Sunday, 31 August 2014

A Case or Two of Beer.

I went over to give a hand to my son-in-law Chris yesterday with his fence. It is/was pretty much complete except for some trim work. He could have done it himself, but it is easier to have another set of hands to hold the other end and put in the odd screw. By the time we were finished, it looked great and should be able to keep animals and kids contained for many years to come.

A fence is basically wood posts sunk into the ground, some more wood stretched between the posts and somehow attached. I love split rail fences that were all over farm country when I was growing up in Ontario. They consisted of two post sunk into the ground with a six to eight inch gap between them. Horizontal “split” rails would then be stacked in the gap, alternating sections of the fence. I imagine the work involved splitting the logs would be pretty impressive. These fences would snake their way around the fields. I suspect the logs came from clearing the land in the first place.
Another type of fence I used to see all of the time was made of stone. The stones picked from the field would be placed around and over the years would become a pretty impressive edifice. These stones would range from as large as a small car to the size of a small child’s fist. Children were the ones that had to pick the rocks every spring once the soil had been turned over.
The beauty about these fences is that other than the labour involved in construction, they were free. Money was spent on farm equipment and seed, not fences. They kept the animals in or out, but the kids could go anywhere they wanted.

Today, a fence costs a small fortune in lumber and fasteners. If you are hiring someone to do the work, you can double or triple the cost. Most new home owners don’t have the skills or tools to build a fence, but it is a simple enough project. There is generally a friend that has built a fence before, and a group of friends that want to learn how to do it at your expense. Towards the end of the job, all of your friends have lost interest and you would have as well, except that you need the fence to keep the kids corralled. That’s why I was there yesterday.
When my dad was building fences, he and the neighbours drove small metal posts into the ground at regular intervals and stretched four foot chain link fencing along the length. It was good for what was needed back then, keeping us kids from wandering into trouble. When I was building fences, we sunk four by four posts in the ground in tamped down gravel, joined them top and bottom with two by fours and nailed the boards alternating one board on either side. It was called a “good neighbour” fence. Hopefully, your good neighbour would pay half.

The fences now are built to last. They use four by six posts that are cemented three or four feet into the ground. The boards are sandwiched between a two by four and a one by four at the top and bottom. This creates a private area which is good looking on both sides and is almost impossible to look through. It keeps the kids inside very nicely. The wood is all pressure treated, so hopefully it will last longer than the person that built it.
While I was taking a break from working, I was wondering why fences had gotten to be so much more impressive over the years. Why didn’t my dad build a great big fence? I guess cost was a factor, but everyone built the same way back then. I think that part of the reason is that home owners have better tools and fasteners now than they had back in the day. I can remember the shitty tools that dad had. I imagine that the circular saw was a godsend over using a hand saw. All that dad needed for his fence was a neighbour who had a sledge hammer and a pair of pliers. Oh, and a case or two of beer.

When Chris built his fence, he had a guy come in with a power auger for the post holes. Bags of ready mix cement for the holes. There was a sliding, compound mitre saw, circular saw, jig saw, a reciprocating saw, hammers of course, chalk lines, cordless drills, screw bits, various sizes of screws and friends with fence building knowledge. Oh, and a case or two of beer.

The fences get better, but the people remain the same.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

One or Two Aspirins

There are quiet times in the life of a city. Those are the nights when there are no arrests, no accidents on the roads and no “news” to speak of at all.

It is certainly an odd occurrence, but it does occur from time to time. There doesn’t seem to be any good reason for this phenomenon, but there are plenty of theories. Some of the theories are celestial in origin, the moon is full, half or new, the planets are aligned and have some kind of physical “pull” on our planet and I have even heard that a “dark” comet passes close to earth every now and then. It could be a natural cycle where every living thing on earth is reset back a baseline. Maybe it is just that everyone is tired at the same time. No one really knows.

Well, I do, but I found out by accident and no one is going to believe me.

Last night, I had a sore neck, so being an old hippie; I took an assortment of over the counter drugs, hoping to numb the pain long enough to fall asleep and perhaps the mixture might actually cure my sore neck. The one thing it did is put me to sleep without having my brain review the day’s events at all, it was head hits the pillow and I get unconscious. Wonderful!

I came reluctantly awake around three in the morning with a low buzzing in my head. At first, I thought it might be the mix of drugs, but as it continued and I became more awake, it was obvious that the noise was coming from outside. I thought it might be one of my inconsiderate neighbours working on a car in their garage in the middle of the night. I looked out the window and just saw darkness from the neighbours. However, to the northeast the sky was lit up like it was Christmas.

I tried to wake Louise up to see, but she wouldn’t wake. That’s not normal; she is a light sleeper and should have already been awake. Her breathing was deep and regular, she just wouldn’t wake up. Even Buster stayed asleep at the foot of the bed which is really weird. I’m not brave, but I am curious, so I pulled on a shirt and a pair of pants and went outside to see what was going on.

The buzzing was louder outside, but I couldn’t see much. I pulled out the ladder and climbed on to the roof of the garage. From there I could see what I can only describe as flying saucers flying in and out of the light like bugs around a streetlight. Okay, this is nuts! Should I get in the car and go check this out? No freakin’ way.

I took my bike. I figured if I need to hide, it’s easier to hide with a bike than a car with headlights and a hot engine. There was no one and nothing on the roads at all. Nothing! I rode down the centre of the street, coming closer and closer to the lights and flying saucers. I rode to a place where I had an unobstructed view, and it seemed as if they were either moving things in or out. I was hoping out. They were coming in and out of a large cloud that seemed to be lit from the inside. Maybe the mother ship?

Like I said, I am not brave so I rode back home sticking to the shadows whenever possible. I parked the bike, went inside, got undressed and back into bed after taking another handful of pills.

Today when I woke up, the world was back to normal with cars driving, horns honking and in all respects, business as normal. There is no way I am going over to where I saw all of the activity last night. Maybe in a day or two I’ll drive in that direction, but maybe I’ll just let the little mystery stay a mystery. I’m not that curious either.

Maybe the next time I have a sore neck, I’ll just take one or two aspirins.

Friday, 29 August 2014


Have you ever spent some time watching bugs?

Not watching to keep them off of your food, although I have spent an inordinate amount of time doing that. Too much time I suppose, but to be fair, the whole human race is concerned with bugs on their food. That is why we invented inside. Inside was pretty good, but bugs still managed to get on the food, so we invented doors, thus the term “indoors”. Indoors kept most of the bugs out, but once the door was closed, inside became very, very dark which was pretty scary. Now we had to invent windows for the daytime and fire for the night time, to let in enough light to kill bugs by.

That night time saying that we give to kids “Nighty, night. Don’t let the bedbugs bite, but if they do, hit them with a shoe until they are black and blue!”  I say hit them until they become a small, greasy spot on the wall, but each to his own. Nope, I don’t like bugs and no one else does either.
I have no idea what is with those people in National Geographic letting the flies crawl on their faces. It’s possible that they have been driven insane by the bugs and just can’t get indoors, close the door and windows, find the biggest shoe available and beat the flies until they are black and blue. I think I’d rather die than get so used to flies on my face that I wouldn’t even swat them.

Be that as it may, if you watch bugs you will see that they are very intense little creatures for the most part. Ants are always on the go trying to find more food for an ever increasingly large anthill. I can’t understand why they keep expanding. To my knowledge, mankind are the only creatures on the planet that keep expanding far past where and when it was prudent to expand. I guess I just don’t know enough about the life cycle of the common ant. Perhaps they need large numbers to protect the queen during inclement weather or times of drought. I would imagine if it gets real cold, they all huddle together to generate heat, and if they get hungry enough it pays to have a surplus of workers that you can have for dinner.

I haven’t been able to figure out the purpose of butterflies and moths. They just seem to hang out all day, every day, arbitrarily flying from one place to another. The most work they have ever done is to transform from a chrysalis to a butterfly. I’m sure it isn’t easy, but shouldn’t there be more. If that were what humans did, we would be born and then kick back and do nothing for the rest of our lives.
Hmmmm…actually, that pretty much sums up my life. I guess I am the beautiful but lazy butterfly and the rest of you are those hard working, industrious ants. I envy you your dedication and focus. Keep up the hard work and know that at least one butterfly appreciates the effort you put in.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Farm Animal Conspiracy

I consider myself to be something of a conspiracy theorist, not the ranting, drooling and pissing my pants kind, just the normal kind of nut.
I believe that government officials will always do what is in their best interest and sometimes we benefit from what they do and sometimes we won’t. They just want to keep their jobs and if possible build a little nest egg so they can afford a really good lawyer when and if they get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. A good politician only takes enough to irritate the taxpayer, not aggravate.

Big business will do what is in their best interest and we rarely will benefit from what they do. Their political friends will often reap the rewards from turning their gaze in a different direction. No one seems to know why the price of gas increases before a long weekend. Well, no one in business or government, the rest of us do know however. The reason prices are similar for almost everything isn’t because the corporations are working with a very shallow profit margin, it’s because they have agreed on a maximum price that the consumer will tolerate.
Like I say, when I can, I blame those large faceless corporations and politicians for pretty much everything. I’m not a nut, well, not completely anyways.

I do have a facebook friend that I think might just fall into that “nut” category. She and her friends believe in “Chemtrails” which are those exhaust lines that jets leave when they fly across the sky. It seems (according to the whack jobs) that the governments of the world are in collusion with the airlines to seed the skies with chemicals. I’m not sure if the chemicals are meant to poison us, make us more docile or reduce our sex drive. I’m pretty sure the “chemtrail” people aren’t worried that the government is dropping fluoride on us. They are against fluoride of course, but they don’t think it is coming down from the heavens.
To my way of thinking, if big business and government were intent on drugging us, we would be drugged. Who would stop them? Certainly not some housewives posting old pictures of vapour trails across the sky on facebook, nope, not happening! In fact, I know from personal experience that the government ABSOLUTELY does not want me to use drugs. Well, they have put a lot of effort into keeping the population from getting mellow.

Can you imagine how many people would be involved in a scheme to spray chemicals from high flying airliners? Forget about the government decision makers or the corporations that manufacture the chemicals. There would have to be regular guys at every airport in the world filling special tanks with this stuff. They would know it wasn’t fuel and their union would want to know just what the hell it was. If it were dangerous, these guys would have to get hazard pay. There is no way they would do it for free.
The “chemtrail” people must be non-unionized office workers to have made that kind of mistake. I’m pretty sure the airport workers are on drugs, but they are the kind you smoke at break time. There is no other explanation for why luggage goes missing on such a regular basis.

I can believe maybe that big business is poisoning us by feeding chemicals to cattle that then produce methane “chemtrails”. It’s a really slow way to destroy the ozone layer and we may never know who is behind it.

Maybe George Orwell hit the nail on the head when he wrote “Animal Farm”, the chemtrails could be a farm animal conspiracy…

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Finishing Touch

I can remember reading a book about a man that had lived for many generations and just wanted to die a quiet death. He wasn’t allowed to of course, that wouldn’t be good for the plot. He had done everything he had wanted to do with his life and had no interest in doing the same things over and over again.

At the time I couldn’t understand that attitude, I wanted to live forever. I can remember wondering how my grandmother could be so calm and matter of fact when someone that she knew passed away. It just didn’t make any sense.

Fast forward forty years or so and things are beginning to clear up. Now, I have no interest in living forever, not because I have done everything, but because the things I have done I am content with and those things that are undone are that way for a reason. Perhaps they were silly or based more on wishes than possibilities. Some of the dreams I once had don’t seem to be so dream like any longer. Times change and so do your perceptions.

I understand gram’s attitude a lot easier now than when I was a kid. People live their lives and die. I have seen it, and in many instances death is a blessing. Most people that have passed that I have known, would more than likely have chosen to live just a while longer, so that they might put the finishing touches on their life.

A friend passed yesterday. I haven’t seen him or even talked for a number of years, but I still consider him a friend. He will be missed. His family will be devastated; his good friends will be as well, acquaintances and work friends will think of the fun times Bob gave us. We all touch many lives while we are on our journey through life, hopefully in a positive way, but any way has an effect.

I know that Bob will leave a hole that will not easily be filled. He more than likely left some things unsaid and some things undone. There are likely some “I love yous” that could have been said. More than likely there should have been some “I’m sorrys” spread around. If Bob was anything like me the last lucid moments would be filled with should haves and could haves.

Maybe at the end we don’t worry about those things, but somehow all of the good we did in this live is relived. The people we have helped on their journey through life and the happiness and laughter we have added to the world. That’s what I choose to think.

I guess the finishing touch to life is death. Safe travels Bob…

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Quiet Times

I guess I am one of those people who like to talk. I don’t generally care what I talk about, just so long as there are no uncomfortable silences. I figure that if I talk to people, I will learn a little something about them, about their jobs and about their lives. People are interesting, even the ones that in the end aren’t interesting.

I haven’t always been outgoing and talkative, once I was very shy and introspective. There must have been a point in my life that I decided I would have to change the way I was or at least the way that I appeared. I suppose that in a way we all create the person we are, and how others will view us. I choose to be a guy that never shuts up and tries to make people laugh. The trouble with acting a fool is that people think you are a fool. Most of the time that’s okay, but every now and then it would be nice if they would take you seriously.

I can appreciate silence though. Sometimes it is silence that speaks the loudest and can convey a diverse range of meaning and emotion. There isn’t anything to be added when you are looking at a sunrise or a sunset. It is simply beautiful and takes your breath away. The sunrise lets you see the possibilities that the coming day promises and the sunset puts a positive end on the day whether it was good or bad.

When you go into your child’s room at night when they are sleeping, all you can think of is the love that you have for that child. You can stare at that perfect person for hours and it is easy to forget the mischief they got into during the day. Often you would just stare in quiet disbelief that a kid of yours could be so stupid.

For me, when a machine breaks down it is more a time of quiet than anything else. I have been at the side of the road watching the radiator fluid drain out of the car. I think “How could it do this to me without any kind of warning at all?” Perhaps I think that if I stare long enough and show it how disappointed in it I am, the universe will pull together and solve my dilemma. It often does, but not immediately and seldom without a large injection of money.

Sometimes I will be watching TV and something that our politicians say or do will make me mute. I look on in disbelief and anger, not being able to utter a word of criticism. I do eventually find my voice and then I can use my words.

Really, for all of the books, poems and songs that have been written about love, silence seems to be the best way to describe it. Well, not describe it, more like experience it. When a child does something that makes you so very proud. When a grandchild runs up to you, gives a hug and says “I love you Poppa!” When a young couple will just sit holding hands, watching the world spin around. When you watch your wife sleeping and wonder why in God’s name she still loves you after all this time, in spite of all the stupid things you have said and done.

It is the quiet times when we are in touch with ourselves and the universe.

Monday, 25 August 2014


I have been avoiding the blog today for some reason. I think it might be because I didn’t write one yesterday and I didn’t have a very good reason not to. My right wrist was hurting, but that was and is an excuse which seemed to make sense at 10:30 last night, but in the cold light of day…

I still don’t have anything to write about, but as you know, that has never stopped me before. I have been thinking lately about how people avoid doing what is right. Well, they avoid doing what I think is right, and as we all know, what I think is right is …well…right!

It kind of boggles the mind how the vast bulk of the worlds population continue to be wrong so often, I know what you are thinking, “Ken, how can billions of people be wrong and you are the only one who is right?” I might agree with you if it weren’t that there have been other guys who were right when everyone else was going about life the wrong way. Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Joseph Smith (I guess), and many others that although important and significant in their time, they aren’t important and significant to this blog.

Do I consider myself to be a modern day prophet? No, I am far too lazy for that kind of silliness and unlike those others mentioned and not mentioned, I don’t care if the rest of humanity finds salvation or not. However, I do have something in common with those guys, I am telling the truth or “gospel” and very few are listening. Is it significant that I have 12 people who follow this blog? Not for me to say. Have I fed the masses? It’s been done to death. Heal the sick? I have kissed my share of boo-boos and dispensed a healing slurpee or popsicle when necessary. Walked on water? I’ve walked through some pretty deep puddles and my socks stayed dry, gore-tex boots or divine protection, you judge.

I suppose it is possible that at sometime in the future, a society without direction and on the brink of destruction may just find some answers in some of these blog entries. I am sure that the leaders of this new religion will rewrite the drivel that I have put down and if it is phrased correctly, it just may give people a reason to live. That is pretty heady stuff.

I suppose I had better cut out the curse words and the rash judgement of those assholes that I’ve got on my “Better Dead List”. No, I am going to keep the list and the future Kennonites will just have to admit that their prophet has feet of clay and a potty mouth.

Good night and bless you…er… may God bless…

Sunday, 24 August 2014

What Might Be

They say that you spend the first eighteen years of your life learning how to be a good person from your parents. You spend the rest of your life trying to unlearn a lot of what they taught you. To be fair, parents are learning how to do the job as they go and it is understandable that they will make more than a few mistakes.

You can see some of the mistakes you made by watching how your children raise their kids. You also learn what it was that you did right. You really know you screwed up if you are visiting your kid in prison. We all make mistakes, more often than not we don’t realize they are mistakes when we make them and some times never do. Some of these are passed down from generation to generation.

Years ago when I was little I spent almost every weekend at my Grandmother’s cottage, a lot of my time was spent near the lake looking for fish, frogs and adventure. The lake was man made by building a dam at one end of a valley and allowing it to flood in order to create hydro electric power. When they flooded the land, many trees were left, which made boating a little treacherous. By the time my family were spending our weekends at the lake, there were areas of the shore that had about twenty yards of floating and half submerged logs intertwined which was impossible for a small boy to stay away from.

I would venture out on these logs and they were so intertwined that a sure footed person could spend hours hopping from log to log looking for things of interest. I would generally return home soaked head to toe. My mom and dad took to calling me clumsy and accident prone. They told me to stay away from the logs, not to climb trees, don’t walk on fences or I would break something. I never did break anything, nor did I stay away from fences, trees or the floating logs, but I was just a little more cautious.

I did believe them when they told me that I was clumsy and accident prone. They were my parents after all and wouldn’t lie to me. I’m sure that in their minds, I was a clumsy, accident prone boy, that’s what they saw. It took me till I was well into adulthood to understand that they were completely wrong. I have very good balance now and I had excellent balance back then. I think I just took more chances than the other kids, or thought my legs were just a little longer than they actually were. It was an honest mistake.

Parents can and do have a large impact on their children’s opinions of themselves. I believed I was that accident prone kid for thirty years. What a waste. I wonder what I might have done if my parents had just given me shit for getting wet all of the time. I did the same to my kids. I don’t even want to think of what I did to Arwen or Maegan, but I have convinced Brendan that he should stay away from anything sharp because of a few accidents with knives when he was in scouts. Maybe if I had just put on a bandage, he would be a world class wood carver now. Maybe, but he wouldn’t be the person he is now and that would be a tragedy. Sorry to the kids for what they may have been, but you have turned out okay in spite of me.

Parents, be aware of what you are telling your kids because in a very real way you are making them who they are and who they will become.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Over Medicated

We are having a sleep over at our house tonight. Hurricane and Tornado came by around 2:00PM. Well their mom tossed them out of the car and sped off laughing like a maniac.

Okay, I might be exaggerating, but I might not. It’s almost as if Arwen decided to stuff them with sugar and let them spin out of control at grandma and Poppa’s place. Not cool!

I took them for a three hour stint at five playgrounds in the hope of tiring them out, with some success. I say some success, because they calmed down a little but I was ready to pass out by 5:30PM. I am suffering from a very painful sore neck (not related to the kids) so my tolerance levels are down a might. I’ve been a little short with the boys.

We had supper and then I let them play with water outside. It is far too cool to play with water outside, but I had given up being a responsible adult half way thru supper. When they were done getting soaked, Louise had them strip off their clothes and dropped them in a hot tub for a splash fest. I sat in the living room, staring into space and wondering how Arwen remains sane. It’s a mystery.

We watched a movie and put them to bed. I over medicated with my favourite over the counter drugs and think I am writing a lucid blog.


Tomorrow is tomorrow, today is today and yesterday is history. 

Friday, 22 August 2014

It Pays To Pay

I don’t think I am any different than anyone else when it comes to wanting to get a bargain. Nothing makes me happier than to get something cheaper than everyone else.

I suppose that’s why I haunt second hand stores. Sometimes, not often, you can get a real deal, especially if the people doing the pricing aren’t aware of the value of an item or just don’t care. Most of the second hand finds now are just things that capture my imagination, rarely are they what anyone else would consider a deal.

Deals will generally come from the internet nowadays, and most of those tend to be electronic in nature. I have bought a couple of phones from manufacturers in China for about half to a third of what a similar phone would cost in Canada. They worked pretty well, but never really good. The screens weren’t sensitive enough and often I would have to run my finger back and forth several times before it would register at all. Fair is fair I suppose, a third the price for a phone that was a third as good.

If you are going to buy electronics online from China, keep it to cables, batteries and parts. I have bought batteries for my cameras insanely cheaper than I could have bought them in the electronic stores here.  Those button batteries can be had for a song. I just ordered six iPhone cables for half the price I could have bought one here. They haven’t been delivered yet, but I am optimistic they will be as advertised.

For the past few months, our internet connection has been very sluggish. We would have connection and then it would cut out for a few minutes. Often I would have to wait minutes for a video to boot up and sometimes it just never would. We have hesitated about doing anything important over the internet because it would often cut out in the middle of a session. Very, very frustrating.

I thought that the problem was our internet provider, Shaw Cable. It is easy to blame a big, heartless corporation for your problems. Well, it’s easy for me. I have tried to figure out what the problem was, but often in the middle of the search, the damned internet would cut out. I thought that perhaps the security settings on our computers were at fault, but they seemed to be fine when I looked at them. I wouldn’t know if they weren’t fine unless a window popped up on the screen and said HERE IS THE PROBLEM!

Yesterday, there was a comment that I saw on a computer forum that hinted at the router as the culprit. Our router wasn’t that old, but I thought I would bring up the Memory Express page and see how my router stood up against other routers. It turns out that I bought one of the cheaper routers on the market. Could that be the problem? Routers are all the same…aren’t they? The more expensive routers are for gamers and people doing business on the web…right. Home use doesn’t need a fancy router; just one that is bare bones is good enough.

Well, we were at Costco and there was a mid range router for sale which we bought yesterday. I came home and hooked it up and ever since we have had no difficulty getting and staying on the internet.

I’ve learned my lesson, sometimes it pays to pay.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Kenneth, Kenny, Ken and Paul

I was born without a name.

You were born without a name.

We all were, but eventually, our parents decided what the perfect name should be. Most of the time, the prospective parents are convinced of the sex that their child will be, even though they say it doesn’t matter. Because of this they either don’t have names for a boy or they don’t have names for their new baby girl whom they were sure would be a boy. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because they have a brand new human and they always do pick a name.

Often the name seems strange to everyone else, but for some reason the name will eventually fit like a glove. When we were expecting our first child, I thought that Thaddeus would be a great name for my new son. No one else did, but I thought that having a name that meant “courageous heart” would help a child of mine along in the world. It turns out that Thaddeus was a girl and her name became Arwen. Possibly no better than Thaddeus, but she seems to have grown into it.

I don’t know what my parents thought I was going to be, but I ended up as a “Kenneth”. No one has ever called me “Kenneth” for any length of time; it is just a name for official documents and angry police officers. Mom and dad always called me “Kenny”, and I was “Kenny” to my teachers, friends, relatives and even strangers until I became a teenager. I don’t think I ever gave much thought to my name; it was just what people said when they wanted to talk to me or about me.

I can’t remember when I became “Ken”, but it must have been in high school. “Ken” is much less formal than “Kenneth” and teenaged “Ken’s” get beaten up far less than “Kenneth’s” do. I have pretty much stuck with “Ken” since then, and I imagine that “Ken” will be the name on my obituary. The death certificate will have “Kenneth”, but I don’t plan on answering anyone after my death. I was “Paul” for a few months, but that was because a co-worker made a mistake and I didn’t correct him. He eventually found out what my name was and never called me “Paul” again. I kind of miss being Paul, but all good things must end.

I grew into “Ken” just as my kids have grown into their names, and just as you have grown into yours. I have a relatively new grandchild that is busy growing into her new name. She will probably struggle a little with her name and there is a good chance that her friends will give her a nickname. People in our family tend to have creative friends who do their best to fit a new name to go over top of the old name. Time will tell I suppose and I look forward to who she will become. I have already given her a nom de plume in this blog of Tsunami, but that would be an odd name for such a beautiful little girl.

I don’t call myself anything inside my head, unless I am discussing just how stupid “Ken” had been. Thankfully, I know who I am talking to and the inner me knows when he is being talked to.

I know my name…

Wednesday, 20 August 2014


I have always wondered what it would be like to spend months outside on some kind of journey. Perhaps it is because I have romanticised Bilbo and Frodo’s journeys around Middle Earth. I could do without the Orcs and wizards, not to mention Sauron the dark lord of Mordor of course.

I have been on a weeks backpacking trip before and although I wasn’t very fond of it at the time, the memories are fun. I suspect that any such trip is like that. While you are in the midst of your adventure, you are too focused to enjoy it properly and the shitty parts are just too fresh. No one likes fresh shit.
Every now and then, I start to think about the Appalachian Trail. It is 2,180 miles long and passes through 14 states and the norm is to hike it from the south (Georgia) to the north (Maine). Thru hikers will take anywhere from six to nine months to complete the trail. Many people will do the trail over a period of years. Either way, it is a massive accomplishment.

Most thru hikers begin the trip because of some major upheaval in their lives, death of a loved one, loss of job, divorce or some kind of breakdown. They are looking for something different to do with their lives, something that will allow them to spend time alone with themselves. These people generally take on “trail names” and lose the person they were before the hike. It must be an amazing experience.

I may be too old for this kind of foolishness, I know I’m too far out of shape and thankfully, my life is just in wonderful shape, thank you very much. I would like to do it though. I read first hand accounts and there is a wonderful book by Bill Bryson called “A Walk in The Woods” that he recounts his experiences on the Appalachian Trail. Pick it up and give it a read, you will get a good laugh and if your life takes a trip into the shitter, you will have a direction to take.

We are very adaptable and can survive in all sorts of inclement weather. When you are walking in the rain, at first it is uncomfortable, but after a couple of hours it just becomes the norm. There is no way to keep dry, so you just try to keep wet and warm. This is much easier when it is the summer of course, but it is possible to survive wet and cold weather. Trust me.

I am thinking about the trail again and plan on reading some of the journals that people have kept and I guess now there is a digital journal or two that we can follow. Hopefully that will be enough to satisfy me. It will be fun. I’ll include a couple of links, but if there is any interest at all, you will find your way to the trail.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Smart Little Buggers

I like technology, but sometimes it doesn’t like me.

Most of the time I can figure out how something works and if I can’t figure it out, there is always Google to help me as a last resort. If you can think of a question or something you want to do, someone, somewhere has thought of that question and wanted to do what you want to do. You can bet they either Googled it or put a video up on youtube to show everyone that they can do it.

One of the springs on my garage door broke yesterday. I don’t think it was anything I said or did; it was just the spring’s time. My normal way of dealing with things like this is to ignore it until it becomes a much bigger problem. It has always worked in the past and seldom costs any more money than if I dealt with it right away. The benefit to putting it off is that it gives me time to save up the money or have that cash magically appear. It never has, but I remain hopeful.
I took a new tact today; I called the repair guy right away and set up an appointment. Well, I didn’t call him right away, I checked out youtube to see if I might be able to do the job myself. I might be able to; it seems to have a series of steps that need to be done in order and a few specialized tools. Unfortunately, there is also the very real possibility of a ride in an ambulance with an overnight stay at the hospital if I made a mistake. I decided it was best to leave the job to a professional. I may cry about the money, but at least small children won’t run away from my horribly disfigured face.

Incidentally, it took the guy less time to install the new springs than it took me to watch the video last night, I can’t imagine how long I would have taken to do the job.

I am a little slow on the whole “texting” bandwagon. I’m like the guy that thought the telephone was an interesting toy but would have no real, practical use. I just don’t see how texting is better than calling someone and talking to them. When I am in a conversation, I will often think of other things I need to ask. I guess that’s the point, keep it a one sided conversation. I suppose it isn’t too different than the cultures that use a talking stick, maybe this is just an updated version. The benefit is that you each have a talking stick and don’t have to wrest it from some long winded baboon.
I’m willing to give anything a shot, and so it is with texting. I guess the major difficulty I have (other than tiny keys) is that I will often put my phone down and walk away from it. Very difficult to read a message or even know that you have a message if you are in a separate room. Last night I had a question for Arwen, so I decided to text her. I got a reply immediately.

Lksd’;aiourp;szjuhe’;kmsd j0swl;v klmsdipnfd’lmspjfd’l s’[asdfjosdfmjsdkfn0uzjrnsvp7irenjdfpsi[‘erowjwrjwoij

Normally, Arwen is more concise in her texts. I figured that she was letting Hurricane and Tornado “text” Poppa. I’m game, I texted a reply.


I got a picture back of the two cutie pies. I didn’t know you could text a picture, but I managed to send one back to them. I got more weird letters and finally a picture of Hurricanes bare butt.
This went on for about twenty minutes and then I re-texted the original question, I had things to do after all. The reply I got was “Oh my God! The little @@#$%#W^’s! Yes next Wednesday.”

I guess Arwen is more than a little pissed off, they were supposed to be asleep. I was impressed that they already know more about texting than I do.

Smart little buggers, I wonder if they could figure out how to replace the garage spring the next time it breaks…