Status. Quo?

So my folks returned home from their weeklong visit today, twas nice to see them.

We had to laugh when they talked about how cold it was. It’s been above freezing the whole time they were here – and we even got a little snow to complete the postcard picture, but my dad still went out to the Farmer’s Market bundled up like an eskimo. You should have heard him cursing when he slipped in the slush/mush coming out of the liqour store. I think he cursed the whole country. We had a nice visit though and my dad took us out to a great dinner at Brewbakers where we discovered some excellent wine – hence the trip to the liqour store to pick some up and take home with him. If you happen to be by their house in the near future, you should pressure him into opening it up, it should be excellent.

So now, here I am, watching Hockey Night in Canada sipping my brew with a little buzz rolling. I’ve got some wings and cheese sticks cooking in the oven that should be ready mid way through the 2nd period and Coach’s Corner is on now. Life’s pretty good. Toronto’s playing Montreal and both are scraping for a playoffspot and it’s some DAMN FINE hockey. Pretty much whoever looses is going golfing and the winner gets into the playoffs.

The kids are in bed after catching a surprise (gift) airing of some sort of Barbie Fairytopia movie that they actually hadn’t seen yet on tv just before bedtime. Sometimes the planets all come into alignment.

I’ve finally compiled an up to date list of my entire music collection – cause I’m a geek like that – and I’ll be posting that soon. You’ll also notice I’ve finally posted some samples of my work in a portfolio type fashion (link on the right) so hopefully my path to ritches is now well paved. Send me your work, I have no shame.

I got my huge print job at work (the ‘art book’, I won’t say more) signed off and to the printers. I only hope I caught everthing. At this point it’s my life’s opus (to date) and I’m anxious/stressed/paranoid to see it in print.

We’ve got a new project for the next season that is poised to be EXTREMELY cool, however, I really can’t discuss it – although I’m dying to – to keep a lid on things. All I can say is it’s WAY up my alley.

Kids’ birthdays went well. They got good schwag, had fun bowling (they asked when they could go again) and it’s become readily apparent that we need to keep an eye on the Bean with regards to the boys. She invited 5 kids to her party, 3 were boys (and 1st graders – OLDER MEN) and she still proceeded to push them around like toys. I don’t know if I should be ashamed or proud. At least she appeared to be in charge, so I guess that’s a good thing. I’ve got pictures to post, but have to wait until I have the opportunity to do so with something other than my caveman-speed dial up. Stay tuned.

As far as the new baby goes, things are progressing smoothly. Lyn is toatally ready to be done with it, even though she’s still got 2 months left. So far the doctors and ultrasound technicians are telling us that he’s ‘big’ for his age’ and she’s feeling it. Emma told her the other day ‘You’re as big as a house, momma…’ and that about sums it up. I’ve named him Big Bubba for the time being, much to the chagrin of my mom. I think she mentioned being omitted from the will should he be born and that wind up his name…I’ve always enjoyed being controversial…

Once again I’m really making a concerted effort to read more. Currently I’ve two books on the go. One is Have Not Been the Same (which so far, is awesome) and the other is O’Reilly’s Head First HTML. I know what you’re saying, ‘HTML? Doesn’t he know this shit already? He’s got his own web page….’ Truth is, at my finest, I’m really just a hack. I’m copping other peoples stuff and twisting it to my own devious uses. I really want to be able to spew forth my own code – specifically CSS and the like, but I need to get a solid handle on the HTML before I jump to CSS. To all you non web geeks out there, this is the equivalent of getting good on my Atari 2600 to prepare for the Wii, but you gotta start with the basics.

As a result I continue to tinker with this blogs appearance, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. So be it. If you don’t like it, send me a letter. I’ll pass it on to the QA dept.

Owt.

Hidely Ho Neighbour!

Ok. It’s been way too long and I gotta update this thing. Here goes. Some of this will make sense to all of you. Some it will only make sense to some of you. Some of it won’t even make any sense to me. Go.

Tech. Junk.
I’ve got this new layout for the site. I’d like to say it will be the last but I can’t. I’ve always got to keep up with the cyberjoneses. I do have my new Flickr account with random photo generator in the side bar here that will update with new pics as they’re posted to my Flickr page. So peep that. You can click on the photos or the Flickr link. You can comment on my photos on that page as well. Make sure to tell me how hot I am or how cute my kids are. If you want, mention how North looks so svelte, he really appreciates that as he’s been on a bit of a diet and is having some self-image ‘issues’.

Un-tech.
With regards to the above note, you’ll have to be patient. I’ve only recently acquired internet access at home and am now SHUFFLING down the informationsuperhighway via DIAL UP. Photos tend to take just under an ETERNITY to upload. Just to give you an idea, I posted this blog entry last year, and you’re only reading it right now. I did. Honest.

The Cough Lottery
And the winner this week: Emma. We had gone almost a week without any coughing form any family members, particularly through the night, but the uninterruped sleep could only last for so long and Emma drew the short straw. She’s been coughing bad for the past week, though it’s now improving as we’ve got her on asthma meds. It would appear that we have just about every trigger possible for asthmatics – wood stove, cats, dogs, cold, firewood stored in the house. We even had a natural Christmas tree which I guess is a huge bozo no-no for asthma sufferers. Spores you know. Oh well. I guess next year the kids will just have to stay in the garage during the holiday season.

“We just call ’em Jr.
Lyn’s pregnancy is moving along well. We go in 3 days for another ultrasound and I think at that point we may find out what it is. Lyn thinks it’s a Chevy, but I’ve always been partial to imports and am really pulling for another Subaru. They just do SO f’ing well in the snow.

We’re chillin’.
The past few days here have seen record cold in this part of the world. -30 celsius which is -22 F (or 243.15 kelvin) to you yankees. It’s been butt cold, but until last week with only sprinklings of snow. Before that, temps were unseasonably high, with all sorts of strange things occuring as evidence. Bears were waking from hibernation. A guy on the news was catching jars full of grashoppers (slow day for news I guess). Apparently the viruses and bacterias that are normaly dozing away under the frost this time of year were having a hey day as well possibly contributing to everyone being sick on and off. Come to find out the whole REGION has been sick with the hospital being closed to visitors half the time due to outbreaks of one kind or another. Anyone who doesn’t buy global warming or ‘climate change’ – whichever term you prefer – needs to turn off the xbox (or at least pause your game) long enough to catch a news channel and see that the world is going to hell in a hand basket weather-wise. Wake up people. Stop driving your cars so damn much. Do something about companies that pollute the air. Get a new President…..whoops. I think I’m digressing. I think this section was supposed to be about the weather here. Well, we got 30cm (that’s X11.8 inches for you southerners. Man, this is getting lame, I’m gonna have to include some sort of converter on the site in the next upgrade) of snow today, so maybe things can get back to normal – I mean all the rednecks out here are just itching to polish off a two-four and hit the trails on their sleds…(that’s a snowmobile in canada-speak).

All about the benjamins.
I’m in the process of going live with my freelance op, buKitco, soon. Keep checking here for updates including a site with portfolio samples and other junk. If you’ve got work you want done drop me a line. We’re already open for business. You know the deal. I’m a graphic designer. If the money’s right I’ll empty your dishwasher too.

To cool for school.
I was fortunate enough to attend a cool web conference on ‘Killer Content’ recently put on by this superhero content manager guy and that is – in part – responsible for the semi-redesign/rethink of my own site. Bottom line, less is more. Give the Customer what they want. Maximizing your investment and ROI in the new world order. Providing new world strategic solutions for the new millenium into tomorrow’s today. Whoah. Sorry, I got caught up in some CorporateSpeak® there. Basically it was a good time and a huge eye opener for me, so it was really excellent. Even cooler was that I was a special guest of my connection over at Red Hot Learning so I was able to skip out on the check. Thanks Gary. I was a little bummed I didn’t get to go ‘pinting’ with the presenter, Gerry. He’s Irish. Irish people are fun. I learned that from my other Irish friend Gary. He’s having his bachelor party in a few months in NYC. I won’t be attending as I can’t get away (it’s the week of my kids’ birthdays), but it’s just as well, ’cause I hear it’s tough finding a good bail bondsman in that town. What’s this info doing in this little segment? Well you just learned a thing about NYC didn’t you? That’s educational. And you learned that Irish people are fun. Apparently they are also the keepers of all the ‘Killer Content’ secrets as well. Damn. Lucky Charms®… Killer Content… What else are they hiding over there? Is there a ‘U3’ we don’t know about yet?

Cyber-groveling. Fundraising. You say tomato…
I swear, I’m going to do eveything in my power to have one of these by next winter. All you would be gift buyers take note (Santa, your work ain’t done yet): Why spend time/money traipsing around to get me the perfect gift? That’s time you could be doing other stuff. Your nails. Perhaps viewing your favorite reality show. Scheduling and receiving that root canal you need. Think as well of the expense to the planet you incur with your fume spewing vehicle as you fight the masses to get to the local enormo-mall only to find out that they don’t sell my size snowflake sweater there (size ‘BL’ – ‘Beer-Laiden). Now you can shop from the comfort of your own home by simply donating to the Pugsley Fund. As you can imagine these things ain’t cheap and your donation can help a semi-middle class aging hipster towards his dream of total bike-geekness….operators are standing by…..

Waffling.
Over Christmas, in a somewhat ‘altered’ state (I was filled with yultide joy) I spewed forth a little piece about my lifelong association with/respect of Neil Peart with full intention of publishing it here. At that time I had no internet access and thanks be to the Gods of Cygnus X-1 for that ’cause it makes me sound like a total fan-boy. Upon re-reading after sleeping off my ‘joyover’ – it has been temporarily shelved until I can learn to articulate myself at a level higher than a 14 year old geek. What I need is mold myself into a ‘New World Man’. Get my ‘Hemispheres’ together, firing on all cylinders. You know, maybe I should take a spin in the ‘Red Barchetta’ down to ‘Rivendell’. That Barchetta, it’s got ‘Power Windows’ ya’know, and boy can it move. ‘Entre Nous’ I really just like to chill by the ‘Mystic River’ with a beer like a regular ol’ ‘Working Man’. Oh, I’m such a loser. I need help. I have such issues.

“He’s just a guy like you and me.” Lyn says. She quite obviously doesn’t get it.
“Yea, that’s like telling our kids that ‘Curious George is just a monkey'” I retort.

Oh Jesus, did I just call Neil Peart a monkey?

WAIT! NO NO NO! WHAT I MEANT WAS….AGHHHHHH!

Sigh.

If you need me, I’ll be in my room doing my homework, listening to records.

It can’t rain all the time.

Yea, I’m gonna get my bitch on a little.

Today turned out to be ‘one of those’.

My ol’ buddy the Eraser had called me a few days back and said he’d be rolling through town and wanted to get a road ride in and catch up, maybe grab a bite. I was down. I told him though that it had been raining here like mad and that he’d probably be better off (for his bike’s sake) leaving it at home and maybe we could spin on the mountain bike if the weather held out. Nothing like a pounding consistent rain to do in a bike sitting in the back of a truck. He agreed. He was supposed to roll up around 2pm today.

That was gonna work out well as I had to get up early, do a little freelance work, some other freelance work, and do some real work that I’d gone to the office yesterday to pick up on the bike (in the rain) and I also had to set up a bike for him to ride. Later in the evening I hoped to get around to setting up the new MacBook Pro with some software that I – ahem – ‘borrowed’ from work as well. It was shaping up to be a full day.

Well instead of hitting my training ride this am (more rain, the torrential kind), I slept in. The kids, by some miracle did as well, till like 9:30. So that was pretty cool. I got up and started the morning shuffle, dressing ’em, hooking them with some cartoons, planning on getting my design on…

Leadfoot Eraser called and said that he had misjudged the timing and would probably be here more around noon. Yikes. I tried to get some work done on the computer, but the kids were having none of it. No matter I thought, there’s after the ride with Eraser….

Eraser shows, we catch up over some basement wrenching whereby I raped 4 different bikes to cobble together 2 for us to ride. Cool. I can put one back together tonite in time to ride to work tomorrow.

We ride. It’s fun. I try to stick to ‘dry/legal’ trails and we spin a good deal on the gravel trail at Wakefield and Accotink. We get into the singletrack just enough for him to get a taste and decide he’s hooked. Cool, another convert. He was just happy he got dirty. The water in the stream crossings was the highest I’ve EVER seen it. Over the banks in on the stream valley trail and there was a good 8-10″ of water on the trail tread. With them prediciting rain for the next 3 days, I’m saying the race on Wednesday is going to be a wash – excuse the pun.

So we head back with visions of some sort of Ruby Tuesday’s meal in our heads – it’s next to Performance and he wanted to hit it up.

I return to the house to find Lyn and the kids screaming at us through an open window to come quick that the dog is really sick. They had tried to call, but I’d left the phone at home.

My 7 year chocolate lab, North is on the floor, he can’t get up his eyes are rolling back in his head and he’s having ‘seizures’. They’re freaking out. Course it’s Sunday and the vet’s closed, but they’ve managed to locate an emergency joint so we set out to get him there. He can’t walk and is sort of squirming around so Eraser (poor guy got more than he bargained for – a workout on the bike and animal rescue) and I managed to get him onto a blanket (North tips the scales at about 120 – he’s a big boy) and got him into the back of the car stretcher style. I said a hurried goodbye and said we’d catch up and Lyn and I were off to the vet. Thankfully my sister was here and able to watch the kids, who were of course very upset and asking “Daddy, is North going to die?” I was pretty freaked myself and wasn’t sure how to answer that one. That worried me even more.

So we go him to the emergency vet and they got him in and went to work on him. He’s still there as I type this – staying the night – we thought that was better. Earlier this week he was into our regular vet for his annual checkup and some meds for an ear infection he’s got. They think he may have some thyroid issues as well (oh, the irony), but we’re still waiting for the lab results on that. The emergency docs told us that it would appear that the ear infection may be much worse than initially thought, and that in essence he couldn’t stand or get his bearings ’cause he’s basically got the dog version of vertigo. They also think that the infection may have gotten in behind his ear and/or broken his eardrum, but they can’t tell yet as the swelling is so bad. They’ve got him on more intense antibiotics and have kept him there for observation. They called not too long ago and apparently he’s doing better and is up and around a bit. He should come home tomorrow.

So this afternoon, after he was stabilized and Lyn and I came home and reassured the kids that he’s gonna be ok hopefully, Lyn said she would take the kids to the pool so I could get some work done…cool.

Well…

I managed to get one of the freelance jobs done. The other one, I’m waiting to hear from the client on. Will have to wait for a reply – course, the job’s due Tuesday at 9am, so you and I both know what I’m going to be doing tomorrow night – and I’ll have to do it while nursing the ailing North.

I hunkered down and decided to try and get some the of the think work done. Well, in order to do that, I needed to install some of that ‘borrowed’ software on my new Mac in order to get it done. Well, no dice. For once Adobe outsmarted me and I got busted on the activation tip. Ugh. Strike 17 today. I decided to hook my old computer back up and do the work on it. Strike 18. The files I brought from work were Illustrator CS2 files and I only have Illustrator 10 on that machine. I go down swinging.

I decide to cut my losses and install what software I actually own on this thing which pretty much amounts to my banking software and Delicious Library.

We get the kids ready for bed just as another round of monster thunderstorms are rolling in. More rain. Sleepless kids. Boom.

Oh yeah, and I just remembered I need to get down and get some sort of bike together to ride to work tomorrow. In the rain.

So I finally said screw it and decided to update this thing. I’ve been promising an account of my first race experience, but it’s looking more and more like that ain’t gonna happen. Between the vet appointment on Tuesday ($600) and the Emergency run today ($500 estimate…”we’ll see, depending on how he does or if he needs more treatment”, says the nice lady vet) I’m in the serious financial hurtlocker. Time to clock some hours with The Man.

Actually on second thought, someone can have the race story….first $1100 gets it. I’ll show up and tell you in person. You can even ask questions.

But if it’s raining, it’s gonna cost you extra.