Monday, March 29, 2010

Midday Monday Musings

Hey folks,
   It's midday (at the time I'm writing this) and I have a little less than two hours before heading off to work this rainy Monday afternoon, so I thought I'd post some random musings.

  • It's taken about a month but I'm adapting to working the late shift. It still sucks that I don't get to see my wife very much, but we make the most of the time we have together.
  • I've developed a midnight routine now: I get home, feed and pet the cat (because he demands SO much attention), have a shower, and make myself a cup of caffiene free herbal tea. Some nights I'll have a bite to eat like some toast or something, but nothing too filling. I don't like to eat big meals late at night.
  • It takes a bit of time to wind down after a hard night's work, so I usually stay up for a little while before climbing into bed - otherwise I'd be tossing and turning for who knows how long until I finally pass out.
  • I usually spend my winding down time sitting in my living room under candle light (less power consumption, and no bright lights to disturb my wife) sipping my tea and listening to music through headphones. Some nights I'll just pick up one of my guitars and strum random melodies. My electric guitars are actually pretty quiet when they're not plugged in.
  • I only wish my cat would understand that I want to wind down. 1:00 am is not the best time to start wandering around the apartment howling at the top of his little lungs, nor is it the best time to start trying to pry into cupboards, lift the oven burners, or climb around on the entertainment stand.
  • Turning to more exciting news, my wife and I have taken those first tentative steps towards home ownership. Our bank gave us the good news that we both have excellent credit and could take out a mortgage with no trouble whatsoever and that made us feel great. We've been saving our pennies for a few years now and we're happy to be finally in a position in our lives to even consider home ownership. We realize it's going to be tough with the way the markets are, but we're prepared.
  • We've already looked at a few places this past weekend and there is a standout unit, but we're going to keep looking. We have a few specific needs, but we also understand that we may have to compromise on some things. The suite we like does not have laundry machines or a very big storage room, but it has a great kitchen, lots of windows, is located on the corner of the building, and has big bedrooms. Installing a laundry machine is possible, but we'd lose space and it could cost a bit to do it. We still like that suite though. All things to consider...
  • Finally, in other news, a few friends of mine have started doing blogs in which they post a picture a day for 365 days and I've decided I'm going to give that a try. I hope to get that going on April 1st. I already have a few pictures that I've saved for this project.
   Well, friends, I'm running low on time. I now have less than an hour before I have to leave for work - and I haven't had lunch yet. Some of you might have read on facebook that I've been given the task of counting all of the nuts and bolts in the building I'm working on and it's been quite the undertaking. Our company may be contracted to paint them and in order to provide an estimate on time and materials we have to know how many there are. Strangely enough, we can't seem to find this information on the plans or through the iron workers that installed all of the beams and rafters that support the roof, so someone has to count them. That someone is me. When I left off on Friday night I was up to almost 12,000 and I have 3 more rooms to count! My boss told me to be thorough!

Have a good week!

The Wandering Oak

Monday, March 22, 2010

In Bloom

Hey hey!

So the first day of Spring arrived this past weekend and I couldn't be happier. The days are getting longer and warmer, birds are singing, and everything's in bloom! Actually, here in Victoria (and most of southern BC) the plants have been in bloom for a few weeks now.

This photo was taken in February!

I really like the cherry trees around here.

Yellow Crocus.

This young Magnolia tree is located just across the street from my apartment.

Even the plants on our balcony are staring to wake up after their long winter hibernation:

This is my wife's beloved Hosta. We've actually been taking photos of this plant since before it sprouted over a month ago so that we can track it's growth. At the end of the season I'll put all the photos together in a time lapse video.

Finally, this is our Japanese Maple. Every year it gets bigger and bushier and this year I suspect it will take up the whole south corner of the balcony. That is, as long as we can solve the aphid problem...

As the season goes on I'll try to get more photos, but this is all I have for today my friends. I can't wait until my favorite big old oak trees start to really wake up. Have a good day, everyone!

The Wandering Oak

Friday, March 19, 2010

Lego! It's Friday!

Hey friends!

The other day I received an email with a link to a funny Lego video, and from there I started watching other Lego videos, so today I've decided to post a few of my favorites. Why not? It's Friday!

You can't do a Lego video without covering Indiana Jones.

And of course you have to have Star Wars in there. Darth Vader tries to take a Personal Day.

Watch out! It's the attack of the Lego Zombies!

Here are a couple of Lego Beatles songs: Help!  and I Saw Her Standing There. (The funniest part of the second video is when it cuts to the girls watching their tv at home!)

I like this one. One of the best scenes from The Matrix. "Trinity, Help!"

And finally, Lego Man tries to get a "Soda" from a vending machine.

There are so many more to watch out there, but I'll save them for another day. I think these people have a lot of time on their hands. But it's still entertaining!

The Wandering Oak

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Miss...

Hey gang,
   I woke up feeling a little down this morning and there really isn't a single reason why. It's more like a combination of little reasons that are starting to add up. Between working late and battling a nasty cold, this past couple of weeks has really kicked my ass both physically and mentally. I think the mental part is the worst. I can adapt to the work and find what I do to be very challenging yet rewarding and a great way to stay in shape. Trust me, you could not be a big fat-ass and do my job. As my sister in law put it, it's the isolation that can get to you. She was right.
   I found myself thinking about all the things I'm missing out on and somehow that led me into thinking about things I miss in general.

• I miss Megan, my wife. Working late means I hardly get to see her during the week and it's starting to get to us. I know that some couples out there face tougher separations and sometimes for long stretches, but we're not used to this. I guess the silver lining is that the time we are together is that much more meaningful. I surprised her with a rose last week and it almost made her cry.

• I miss my friends. Actually, even before this late shift came about I found myself missing a lot of my friends. I miss my friends in Edmonton. It's taking me a long time to meet people and make friends here in Victoria that are not work friends. Not that my work friends aren't good friends, believe me I think very highly of them, but I think you can understand the value of non work friends.

• I miss my friends all over the world that I've met either through my blogs or through mutual friends on Facebook. Though I haven't met most of you in person I do think of you as friends and miss the good old days when we all used to randomly comment on each other's blogs and photos. That made it fun! I guess we're all busy these days. Actually I blame Facebook and all the silly games and applications - and the fact that people have huge friend lists that make it hard to keep up with everyone. Facebook only shows what it wants so a lot of people's postings go unnoticed.

• I miss my great grandmother. She passed in the summer of 2008, but I still find myself thinking about her from time to time. She's the one who taught me how to be a proper gentleman, to respect women, how to make the best and the most of what I have, and to know the value of good work and a well earned pay cheque. Rest In Peace, Grandma Archer.

• I miss Hawaii. I'd go back there in a heartbeat if we weren't saving to buy a home. Sure Victoria's had a mild winter and an early spring, but it's still cool outside and this week it's supposed to be cloudy and rainy all week. I know it rains in Hawaii too, but at least down there you can still walk around in shorts and a t-shirt.

• I miss quality scripted television. Not really a reason for being down, but I just thought I'd throw it in here. Right now Chuck, Legend of the Seeker, and that sitcom Modern Family are really the only good scripted shows out there - at least that I like (and that doesn't include my animated favorites like the Simpsons and Family Guy etc.). Well there is LOST, which I also really like, but who really knows what the heck is going on there anymore? Am I right people?

• I guess most of all I miss being that happy person that rarely ever gets pissed off over anything. The guy that always has the right thing to say at the right time and usually makes everyone laugh, even in difficult situations. Sure I get laughs at work and have the occasional wise-cracking comment on someone's Facebook post, but people who know me well can tell you I used to be so much livelier. Nowadays I curse like a sailor when I run out of masking tape at work (not loudly, don't worry) or find myself criticizing the smallest little things and that's not who I am.

   Don't worry my friends, this will pass. I'm not one of those people who falls so deep into depression that can I could never be saved and this certainly isn't a cry for help or attention. I wouldn't even say I'm depressed. I've just been in a bit of a rut lately and I'm glad I got this off my chest. I want to end today's post by looking at the silver lining. I've had a lot of time to play my guitar and to finally finish a little project that I've been working on all winter. The project is still a surprise for someone, so I won't say what it is, but I've poured a lot of my heart and soul into it and it feels so good to finally be finished.

   So now I've got to get ready to head off to work. Hey, at least I get to drive cool machines! Thanks for reading this, and to my friends who have expressed concern I also thank you. It means a lot to me to know that people really do care.
I promise my next post will be a fun one!

The Wandering Oak

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How Times Have Changed...At Rock Concerts

Hey hey!
   Last night my lovely wife and I attended our first big rock and roll show of the year. The headlining act was Canadian group Billy Talent and I admit, I went in not really thinking much of them but, of the 4 bands performing last night, they really were the better act.
   Opening bands included Alexisonfire, Against Me, and the Cancer Bats. I had never heard of the Cancer Bats before and, honestly, I don't really care for them. A little too hardcore metal for me. All of their songs sounded the same and I couldn't understand the singer for the life of me. The other two bands Alexisonfire and Against Me both played solid sets and I really enjoyed both bands.
   As I said earlier, I didn't really think much of Billy Talent before last night, but some of their later songs are actually pretty good. Now that I've seen them in concert I have to admit, I really have a whole new respect for them. The guitar player can really make his Fender Stratocaster scream and I found myself fixated as he went from chunky driving riffs to searing solos and back again.
   I think what I really liked most about Billy Talent was how proud they are to be Canadian. There was a Canadian Flag flying over the amplifiers and between songs the lead singer paused to put on a Team Canada Sidney Crosby shirt and the crowd went nuts!
   "Let the Americans have their football, hockey is Canada's f~cking game!" He said as the crowd went nuts again.
   So all in all I would say it was a really good evening. It wasn't the best show I've seen, but certainly not the worst. If Billy Talent came back to Victoria I would see them again, but I could do without Cancer Bats. I'm sorry if you're a fan of Cancer Bats.

   One thing I've noticed about rock concerts in recent years is that hardly anybody holds up a lighter anymore during balads. Nowadays everyone holds up their cell phones and it's just not the same. I didn't bother. When I first started going to concerts back in the 90's the second a band went into a balad the lighters would be in the air and the whole arena would glow with thousands of little orange points of light. Now it's just a sea of dull blue and green screens. How times have changed.
   But the lighter is not completely dead, it's just that nowadays it's an application for the iphone. That's right, an application that shows a Zippo Lighter on the screen. The kid in front of me had it on his phone - move your finger one way to "open" the lighter and slide your finger down to "light" it. Again, it's just not the same, but I suppose it's less of a fire hazard.

Rock on, everyone!!

The Wandering Oak

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Once Every Hundred Years

Hi Friends!

   Laying in bed last night, trying to get to sleep, I started to let my mind wander. I started thinking about how it's already March and then it dawned on me. Today is one of those days that only happens once every hundred years.
   Allow me to explain. If you take today's date and express it as M - D - YY you end up with 3 - 2 - 10. It goes beyond that too. We've all missed it this morning, but if you wait until later this evening it will happen again. At 6:54pm (we'll stick with the 12 hour clock) the time and date will be 6:54 3 -2 -10.
   Pretty cool huh? Go ahead and share this with your friends and coworkers. Have a great day, everyone. A day like this only happens once every hundred years.

The Wandering Oak
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