Sunday, August 31, 2003

In honor of my last evening as a temproary bachelor, I am about to sit down in front of the TV and eat my dinner of weiners and beans right out of the pot.

At 9:15 pm. Hoo hah!
Recent evenings at work had me sampling a buddy's MP3 collection, which included some FooFighters. I'm rediscovering their music, thanks to a quick road trip to Montana this morning. I was heading out the door and needed something to listen to. I knew radio reception would be spotty as soon as I got 30 kms from Cowtown, so I loaded my MP3 player with the Foos' The Colour and The Shape album.

The CD has edgy yet well-thought-out and musically well-executed songs. The Foos have a hard, metal sound in some of their songs, but aren't afraid to throw some ballads with rich vocals and harmonies on the CD. Some of their songs (like Learning to Fly and Monkey Wrench) have seen some radio play, but they are a bit dark and heavy to be mainstream. Many of the songs have surprisingly upbeat or fun lyrics. The worst part about listening to their music was that I had to sit still while it was playing.

I first heard these guys back in my lifeguarding days in Edmonton. It was just what I needed to keep me awake for a long drive.

This is all to distract you from the bigger question, which is, "Why did Sean drive to Montana this morning?"

Friday, August 29, 2003

As my hedonistic days of temporary bachelorhood draw to a close, I have noticed a few things about myself.
  • I produce mostly dark laundry
  • two litres of milk a week is plenty
  • my grocery bill would be very, very low, as the temptation to 'grab a bite' while you are out and about is greater when it's just you having a meal
  • I should not be left in charge of houseplants, let alone pets
  • unless I (or somebody else) create a "To Do" list, I don't get much accomplished in my non-work life
  • I would be spending a lot of time at work if there was no dog or family waiting at home for me
  • I love having music around me - it creates a necessary auditory backdrop
  • chocolate chip cookies for breakfast is an idea that's not that far-fetched
I have enjoyed having some Sean time, but I'm also going to enjoy being back in the hubbub of family life on Monday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003


I like that. Jane, you make me laugh.
Heavy Blog Post Warning: If you don't like deep, introspective posts, better skip this one.

As I am rattling 'round in the house alone tonight, I have had some time to allow my mind to roam over questions that haven't seen much light so far. Little things in my house, objects and keepsakes, trigger some of the best ponderances.

My summer has been a very full one - full of learning, physical activity, work, friendship, family activities. My head is cloudy from physical exhaustion (post triathlon) and lack of sleep. Work has been occupying far too much of my time. Instead of catching up on my sleep, I'm allowing my mind to replay the past few months and think about those important to me.

Banana, my eleven-year-old daughter, is working on her individuality. She prides herself in being different than her friends and classmates. She has cut her hair quite short (as short as mine, almost); listens to "old fashioned" music (from the 50's - Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.); shuns anything she deems as feminine; wants to try all sorts of sports; she even pushes herself to read well above her grade level (she's a third of the way through Roots right now). I've often wondered why she tries so fervently to be unique, but chalked it up to the teenage need to try and find one's own way.

Tonight, I glanced over at a birthday party favour that Banana had brought home. It is a printout of a digital picture of Banana and Addy, a schoolmate of hers. It was taken at Addy's tenth birthday party, shortly before she left with her family on a trip to South America. The picture sits on a little wooden easel on top of our piano and has a painting of Addy on the other side of the foam board to which it is mounted. Seeing this made me consider that perhaps this striving to to be unique could have been triggered by my praise of Addy in a blog posting I did a year ago. It's almost as if she is working to change her entire being just to be like someone that I have given public praise to.


Maybe that's putting too much weight on my influence, but I believe it could be part of the reason. The more that I consider this, the more I realize that the ones that I love work very hard to gain my respect and admiration. They sometimes do the things that they do to, for and around me partly, perhaps, to be loved back.

Double wow. If only they knew.

By saying "If only they knew," I am acknowledging that they are not getting that message from me. Stopping to think about this, makes me realize that I'm not always the best at handing back this phrase, in word and deed. To those out there who hold a special place in my heart (and you know who you are, parents, family, friends), I will work hard to return the message that you give me by wanting to be part of my life.


See what happens when you listen to sappy music?

Monday, August 25, 2003

4:30 hungries have hit hard and I haven't had anything to eat since 11:30 this morning. Digging around in my backpack has produced two chocolate heart-shaped candies in a plastic bag. The tag on the bag says, Happy Valentine's Day, Love Mom. I'm guessing that it was given to me this year, but I can't make any promises. Peeling back the aged foil a bit, I can see that the chocolate is as white as fresh bond paper.

Should I eat the chocolate hearts?

Yes - what's the worst that could happen?

No way! Are you nuts?

See what other people think.
I had a fabulous weekend at the Summerside Triathlon, going well under my goal of a 3 hour finish time. I crossed the line at 2:44:10.

I came back to work, all ready to share my joy with another triathlete and coworker who was also competing at a race this weekend. She was off at the Canadian Ironman Championships in Penticton, BC - a gruelling, 10+ hour event. I was surprised and saddened to find out that she crashed during the bike portion of her race and broke her tibula/fibula. She was sent to the Penticton hospital and will out of action for a while.

Poor kid.

Friday, August 22, 2003

"The flowers of yesterday, the fruit of today, and the seeds of tomorrow are one."

My apologies if you are the author of this pearl and I haven't credited you, but I don't remember where I read it. It's been rattling around in my brain for the past few days.


Bachelor Update, Day Five:

Managed to trade computer services for another home-cooked meal at Mom and Dad's place tonight. At this rate, I'll never get rid of the leftovers in the fridge.
I have a chance to do another triathlon this weekend. The call of the bicycle and lake bacteria are getting stronger and stronger, so off I go. I also want to redeem myself for the technical difficulties I encountered on the last race.

On the August long weekend, I did a race where I dropped one of my food bars, leaving me without fuel for the run part of the triathlon (a whole hour of a 3 1/2 hour race). I had one bar to eat on the bike, which helped tremendously. When the run came, I really, really needed more food (I had fresh water waiting for me after the bike ride). I fell back about fifty places during this torturous leg. It wasn't pretty.

This go-around, aside from letting my training slip (I'm calling it a taper), I am well-rested, healthy and rarin' to go. Nice weather is in the forecast and I will be back in my old stomping grounds - south Edmonton.


I picked up some new (to me) music today - the Sloans. I caught a snippet of a CD release party on the TV last night. The music sounded interesting, so I picked up a few used CDs of theirs. They are a guy-guitars-drums band with occasional trumpets and a few nice vocal harmonies thrown in. They pride themselves on playing their own brand of eclectic, "home-built" music. I sense shades of early "The Who" playfulness.

The two albums I bought (Smeared and One Chord to Another) have a few gems, although most are moderately-skilled versions of high-energy dancing/training tunes. A "greatest hits" collection might be worth waiting for, though, as the albums don't seem to have much coherency.
Exercising with old friends is good.

I hit the road (on road bikes) with Ron, friend I've known since my 'teens. Lots of reminiscing went on. It got to the point where Ron had to say, "Enough already with how long we've been out of high school. Is it traumatizing you to see me?"

Going out for a toot on the road bike was healthy thing and fun to do, both physically and mentally. It got me thinking about all the trouble I used to get him in - being escorted home by the police; smart-mouthing a group of rednecks and nearly getting beaten up outside a movie theatre; non-permanent bits of vandalism; breaking into and exploring the honeycomb of tunnels beneath our university; tearing around in the totally-inappropriately-named Purple Passion Pit ....

The bits of memory I most commonly associate with high school and university are of a totally different teenage life - being a quiet, low-key, unassuming youth. I was actually a bit of a deviant.

Who would of thunk it?

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I don't know what all my coworkers and childless friends think is so great about this life - all I end up doing is working when there's no one waiting for you at home.
Bachelor Update, Day Four:

The food I bought doesn't seem to dissappear as quickly as I expected. I keep forgetting to eat. I had a nap on the couch on Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Our new office is so close to my house that I was able to take a 45 minute lunch break, in which I went home and mowed my front lawn.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Bachelorhood, Day One:

I still have a healthy supply of clean dishes and clothes - things are looking good so far. I'm not sure the supply I've been provided with will last the whole two weeks, though. I'll probably be wearing hallowe'en costumes and eating off tupperware before the end of the month.

I admit that my first meal - lunch - was offered and shamelessly taken from relatives. Dinner, too. But, hey, I made my own breakfast, thank you very much. In fact, I had two bowls of Cheerios, they were so good.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Jeez, it sure got quiet over here all of a sudden.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Friday, August 15, 2003

Rickin, pickin, rassa-frassin, ....

Two hours and ten minutes into my hold time, the line is disconnected. My guess? They botched the connection and hung up on me. I was just sitting here - I didn't even touch the phone.

Grrrrrrrr ....
Is the massive power outage on the east coast causing you any grief?

I am sitting at my desk as I have been for the past hour and fifty-one minutes, an unseen shackle keeping me from venturing too far from my seat. What is this shackle? My position in the phone queue.

Due to the outage, the missus, Banana and McMonk had their summer holiday flight cancelled out from underneath them. I've been on hold, waiting to re-book their cancelled flights and get them on their way to Ontario. At least I think I'm on hold. There hasn't been any hold music or queue notification messages. Even some muzak would be nice to let me know I'm not on a dead circuit.

Air Canada's customer service is currently stressed to its limits, and it shows. The website, although pretty, hasn't been helpful at all other than to give the information that "all flights cancelled until we get our sh*t together". The phone lines were jammed this morning - we couldn't get through to as much as a recorded announcement after 15 minutes of calling and calling. So, we went out to the airport. Big mistake. 36 hours worth of cranky, sleep-deprived travelers being forced to stand in line. We joined the queue there just in case a flight opened up. After standing for 30 minutes, what do I see but a food services worker with a cart, making her way down the line handing out coffee, tea and soft drinks. "Ah, a glimmer of hope," I think to myself. "Air Canada is making an attempt to placate these poor, weary travelers."

When the woman reached our spot in the line, she meets my grateful glance and quips, "Just so you know, this isn't complementary from Air Canada. There's a charge. Do you still want something?"

Sigh. Too bad, Air Canada. You are blowing this one big time. You had a chance to shine during a crisis. You blew it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

For the past three weeks I've been complaining to anyone who'll listen about how stressed I have been about all the work I have to do at the Treehouse. Today was the culmination of one big project - an office move.

The main part of Veer outgrew our allotted space in the Treehouse and so we've moved to simpler digs. Getting all our stuff, and all our connections, out of the Treehouse has been no simple feat. As the infrastructure guy, it fell on my shoulders to orchestrate the event. I've been hiring, contracting, supervising, commiserating, wiring, lending, lifting, packing, waiting and pleading ... all around the other expected duties. My nervousness about the event has been building - would everything go well? Would there be any unplanned outages? Would I end up being fired over some major, forgotten detail that would leave the company unable to function?

Just between you, me and everyone with Internet access, I was freakin' out.

Things weren't going well in the first part of the move preparation. Step one of anything changing was the phone system. The phone company, a bunch of glad-handing, two-faced, blame-shirking morons, got the move date wrong. The phone system (which is only half of our company's revenue) was going to stay firmly put until three days after everything else had gone. Let me tell you, trying to get a phone company to change it's mind about something is no easy task, even if you are the customer. After twenty hours (I kid you not) of verbally jumping all over two shifts worth of emergency repair phone reps, I got my way. They would try to get it switched the day of our actual move. Our customers only noticed about twenty minutes of busy signal during our business hours.

The rest of the move went just fine. There was still a ton of work to do before the environment was perfect but things were within my control again. Patience and hard work would lead everything to be in order. As I toiled away this morning, I looked around at people coming in, sitting down at their new desks, adjusting things to be the way they wanted them. I had given them what they needed in order to be excellent at their jobs. That provided me with a sense of happiness and completeness. I realized that despite the stress that sometimes come with my job, I love what I do.

Hard work is great when it yields positive results.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Things Not To Do When Selling A Car:

Leave a bottle of touch-up paint from a collision repair shop in the glove box.

We were out looking at a replacement for our rusty, crusty old Ford Aerostar this weekend, as the Aerostar needs new brakes (and new struts, and new tires, and a new driver-side door, and electrical work, and and and ... ). We found a bottle of touch-up paint in one of the vehicles that we had previously been interested in. The salesmen looked quite surprised, took the bottle from us and promised to "check into it" and tell us what he could find out about the vehicle's history from the previous owner. He *promised* to get back to us.

Unsurprisingly, when we called the next business day, our salesmen, 'Red' (a trust-inspiring nickname if I ever heard one), the van (which had been in two minor accidents) had been sold to someone else, so the vehicle's history was really moot, now wasn't it?

I'm sure he disclosed this fact to it's new owner and didn't really throw the touch-up paint in the garbage as soon as we were out of sight.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

I love it when I get fan mail. Problem is that it's usually not meant for me, but one of the other Sean Collins wannabes out there on the Internet. I mean, really. Look at those eyebrows. Is that sexy?

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Standin' at the crossroads ...

Down one path lay fame, fortune, full time employment, and career advancement. Down the other, poverty, career stagnation, possible servitude and continued free time.

They want me to work full time at The Treehouse. Right now, I'm working 3 1/2 days and lovin' the extra stuff I get to do. They need more of me, or someone like me. It could be me. I can do all the stuff they need me to do. Do I want it to be me?

If I choose not to do the work, they'll probably hire someone to do the other stuff that needs to be done and manage me, suddenly turning me into a flunky.

Should I sell my soul to the company store, giving up my outside life, hoping that it leads to better things, or do I drop into the back seat and let someone else take the reins?

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

The tortured mind is the birthplace of all inspiring art.

Wondering how I came to this conclusion? Consider this - people that claim that they aren't artistically gifted are the same ones who have no problems getting a restful sleep every night.

Monday, August 04, 2003

A little bit of quiet time allows for self reflection. This weekend during my recovery from a triathlon, I found myself suddenly jealous of a dear friend and training buddy. She had placed better in her category than I had. She, being the self-effacing person that she is, didn't even think to check her placement. Like me, she judged her race by times she had pre-determined and by how she felt during the race (tactical and preparation notes that she could work on next time). When her name was called at the awards ceremony, she was as surprised as we were.

I was thrilled for her when I heard, but as the afternoon wore on, I began to recognize my jealousy at her accomplishment - especially because of the attention and notoriety that it brought upon her within our group and people that she knew at the race. I began wishing that I had placed at least as well as her. After all, I had been training with her and actually had a better time than her overall. The fact that we are in different age categories (and gender categories) slipped by me at the time. Also escaping me was the amount of extra training that she does on her own and with others, and the intensity she trains at. Nevermind that she is also has the gift of being a natural athlete, succeeding at more than two handfuls of sports she's tried.

That afternoon I found myself being jealous of others, too (for different reasons, of course but the taste it left in my mouth was just as bitter). I know jealousy isn't becoming. It's an emotion that I want to control, perhaps even banish, from my consciousness. As afternoon eclipsed into evening, I was able to shake off the longing for the limelight and feel some genuine joy at her success. I hope I didn't come across as a party poop and wreck her moment - she's a coach and a teacher and as such, has to step back into the wings regularly as her proteges shine. She's good at dealing with others achievements with grace. I wish I was.

I'll work on it.

The more I think about it, the more I think that competitiveness stems from the basic emotion of jealousy. I don't know if competitiveness is something that I want to foster in myself because of that.
I finished the triathlon yesterday. Ouch.