spend on the phone getting stuff done, we'de be more efficient, they'd be making more money, and everyone would be happy.

*sigh* There's my rant for the day. Like I said, it was a long one. I feel like I can barely move and I don't want to try. Once my eyelids drop I'll be down for the night. Have a good one. Here's hoping tomorrow goes better than today.

April 4, 2006 - 11:09 PM
I love night rain

I love rain at night. Whether it's dripping off the corner of a roof or droplets are pecking and splacking the outer wall of my tent - there is no sound more soothing. And the smell! I don't think I know anyone who doesn't love the smell of rain. Night rain is practical too because it doesn't keep you from doing anything, it is even absorbed by the ground better because there is no sun to cause it to evaporate. My conclusion: Night rain is good.

Water pouring out the corner of the eavestrough My all time favorite rain sound is the sound of rain falling on a tin roof. Perhaps because it amplifies each droplet, or maybe because so many fond childhood memories are linked with such sound - Rain on Roof will always take me to a happier, simpler time of my life. One such memory is of the yearly camping trip my family would make to Kananaskis Country. The first couple of years we didn't even own a trailer, so my dad would build beds into the back of the blue van. (The one I just stripped every non-essential part off for Rusty - starting to get an idea of why these parts hold more than just practical value to me? This is my generally repressed sentimentality coming out. I'll give you a hint too - it's also a big part of the reason I drive old Ford vans. Because trust me - it's not for the mileage! hahaha) We'd spend a week with Pine Trees and picnic tables, hammocks and Coleman stoves, Outhouses and Amphitheatres. It was just fun, and the more I think back on it the more I miss it. But back to the rain, I remember lying in the back of the van, tucked warm and snug under two or three heavy quilts on a wooden bed my dad made beneath my sponge matress - hearing nothing but the sound of heavy, unrelenting rain on the roof of the van. Drop after drop, trickle after trickle, I'd lay there and watch water blobs coagulate on the windows before disappearing out of view and hear the peaceful sound of my mom, dad, and brother sleeping around me.

Rain As I left my parents' house tonight, I felt saddened as I looked at the old blue van sitting in the driveway, a phone call away from being picked up and towed away for scrap by the Kidney Foundation. I know if I were younger it would have bothered me a lot more but I can't say it still doesn't pull some of the ol' heart strings. The camping trips, the treks to Colorado Springs, Blair burning his hand on the freshly painted exhaust pipe, the rear heater (which is now going in my white van!) hearing dad whistle a tune with perfect pitch while driving it, the countless trips to the bins, on and on the list goes and the more I think about it the more I'm remembering. It's funny too, because a few days ago when Dad and I went to start it, it just fired right up. (And this after sitting dormant for several YEARS! I barely even had to pump it!) It still purred like a kitten and I'll never forget the smell of it's exhaust. There's something distinct about Ford engine exhaust. I'm sure it's not healthy to be smelling - but again, it's all in the name of nostalgia. So I've got one more part to take off it, the carburator, and after that point it will no longer be in running order. Everything else has already been removed, the dash, the radio, the headlight switch, both heaters, oh - I'll grab the ignition key too since I had to destroy Rusty's that one day at Sheerness when my van key sank to the bottom of the lake... It would be kind of a neat tribute to have my van start with the same key that once engaged the blue van. Haha, am I a sentimental sap here or what?!! Oh well. I am what I am. And now I am going to bed.

April 7, 2006 - 11:15 AM
My dad has more skill with a power saw than most carpenters have with a hammer and chissel

Yesterday my dad and I spent the morning and afternoon building shelves for the back of my work van. I forgot to get a picture of the van the way it was organized before the transformation, but I was basically working out of boxes, buckets, and bags scattered throughout the empty van.

You can sort of get an idea from there. After we were done though, there was space to kill thanks to the shelves he built and the ladder hooks we installed on the opposite side. It's a whole new vehicle inside! Now I have two more van projects, essentially getting the new heaters hooked up. I don't want to wait too long on this one because I know if I do, winter will strike again before I get a chance to finish it and by then it will be too late. At this point it's just a matter of running some hoses to the one rear heater behind the driver's seat and I'll have to build a box around the (other) heater that will eventually go on the passenger side behind the side doors. When all is said and done, I'll have three heaters in that van! No more cold winter driving for me!

This is the van after our modifications

I even have a place to mount my fire extinguisher and first aid kit

Of course, the whole time we were working on the van, the puppy was watching from his mound of blankets around the corner, looking very cute as usual. It's hard to admit but he is getting to be very old

Basking in the sun

When dad and I would go inside for tea breaks, the puppy would also come in with us and play. I call this picture Patience

This is the bone's perspective on the matter:

Today I'm going to go back to my parents' house to get the carburator off the blue van, and I'll try it on Rusty to see if it fits first of all, and then if it runs any better. I brought Rusty to Terry Olhauser's shop a few years ago to have the carburator rebuilt and ever since that time it has never been right. It starts and runs, but it has never had the same power it used to have before I brought it in. The whole reason I brought it in was because I knew a couple of the gaskets on it had dried up, cracked, and were leaking - but it still had loads of torque. Now it struggles off the start and eventually picks up as the RPM's increase. I remember before if I pushed my foot down on the pedal it would spin the back tires! So anyways, we'll try this other carb in it and see what happens.

After spending several hours after work on Tuesday night, I finally finished mastering Sirrius Mix and burned the first copy. Today I've been popping blanks into the burner and making copies to give out to all of you who asked me for them (and probably a few of you who didn't! :P) I've been watching the thermometer beside me steadily rise and I'm very tempted to go out and see if the bike will start. It's sitting at 14.2 Celcius right now, with the sun blazing in through my window. Very tempting indeed.

Apil 8, 2006 - 11:30 AM
Enter a new era in my mixing hobby

Light blured from my new DN-D9000

Yesterday afternoon I got a long awaited phone call from Jon down at Axe, informing me that my new CD player had arrived. That just made my weekend. But just like buying an easel and some brushes doesn't make you a painter, buying the most ridiculous CD player I've ever seen doesn't make me a DJ. It's going to take countless hours of practice, tinkering, playing, and listening before I'll get decent at live mixing. But in any event, it's going to be fun! I've wanted a Denon CD player since I was in junior high! It made me feel like a kid again carrying it out the door of Axe Music as even the employees were commenting, That's a sweet rig you've got there! It's the little things in life... You know... hehehe

Just like a kid at Christmas

April 8, 2006 - 4:43 PM
First ride of the season

... and the bike runs great, which was to be expected, but I need a new battery. Every time I stopped the engine it had to be jumped. I guess it's still the original battery and 5 years isn't a bad life for them. I can see the expenses adding up though, as spring begins to tip-toe past the last halmarks of winter. The Seadoo needs a new battery as well, and both toys could stand to have a tuneup. Then there's the price of gas to consider, and camping fees, back country permits, insurance, in some cases firewood, camping supplies, kerosene, Seadoo oil, man - the more I think about it the more I'd forgotten how expensive summer is. Hopefully there's another houseboat trip this year. There certainly seemed to be enough interest after last year's trip to warrant another one this year. I know there had been some talk of doing two boats - one for the boring couples who want to hang out together all day and another boat for the single party animals who want to have fun. I guess we'll see what happens. I ran into Michelle Boschee and Curtis today at Home Depot, although that's not her last name anymore. And since I don't know Curtis's last name, we'll just leave it at Curtis. Ever the small world. I didn't even know they lived in Calgary - I thought they were living in Edmonton which I guess would have been true right up until the time they moved to Calgary. Now that I think about it though, I do recall Jaimee saying something about them living here now. Too many people to keep track of. When I run into them, I say hi and catch up. Otherwise, no idea what's going on in their lives.

So Bo is finishing up Maddy's playhouse in the garage today. We're still not entiely sure how we're going to get it from the garage to the back yard... It's pretty big and the gate is pretty small. Plus, now with the plywood, siding, and shingles on it it's bound to be pretty heavy as well. Bo suggested we have a bar-b-q one day and get everyone at the BBQ to help us carry it around. Even that plan may be flawed when it comes to the point of the gate. I don't know how we'll get it past the gate but we'll leave that one for now and worry about it when it's really an issue. Like when the playhouse is in the front yard and we're all standing around it scratching our heads.

The new CD player is awesome. I had to FORCE myself to go to bed last night as I was up well past two playing with it. My brain must have been excited too though, because even with as little sleep as I got, I still woke up at 8:30 this morning and was back at it again, blurry-eye'd and spongie-minded. It's just so much fun to use! Plus I'm going through all my CDs again with new interest as each one of them has new potential for mixing and remixing. Bo came down this morning and said, Alright, let's see this new toy of yours. I felt like a two year old who'd just been given a waterpaint kit as I tried to show some of the features with very little skill. But when it came to the scratch mode, even Bo had to try it and when he did, announced That IS pretty cool. I just might have to get one of these for myself!

I popped into Wal-Mart today to buy some laundy detergant. Man is that place ever a zoo! It's insane! And it's like they evey time you go there, no matter what time of day, night, weekday or weekend! Now I'm finding the weariness kicking back in as all I really want to do right now is curl up under a heavy blanket, listen to the sound of my alarm clock ticking the seconds away until my nap overtakes me and I pass out for a few hours. There is just so much to do still today, I bought some light sockets for a motion sensor I've been meaning to put up in the back yard, I've got another load of laundry to do, I need to make more Sirrius Mix CD's to give out to people, and of course I'd love to play with my DN-D9000 some more. Still, I'm having a hard time putting any of those things ahead of my body's craving for sleep right now. Maybe it's the warmer weather or something but I can't seem to shake this exhaustion. And of course, tomorrow I'm back at work. I wanted to sort out my van today and get some containers so that things would be more organized this week but I couldn't find any suitable ones at Wal-Mart today. I'm not even sure where to get the kind of bins and trays I'm looking for. Even without them, it's going to be so much nicer having the shelf space to open up the back and make it more usable. As I type, the green bird has his head tucked into his feathers and is trying to sleep but the blue bird, apparantly intent on annoying him, is pecking at the perch hanging between them and pushing it so that it bonks the sleeping green bird. They are very funny sometimes. I think I am going to lie down for a bit. I can't seem to fight the fatigue.

April 9, 2006 - 10:32 PM
... And there was rain

Reflection off the patio table in the back yard at night in the rain

I stood outside for a minute or two this evening, bare foot on the drenched winter-beaten grass in the back yard of my house and listened to the rain falling all around me. It felt like camping, there was no sound, no cars, no electric hum - just the tinglie sensation of droplets of water gradually penetrating the pores of my sweater. A trickle down my cheek made me shiver. It always seems colder when you're wet. Everything around me felt damp. All things glistened and shimmered by the dim, distant streetlight. Two patterns of sound could be made out - the gentle, constant static sound of the rain falling everywhere, and the repetitive dripping of accumulations of water falling off the lowest point of objects beneath the leaky sky.

Long exposure shot of the back alley in the rain

Gutter Glitter

I wish I were a better man
I wish I had a better plan for dealing with this...
What am I to do now?

April 11, 2006 - 7:03 AM
... And I know you heart belongs
to someone you've yet to meet.
Someday, you will be loved

And what is it with old people hiking their dark green sweat pants all the way to their armpits? I saw this one guy a few days ago who -- I swear -- had the elastic band of his sweats tucked under each arm pit! Not cool man, not cool. And in other news, I've discovered a song which I believe makes use of a Commodore 64 for some of the sounds! Boy was I excited, let me tell you. Hahaha. Of course it's a techno-ie kind of song, but still. It was good to hear the ol' SID chip in action again. And on that note (musical inference intended) - I'm off to work! Woo hoo

April 14, 2006 - 10:13 AM
April's What-Is-It?

What is it?

Good thing I'm not chlaustrophobic because the world is a very small place...

I had a name on one of my work orders the other day that stood out. It was not someone I knew, but I could distinctly hear the voice of one of my long lost friends talking about this guy. And it's such a name that very few people have, particularly inside one City. Chris Bonk. So I was wracking my brain all day trying to remember who's friend he was - I could distinctly hear someone's voice saying the name, Chris Bonk... Chris Bonk... -- But who??? It turned out that I was working in the North West part of the city that day, pretty close to the school I attended for my last year of elementary and all of junior high. Half for nostalgia's sake, half for hunger's sake I decided to see if the old bakery we always used to frequent was still around, and much to me surprise, amusement, and enjoyment - it was. Same name and everything too! So I went inside and ordered a dozen cheese buns (though I realized afterwards that it wasn't the cheesebuns we always used to eat but the butter buns. Perhaps next time I'll see if they still have the butter buns.) So I was sitting there thinking about all the times we used to go to that little strip mall and I started to think about some of the people I went to school with at that time... Rob Esau (who I still talk to and see once in a while), Dana Lattery, Marshall Bergman, Miriam, Nadine (whose brother just started working at Shaw) and Kristi-Anne Louise Ter Mors. Then it clicked. SHE was the one who was always talking about her friend Chris Bonk! What a relief to have figured that out. Now I just had to see if he was the same Chris Bonk from all those years ago or if there were two of that name in the city.

When I got to his appartment, as soon as I saw him he looked familiar, always a good sign. I started hooking up his cable and finally asked if he knew Kristi. His gaze drifted past the present and began searching the past, then said with growing confidence that he vaguely remembered her but hadn't seen her in a long time. I confirmed the great quantity of passing time by admitting it would have been 10 or 12 years since I'd heard any mention of his name but it's such a distinct name that it stuck in my head. I began reciting other names that he might have known and they too, rang bells within his recollection. I guess they all went to the Foursquare church together, and that's probably why he Looked vaguely familiar because I went there for a couple of youth things at one time (but only because I had a crush on Kristi.) We ended up going for coffee many years after those days of junior high and then the next time I heard anything from her she was married and her husband worked at the Eecol electrical distributor we used to visit almost every day while I worked at Sylvania. Did I mention the small world? Because it's very small.

And now for something completely different...

Have you ever had one of those BIG zits, the ones that make a large round red lump somewhere on your face? Well I had one of those the other day, and to be perfectly honest, embarassing qualities aside, those are some of my favorite types of zits. You get in there and start to squeeze it, and it almost feels like you've got a small marble under the skin. You don't see any head or anything but it stings so you keep on squeezing until BLOOT! - A small organic projectile flies out at mach four and scores a direct hit on your mirror. Sometimes you get multiple bogies and those ones are even better. Are you grossed out yet? hahaha

Filling the new batteries

Yesterday I bit the bullet and bought two new batteries - one for the bike and one for the Seadoo. Last year after being stranded (while drifting away from shore) on the Seadoo made up my mind for me in regards to replacing it's still-original battery, and the fact that my bike would not even turn over yesterday after having had the battery on trickle charge overnight meant that it was time to give it a new one as well. It's neat when you buy a new sport battery, because you actually have to fill it with acid yourself! They give you the battery and a couple of containers full of electrolyte and you have to pour it into each of the cells before the battery will hold any power. Once the battery was ready, I dropped it in the bike, it started right up (even without having to charge it!) and I took the bike on a two hour tour of Calgary. (It would have been 45 minutes but I hit rush-hour traffic.) I had forgotten how much the bike takes out of you though, I think I'm starting to realize that I can't ride a crotch-rocket forever... I'm not getting any younger...

Last night Bo and I went to Burger King for some fast food supper snacking, and while I was there I read a great Herman. There's this man standing on the street, with a pipe in his mouth and several little puffs of smoke rising out of the pipe. Beside him there's an Indian beside him, apparantly offended, who says, "Same to you, buddy!" HAHAHAHA It was great. ... The smoke signals, get it? Ahh I had a good chuckle at that one.

April 16, 2006 - 11:42 PM
I got to bed earlier than usual last night, thought I'd get a good start on the work week. I got up this morning, had a good shower, ate some breakfast even, was all set to have a great day. Then I went outside, got in the van and turned the key. Nothing. Apparantly even an Optima battery will drain if you leave an inverter on for three days and three nights... No big deal, I grabbed the charger and set it to work, replenishing the supply of energy usually stored within the vehicle's battery. Forty-five minutes later, the van roared to life so I put the charger away and resumed my morning routine, preparing to go about my day. I got to the Shaw warehouse and grabbed my work orders. It was the easiest day I've been given in months! No evening calls even! Just three mornings and 6 afternoon calls. A nice easy day I thought, I'll be home by 5 or 6 at the latest! I had left my van running while at Shaw — Just In Case — and after acquiring my daily supplies, drove to my first job of the day. The van had been running for at least an hour by now and I figured it would be safe to shut it off by now. I went in, did my first job of the day and returned to the van, only to hear the dreaded *Click click click* as I turned the key.

Long story short, I ended up giving up the rest of my easy days' calls to another tech, went to Auto Value, picked up a new regulator and took an afternoon nap that occupied my day until about 6:00 pm. At that time, I enjoyed a hearty roast beef dinner with the family before making my way home. I wanted to drop off my tax stuff with Barb tonight so I set out to do so, only by the time I reached the white van and reached for the keys, I realized that they were not on my usual key chain, but rather lying on the kitchen table, safely inside the house I'd just locked. Hoping Bo would be home by the time I got back, Fortunately I still had the key for the red van, and still managed to get to Barb's and back. As I was driving up to the house, I saw Bo pull up at the house, a wonder of timing, and was able to get back inside where I located my keys, exactly where I'd left them on the kitchen table.

The faulty regulator from my white van

I took the old voltage regulator apart to see if I could locate the problem and it was a lot more obvious than I had expected. I'm sure even the most untrained, un-technical eye can say that this does not look normal. This connection is the ground point for the regulator, upon which it bases it's decision of whether or not to engage the field coils in the alternator. Without a proper ground point by which to measure the available power in the vehicle's electrical system, it either tells the alternator to operate in full field mode, where it puts out 100% power capacity whether the vehicle needs it or not, or it shuts the alternator right off, preventing any charging or maintaining of the vehicle's electrical supply.

What really tipped me off to the regulator being the problem was a few nights ago I was driving when I noticed the inverter kept shutting off due to a high voltage condition. Without having an actual volt-meter on it at the time I can only guess, but knowing how the other inverter worked, for it to complain of a high-voltage condition, the vehicle's electrical system must have been over 15 volts! The dome light was brilliantly bright, the dash lights have never illuminated so clearly and my turn signal could have been mistaken for a strobe light it was pulsing so quickly that night! It scared me a little because I worried that [whatever was happening] would damage all the electronics in the van. Oddly enough, the next day things were back to normal, but this morning when it would not charge the battery I knew something wasn't right. I'll sleep better tonight knowing it's been fixed though, and I must have needed the nap this afternoon. It was so cute though, my puppy of course came and slept with me. When I first got to the house there was no one home so I laid on the couch to take a nap. After some time, I awoke and realized it was a bit chilly so I got up and found a blanket. When I returned to the couch, I tossed it across the area upon which I was intending to sleep, but before I could finish shaking out the blanket, it had become laiden with a puppy. He's such a silly puppy.

Kevin and Kristin having a marker fight

Oh yeah, and the other day when I was at Barb's house, Kevin and Kristin had a marker fight. And then a pillow fight. And we listened to a bunch of comedians on the computer. It was kind of like the olden days when people would gather around the radio and listen to stories on the radio. We sat there around the computer and laughed for a couple of hours. Good times.

Speaking of good times, good night!

April 18, 2006 - 10:48 PM
Operation Gutless returns???

Tomorrow morning at 5:00 Bo's waking me up and we're going to go for a run. Or at least that's the plan... I've already lost somewhere around 20 pounds since starting my job at Shaw (At one time, wearing only boxers I was 209 pounds. Now, fully clothed in jeans and a sweater (including my big ring of keys) I'm 192.) Although you can definitely see the difference, I'm toying with the idea of kicking it up a notch again, and Bo's been encouraging me to come running with him in the mornings. One one hand it feels like ages since I was fighting, but in the same breath it doesn't seem like that long ago I'd run for 15 minutes straight like it was nothing. I'm a little nervous about an early morning run, especially on a work day. It's not like it's easy working 12 - 14 hours a day, and now starting out with strenuous activity before even getting to the warehouse... could make things interesting. But you're only young once and summer is coming! hahah It's funny how that thought alone has provided annual bursts of ambition in the physical physique department. Couldn't hurt my single-ness anyways... I've also accepted my supervisor's request to work more days in the next couple of weeks. This week I'm working (tomorrow), then I'm off Thursday, I work Friday, Saturday is King of the Cage and Lee's jewlery party, then I work Sunday through Wednesday as part of my normal week and it's looking like that Thursday and Friday too, giving me only one day off that week. Why work so much? The way things have been going it will mean a five-digit income for April and summer is coming! (Well, gross income anyways. I've been getting absolutely raped in taxes lately. I think in the last couple of months I've paid more than $2,000 / month in taxes! It's sickening. That would pay 100% of the mortgage, utilities, food, - even my van gas (Which cost $160 the last time I filled the white van!)) The rising price of everything is eating away at my new-found income! Anyway, it's now 11:00 and I'm going to get to sleep. Morning comes awfully early... I think even the sun has better sense than to be up at 5:00...

April 19, 2006 - 6:55 AM

Well, aside from having rubberlegs now, I feel great! Bo and I ran to the 7-Eleven and back, I'm not sure how far that is in terms of distance, but we were out for about 20 - 30 minutes this morning. I'm just waiting for a CD to burn and then I'm off to work. I've been listening to Chill 35 quite a bit and there are a few artists I've really come to enjoy. Morcheeba being one, and Death Cab for Cutie being the other. A lot of one-hit-wonders, or bands which have but one or two songs I like, but these two seem to score points on a more consistant basis. Anyway, the disc is done so I am gone. Find your favorite music program and download Someday You Will Be Loved by Death Cab for Cutie. Great song. Have a good day!

April 20, 2006 - 6:36 AM
Post run stretch

There's nothing like the sting of a post-run stretch.

Day two: I can't believe how quickly it comes back. This morning my legs were burning when I got up and everything south of the belt was sore or stinging, yet even so we ran to Burger King and back and now I feel great. I didn't even puke today, always a bonus. I think yesterday was just the shock of not having done a strenuous activity for a long time in a couple of months. My cardio has come up incredibly since I first started fighting nearly two years ago. I remember when I first started working out, I'd run out of breath before I'd even get a chance to work any muscles - but now I can push myself to the point where my legs simply won't lift. It feels like they're caught on something or that my shoes weigh 50 pounds. Have you ever had that happen when you're climbing stairs and you think you've lifted your legs high enough but your foot hits the step above it instead of landing on top of it and you fall on your face? Ya that sucks.

A sketch I made yesterday between calls

I had some time to kill between calls yesterday and because I had forgotten my T3 I couldn't play Solitare so I flipped a work order over and started sketching. One thing I've always been horrible at is drawing people. I can't do it. Give me any inatimate object and I can pencil a reasonable representation of it but people? Forget it. Still, I have to admit my mind has been wandering towards the summer and the camping trips, day hikes, outings, and I'm hoping against hope that there will be a houseboat trip again this year. At one point there was talk of getting two boats for this year, but lately I haven't heard anything at all.

So the plan for today is as follows: This morning Paul from Shaw is going to come over for a bit and upgrade our security system. Then this afternoon I've got to clean my van out, go find some storage store and see if I can get some bins, buckets, boxes, compartments, or otherwise [devices for holding things] to organize the van a bit better, and I've also got a pair of Carhartt's I need to take back and exchange for a pair with a shorter leg. Apparantly I thought I was taller than I am when I bought them. Later on in the day, once he finishes working with his dad on one of their houses, Dexton wants to go sub hunting with me so that will probably kill a few hours, and then it's night time, bed time, and work time tomorrow morning. I had a quick little meeting with my supervisor yesterday, as I'm approaching 6 months at Shaw. We went through my file and to sum up, he's happy with the work I'm doing, there are no complaints on my file from customers and one customer even phoned in to compliment the installation I had performed at their house.

"[The Customer] called in this morning as he wanted to let you know that the tech that installed his internet was awesome. He was completely informative and helpful. [The customer] said that he answered all his questions about the High Speed Internet services as well as any other questions he had about our other services. I wanted to pass this along to you, it is tech [me]"

He thanked me for the good work, told me to keep it up and I went out of his office to take on the day with a new sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and contentment. It was a good day and I'm happy they're happy with me because I really enjoy working at Shaw.

Here's another Whatisit for you: If you can guess what it is, or the one from a few days ago - sign the guestbook with your guesses.

What is it?

April 20, 2006 - 11:11 PM
April Showers

What a gorgeous day. Twenty-two degrees, sunny, our little flowers in the back yard have big bulbous bundles on them that are ready to burst forth in bright, beautiful, brilliant color within the next week or so. I gave the lawn a good soaking, front and back, to help kick start the grass. Today being my one day off I spent a lot of it outside. My first order of business was to go see if I could source some plastic bins for the van with which to organize the various stuff I carry to perform my day-to-day tasks. Not only will this make it easier to access, but it will also be very easy to see when something is running low. Right now everything is in bags and it gets to be quite a task to inventory everything in my head. I went to Southcentre to the Storageworks store there, apparantly the only one in the city - sure that I would find something useful for my task. No such luck. But while I was having brunch in the food court I did see a police officer walking a young girl out of the store, her purse and bag in his hand... She looked like she had been crying and he was asking her questions to which she kept shaking her head in the no fashion. She had to have been no more than 14 or 15 years old. Way to start your criminal record. From there, I stopped in at both Office and Home depots, neither of which seemed to have anything suitable to my needs either. They're just plastic bins! You wouldn't think they'd be so hard to find! After the depots, I hit Axe Music to talk to Jon about some things. He gave me some information and I managed to leave this time without spending any money. It's hard as that is my dream store. I go there when I want to drool.

Having temporarily given up on trying to get these bins, I decited to take a detour of a more personal nature. I stopped into the place Treala works to see if she was working. Turns out she was, and as the place was surprisingly [not busy] we actually got a chance to talk for a while. Can you believe she thought I was never going to call her? I mean, it's true - in how many years I've known her I think I've called her two or three times - but she moved to New Zealand for a year and I assumed her number would have changed when she got back. It was pure chance I happened to be in line at Boston Pizza with Rob and Lee and all their kids the night she came in... Had we been seated already I probably wouldn't have even seen her. And how totally ironic to run into her at the very Boston Pizza she used to waitress at which is actually where I met her in the first place... It really is a small world. So we conferred with each other's schedules and set a date to get together, and hopefully at that time we can catch up on all the latest happenings in each others' lives over the past two years. It's funny, just before she moved to New Zealand we went on a date together and (I thought) we really hit it off. But she was moving away for a year and I didn't know if I'd ever see her again so nothing really happened. It will be interesting to see how things go now that she's not holding a plane ticket in her hand.

Backyard Loungers

This evening Sean, Lynne and Val came over and we sat out in the back yard for a few hours. After they left Bo and I took Maddy swimming to put a nice cap on a beautiful day. Maddy made a friend from Phoenix tonight and so spent a good portion of the night running around, holding hands with this other girl while her dad, Bocephus and I kept parental eyes on them. The other girl had never jumped in off the side of the pool before, and so with much coaxing and encouragement from the four of us, she eventually overcame her fear and mastered the act of jumping in off the side of the pool. When we left there, we stopped in at Humpty's for a bit of supper / night snack, and now - waiting for the washing machine to finish so I can toss the wet clothes in the dryer and go to bed - here I sit recapping my day. Tomorrow I work, and then Saturday it's off to Rob & Lee's for a Jewelery party (woo hoo!) and then in the latter part of the afternoon, a Bar-B-Q at home here before heading out with a couple of [the guys] to King of the Cage for some good ol' fightin action. Then on Sunday, it's back to the grind and next week will probably be just as, if not more busy. I'm purposely trying to work some extra days (well, they are asking but it's voluntary) so that I can save up lots of money to go camping and travelling this summer. I think we actually get three weeks of vacation time at Shaw, even during the first year! There's an HR meeting on Tuesday that might address holidays so perhaps I'll learn more about it then. In the mean time, it's a good time to be working extra time since nothing's open for camping yet and I've still got some preseason expenses. Oh, and speaking of expenses, we got our electric bill this month and according to it, our electricity cost was $1.40. No idea why, but that's all it asks for. Wierd, huh. Maybe the meter got stuck. Anyway, the washer just stopped so I'm going to go put the dryer on and then crawl into bed. Got another 5:00 run tomorrow morning and sleep has never felt better! Goodnight

April 22, 2006 - 11:30 PM
Breaking point: Something has to give

There comes a time in your life, maybe it's more than once, where you arrive at a place and look around you in disgust; abhored at where you've wound up. You're hemmed in on every side, trapped, cornered, stuck in a place you don't want to be. Sometimes you've been pushed there by the forces of life, or perhaps you've arrived there as a result of your own free will, but however it is you've come to be where you are doesn't matter: You're there and now you want out. You hate the routine, the charade, the silly childish games that are played. You hate yourself for playing them. Your stomach turns knots as in your mind you walk down the daily paths you know you're going to have to take unless something changes. Where did all your friends go? Where are the faces that made you smile? Where is the laughter that once bellowed from your lips? It's become a strange sound, alien to your ears.

I went to my third King of the Cage fight tonight at the Stampede Corral with Bo and a bunch of his friends from work. The first one was still by far the best. Not only were the fights better, there were quite a few UFC stars there and I saw at least 8 fights break out in the croud. Tonight the brute squad and police seemed to have their hands full as spats erupted here and there and the croud boo'd as officers dragged patron after patron out of the stands. I couldn't really keep my mind on the fights either. The people around me were quite intoxicated and there's nothing more irritating than a drunk person trying to be your best friend when you really just want to be alone. And as you're sitting there trying to stare at the ring, he's showing you how his beer cup is broken and by doing so, spills some of his beer on you. I'm not going to the next one... But as I sat there contemplating life and consequence, it struck me how easy it would be to enter into a cycle of depression which sparks anti-social, self destructive behaviour that would ultimately increase the depression and repeat until the person was utterly ineffective and unable to function as a human being. I think guys are perhaps more prone to this, and drinking increases the liklihood of such behaviour. Suppose you're a guy who's having a hard time fitting in. So you start to drink and loosen up. But in your inibriated state you start to do things or say things that, instead of raising your social position and status, irritate and cause those around you to want to have nothing to do with you. Unable to come up with an appropriate response to this, more anti-social behaviour ensues, and pretty soon the person has destroyed themself socially. Then what do you do? You're trapped and there's no way out in sight. You've lost all your friends and have nothing but a pile of regret. You may not even realize you've done anything wrong, and then your anger burns against the world, that invisible, omniprescent force that has conspired against you to destroy you and rob you of your happiness.

There really is nothing more depressing than being surrounded by a bunch of drunks. You know that if you were drunk, you wouldn't feel alone or left out but at the same time you see the stupid things everyone around you is doing and wouldn't want to take a part of them anyways, so you just can't win. Otherwise, the evening was pretty good. Actually the whole day was pretty good, except for the icy cold chill this afternoon... And I'm not talking about the snow... :P I was at Robyn Lee's Jewlery Party and had been having quite a fun time playing SOS and the box game with Amanda when Telle came in. I tried saying hi to her a couple of times and I know she heard me, but flat out ignored me as though I weren't even there. What's with the act, Telle? Who are you trying to convince? In the end though, it worked out well. Not long after she had arrived, Bo called to say that they were leaving for the fight soon so I left. I wanted to see Lorina though. I was a little disappointed I didn't get to see her. I want her to come over and see BJ. There may not be too many more chances. He's not getting any younger... Such a good old puppy. I love my puppy.

April 26, 2006 - 5:47 AM
How utterly depressing 'tis
to know that though I try...
Every girl I've ever liked
is with some other guy.

But on the bright side, I know there are plenty more and these things have a way of working out. I haphazardly started watching Meet Joe Black the other night. I had never even caught a trailer for the movie to my knowledge, seen it in video store shelves many times but never had any interest in watching it. Still, the other night it was on TV and I started watching it. Bo brought me up to speed on the plot thus far in the movie and it sounded pretty intriguing. A very wealthy, successful, self-made man gets a visit from death in the form of 'Joe Black', (Brad Pitt) who tells him he is going to die but want to 'watch' him for a while. With little choice, (the guy) oblidges. The movie was actually very interesting. Even witty and clever, certainly thought provoking. TV is definitely an escape from reality though; no matter what's going on in your own life, whatever problems you're facing or what other things you should be doing, those two hours can distract your mind from all things real and engross it in a world a universe away. It's probably a good thing I don't have a TV, although ironic considering my occupation... Yesterday we had an HR meeting to go over our group benefit package. Shaw really looks after it's employees and in another month when I'm on the benefit program, rest assured I am going to be taking advantage of it - particularly the free massage therapy!

Off to Humpty's for breakfast. Have a good day everyone. Kristin! We should go for coffee.

April 29, 2006 - 5:41 PM
Power Lines and a Tree

Today's a new day...

What a beautiful day it is. I took that picture a couple of days ago while working on the pole in the picture. There's a subtle beauty in telephone poles. I think if you look closely, there's even a nest in that tree branch near the top-left corner. I volunteered to work today, one of my days off, but took only a day shift as I have a date tonight.

On the way to my first job this morning I was travelling along 16th Avenue when I caught the sparkle from something shiny a vehicle ahead of me just ran over. As I got nearer I saw that there was the remains of an animal on the road. Now normally at this time of year, it's hard to go anywhere of any distance without seeing a dead rabbit on the road, and pretty soon dead gophers will be making their mark on the pavement. But the fur of this particular animal was black, and I saw what it was that had sparkled in the morning sun, drawing my attention to it: It was a collar. Suddenly my stomach sank and I was overcome with grief as this was not some wild animal, it was somebody's pet - and judging from the kind of collar, it was probably a well loved family pet. I felt sick. Seeing something like that on the road - it's not hard to imagine it being your own dog. BJ's getting particularly deaf and his sight is not far behind. It's frightening to know that he might wander out onto a street and not even see a car coming. I can't imagine the agony an owner would feel finding the remains of their Fido. Animal owners, keep your pets tied up or inside. If you've got a fence, make sure there are no cracks, holes, loose boards, or other means by which a determined dog might escape.

6:42 PM
Waiting for the phone to ring...

Man does this bring back memories. Have you ever sat by the phone, waiting for that someone to call? Getting more and more nervous by the minute, not sure if they've decided to cancel the date and just not call, not sure if your phone is working, not sure of yourself... Minutes keep on passing and there is not a stir from the phone. Should you call her? Would that seem too anxious? What if she lost your number and is waiting for you to call? What if she's gone out with someone else? Oh the mind can invent an infinate number of scenarios to taunt the tummy, half full of butterflies, half full of hunger. What to do? It's a Dillemma

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