Friday, December 29, 2000

When I was 8 years old, I had a friend named Dale Hughes. Dale was the funniest guy I ever knew. He could make me laugh and have milk, pop, water or whatever beverage I was drinking come out my nose. We would play GI Joes together, we did our first act of public vandalism together, we even had our first frank discussions about what we were supposed to do when we "made out" with a girl. Dale was handsome, athletic and witty. He didn't do as well in school as I did, but he was my idol and my best friend.

Some of my most vivid memories are of Dale singing (and trying hard to sound) like Donny Osmond, who was a big sex symbol with the girls that we knew; travelling in the front seat of a Ford Fairlane (seatbelts weren't in vogue or required at that time) with Dale's mom, having her call us "little apes", and then us transforming into screeching, chest-beating, flea-picking animals right there, rolling down the road at thirty miles an hour (I'm surprised we weren't all killed); Dale teaching me how to come up with fast responses ("Just say to somebody, 'Guess what?', and then come up with something to say by the time they say 'What?'. ") and spending a month in Osoyoos water skiing, getting a tan and oogling and longing for all the teenage girls in bikinis; his sister, Nannette, who used to call him "Daley" in the most nasal voice; playing an April Fool joke on his dad, Dale Sr., by taping some fake dynamite sticks and wire to the steering column of his truck.

Dale moved away to Calgary when I was eleven years old. I got a call from his mom about twelve years later. Dale had found work as a male stripper (which suited my memory of him) and was driving back from Vancouver when he hit a semitrailer head on and was killed.

Dale, I thought of you today. Thanks for being part of some good memories. I'm sure you had a fun life.

Monday, November 27, 2000

It's been AGES since I've blogged. Boy I missed it.

I ran into an interesting phenomenon this week. I was given tickets to a swanky piano Gala Event, the Esther Honens International Piano Competition. My first thought of who might like them was my piano teacher. When I offered them to her, she turned them down, as she felt it would only be "about 20 minutes of playing and mostly speeches". At this point, I realized that she was a purist, and didn't care for all the trappings of the whole performance shebang. She just wanted to hear talented pianists. This is an attitude that I run into on a regular basis in the Technology field. I thought it was specific to hardcore techies. I stand corrected. When I shared this realization with a coworker (whom I consider to be a purist himself), it led to a short discussion (short because we were at work) on the nature of purists, and what they get out their passion. I think I'm going to get more info out of him on this subject.

Part of this weekend was spent at a music lesson, in which my eldest daughter was told by her music teacher that she was NOT ready for a recital on Monday, and that she better get her fanny home and practice, practice, practice until she knew the piece cold. This was one of the first real lessons of "hard work required here" that this child has had to learn in the cold, hard world. I wonder how things went today.

Ever been called a freak to your face? The elctrician who is doing the wiring in our basement renovation mentioned that he has worked on projects before where other "computer freaks" have asked him to pull Cat5 computer cable to every room. I can't be that hard core - I didn't even ask for a jack in the bathroom.

A good friend told me that she hated the Christmas season for all of the anxiety and guilt that came along with it. I am beginning to see why. Relatives are beginning to overlap in their plans for coming to our house for a visit. Some get along well, and some ... don't. I just want to enjoy it with my kids. Maybe I will. Come and visit if you like, and first come, first served on the spare bedroom.

Saturday, November 11, 2000

I was just reading through my blog and realized that, for a guy that claims to not watch much TV, I sure love commercials.
Here I am in Las Vegas for Comdex, the big annual computer trade show and conference, and I couldn't help but notice that this place, one of the meccas of the United States citizens, is really a caricature of this whole culture. Loud. Flashy. Pushy people. Everything done to excess. A place where every single one of your vices are waiting to be catered to, most hiding beneath the surface tension of respectability and legality.

I'm amused by the irony of the fact that lining up for food is the typical horror story of being in one of the old communist states. Yet Las Vegas, the city that has all things American, is proud of their buffets, where you stand in line for food.

For a long time.

With loud, crabby, hungry Americans.

As I stood in line today, I wanted to turn around and tell the retired, caucasian, god-fearing (I suspect) couple behind me how funny I thought this was, but I thought better of it. I guess thats all part of being a quiet, unassuming Canadian.

Tomorrow the conference actually starts. I will get to see Bill Gates, king of the Nerds, live. I wonder if I'll find him a captivating speaker.

I was evesdropping on an American talking about how scary a ride was that he (and I) had just finished. He was trying to belittle how scary it was, how scared others on the ride had seemed and how he was hardly even scared, and that he had done many other brave things so that he was "conditioned" and the frightening aspect of this ride didn't faze him. My take on the ride is that it *wasn't* that scary - it was pretty tame, actually.

The Stratosphere was well worth the price of admission - a lovely, lovely view of the whole of Las Vegas. I went up during the day, and I will be going back tonight to have a look at the lights from 1200 feet up.

Tuesday, November 07, 2000

Today I booked off work in what is known as a Personal Time Off (PTO) day. PTO days are the modern combination of sick and vacation time. They are in place so that employees that are healthy get the same amount of time off as the sickly ones - we healthy ones just get to spend the days doing fun things instead of hunched over a toilet or laying in bed sweating. I decided to try out this utopian system by taking a random day off to have some laying around time. Well, it was quite enjoyable. I spent the entire day in sweats and my comfy slipper-socks, reading, surfing, eating leftover Hallowe'en candy and occasionally checking in on the boys at work. Every day should be like this.

Tonight ended up as a Costco night. We needed a few supplies and decided to make it a dinner outing, as well. After grabbing a few gargantuan portions (I always think of that toilet paper commercial), we headed straight for the family's favorite section of Costco - the book row. It warms my heart to realize that my kids have picked up my love for books. I see my 6 year old on the floor with a book, oblivious to her surroundings, and I know that she'll always be able to entertain herself.

Banana begged to by a book called "Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul" and I have a soft spot in my heart (head?) for books. I don't think it's a bad thing to buy, even if the stories are a bit corny and this Chicken Soup series has started on the marketing bandwagon. I think it's good wholesome reading, it reminds the reader of morals and Banana seems to enjoy it.

This weekend was a busy one - I was up in Edmonton visiting Dad and trying to keep the chilluns entertained. I'm afraid that I didn't get much of a visit with Dad - he didn't want to come to the Mall for the amusement park afternoon and evening (I didn't even bother asking him about coming to the waterpark the next day) and so our time together consisted of lunch at McDonalds (the kids idea) and then a bit of time in his cramped bachelor suite. I could tell that he is lonely in Edmonton with the rest of the family in Calgary. He mentioned moving down to Calgary - I think it's an eventuality.

I'm off to Vegas for a trade show and conference on Friday - I'll be gone until next Saturday. I am really excited about going - it will be a big, flashy very American to-do, and I am going to swim in the over-the-top-ness of it. After that, it's down to Tempe, Arizona for a Technology Chief meeting. Am I a fat cat, or what?

Sade is now playing in the stereo as I type. The mood is calm. McMonkey has wandered out of her room, night owl that she is, and curled up on the couch to be close to people as she falls asleep. She is the most gregarious girl that I know. The absolute worst punishment that she could have thrust upon her is solitude.

Today was a no activity day in the basement. The little three bedroom bungalow we live in is undergoing basement renovations right now. Jenn and I bit the bullet and paid a contractor to do the work, but we have a guaranteed completion time, and it's just 6 weeks away! I look forward to having an office, a cave where I can play my music, retreat to, have a my space and have things set up my way. I am already looking at desks and planning how the new home network is going to laid out. Oooo. I can't wait.

Thursday, October 12, 2000

Today was a calmer day at work. I am solo parenting this week - jenn's out of town. I shared some joy; accepted an apology; shared some good words; passed on a true compliment; hunted (fruitlessly) for The Boss; used the sustain pedal on my piano; had a Blizzard; read two stories.

I spent lunchtime at the Great White Leader's new digs. Sometimes I think he and I could be friends. He still doesn't trust me - I've got to learn to stay low and not make any threatening moves. I shared some advice about work stuff and we talked about family. He's got a nice family and I think we both value our families.

I've decided being a dad is fun.

Today I learned that you should respond to people, even if it is only to acknowledge that you heard them. Some people need that.

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

First post to blog. In the living room. In the dark. Listening to Chemical Brothers, Camoflage.

Hello world.