May 2009

Oakville, Ontario.

119.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

So I have been thinking about doing a road trip this weekend. I considered several locations and pretty much had my mind made up for Ohio and Indiana, but when California made their idiotic decision this week I decided that I didn’t want to spend any more money in the U.S. than I absolutely had to, so I decided to visit my family outside of Toronto.

I love it up here. My sister and I just got back from a run to the market so she can make supper and it was a good experience. My nephews are both handsome and my mom is up here visiting as well so it’s a little family reunion of sorts.

I made the right decision for where to go on a trip today.


So I am sitting in the Jeep just back from a chiropractor visit during my lunch hour. I still have 25 minutes left before going back to the office, it’s not enough time to run home so I’m sitting in the parking lot where Earl and I used to meet for lunch once in a while.

I don’t know what happened to that routine. I miss it.

I am listening to the Diane Rehm show on NPR as I type. They are talking about North Korea. I just heard this intellectual type mispronounce “myriad”. “Meye-ree-ahd”. Hmmm. Perhaps I say it wrong.

The chiropractor visit was a quick experience and I cracked really loudly again, especially in the neck. I feel such relief when this happens but the noise is startling at times. While was at the office I took the opportunity to schedule a visit with the massage therapist. She is a tall Swedish woman named Monique. I think I’m going to dig her.

Yesterday I went to the dentist and got that broken tooth pulled in preparation for some cosmetic dental wizardry. You can’t even tell I’m missing a tooth and it’s not really sore. The oral surgeon, an Asian man, made “wow” sounds while he was breaking my tooth apart and taking it out in pieces. It doesn’t really hurt at all and there has been no swelling. I am on an antibiotic for the whole affair. I believe this is my first encounter with a Z-Pak. I think it’s working.

Work is moving along at a reasonable pace. The early shift always moves along nicely. I look forward to getting out at 4. The payroll department read my time sheet wrong and overpaid me by nearly five hours. I mentioned it to my supervisor and it’s considered an advance on future overtime. I can deal with that for now.

For getting snapped and cracked and having a tooth yanked out of my mouth (not to mention the flat tire I had after the dentist yesterday) all within the past 24 hours, I have to admit that I’m feeling really good today. I’m glad it’s the weekend.

By the way, I’m borrowing one of four unsecured home wireless internet connections within the range of my computer at the moment. The owner has quite an impressive iTunes library.

Early To Rise.

So when I get up in the morning and my mind is reviewing the things going on in my head I find myself very decisive and focused on what I want and how I’m feeling about any given topic. As the day progresses, I start to rationalise things a little bit and then I’m not as confident on my stance or decision.

That is something that I don’t like. I need to keep the early morning vibe going all day long.

Yesterday was my workforce reduction day; I took the opportunity to have lunch with my Dad, aunt and uncle at the family lumber yard. I hadn’t been up there in quite a while, it was good to see them all. Per the tradition I observed as a teenager working at the store, we had a lively discussion in the office as we ate our lunch. Yesterday’s topic was health care. We may sit on opposite sides of the aisle on a good number of topics, but we all agreed that the current health care system in the U.S. is broken at best and that the system seems to be working for no one outside of the pharmaceutical companies and their lobbyists in Washington.

Everyone still sits in the same seats that they have since the big remodel of 1987, I sat at my cousin’s seat in the corner. In the old days I would sit at my grandmother’s desk, but I thought I would change it up a little.


113.365, originally uploaded by iMachias.

I have been really bad at taking daily photos for my 365 days project. It has been 13 days since my last photo. I’m thinking of renaming the project “smattering of days with 365 days”. I blame the two weeks of on-call within three weeks. On-call messes with my head. After nearly five years of doing on-call you think I’d be used to it by now. Perhaps I should just stop bitching about it and go with the flow. Maybe that will be my new theme in life: “just stop bitching about it.”

I am sitting on the back patio enjoying the glorious sunshine. Earl and I are back from running a few errands, Cubster held down the fort whilst the two of us ran out. I had to pick up some Muscle Milk – the large jug was marked down from $48.99 to $27.99 and the expiration date isn’t until 2010. Sometimes it’s the little things that count, and yes, I’ll pick up another jug if you ask.

We also fixed the push mower. I destroyed the old blade when I hit a rock about a week ago. I’ve been hitting a lot of things lately. It was just a five minute job to swap out the blade for a new one. I even mowed a bit (even though the lawn didn’t really need it) to make sure everything held itself together and nothing came flying out. There was no drama.

There is a very confused wasp on the loveseat here on the patio, it seems the owner of the house wiped out all the nests in the umbrella. His GPS still shows there should be filling stations in the area. I’m a mean Daddy.

I’m feeling much better today than I did yesterday. I’m already scheming for next weekend: I have a three day weekend and I have an adventure in mind. Combined with a really short work week (I have Wednesday off as well) and one can understand why I’m chomping at the bit to get this on-call week over with.

‘Tis good.


Grillmaster, originally uploaded by iMachias.

Earl cooked the Cubster and I a wonderful picnic supper tonight. I took this photo right before the back of the grill fell completely off. It might be time for a new grill, this one has been beaten up pretty bad by storms over the last couple of years.


Bam., originally uploaded by iMachias.

After doing on-call stuff until nearly 11 p.m. last night, I decided to head to the local bar to put up posters for our upcoming “bear night”. The bar was populated by people half my age but it was good to see the bar at least busy. I have to admit I don’t miss DJing on Fridays though.

After putting up the posters and a few NA beers, I decided to head home. I wasn’t really tired so I decided to go for a little drive before heading back to The Manor. I was moving down the expressway along a particularly dark section of roadway around 72 MPH when I saw movement to the very left of my car. In a few split seconds, I made a quick dash to the right onto the shoulder and tried to slow down, skidding in the process. I remembered yelling “Jesus Christ!”, which was quickly followed by “no air bag! no air bag! no air bag!” as I dread the idea of the air bag exploding in my face. I heard a “bam” near the front left tire followed by another bang near the back of the car. I pulled over, got out of the car and looked around. The deer was gone from what I could tell. I couldn’t see much of the car in the darkness, so I decided to drive to the next interchange where there were streetlights.

I examined the entire car as I walked the perimeter. Apart from a few stray deer hairs, there was not a scratch or dent on the car. Nothing.

My Acura is tougher than I thought!

This morning I drove back through the area and there’s some skid marks but no sign of a dead deer. He’s probably in the trees waiting to try again.


Action., originally uploaded by iMachias.

I did some messing around with the camera today. I took a bunch of photos in the back lawn of various things that I found interesting. While I was doing this, Tom watched me from the other side of the lawn as he basked in the sun. Then he saw me squat down to take a photo of a buttercup and decided to join me. I heard him running and quickly took a photo. It’s blurry but it’s fun.


Photo 156.jpg

It is the 21st of May and I am sitting on the back patio looking at the beautiful starscape overhead. It is gorgeous out tonight; the air is warm and dry. It is perfect sleeping weather. Planes fly overhead like little specs of flashing colour amongst the abundance of stars. The sounds of the nearby Thruway echo in the still of the night.

Tomorrow afternoon begins the unofficial start of summer in these parts. There are activities planned for the weekend; hopefully the on-call pager will cooperate and allow me the luxury of participating. The only thing getting me through this on-call is that after I am done on Tuesday morning I am off-call until the latter half of July. This is a beautiful thing.

I am seriously considering sleeping in a sleeping bag on the back patio tonight. It is so perfect out here. This is why I love camping in a spot without a nearby disco beat; I can look up and enjoy the still of the night with a beautiful sky overhead. I find it all so calming.

My bachelor week has come to an end a day early and I couldn’t be happier. I have short “to do” list for the weekend; fix the battery on the Jeep, fix the lawn mower, call and/or visit my family, maybe watch planes land and take off at the local airport, practicing my airline photography in the process.

A lot of hooting and hollering has started up in the woods a bit south of here. It sounds like a bonfire in progress. Perhaps there’s an early graduation celebration going on. I hope they studied hard to get to where they are today. Or at least I hope they did the best they could.

A bunch of organised an office barbecue for tomorrow at work. More than half the office took the day off, the rest of us figured it was a good day to put the recent turmoil aside and get back to where we used to be mentally. The change of pace will be refreshing. I’m actually looking forward to work tomorrow; I haven’t said that in a while.

I have formulated new goals in my head. The challenges of life are on the path in front of me. I don’t find the feeling unpleasant.


So last night I was enjoying a pleasant conversation when the on-call cell phone rang. I tried to keep it together when this happened, because after all, I am now officially half-way through this extra-long on-call week (I get the holiday and everything!) so I did what I had to do to assemble the information I needed to tell the customer they were having a phone issue.

I called the customer to let him know that one of his phone lines was down when he started calling me every name in the book. Because I’m in a family friendly mood today I won’t even resort to the number of asterisks required to represent his potty speech but nonetheless there he was screaming at me and being a jerk. I explained the issue, he freaked out and then I apologised for calling him and hung up, because he didn’t want to be bothered.

Two minutes later the fine man called the answering service, screamed at the friendly, barely making minimum wage operator and had me paged. The operator was nearly in tears when she called. He wanted me to call back.

So I did. He proceeded to ask me why I called him back and started with the asterisks and other random symbols that would make a sailor blush. I apologised again for calling him and hung up.

This morning I let his sales representative know what had occurred last night, verbally outlining what I had already documented in the company’s database. He said that’s the way the guy is and I shouldn’t let it bother me.

Here’s the thing. It did bother me. It bothered me all night long. When I awoke this morning I wasn’t looking forward to going to work because quite frankly I had had enough.

Once upon a time I made a decision to go into radio. I wanted to program a radio station. I wanted to make it sound really good. I had no experience in the industry; all I had behind me was enthusiasm and a lot of music knowledge in my head. I bugged people and called people and made demo tapes until I got my foot in the door at a radio station. Once there, I had a pretty good career going in radio until the station I worked for was sold.

The one thing that led me to that career was motivation. I was so motivated to each that goal that I would do anything to achieve it. And I did!

I am feeling that motivation again today. I haven’t felt it in a long time, but I feel motivated to do something about the way I have been feeling lately.

So even though last night I wanted to hunt down the man that verbally berating me and make his existence really uncomfortable, today I almost want to shake his hand and thank him for spurring me in the ass to do something with my life. I work hard, and I love the group I work in, but I don’t deserve to be treated like that and I won’t be.

I am motivated again. I know what I want and I’m going to go after it. Along the way I’m going to smile and be enthusiastic. As I look at the calendar, the “Scheduled Time Off” courtesy of my company’s workforce reduction is affording me a lot of free time over the summer.

There are many adventures ahead for me and I am going to enjoy each one to it’s fullest.

Life is good and don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.


So after 40 years in this body I have discovered something very important. I wear my belt facing the wrong way.

This important tidbit of information has been pointed out to me twice in the past week.

I’ll admit it right here, I never knew there was a “boy” way and a “girl” way of wearing a belt. If I look down at my stomach, the whole affair is being held up by my belt with the flappy part pointing to the right. When I unbuckle my belt I use my left hand and then pull out my business with my right hand so I can do my thing in the can.

That’s the way that feels natural to me.

Today for the first time I reversed the direction of how I wore my belt. It was the first time in 40 years that the flappy thing faced the left as I looked down at my stomach. I had to unfasten my belt with my right and pull out my business with my left hand and then my aim was all messed up and I missed the can.

I’m not one of those guys that can swing it all around with no hands, being mostly Irish and all.

So for the next 40 years I’m going to have to work out a new arrangement with unfastening my belt and handling my business. It wasn’t too long ago that I switched from wearing my watch on my right wrist to wearing it on my left.

That was much easier.