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Journal Entries for February 2007
February 1, 2007 - 2:11 PM
I must be getting older, I'm really starting to enjoy afternoon naps on my days off! Only twenty-eight more days until I leave for Australia! It's starting to hit me that this is really going to happen! Last night the puppy and I went for a walk through a blustery winter storm. I don't think the temperature was that cold, but with that blowing wind and flying snow, it made one wish for more global warming, not less. We really haven't had much of a winter to complain about yet though, a thought that crossed my mind as I sat out in the hot tub this morning, watching the steam evaporate from my emerged arm under the light of the sun blasting down on me from a clear blue sky... I had a dream last night that I was installing security cameras at this warehouse-like building, which seemed to belong to Dan in my dream. I couldn't decide on what to call him, whether by first name or 'Mister'... but then it dawned on me, "I don't have to be intimidated by you anymore!" Although some people can be intimidating no matter who they are and no matter who you are.

My mom will be pleased to know that I've started making lists: Something she was always trying to get me to do and always doing herself while I was growing up. I've got a shopping list, a list of things to do before going to Australia, a list of things to take care of before the 23 hour flight, and I'll soon have a list of things I need to do / check / fix / look after when I return.

February 6, 2007 - 11:47 PM
Wow. That's the only way to put it. Wow. I met the single most attractive person I've ever encountered tonight at my last install of the day downtown. Originally from Newfoundland, she came to Calgary a few months ago, (October 21 if my memory serves me correctly), lived in Lakeview for a few months with a roommate named Shannon that drove her nuts, and then she lucked her way into her own unique appartment near the downtown core. Standing close to 5' tall, I think petite but well proportioned would be one way to describe her. She wore her sandy brown hair in a pony-tail, and had the cutest dimples when she smiled, which was frequent throughout the course of the install. And, as luck would have it - several problems with her account and appartment wiring caused me to have to stay longer than would have otherwise been necessary.

I see a lot of people during the course of an average day, and to be perfectly blunt and honest, the vast majority of people are easily forgettable. You get some jewels, the interesting people like the German fellow this morning or my now friend Andrew, a retired Firefighter and WWII Paratrooper. You even get the odd one here or there who you wish you could forget! But once in a while, on a rare and wonderful occasion, you encounter someone as in the case tonight who, even if you never see them again, you will never forget. Oh, and did I mention the reason she moved from St. John's to Calgary? She's training to become a massage therapist! Sweet dreams are made of these... Who am I to disagree?

February 8, 2007 - 12:51 PM
Cabin In The Woods

It's snowing. I found this picture on a birthday card someone gave me, and it looks very warm and inviting. With colder weather and more snow in the forecast, places that are warm become that much more desirable. Notice in the picture the way the light in the windows seems to draw you in...

Yesterday I had an excellent customer experience and I was so impressed, not only am I writing about it in my journal but I'm also going to write to the management of the company to express my satisfaction with one particular employee who definitely went above and beyond. I went to the Pizza Hut on 64th Ave by the Canadian Tire yesterday for a quick and filling lunch buffet. After I was seated I wandered about the restaurant, searching too and fro for a newspaper I might ingest while I ate. With no luck, I meandered over to the front counter where this young man by the name of Chris D. was working behind the counter. When I inquired about a paper, he looked through the shelves but none could be found there either. I thanked him for checking and returned to my table a tad bit saddened. I really enjoy reading while I eat. Ever since I was a little boy I used to love reading while I ate. It doesn't even really matter what I am reading, the back of cereal boxes, junk mail, flyers, newspapers, appliance instruction manuals - you name it. Alphagetti is the ultimate food because it satisfies both needs simultaneously. So anyway, I returned to my table and started eating. A few minutes later, Chris D. returned with a Calgary Sun in his hand and handed it to me. "Oh, you found one?" I asked, thinking perhaps another customer had finished with it and turned it in. He denied finding it, but explained that he had walked across the street to the news paper box and bought, with his own money, the paper. I couldn't believe it. If that isn't going well above and beyond the call of duty - working at a fast food restaurant no less, I challenge you to show me a better example. I'm going to write to Pizza Hut and let them know what a fine individual they have working for them.

One of the advantages of carrying a camera everywhere with me is that whenever something catches my eye, I can quickly snap a picture of it to share with you. Some of my best pictures are things I've captured on a whim.

Recently, the nostalgic geek in me has been resurfacing, and I've dug out my old Commodore 64 and all the remaining hardware to support that system. For now, given the space requirements I've got it set up in the garage, but I was having no shortage of joy the other night as I went through disk after disk of memories and creations I'd long forgotten. I found some other songs I'd composed (two of such songs is available on my site in the Digital Music section.) but these were ones I'd COMPLETELY forgotten about. I also found some pictures I drew on the '64 as well. What a different time!

The MOS 6581, sound chip of the Commodore 64

This is the very chip that I used to write all my Commodore 64 music. One song I composed for a project in grade 10, another song I wrote in a failed attempt to woo a girl I used to like... What a misguided mission that was... Oh well. Everything's a learning experience if it doesn't kill you.

My Commodore 64 set up in the garage

I found some other treasures I'm going to give away to several other Commodore fans. There's actually quite an active community left, a remnant of diehards who still use their '64s. Many of them are even connected to the Internet! The Internet also bridges the gaps where once "long distance calls" were expensive and slow - now you can talk to computers half way around the world as though they were next door. It's geeky and fun and I like it.

Sometimes blur in a picture adds character and distinction. (Or sometimes you just can't hold the camera still enough to get a clear shot.) You decide.

February 11, 2007 10:37 PM
Two Eleven... Why does that ring a bell? :P Last night I went to bed nice and early, and this morning I woke up long before my alarm began it's morning chant. It's amazing how much you can get done when you get up bright and early. Allright, when you get up early. I don't think bright would be a suitable adjective describing myself this morning, but none the less, there is definitely merit in tales of birds arriving before the scheduled time and their aquisition of squiggling insects. With this trip to Australia pending (only 18 more big sleeps!) I am trying to get myself fully rested before the daunting approach of a 21 hour flight followed by non-stop action and adventure for two solid, fun-in-the-sun-in-the-land- down-under weeks of GO GO GO! I have to say, and I'm nearly convinced this is a sign of aging (and hopefully maturing) that I am REALLY starting to like getting to bed earlier than later in the day. You feel more productive, more useful, more energetic, you can think straighter, remember more details, process tasks more efficiently - you just operate better when well rested. Kind of ironic still, since my peak time during the day still seems to be after 10:00 in the evening... But none the less that may change in due time as I hopefully train my body to operate within more sane hours.

Last night I went out to the garage to lock things up and to make sure the thermostat was not left overridden. This morning, however - when I went to get my fire extinguisher and flashlight I found the garage to be not five degrees like it was supposed to be, but THIRTY-FIVE DEGREES! On that thermostat when you are programming it, if you set a temperature of 5 degrees Celcius and press down once, the temperature loops around to 35, which is apparently what happened the last time I updated it's schedule. Needless to say, it was very nice, though I'm sure it put a dent in our already painful gas bill... According to the thermostat the furnace ran for over 7 hours straight last night! Oops! At least we now know it's possible to get the garage toasty warm even if it's very cold outside!

Why is it always the married women and otherwise [taken] women who flirt the most with the cable guy?

February 12, 2007 - 11:37 PM

If I hadn't been working outside in it, the snow would have probably looked quite lovely. But as it was, I was trudging through it searching high and low for peds in alleys and yards as I went through my day disconnecting people. By the end of the day, my feet were completely soaked and absolutely frozen. They were numb. When I first got home I ran some warm to hot water in the bath tub and stood in it. I know it was hot because it burned my hands and turned the edges of my feet red, but they were so cold I couldn't feel anything for a long time. Eventually they did warm up and began to sting a little, and then I went over to Village Square and went swimming with Bo and Maddy. Let me tell you, a cold Monday night is the perfect time to go to the Leisure Center... There was maybe 50 people in the entire pool. No lineups for anything, especially the hot tubs! We did notice that the Thunder Run was closed though. I wonder if in this cold weather if it just doesn't get too cold to use. Go sliding down on a sheet of ice!

Rusty Rolls a Birthday

Yesterday Rusty rolled a birthday of sorts, with his odometer reading all sixes. Happy birthday Rusty! I love that van. Boy I was thankful for it's two powerful heaters tonight! After driving my other van all day (literally, the engine did not stop once between 9:00 when I left the Shaw warehouse and 7:15 when I got home - I had barely lukewarm air coming from the vents. When I jumped into a frozen Rusty, by the time I'd reached the first set of lights the heat coming up between the seats was already warm and the windows were thawing! By the time I got to the pool, even though the engine still read COLD, I had hot air coming out of both heaters. Being warm while you drive makes SUCH a difference!

Light man in the middle of the highway

There are aliens and I finally have proof! hahaha No, not really. I can't back that up. But this picture does prove that if you take enough pictures at random, you might get something interesting. I was driving with Bo to pick up Madison last weekend and we were arguing over whether or not the dark spots on the various road signs was from people hitting them with paintballs or simply snow sprayed up from the road. Of course everyone knows it's the snow, and the only reason it looks 'dark' when you're driving is because the snow blocks the light of your headlights from reflecting off the highly reflective surface of the sign, creating a sharp contrast and making it look like black paint. Anyways, to help prove my point I started taking pictures of the signs and then decided to try some long exposure shots into the horizon, when I inadvertantly got this picture that looks like there's a man standing in the road in front of us.

Sitting in my old room with my guitar

My dot-matrix printed grade 9 picture I've been photographing some of the things in my "memory" box, a soon-to-be collection of all the nicknacks I've been keeping for largely sentimental reasons. The fact is, they're cluttering up my living space and I have such a hard time sorting them because they fall into so many different categories. I decided to simply have a memories box to contain them all and then if I ever need to find something, they're all in one place. It should also help clean up my suite. Like I said though, I've photographed a number of the items being put into the box, and these two dot matrix printings of older photographs are classic examples of my fascination with technology. The idea of taking a picture, an image, scanning it into a computer, holding it as a series of one's and zero's, then re-assembling those numbers into an image again and using a glorified ink-and-hammer printout device, arranging a series of dots on a piece of paper in the semblance of the original object - fascinating.

February 17, 2007 - 11:51 AM
My first snowman in my own yard

Yesterday, given the gorgeous weather, I went outside to dig out some of the plowed snow from around my vehicles so that with the warmer weather in the days to come, it would melt more efficiently. After some digging and snow-tossing, I decided it would be fun to make a snowman. So, like a little kid, I made a snowball, and started rolling it in the deep, sticky snow of my front lawn until I had a big enough ball that could serve as a base for the snowman. Snowballs soon became the mid-section and head of my newly formed snowman, and once they'd been stacked I packed some additional snow in between the layers to make sure he was sturdy. A quick trip to the back yard found me the sticks I needed for the arms. I found a chunk of charred wood in the firepit that would serve as his mouth and I raided Bo's fridge for a carrot (since mine doesn't usually stock them... hehe) to use as his nose. After some adjustments, I had my snowman and was very proud of the accomplishment.

My snowman

Well. Not TWO HOURS later, two kids came up on the lawn and knocked the head off my snowman! Twenty seconds later I was outside, running down the sidewalk after them in sock feet, absolutely furious and ready to pound the little punks. "Excuse me!" I said to the two of them from behind. They turned around. "Did you just knock the head off my snowman?" I demanded? "no..." the little pukes replied. "Well that's not what I saw!" I replpied, still fuming. Thoughts of inflicting great quantities of harm upon these two dufusses raced through my mind as I plotted out possible punishments for their stupid act, but then the thought of not being able to leave the country with a criminal record and having to forfeit my trip to Australia watered down the thoughts of rage, and, through clenched teeth I said to them, "Could you please NOT do that next time?!!" "Ok..." the two replied. I turned to walk away and muttered something about those punk kids and thinking about it now I'm almost sure I heard them say something as they walked away too, but I returned to the house and, still in sock feet, recapitated my snowman.

Jolene and Maddy putting candles on the cake

Last night Jolene celebrated her birthday party, the big 27, and so Bo and I went, bringing the little bundle of joy that is Madison with us. The night included many home-made desserts and treats made by our host, Jenga, joke-telling and piano playing.

Lighting of the cake


Very puzzling

Music provided by Paul

Maddy demonstrating the Rear Naked choke on Bo

Fake Sleepers

Thursday night I went over to Raychel's house and hung out with her and her two pets. It's funny, we used to live some 1,200 kilometers apart and always lamented over not being able to get together - now we live 12 kilometers apart and still never see each other. But hopefully that will change.

Raychel and her puppy

February 23, 2007 - 10:07 AM
Lurking Diana, the diving devil duck

Inside one week of leaving for the land down under, and the reality of the situation has barely begun to hit me. I have so much to do! And to make matters worse, last night the laptop I was going to bring to transfer pictures from my cameras CRASHED! Un-freaking-believable! And all that happened was it was left unplugged until the battery died and it shut off unexpectantly. I've done that hundreds of times on a wide variety of computers, including laptops - with no problems. But this time it seems to have messed something up on the hard drive. That really bothers me too, because that drive isn't that old. And it was an 80 gig too, which meant I would have had a LOT of space for pictures! Now I might have to take this one, but although it has a 100 gig hard drive, it does not have wireless which would make updating my site while we are down there considerably more difficult. *sigh* The exact same thing happened to me last time I was preparing for a big trip. (Florida) - The laptop I was going to bring crashed. That is surprisingly ironic, now that I think about it... oh well. What can you do?

Pepsi shooting out of the hot tub

Last night Bo's underwater camera case arrived so we had some camera wars in the hot tub. Actually we got some pretty cool pictures... In that one above Bo shot a 2 litre bottle of Pepsi out of the water. We played too with using one camera as a flash for the other on long exposure, creating some interesting lighting effects in the otherwise dark waters.

Looming Diana

Bo and I regularly take Madison to Village Square to go swimming, but occasionally we'll go to Southland for a change, and let me tell you - WHAT a difference! The lifeguards at VSLC are up tight and basically jerks. At Southland, you can do pretty much anything! And it's MUCH more fun! Madison LOVES going down the waterslide by herself, but of course - they won't allow that at Village Square. Even though she can swim incredibly well for her age, because of her age they stereotype her with all other 4-year-olds and try to enfore the "within arms' reach" rule. That's pretty hard to do when she's running off the end of the diving board... Some of the lifeguards who know her are a bit more lenient but many of them make going to the pool an unpleasant experience. At Southland they have those two parallel red balls you can swing out on into the water, and Bo and I have been practicing our synchronized backflips off them. hahaha


Diana, the Devil Duck

I've decided to name my Devil Duck "Diana" - after a girl I used to work with at Custom Linen. We'll leave the implications and explanations unexplored at this time. There you go, Diankins - You're in my hot tub! hahaha

February 24, 2007 - 2:41 PM
Early Happy Belated Birthday

Center of Attention

Last night Bo, Maddy, and myself went over to my parents' house to have supper with my folks, but the night turned into a late, early birthday party for all three of us. With Maddy's birthday coming up and Bo's and my birthdays come and gone already, my mom put together presents for the three of us to follow a filling and wonderful meal.

Maddy making sqeaking noises on the Violin

Maddy inquired about the violin sitting atop my parents' old piano in the living room, so my dad was all too happy to let her try it out. Unfortunately, most of the strings were missing on it and the bridge was completely gone, so even an accomplished musician would have had little more success in producing sound than she did, but none the less she had a lot of fun with it. After grating the nerves of everyone in the room for a few minutes, she brought the instrument to my mom and said, "Here, it's your turn to make squeaking noises on it." Out of the mouths of babes...

Right instrument, wrong way

This morning we went to the Leisure Center one last time before Bo drove her to Lethbridge for the week. It will be the last time we'll get to see her for almost three weeks now! Normally that amount of Madison-less time would be quite empty and sad, but I think we'll manage to keep ourselves occupied in the interim...

Today is my last-ditch attempt at cleaning up my basement, and already I'm off to a good start sitting here, updating my web site... Raychel is supposed to come over tonight as well, a much more pleasant distraction than the dim flicker of a computer monitor. *sigh* Five more days...

February 27, 2007 - 12:18 AM
Happy Birthday Dad!

I'm *THIS* Excited About Going To Australia!

It's late, I'm tired, tomorrow's another busy day for me so I'll make this entry tonight short. There have been a couple of things I've been meaning to touch upon and wish to goodness I had more time to elaborate and expostulate about - however, I do not and we will play the cards we are dealt.

Writing What You're Reading

First of all, it is now officially the day we celebrate in annual increments that date upon which my father was born into this world. I stopped by the house briefly this evening to have a cup of tea and to pick up a suitcase for my journey. (Although admittedly, I did not mention his birthday, nor did it come up. Technically, it was still a day in advance.) Where does the time go? I am very proud of my father, although this should come as no surprise to anyone who knows him as there is no doubt men of his calibre are few and far between. He has taught by example how one ought to conduct oneself in a variety of trying situations, how to have values in life and to cling to them, how to respect others even when they do not deserve respect, how to be self controlled and upright, honest and trustworthy, reliable and resourceful, yet lacking in laziness and wastefulness. How to be free of lies or deceit - yet humble and fair. Ask me what a good man looks like and I will show you my father.

Yesterday, or perhaps the day before one of the neighbours who lived across the street from my parents passed away. Andre was elderly, he and his wife moved to a house on our street several years ago and somehow he and my dad became friends. The father of a son about my age, The Wee Man Across The Street would pop by our place from time to time to chat or to seek out my dad's advice about some project or problem, and always my dad was glad to help. These kind gestures, though seemingly small, made a large impact on him and his wife, because about a year ago they moved, not to another neighbourhood but to a house even closer to my parents' - for that very reason!

Andre had a grey car, I'm not sure the make or model but it was unique - distinctive. I'd see him driving around the properties from time to time in it. Tonight as I left my parents house I backed down the driveway and in the sideview mirror I caught a glimpse of Andre's old grey car - and it made me sad. Sad to know that even though I did not really know the man, I knew that I would never see him driving that car again. I'd never hear his distinct, accented voice inquiring of meeester Derrick. I'd never again see his ear-raising grin from ear to ear light up his face while talking on the front porch with my dad.

I hate to even put the thought to paper - but sooner or later, we all are going to die. Everyone. Everyone I love. Everyone I've ever met. Everyone I've ever called a friend. The closest loss I've yet had to deal with was when my grandpa passed away several years ago in Linden, Alberta. I don't deal with loss well. But it does put things into perspective. Life is short, and it is too easy to whittle what time we are given away into nothingness until one day you realize you've done nothing and have even less to show for it. What am I doing with my life?

Ok, so that dipped a little deeper than I had originally intended to delve this evening, but as it's now nearly one-o'clock in the morning, Sleep is crying out for me to put this silly thing down and pull those covers up over my head! I am however, very excited about this pending trip, only two more working days! Heroes was awesome tonight - wow does that ever tie a lot of things together and ask a lot of new questions! It's such an interesting plot! That's all I've got tonight. I'm outta here.

-- John --

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