Wednesday, May 31, 2006

On the Road Again...

I'm a roadie.

Not like a cool, 70's-movie scoring drugs and chicks for the band kind of roadie though.

More like, a driving my son's junior high band's equipment away on a trip while the rest of the band takes the train roadie.

So we're away today until Friday.

Just in time for me to go away to Beaver camp Saturday night.


Call me Willie. Or even Waylon.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Job Stress of a *Different* Kind

OK, well, I officially applied for a job today.

By that, I mean to say, a *paid* job. An out-of-the-house job, in anticipation of my little boy starting school in September.

Holy Sh*t.

For a guy who didn't know if he could make it six months staying at home with the kids, suddenly the idea of not being here every day, after doing it for three and a half years, kind of gives me the creeps.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Meanest. Brain. Trick. EVER.

Don't you hate when your brain plays mean tricks on you?

Take last night, for example. Or, more correctly, early this morning. I was to bed sometime around 1 a.m., despite the fact that I *knew* I would need to be up at 5:15 a.m. to drive my uncle Paul to the airport. And I wasn't sleeping in my own bed, due to numerous family members staying over at our house, related to pending air travel. (My dear wife was off doing a backshift, riding along with paramedics. She loves that stuff.)

So. Where was I?

Right. Bed at 1 a.m. In with my 9-year-old daughter, in her top bunk. Squished to begin with. Then, the noisy squeaking bed wakes the 5-year-old in the bottom bunk, who immediately wants to come up with Dad in the top bunk. But even *he* feels too squished, so he goes back down to the bottom after a lot of tossing, turning, and kicking. So it's... I don't know, I'm guessing... close to 2 a.m., and I'm still lying there awake. Not to mention, a little irritated that I'm still awake. I eventually doze off.

Sometime around... again, guessing... 3:30 or 4:00 a.m., I hear someone traipsing off to the bathroom. Turns out it was my 9-year-old son, who was sleeping on a mattress on the floor of this same room. When he returns, he tells me, "Dad, I just think you should know. Next time you go into the bathroom, you'll find a big load of puke on the mat in front of the toilet."

Hmm. Yes. The child has had a bout of diarrhea and vomiting. Unfortunately, both bouts were at the same time, so one had to go on the floor. The winner was the vomit.

I lay there in bed for a moment. I think, "Hey. If I just stay here in bed everything will be fine. I'll be the first one up anyway, and the puke will wait until then for me to clean it up."

That argument lasts for, I don't know... probably about one minute. My conscience won't allow such a radical notion. So I get up to begin the cleanup. Young sir joins me back in the bathroom several more times, for some repeat performances. Very pleasant.

Once the cleanup has been completed, and the boy has been settled down for (I hope) the final time, I check the clock.

4:30 a.m.

I need to be up in forty-five minutes.

What's the point? I get dressed, go downstairs, and half flop on the couch for the remaining period of time. I might sleep. I'm not really sure. I was awake before the alarm I set on my cell phone goes off, in any case.

My uncle and I get into the car and head to the airport. 5:30 a.m. or so. Time no longer holds any meaning. There is only one word that has any real meaning to me now... and that word is:


I drive to the local Tim Horton's to order a cup of the live-giving liquid.

As the lady at the drive-through window passes me the coffee, and it travels past my face on its way to my cupholder... here's where the mean trick happens.

I know very well that I purchased a hot, delicious cup of Tim Horton's coffee.


On its way past my nose...

My brain sends me the smell of puke.

Was I EVER p*ssed off.

(...not so much that I didn't eventually drink the coffee, though.)

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Marketing Cross-pollination at its Funnest

It's like this.

I expect movies like Star Wars to spawn things like video games.

I also expect movies like Star Wars to spawn games and toys. Things like LEGO sets.


It still surprises me a bit when one of the spinoffs spins back.

For instance, the LEGO Star Wars video game.

No, really. It's a full Star Wars video game, which thanks to our 14-year-old's birthday money, we have at home for our Gamecube. However, the characters, settings, and objects in the game all appear to be made of LEGO. When you kill a bad guy or destroy a machine, it breaks up into lots of little LEGO blocks.

And here's the kicker....Is it ever a fun game!

In fact, I bet it would make us go out and buy lots of Star Wars LEGO sets...

... if we didn't own a whack of them already, that is.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Some Days It Sucks To Be Jack Bauer

Well, 24 is over.


Until next January.


But I must say, it ended on a cliffhanger that will certainly draw me back. (Ahh, who are we kidding... I would have been back no matter what!)

Poor Jack. After saving the day once again... (if you don't want to hear the rest of this, STOP READING NOW)... he gets chloroformed, beaten, and abducted by the Chinese, and is tossed into a cargo ship heading to China.

All I can say is...

I hope the Chinese don't piss him off *too* much.

That could be bad.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Fine Herb

There's absolutely nothing amusing about this post. However, I seem to be unable to write anything else until I write this.

My uncle Herbie died yesterday.

He was sixty-seven years old. Which, I'm sorry, just isn't old enough.

He had triple bypass surgery last Wednesday. It seemed to go fine, but then shortly afterwards everything went to ratsh*t. The end result of which was him passing away yesterday morning.

It was a long, emotional, painful period. I don't have words to describe how badly the whole situation sucked. Just trust me, it really did. I feel so bad for my cousins Jennifer, Stephen and Andrew for losing their father. And for my own father, losing his brother. There were some moments that just broke my heart to see. I'm not going to trivialize them by relating them here, but they'll be with me forever.

During this period we had lots of talks. Some were serious, some were frivolous, some were sad, some were happy... but one I had with Steve in particular stuck with me. Although I don't recall his exact words, he made a comment on how when 'important' people die, the world takes notice. But when a decent man dies, a man who loved his family, treated people nicely, and lived a good life... nobody really takes notice. And it happens countless times a day, with countless decent people.

He's right. And it's probably another one of the reasons I'm writing this now.

Herbie was a good man. He was funny, and considerate, and compassionate. He had a heart of gold. He loved his family. When he lost his wife almost thirteen years ago, he lost of bit of himself. But he kept plugging.

And I have to say, I'm really going to miss him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Yes, I'm a real headbanger... meaning, I bang my head a lot.

In fact, I am firmly of the opinion that bald guys, in general, bang their heads much more frequently than non-bald guys. And when they do, they bleed a lot more. I don't understand the scientific principle underlying the phenonemon, neither do I have hard facts to back it up. But I do truly believe it.

In fact, here's my latest hard luck story:

On Monday, shortly after completing my last blog post in fact, I was resolving an erratic internet connection by rebooting my cable modem and wireless router (tip for the non-technical: if you have internet problems, try this before calling the company. Just pull out the power cables and wait a couple of minutes, then plug them back in... but I digress).

So there I was, hunched low to the ground in front of my computer desk, while, unbeknownst to me, the computer desk's keyboard tray was silently gliding out to full extended position. I bring my head back up, and whack it against the sharp corner of the tray. Hurt like hell. Said a couple of words that weren't too nice. Took a nice chunk of flesh out of the old bean.

I figured I should put something on it. Remembered that there was a nice cool bottle of aloe gel in the bottom of the fridge. You might recall that I was still suffering from a head cold at this time. Maybe a little more loopy than usual.

See where this is going yet? Well, just wait.

So I open the fridge. Bend over to retrieve the bottle of aloe and...

Hit the front of my head on the corner of the handle of the freezer door. Said a few REALLY bad words.

The mark on the front of my head faded pretty quickly, but the gash on the side of my head must be pretty obvious, from the number of comments I've been getting on it! It doesn't help, of course, that I shaved over it while shaving my head this morning. (I was trying to avoid it, but, well, it's farther back than I can see...)

So, although having a bald head is a huge sign of macho virility and a giant magnet for chicks (wink)...

It's not all fun and games.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Boogie Board Bop

I'm back. Actually, I was back yesterday, but I came down with a bad cold and felt like ten bags of crap. In about the last hour and a half, I've started to feel slightly more human.

I was away from Thursday to Sunday with my fourteen-year-old son to a big volleyball tournament. Eastern Canadian 16-and-under, 15-and-under, and 14-and-unders. It was *huge*. There were one hundred and fifty-two teams entered. My son's team didn't do too well, but they had lots of fun.

But I digress.

Last Thursday morning, just before I went away, I had another "America's Funniest Videos" moment. Particularly because it entertained total strangers.

My wife and I were at the grocery store with our five-year-old. When we were there, we saw a large display of colourful inexpensive "boogie boards" which were just the same as our nine-year-old twins received as gifts at their birthday party. We acquiesced to the child's request to buy him one, deciding that it would help keep some peace in the family, since he had been pilfering his siblings' boards incessantly.

So there we are. The child had picked out a board he liked. His mother was holding him up in her arms, and he was holding the boogie board under his arm.

Somehow, and I am a little vague on the details, but while we were standing there, my wife managed to turn away from me, while the child in her arms was adjusting the position of the board somewhat. In a moment of perfect bad timing, the bottom of the boogie board tilted up, cutting a swath through the air until it came to its ultimate point of termination. Right in the tommyknockers.


It's amazing how much force a piece of styrofoam wielded by a small child can generate, when circumstances are right.

Facing away from me, they didn't even notice what had happened. Until they turn around and my wife sees me standing there, supporting myself on the display with an unusual look on my face. I explain to her the sad situation. She doesn't seem too concerned. I wish women could spend a day or two with testicles.

In any case, with the horrid event rapidly receding into the past, I notice a grocery item on the floor that looks like it has fallen out of someone's cart. Just outside the door is a woman with her daughter, and a large cart full of groceries.

I trot out to her, and ask her if the item is hers.

Instead of saying 'yes', or thanking me for my gallantry, she says:

"Are you the man who got hit in the groin?"

"Uh, yeah..."

"That should have been on video!" she says with amusement.

I wasn't even aware they they were there, enjoying the show. But I'm *so* glad that someone was able to get some enjoyment from my pain.

It almost makes it all worthwhile.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

For the Woman Who Pinned Many Towels Around My Neck Over the Years...

Happy Mother's Day Mom. I love you.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

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Monday, May 08, 2006

Birthday / Death Day... AKA "Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart"

Today was my littlest kid's fifth birthday. Wow. When I started staying home with him, he wasn't even two. Now, spin around a couple of times and he's five. It's pretty freaky.

That part was easy.

The part of the day that wasn't as easy was the part I didn't expect.

When I picked up my 9-year-olds after school today, my son was carrying a little plastic tray, with something in it.

I ask what's in the tray. He replies, in a raised voice, "My less than one day pet!!" For a second I think he's angry. Then, I realize that his eyes are red and that he's upset.

His sister tells me, "It's a salamander. It died."

Turns out he found it under a rock earlier today. He was keeping it in a desk during school. By the end of the day it was no longer alive.

I have to say, this one grabbed my heartstrings and tugged pretty hard. I could tell that, no matter how unlikely it might have seemed to an adult, this little boy thought he had found a pet that he could take home and take care of.

I gave him a hug. I asked him to show it to me. He told me he thought it was a girl. I told him that she was pretty cute. I asked if he wanted to take her home and put her in the garden. He said yes. We found a nice spot in the garden in front of our house, under a rock, and put the salamander there.

We've never been a pet family. Except for a turtle, nine years ago. Which didn't last long after we had twins. We found it a nice pond to live out its days in.

But this *does* make me think again. I wonder if there's a nice lizard or something out there that's easy to care for?


(Should all this have surprised me? I think not. Look at this picture from last summer... after young mister found a friend at the playground)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Feeling Very Knee-dy...

Oooch. Owtch. Ungh. Aaah. Aaagh. God!

Know what that was?

The sound of me walking down the stairs. The sound of me walking up the stairs is pretty much identical. My knees are a train wreck.

I played in a volleyball tournament today.

And let's just say that volleyball was a lot easier ten years ago.

In fact, *twenty* years ago, it was a piece of cake.


Oh, man, listen to me. If I start talking about those "young whippersnappers", will somebody please shoot me?

Thank you.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Name Change Required

Can we agree to change the name of "sleepovers"? order to reduce the false emphasis on that magical state of sleep, since oftentimes there is surprisingly little "sleep" at these so-called events.

I don't know what might be more appropriate... maybe:




or even


I don't know. I think I need to get to bed. Remind me not to post to my blog when I'm getting loopy.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Today was a big day at my four-year-old's preschool.

It was Fire Department Visit day.

The crew from the local fire department came up, gave the kids a talk and an equipment show-and-tell, and let them see and climb onto their big fire truck. At the end, the got a visit from "Sparky" the fire safety dog (ie. a guy in a big dog suit) who left them fire safety certificates.

Clearly it made a big impression on my son:

As soon as we got home at lunch time, he asked if he could watch "Emergency" (the old tv show that my wife and I watch on dvd).

I had to put his fire department tattoo on his arm right away. (That's my boy... just like his dad)

He is wearing the red fire helmet he got from them, along with the red 'fireman cow' t-shirt he dressed in just for the occasion today, and red pants from our dress-up box. And he's been playing "firefighter" all day.

So, do think this is shaping his future career plans, or what? Well, in any case, it's pretty cute.

(Now that I think of it, it's too bad I didn't have someone like him around back when I had that fire in my pants.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

OK, *Now* I'm Convinced...

I was worried at first.

In the first picture released, the suit was a little too... I don't know... tight? The red was more like brown... Why have the "S" on his chest *and* his belt buckle?... And to top it off, he was looking a little... dorky.

Then they released the teaser trailer with Marlon Brando's voice, and I started to feel a bit better.

Then they announced that there would be an IMAX version, with part of it in IMAX 3-D. My inner geek was pleased.

Now... they've done it.

They've released a full trailer for SUPERMAN RETURNS.

I just saw it. And... my teenage daughter can attest to this... I *totally* geeked out. It gave me chills and everything.

I can't post the trailer, because it's exclusive at Apple's trailers page, but check out these screen shots.

So now... I'm absolutely psyched for this movie.

Want to see for yourself? Go to:

... and prepare to be blown away.

p.s. Just last week I discovered that there is a slight historical precedent for the "same design on the chest and belt buckle" issue:

Remember this? Another of my favourites from the early 80's!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Somebody Help Me!! My Booty Won't Stop Shaking!!

OK, *this* one I definitely didn't see coming.

Every person in my family... from the four-year-old through the sixteen-year old, then right up to poor old forty-year-old me (and including my not *yet* forty-year-old wife) has joined the revolution.

The Dance Dance Revolution to be exact.

Last week, my nine-year-olds had a pocket full of birthday money. After much deliberation (ie. wandering the aisles of Wal-Mart), they decided to pool their money for a new game for their Gamecube.

Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix.

I *immediately* knew that something was up when we returned home with the game, and the teenage girl excitedly blurts out, "EEEEK!!! D.D.R.!!!!"

It's a game that comes with a "dance pad" that sits on the floor and attaches to your gamecube. You stand on it, and "dance" by following the cues on the screen, tapping different spots on the pad with your feet.

So basically, everyone in the house with the word "kid" somewhere in their description has some proficiency with the thing. They even add in extra little arm moves and stuff. They really groove.

Those of us with the word "old" in our description don't seem to be taking to it quite so easily... we look kind of like we're battling an ant infestation, and trying to stomp all the ants at once. In fact, just a few minutes ago I was trying to improve my score on "Rendevous on Ice" set on 'easy' level. I lost the rhythm for a few moments, and could clearly hear joyful guffaws coming from the direction of my teenage daughter. Boy, I can't *wait* until *she's* forty!

All in all, though, it's surprising how fun the thing is. Also, it's pretty good exercise.

I'm thinking I might need to get one of those home defibrillators, and teach the kids how to use it. ("Oh no!! Dad was using the DDR set on "hard"! CLEAR!!!!" BZZZOWWRRNNKKKKK!!)

Yeah, well, maybe I'll just leave it set on "easy" and save myself the money...