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Ten Years Ago Today We Got Married

If you read my last post, you learned about how I once upon a time met a girl on the internet, and that she flew halfway around the world to meet me in the real world. That was in September of 2011.

She was scheduled to fly back home on October 6th, but less than a week into her visit here in Canada, we both had the feeling that a month simply wasn’t long enough, and it was going to be terrible when we would eventually have to say goodbye. We started talking about the possibility of her extending her stay.

Then September 11th happened.

We were staying in a nice hotel room on our road trip around western Canada when we woke up to see that New York was being destroyed by air planes. In the days that followed came news about the difficulties people were having with international travel, and we started talking about how it maybe seemed like a sign that maybe she wasn’t meant to travel back in October. Not that we needed much in the way of justification at that point. We were pretty much head-over-heels for each other.

Part of the road trip included a stop to visit my family. Of course they all hit it off with her, and she with them. I’m pretty sure my sister actually told me at one point that I had her permission to marry this girl, or something to that extent.

By the time we finished the road trip and got back to my little apartment, we were convinced that one month simply wouldn’t do. In fact, maybe we should see if she could just stay indefinitely.  While discussing this issue with my friend Marc, he suggested we go to the Immigrant Women’s Association, since they had free legal advice for foreign chicks (pretty sure that was the motto on the business card) We made an appointment, and headed down a few days later.

As we sat in the downtown waiting room, we were acting like conspiring criminals,

“Do we tell her we’re engaged or something?”

“Do you think it matters?”

“I don’t know. Maybe we should.”


And with that, she slid a ring that her grandmother gave her off of a finger on her right hand, and placed it on the engagement finger of the left. We thought we were being so clever.

We met with the lawyer, who was immensely helpful. When it all boiled down the basics, we had 3 choices.

A: She goes home as planned, and we plan for her to return on another visitor’s visa later in the year,  at which point we would get married and move on to either B or C

B: We get married before she heads back home, and then she would apply for residency from outside the country. We would have to raise about $10,000, and it would take approximately 5 years

C: She stays in the country, and we get married before her visa expires, and apply from within the country. She wouldn’t need to leave the country, it would take about 2 years, and cost about $2000

We walked out of the place a little shell-shocked, as we realized what that information meant. We were both thinking the same thing. Option C.

“Are we engaged now?”

“Yeah, I think we are”

And that fakey engagement ring suddenly became her actual engagement ring.

This was mid-to-late September, and, if I recall, her visa was only for 3 or 6 months, so the wedding had to happen quickly. We decided on November 3rd.

Here’s where I offer the only advice I have for people who intend to get married one day. If you don’t have major aspirations and desires for EXACTLY how you want the day to go, and give yourself a very low budget and small amount of time to plan, it can work out perfectly.

We had almost no money, and I think we borrowed about $5000 from my bank to help us with living costs for the year that she wasn’t allowed to work, and we used less than $2000 of that on the wedding. I rented a tux, and my fiance, an excellent sewing person, decided to make her own dress, a dark red number with a black veil which turned out amazing.  She also crafted the bouquets and picked out some very simple decorations. We told the wedding party members to simply dress in something black, so that nobody would have to rent clothes, or buy clothes they wouldn’t have a use for after the fact. I have two couples in my life who had been my best friends at that time, (and remain so) so the guys were my groomsmen and the girls offered to stand up for her, since it was looking to be an “all groom’s side” kind of wedding.

This was the only downside about the whole thing. Due to the shortness of time, the distance, and the expense of travel, none of her family and friends would able to make it here for the wedding, until one of my fiance’s closest friends, who was living somewhat less far away than the other, said that she wouldn’t dare miss the event, and arranged to travel here for it and be her maid of honour. It gave my wife-to-be at least a small piece of home to add to the event. I rounded out my side of the party with my nephew, who’s always been more like a little brother to me, and will always be one of the most important people in both of our lives. We told the wedding party members to simply dress in something black, so that nobody would have to rent clothes, or buy clothes they wouldn’t have a use for after the fact.

My parents have a large property, and have catered weddings for years, so they offered to handle all of that stuff. We sent a casual invitation to members of my family and friends who happened to live in or want to come to my parents’ place that day. Neither of us had a desire for a dance, or other formalities, just a fun party with people who care about us to share the day.  Neither of us is especially religious so a Justice of the Peace was arranged.

One day, as I was listening to a Frank Sinatra CD while in the shower, the song “For Once In My Life” came on, and, it being a favourite, I sang the crap out of it. When I emerged from the bathroom, my fiance told me that would be our wedding song. Worked for me.

For the time and money and resources we had available, it all came together incredibly well. there were a few things that went wrong leading up to the day, but nothing we weren’t able to work out. When the day came, it was a relatively nice day for early November. there was no snow on the ground, and the weather was nice enough that people could mill around outside before and after the ceremony without freezing. Days before our wedding, one of the bridesmaids suffered the loss of her mother, and we didn’t expect that they would be able to make it.  Somehow, in spite of their grief, she and her husband-to-be were able to join us, something that I will always be amazed, humbled, and grateful for.

My fiance and I collaborated on the vows, and by that I mean, she wrote them, I said “I can’t top that,” and she gave me some flash cards to use in case I needed them. Basically, I didn’t do much other than drive places and pay for things, and keep my family from doing anything we didn’t think was necessary. I think it was a good arrangement. then came the day.

As I stood in front of about 30 of my closest friends and family crowded into my parents’ house, in top hat and tails, awaiting my cousin to hit play on the CD player to start Sinatra’s singing intro for my bride’s walk down the aisle, I was very nearly as nervous as I was that day I waited for her at the airport. Then, when Old Blue Eyes started crooning, and she came around the corner, looking stunning and gothic and happy, everything else sort of melted away.

The rest of the day was a montage of awesomeness and happiness. Food, drink, WWE themed party hats and napkins laid out on the head table by my friends, drunk aunts that I’d never seen drunk before, my new wife’s best friend getting hammered and fitting in perfectly with my crazy relatives, a raucous gift-opening, a night in the fanciest hotel room in the small town I was born in, including a small after party get together with my friends from the bridal party. Aside from the lack of people from my wife’s family, it was perfect. I’ve been to and heard of plenty of weddings before and since, and I think we had more of a good time overall than most, and that’s exactly what we wanted.

Well, that, and plenty of convincing pictures in case immigration had any doubts.

Now it’s been ten years. It goes fucking fast, people, it’s not just a cliche. Now we’ve got a house, a  crazy dog, a vague plan to move on to a new adventure in another province, and, in spite of some bad times and sad times, we’ve never stopped being there for each other, supporting each other, and loving each other.

There was a long stretch of time in my life when I was convinced that no girl would ever see anything in me worth sticking around for.  I’ve spent 10 years trying to figure out what it is this girl sees, but maybe I should just not give a shit and just enjoy the fact that she does.

I love you, my wife. Forever and forever.


Ten Years Ago Today I Was Excited And Terrified

I was waiting at the airport, barely able to stand on my nervous legs. I’d hardly slept the night before, and spent the morning cleaning my little basement apartment, tidying my car, and doing other last-minute preparations.

I kept checking the arrivals board. It gave me a reason to keep pacing in the international meeting area. Eventually, the word “Arrived” appeared next to her flight number. A new wave of nerves came over me, and I thought I might pass out.

About six months before, I was checking my profile messages on a proto-social network/silly dating website called sparkmatch (which no longer exists, but was recreated as okcupid a few years later) when I got a message from a girl called kaosbutterfly. I don’t recall the details of that first message, but I remember her being impressed that my profile made reference to both Nine Inch Nails and Leonard Cohen. I checked out her profile. She was really cute, her pic looked a little like Neve Campbell, and her write up seemed pretty cool, so I messaged her back.

Sparkmatch had yielded some interesting connections.  There was a single mom in Kentucky that wanted me to move down there and help her raise her kid, and a younger girl in Minnesota who liked to lead guys on and fuck with them for some kind of sport, and some other people who had become the first online friends I’d ever made. This kaosbutterfly girl was from South Africa, almost the exact opposite side of the world,  so while I was looking forward to making a new friend from a part of the world I knew little about, I didn’t hold out hope that it was a romantic possibility.

Little did I know that she had already gone home and told her mom that she thought she’d found the perfect guy for her.

We exchanged messages over the site for a week or so, really hitting it off. Those PM’s turned into long emails, with multiple conversation threads in each. I’m not sure which of us said i first, but at one point one of us said something that the other thought was amazing, and responded with “marry me?”, and that phrase became our shorthand for “Holy crap I feel the exact same way, you are amazing”, and was eventually shortened to the initialized statement “mm”. Soon we were text chatting on MSN, and that became voice chats that would last up to 7 or 8 hours.

What a weird thing this was. We were effectively dating over the internet, probably getting to know each other in a deeper and more profound way faster than most people who date in the awkward world of real life could accomplish. We’d never met, but in a few months, we were absolutely crazy about each other, much to the confusion and/or concern of pretty much everyone we knew. It was too bad about the distance and expense of travel, because that made it very unlikely that we’d ever get to meet.

It was July when she emailed me about coming to Canada. She had a big chunk of vacation owed to her, and had saved enough money to afford a flight out, and would I be interested in having her come visit for a few weeks in September.  Of course I said yes, even though my insecurities started working overtime, now that I had to worry about presenting the reality of me, and not just the editable digital version. She had the same concern, but we rationalized that, even if we weren’t madly in love in person, we at least had enough in common to spend a few weeks hanging out. The odds of it being terrible for either of us looked pretty low.

I was able to book the first and third weeks of her visit off of my job, and planned a road trip for us, so I could show her where I grew up, and some of the interesting sights in this part of the country. We’d spend the first couple days at my place, getting over any of the awkwardness of real life, then head out on the road.

Suddenly, it was September 6th, the date of her arrival from over 30 hours of flights and a horrible stopover at the Frankfurt airport. The combination of excitement, nerves, and uncertainty was almost unbearable as I watched the doors through which the international travellers exit after dealing with Canadian customs.

Eventually people started coming through those doors, and I began to wonder if I would even recognize her when she emerged. Every female with dark hair between the ages of 20 and 40 looked like maybe they were her. My hands reached a cold, sweaty clamminess that I couldn’t seem to wipe away fast enough.

The first thing I noticed were the stripy pants she said she’d be wearing, then, as she saw me grinning awkwardly at her, she smiled widely, and I knew it was her.

The first hellos were a bit awkward, but when we finally hugged, all of that nervousness began to dissipate. I grabbed her bags for her, and we headed for my car, where I had a small bouquet of flowers waiting. We hugged again, and in spite of her travel stress, and my anxiety, it was already feeling natural.

We were about to start a three-week vacation together, having  just actually met for the first time, and already it seemed like it would be too little time before she would have to fly home again.

Fortunately, as it happened, she never used that return ticket after all.

Happy 10th Meet-aversary, my love. Thanks for circumnavigating the globe and taking a chance on some weird Canadian guy.


The Year My Everything Broke.

It’s the evening before my 33rd birthday, and I’m sitting in my ‘nerd den’, with Alice in Chains’s ‘Frogs’ providing the background music, and a solitary desk lamp providing that moody kind of writerly spotlight I enjoy so much, and I’m thinking about the past year.

Some good things and some terrible things happened this year, and unfortunately, it feels like the latter outnumbered the former, and I am hoping to swap those statistics moving forward.

Last year started with the return of the incredibly awful panic attacks that I had managed to stay free from for about 5 years, and that had owned my life for almost two years before that. Never a good way to start a year, especially when they were almost always occurring at work, in front of my boss, co-workers, customers, etc. By February, I’d had about half a dozen nerve-knocking blind-sides, and there was no discernible reason for them.

Not making me feel any better about myself was the fact that I was gaining weight again. I topped 270 lbs in February, and suddenly 300 was meaning much more than a group of sweaty Spartans in leather battle panties killing the Persian touring circus. I was pretty messed up when I hit the deuce and a half mark years ago, so the fact that I was realistically due to score a fat-trick was not one I was pleased with. I started using fitday to try to at least prevent further inflation.

April was a giant shining puck of 200 Flushes Blue in the Trainspotting toilet that my 33rd year turned out, for the most part, to be. In the EIGHT (holy fuck!)  years that my wife and I had been together, we’d never been on any kind of real vacation, so when the extremely charismatic and handsome (just ask him) wine guru, and object of some amount of obsession on my part, Gary Vaynerchuk announced that he was hosting a 7 day wine cruise, we decided screw it, let’s go for it, and booked a three week holiday; one week in Orlando; the (thunder)cruise; and then a week in Fort Lauderdale, where I happened to learn that Denis Leary was performing live stand up. Tickets bought.

That was probably the best time I’ve had since I was in Vegas with my family when I was 21. In spite of the gluten free thing, we were able to eat some amazing food, even on the cruise, we had a blast at amusement parks, I swam in the ocean for the first time, we met some of the coolest people and drank some amazing alcohol on the cruise, and, even though we caught what may have been swine flu (it was just as the news was blowing that whole thing out of proportion) at the end of the cruise, we still managed to drag our fevered asses to the Hard Rock in Lauderdale to see one of my heroes, Denis Leary, blow the fucking roof off.

I had a couple of panic attacks during the holiday, but mostly from getting over-excited, but on the plane home, I needed serious ativan supplementation just to keep my vibrations down to a level that would keep the bolts that held my seat to the fuselage from shaking loose. It was my brain and body kicking and screaming like a petulant child, not wanting to go back to the dull complacent drudgery of home and work and lack of fulfillment. It only got worse when we got home. So much worse.

At first I thought it was some lingering effects of the brutal flu, combined with the psychological tantruming 4 year-old. The panic attacks started coming faster and more furious than before, and now brought with them a nearly constant upset stomach and lack of appetite, and my left shoulder, which has been a bit unhappy since the first go around with panic attacks, was now almost constantly in pain.

My doctor suggested that I had IBS, and told me to try a bland food diet, to try and eliminate common gut-troublers, and to try meditation, exercise and water to help with the panic and the shoulder.

By paying attention to my caloric intake, I had managed to lose about 10lbs between tipping the scales at 270, and the time of our trip. In the 2 months following the vacation, I dropped another 40, but it had nothing to do with careful menu planning and portion control, but because nearly everything I ate made me feel sick, and brought about the panic monster. I was on the Double A Diet. No, not batteries, I’m talking about a steady intake of Ativan and Advil.

I honestly don’t remember much of those months. I was a zombie at home, tired and depressed, and at work I oscillated between cold and angry. I hated having to interact with anyone, because I felt so shitty that I couldn’t focus on conversation, so it became a chore to the point that I had to try really hard not to just walk away from people when they started talking to me. This included my co-workers, my friends, even my wife. I was stating to become agoraphobic. I had to step down as best man at my friend’s wedding, and didn’t even make it to his bachelor party because, 2 hours before it started, I was dry-heaving and crying from the anxiety of having to be around people. There were so many plans made with friends, things we wanted to do, that we had to bail out on because I was so fucked up.

I’ve done a lot of damage to relationships, which is probably what bothers me the most from all of this shit. I wasn’t myself, and I continue to work my way out of that today, though I’ve come pretty far in the past few months.  I’m unbelievably grateful that my wife was able to deal with me through it all.  She’s phenomenal, and whatever cliche you want to attach to it about being lucky to have her in my life is absolutely true.

I wasn’t even aware of how bad I was, and it wasn’ until we went to visit my family during the summer that I got the wake up call that I needed. We were out at the lake, and I spent most of the first day either sitting and shaking, hardly able to be a part of the conversation, or napping. The lake is the most beautiful and peaceful place in the world that I could be, and even there, I was completely on edge, exhausted, and it was the first time my family had seen me without that extra 50 or so pounds, so needless to say, everyone was very worried about me.

When my sister told me how upset and worried my wife was, and that I should go to an emergency room and refuse to leave until someone had an answer for what was going on with me, a switch flipped in my head. For the first time, I stopped seeing my situation from my own head, and instead through the eyes of a bunch of people who loved me and were genuinely frightened for me in a way I had never seen before.

On the drive back home, I made a decision to take control of my well-being, instead of being a victim of it. I would see my doctor about getting a complete physical, as well as the $300 food alergy/intolerance test that he was pretty sure would help point me toward other foods that might be causing me grief; I would see a therapist about the anxiety, a massage therapist and physiotherapist for the shoulder, and accupuncture/chinese medicine practicing friend to work on everything in a general sense. I also took a closer look at what food I’d been eating over the preceding weeks, and estimated that I was eating between 800 and 1000 calories per day, (in order for one’s internal organs to function properly, a person needs to consume a minimum of 1250) which was almost certainly contributing to my mood and energy problems. So I resolved to make sure I ate 1500 calories a day minimum. Suddenly, instead of using the fitday website to make sure I wasn’t eating too much, it was helping me make sure I was eating enough. It was kind of awesome to ‘have to’ eat a couple of cookies and a spoonful of peanut butter before bed, instead of it being a shameful stab at the self esteem.

My physical came back pretty normal, other than low vitamin D, (which made snese considering I hadn’t seen the sun very much since leaving Florida) but the food intolerance test came back with a shocking list of foods that I have been avoiding ever since. (notably: dairy, eggs, peanuts, bananas, garlic, soy, yeast, pineapple, cranberries) Ironically, the test says that I should be okay with gluten, though I haven’t tested that theory just yet. By the end of this month, I can start reintroducing some of the verboten vittles, to see how I react to them. It’s been difficult to eat with so many restrictions, and there were some grocery store trips in the beginning that ended in me wanting to simultaneously cry while smashing a stock boy in the head with a brick that has the phrase ‘May Contain Traces Of…’ engraved on it, but after a while I got into a decent pattern of food that I could eat and make taste okay.  The downside is that I have to do all my own cooking, as dining out is nearly impossible, and I can’t eat anything that is remotely quick-fix. But, the change in diet seems to be helping, and that’s what matters.

I saw a behavioural therapist for a few sessions, and she gave me quite a bit of good advice, meditation techniques, and even called me ‘brilliant’ at one point in our conversations, (I do understand that I was paying her good money for those conversations, but it’s still pretty cool when a stranger calls you brilliant) and she got me thinking differently about anxiety and panic by giving me The Mindulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety, a $20 workbook that I can not recommend enough if you suffer from any kind of anxiety related disorder. It took quite a bit for me to actually see a therapist, because I never thought they could do anything for me I couldn’t figure out for myself, but now that I’ve had the experience, I think everyone could benefit some amount of professional therapy.

Massage therapy, accupuncture, and physio helped get my shoulder back to a manageable place. Unfortuntely (and the same can be said for my anxiety homework) I have trouble keeping up on the exercises when I’m feeling okay, so I go through these waves of feeling good, not doing the maintenance, getting in pain again, and then getting back in a routine until I feel okay again, etc. Now my goal is to keep stretching and working on myself even when I feel okay, so that I can do some longterm good.

I also need to work on fitness. Sure, I’ve lost about 55lbs this year, but it was completely due to starvation, and had nothing to do with exercise, so while I’m lighter, I am actually in worse physical condition that I was a year ago, and I’ve been feeling it lately. The relatively rare times when I do get into anxiety or panic situations now, such as when in line at a store, or at the airport, are usually preceded by some amount of strenuous physical activity, (like, you know, walking, or having to stand for more than five minutes) and that physical stress combines with the social anxiety and makes me start to feel like I’m sharing a phone booth with Michael J Fox, Mohammed Ali, and a space heater.

So, the good news is that this, my 33rd spin around the sun, has ended on a note of improvement. Slowly but surely, I’m getting myself put back together, and with any luck, I can continue riding that wave into coming years. Hopefully we will be relocating this year, to a nicer part of the country, and find a house that doesn’t share walls with noisey, ignorrant, white trash breeders, and maybe I’ll acquire enough peace of mind to figure out what I want to be if I grow up, and be able to start pursuing it.

Okay, it’s getting late, and I have a very low-key 33rd birthday celebration tomorrow. I hope we all have a great year.

Oh, and in lieu of presents, this year I will be accepting donations of cute Asian servant girls. Thanks in advance.


Blog IV: A New Hope

Check it out, a website with my name on it. What are the chances?

This will be the new home of my renewed interest in blogging, as well as a hub for all of the other shit I do on the internet.

Speaking of said shit, in addition to the webcomics I am still fiddling with, I recently came up with a new idea for a novel, and I should have enough time to prep it between now and November, when I will try to write the bulk of it for NaNoWriMo. On a music-related note (PUN!) I plan on getting some more of my original songs recorded later this month, while my wife is on a retreat in the mountains. The woman’s seen me naked, but for some reason I have a hard time not being self-conscious when doing music stuff while she’s around. Maybe therapy will help with that.

In the scant minutes when I’m not either working at my day job or contemplating all those other projects, I’ve been refining an idea I had for a web show. With any luck, that will come together in the next couple of months as well.

In the past, I have taken a very negative view of the fact that I want to do too many things, and am unable to just pick one and focus on it (according to the therapist, I may have something called Passive ADD on which I can squarely dump the blame) which in turn leads me to giving up on all of it, which in turn makes me feel like a failure, blah blah blah, cue the trombone.

A little while ago I decided to change my attitude from the one above to one that says ‘fuck it, let’s just do it all’, and that seems to have helped. So, as I work through any of my various projects, I will do my best to update here about the process, the progress, and unrelated shit that I feel I need to digitally excrete.

-Stay tuned, friends.


New Year's Focal Points!

I haven’t really made resolutions since I was a teenager. I learned early on that the pressure and stigma attached to them was basically a recipe for failure, and, for most people, declaring a resolution at the stroke of Dick Clarke (or Seacrest now, I guess. Creepier) actually just provides an easy out.

“Oh, yeah, I didn’t quit smoking like I said I would. It was a New Year’s resolution, and nobody sticks to those”

So at that point, why even bother? Why automatically set yourself up for a level of disappointment that’s even higher than the amount you give yourself for your daily failures and flaws?

However, just because you don’t stand on a table at 12:05AM and slur to a crowd of beparty-hatted revelers how ‘This year, I’m gonna stop pirating porn, for serious!’ Doesn’t mean that the New Year can’t bring with it some kind spirit of self-improvement and positive change.

That’s why I do something a little different than resolutions. Rather than having my mouth (or blog) write cheques that my lazy(ficient) ass can’t cash (which it already does too often, ie: every time I announce a new comic that doesn’t end up getting posted) I choose a more general approach, to thinking of things in my life that I can work on, and spend more time focusing on. Instead of “I resolve to lose weight!”, how about, “I am going to focus more on improving my eating and exercise habits.”?

For me, this kind of passive goal setting is less intimidating, and feels less like I’ve failed before I’ve even begun, if that makes any sense. I would love to be the kind of go-getter who sets determined goals and stops at nothing to achieve them, (and if those people have the audacity to make New Year’s resolutions, they should be punched in the face for rubbing in the rest of ours) but let’s face it, I am NOT that kinda guy. At least not yet.

I have just recently thought of the term “New Year’s Focal Points” to describe this kind of non-rigid, low pressure, achievable self-improvement January 1st goal setting idea. I think “Focal Points” is a just buzz-wordy, and douche-baggy enough phrase to catch on, so I’m sticking to it.

And with that, here are some of the things I would like to focus more on in 2009 and beyond:

-Health and fitness
-Doing fun, cultural things with the wife
-Family and Friends
-My webcomics misplaced and Imaginary Enemies
-My video webcast idea
-My music blog
-Blogging in general
-Helping my wife build her business
-Making music
-Pirating less porn

There are probably others, but those come to mind right now. I’m curious to know how many of you make resolutions, how often you follow through, or what kinds of things you hope to focus on in the new year. Don’t be shy, leave a comment!

I hope you all have a happy and healthy 2009, and achieve whatever you either resolve to do, or focus on in the next 12 months.

-Now let’s get drunk and blow on a wizzy retractable paper snake coily thingy! Wooo!


Get Misplaced!

Hey there, my blog-reading peoples!

It’s been a while, and I hope to rectify that with more frequent postings. I also hope to rectify my lack of commenting on all of your various internet homes. I have been reading, just, for some reason, not feeling very interactive for the past while. Can’t explain it.

Anyhow, I am very excited, because I have officially relaunched misplaced on its own domain:

I know a few of you told me I should have done this a long time ago, but better late than never, right?

This time I’m going about it much more ‘professionally’, making the comic RSSable, Diggable, and all that stuff. You’ll see elements like that pop up over the next week or so.

Next week (I’m pretty sure of it) I will be officially putting my new comic endeavour out into the world. I can’t tell the name yet, because I still need to get the domain set up, but you’ll find out as soon as I do. I know I’ve been talking about it for ages, but it’s finally coming together in a way that I’m really happy with. If nothing else, there will be a teaser ‘coming soon’ image up, while I get a few comics ahead.

After they’re both up and running, I’m going to start working hard at promoting the comics, getting some eyeballs on them, hopefully build a decent fan base or something, who knows?

So that’s my big news. I hope all of you are doing well, and I will check in later in the week.


It's a scary world, after all.

My dad sends me quite a few forwarded emails (fewer since I introduced him to and most of them are groaner jokes or interesting conspiracy theories about oil, regular dad-forward type stuff.

He sent me this the other day, and I finally got around to reading it. If you have a chance, give it a read, and then at the end I have a little exercise for you to try.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crow Meets Kyuss

I’ll let you guys come up with your own plot for this series.

This is as close as Kyuss is willing to get to Crow. It’s adorable what a pussy he is.

-Thanks again to everyone who helped me make owning my Crow possible. You guys rule.


Bookish things.

I had two hour-long flights yesterday, to a customer site and back again, so I decided I would finally start reading Irvine Welsh’s latest book, a collection of short stories called ‘If You Liked School, You’ll Love Work’. It was a toss up between it and the recently published, unedited version of Kerouac’s On The Road, subtitled ‘The Original Scroll’, but I figured Welsh would be better fare for sleep deprived airline travel.

For those who don’t know, Irvine Welsh is the man who wrote Trainspotting, and if you liked the movie as much as I did, then I highly recommend reading the book. It’s not one of those things where the book was necessarily better than the movie, but the movie focuses on a select group of characters from the book, which was a smart way to make a decent film adaptation. So what I’m saying is, the book has more of the same, including a very gruesomely funny scene involving menstruation and tomato soup. But I’ve said too much already.

So I’m reading his latest, and in the titular short story, there is a line, the kind of line he tosses in every so often, that I really dug. It’s what his protagonist thinks after realizing that sleeping with this particular girl was probably a bad idea:

…anybody can play Emperor in the Enlightened Realm of Retrospect,

just as we can all play Cunt in the Kingdom of Trouser Wood.

I love it.

I would say that Kerouac and Welsh are my two favourite writers, and I sort of obsess about the two of them alternatively. This is probably because I read the bulk of their work during what has cheaply been buzzworded the ‘Quarterlife Crisis’ part of my life, the early to mid twenties, when it seems like a lot of people are trying to reconcile their youth, and figure out the inevitability of adulthood.

I think the best advice I could give to anyone in that part of their life, would be to spend a summer working in some remote, beautiful area, away from the distractions of modern life, and spend the free time you have during that summer reading as many of the books that you’ve always wanted to but never got around to reading, and if I could humbly recommend a couple of books worth reading during that time, I would say ‘Maribou Stork Nightmares’ by Welsh, and probably ‘On the Road’ by Kerouac, though honestly I found just about every one of Jack’s autobiographical series of books to be pretty amazing.

Speaking of bookish things…

As I was deplaning last night, a whirlwind day of travel and playing the technician equivalent of beat the clock with a room full of old and poorly maintained machinery, I was thinking about how much I travel, and how I could almost write a book of travel advice, and while I was waiting by the baggage carousel for luggage that seemed have been shipped separately on the backs of drunken three-legged donkeys based on its delay, I found myself turning that train of thought into an interesting concept for a work of fiction, whether a book or movie script.

Then today, as I’ve thought about it further, I’m thinking it might be an interesting concept for a fiction blog. I will have to let this idea ferment and cement a little more, but I think it could turn into something pretty cool.

One last book related thing. I recently downloaded some audiobooks, for road traveling, to offer an alternative to music, and found them to be a great idea. One of the downloads I.. erm… found… was a collection of Phillip K Dick audiobooks. Never read his stuff before, and I’m really finding it pretty amazing for the most part. Kinda fucked up in places too, but not really in a bad way. I can’t get over how much shit he more or less predicted about the future that has in some roundabout way come to fruition in the age we live in now.

-Speaking of the future, I have to go pick up the wife so we can continue to discuss possibilities for ours. More on that soon, probably.


A resolute New Year

Ever since the turn of the millenium, I’ve wanted to say that instead of Happy New Year, while waving my hands in grandiose fashion, motioning to whatever happens to be behind me.

But I don’t. Maybe I’ll start actually doing that in 2010, it’ll just feel extra futuristical then.

I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions in at least a decade, not because I’m ‘too cool for your sad-ass traditions’ (which is the vibe I seem to get from a lot of people who choose not to better themselves this time of year) but rather because it’s always felt like a recipe for failure. In fact, the common belief that New Year’s resolutions are doomed to fail makes them that much harder to commit to, and give a person an easier out if they cannot follow through.

“New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken, hahaha”

“Yeah, well, you’re still an overweight chainsmoking, uncharitable baby-punching, alcoholic asshole.”

“Well, you’re right, but hey, there’s always next year!”

The whole notion of resolving to change things about yourself on January first, while noble and brave and ideal and timely, simply becomes tainted and cursed by the pressure and stigma of being some grandiose NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION thing.

So unless you’re the kind of person who is willing to take charge in spite of internal obstacles and struggles, and can stick to a change with little difficulty (in which case you probably make resolutions all the time, and accomplish them without even thinking about it and I hate you) then you are probably like me, and are fairly certain that making a resolution is just foreshadowing failure and self-loathing, and I don’t know about you, but I get enough of that foreshadowing in my daily life, so why magnify it when it’s a brand new year?

So now that I’ve said that, I’m about to sort of contradict myself a little bit, but not really.

Like everyone except for maybe David Hasselhoff and Lindsey Lohan, there are things about me which I would like to improve on and change, and personal goals I would like to work towards. I’d like to work on adopting a healthier lifestlye, lose some weight, exercise more, do more writing, be more creative, the usual kind of shit.

But instead of making blanket statements of resolution, I thought maybe a more productive approach would be to find ways to help me start the baby-stepping progress I require to get me moving in the direction of achieving some of my goals.

Fortunately, I know what some of my major obstacles are;

I’m oblivious: You can ask my poor suffering wife about this one. I’ll see a commercial on TV, and laugh at it, and she’ll look at me like I’m a moron.

‘We’ve seen that commercial a dozen times already.’

‘This is the first time I’ve seen it.’

‘No, it isn’t.’

‘Hmm, well, it’s the first time I’ve noticed it then.’

It’s tough to achieve goals when I’m almost totally oblivious to what’s going on around me. I just sort of ladeedah through life, until something important steps on my face and makes me notice, and a person’s goals rarely step on one’s face, nor do they fall into one’s lap, at least, not very often. I need to try to pay more attention.

I don’t care: While I usually enjoy having a pretty much [I]laissez faire[/I] attitude about life in general, and I think it’s important not to get too stressed about most of the shit that life throws under your feet, there’s a time and a place, I think, for at least giving a shit, and when it comes to goals, my attitude traditionally is to not give one.

‘The world isn’t gonna implode if I don’t get a comic done this week’
-True enough, but what could happen for me, for my creative mind, for my personal sense of success, and perhaps some kind of monetary success down the road if I DID get a comic done every week? I know what happens when I DON’T follow through with shit, so maybe I should explore the opposite of that for once.

‘I want another slice of Ikea cake,(it’s sooo good, and gluten-free!) so I’m going to have one, it’s no big deal.’
-Well, sure, but maybe if I instead got up and walked off the first piece, and eventually dropped some pounds and gained some fitness, I wouldn’t feel as old and crappy and worn out as I do. But hey, if I don’t care, and just lay on the couch all evening, I don’t have to worry about feeling all that until I climb the everest that is the staircase and wheeze myself to sleep once the advil have kicked in.

I need to start taking an active role in my own life, care a bit more about things worth caring about, and find ways to hold myself accountable that include the least amount of pressure and guilt possible, because I don’t work well with either.

So, the first step in my process to embettering and ingoalanizing myself is to track myself (in the way that doesn’t involve investigating the footprints and scat I leave behind, though that can be a pretty fun time). With not caring and being oblivious comes the inability to hold ones self accountable, for better or for worse. For me, before I work to change, I need to see where I’m at, and with any luck, in the mere process of tracking my actions, or lack thereof, I will find myself caring and paying attention and even doing a little bit of the work to change in a positive direction. If I know myself at all, (and if my scat doesn’t lie) this is one of the best ways I can think of to get my balls rolling, as it were.

So far, I’ve found 3 little web applications that are helping me do this. Lifehacker had a bunch of links to things that help one stick to Resolutions, and most of them weren’t for me, but a few looked promising enough for me to use.

The first one I’ve been using I saw mentioned in a 2008 Procrastinator’s Organizer that we got the nephew for Christmas, and it is called Fitday. Fitday is a tool that lets you enter what kind of lifestyle you have, height and weight, and any goals you have as far as weight is concerned. Then, you enter the food that you eat on a daily basis, as well as activities that you do throughout the day, and it gives you an easy glimpse of what you’re doing to yourself, for better or worse (in my case worse)

From there you can generate different reports on your progress and all that, but my main purpose is to simply have that food and exercise diary that so many people say is helpful in the endeavour to lose weight and gain fitness. It’s easy to use, and for me, it really helps me both notice and care about what I’m shoveling into my maw. Having to do that extra step of adding the food to the tracker forces me to think a second time about everything I eat, and I think that even in the few days that I’ve been using fitday, it’s probably prevented me from eating crap I otherwise wouldn’t have even realized I’d eaten.

The other 2 apps that I’ve taken a shine to are brilliant in their simple execution; Joes Goals and Don’t Break The Chain

Essentially they have the same idea, to track on a daily basis whether you do or do not accomplish a task. Don’t Break The Chain comes from productivity advice that was originally handed down from that guy who always wanted to know if you’ve ever noticed the same things he noticed, Mr. Jerry Seinfeld. In order to ensure that he was always working on his comedy, Seinfeld challenged himself to work on his writing (and presumably his noticing of things) every day, so he bought one of those big wall sized calenders, and for every day that he worked on his writing, he would mark the day with a big red X. After that, his goal was to get as many X’s in a row as possible on the calender, and not to break the chain. So the site is basically just a calender that you can set up with multiple goals, and X them out on the days you complete said tasks.

Joe’s Goals is similar, except that you can place positive and negative tasks, and for each positive task you complete, you get a point, and for every negative one, you lose a point, making somewhat of a game out of it. You can also put multiple checks or x’s on a given day, so if your goal is something as noble as ‘giving footjobs to homeless blind people’, and you manage to find three willing jobees in one day, you get three points, as well as feet covered in bumcum. Hooray for winning!

Of course, any of these three sites could just as easily be done on a piece of paper. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I was raised by video and board games, or just pure laziness, but for me, these little apps are much more interesting and easier to stick to.

So this year, instead of resolving to do anything, or to NOT do anything, I guess I’ve chosen the route of trying; trying to pay more attention, trying to care, and trying to hold myself accountable for the things I do and don’t do.

Well, that was long and probably boring, but hopefully it was informative and a touch inspiring to somebody, (or gave some hobo with internet access and a foot fetish a little hope and wood) and whether you’re resolving, trying, saying fuck it, or still too bloated on gravy, pie and booze to come to your senses, I hope 2008 brings you all a little bit closer to your goals then you were last year.

Stuff I Do
  • [SIC] I’m working on recording an album. Follow the progress here.
  • Downloadable Contempt My newest blog, focusing on commentary on music, movies, TV shows.
  • Imaginary Enemies Another webcomic, done in crayon. Still figuring it out.
  • misplaced: the webcomic My photographic webcomic, about action figures. Read by over 4 people worldwide!