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Monthly Archives: August 2011

You Have Poster Feet…

Published August 31, 2011 - 1 Comment

You have poster feet… and not in a good way!”

That’s what the foot doctor (let’s call him a podiatrist, or pod person) told me the other morning after asking me to stand so he could get a better look at what I was in there for.

I’d never even heard the term flat feet until I was 17, and the doctor doing my physical to join the Reserves asked me if I had any problems standing.  Nope. Why?  You mean not everyone’s feet look like this?  Apparently not.  Hmm.. who knew?

Fast forward 20+ years and the answer to that question has changed.  My feet support a hell of a lot more weight now, than they did when I was 17.  They’ve pounded far more pavement than they ever did in those first 17 years.  Essentially, my body is getting old, and my feet are no exception.

Apparently my ever-growing body weight is not being evenly distributed on my feet.  They roll inward, so the inside ankle and tendon are stressed.  How do we fix that, you ask?  Custom othotics!  $385 worth of little plastic insoles to wear inside my shoes, which will force my feet into proper alignment and allow me to run marathons like the bionic man.  OK.. maybe not… but they should ease the pain and discomfort that I’m starting to feel on a daily basis.  Then again, with a price tag of nearly $400, that pain and discomfort is probably going to shift from my feet to my wallet.

I’ll let you know what happens when they arrive in 2 weeks.

Missing You… Who’s The Fool Now?

Published August 27, 2011 - 0 Comments

This may very well turn out to be one of those posts that I regret writing, but at this moment in time, I really don’t care.  It’s been one hell of a miserable day.  A variety of things have gone wrong, and that doesn’t even include Hurricane Irene which is slowly moving up the coast, and expected to arrive sometime through the night.  Mother Nature I can handle… it’s Life that seems to want to drag me down.

This will be the last time that I mention this.  I’ve been told to move on, and I don’t have any choice in the matter.  What’s done is done.

For the last couple of years I have basically put a large chunk of my life on hold, waiting for fate to do what it does, and make things right.  Fate brought us together… Fate was supposed to fix the unfixable and correct our course.  Over that time I’ve met a great many people who I’ve managed to push away, all because I was waiting for something (or someone) to change.  I was wrong.  People don’t change.  We are who we are.

In the end, what drove us apart is exactly what brought us together.  I’m emotional.  Irrational.  Impulsive.  While these traits were endearing when She allowed Her emotional side to show through…  Once those walls were up again, they only served to drive a wedge between us as we tried to define a friendship based solely around our close employment proximity.  Good luck with that.  It’s been a constant back and forth of hellishness and false dreams.

I received word today that we will very likely be working more closely now.  This is not good.  It’s time to make that jump.

I gave up nearly 3 years of my life for someone… Because I truly believed that everything we had told each other was real… and when She finally figured out Her life…

Who’s the Fool now?

Me.  Stephen

I wish Her well… It’s all I can do now…

Farewell, Jack…

Published August 26, 2011 - 2 Comments

No doubt about it, Jack loved Canada

As I drove to get my groceries today, I passed by several buildings that all had their flags at half-mast.  It made me think that I should probably sit down and write a short post, reflecting on the passing of our Leader of the Official Opposition, and leader of the federal New Democratic Party, Jack Layton.

I’m not going to go on and on about this.  So much has been said already.  Some good.  Some not.  Yes, it’s unusual for someone who was NOT a past Prime Minister, or Governor General to receive a state funeral.  Some people think that Prime Minister Stephen Harper should have stuck with protocol.  I hope those people receive a big fat lump of coal in their stockings this year.

Regardless of your political stripe in this country, it is difficult to deny that Jack Layton embodied something that each and every one of us could learn from.  The man was not perfect.  None of us are.  But I have to wonder… if one of our other “leaders” dropped dead tomorrow, would a nation care?  Would *I* care?  Life and Death are part of the natural course of things, but something about Jack’s death seems to have struck a chord with a great many Canadians.

I read this on Twitter, and I think that it says it better than I can…

Jack Layton, the best Prime Minister we never had…

Farewell, Jack…

Game of Thrones

Published August 25, 2011 - 2 Comments

I don’t know where I was when HBO announced Game of Thrones, but once again I credit the Twitter (joke) with keeping me in the loop, even if it was a little late.  I remember seeing people tweeting about the show, but it was a tweet from Albert about how incredible the ending was that really caught my eye.  So I downloaded it… and still it sat on my hard drive for far too long.  When I finally did get around to watching the first episode, on my Boxee Box (another of Albert’s recommendations)… I instantly started kicking myself for having let it go as long as I had.

This show is awesome!

I’m not going to get into anything that will spoil the plot, but if you like Kings, Queens, Knights, treachery, medieval war… then this show is definitely for you.  I’ve always loved this period.  It brings me back to my days of playing Dungeons & Dragons… This show is like one big movie, and it’s so hard to turn away once you’re into it.  The visuals are spectacular… but more than that, there are times that I want to be part of the story.  There are characters that I truly enjoy.. and then there are a couple that I hate… because I’m supposed to hate them.  They’re so well acted that I want to jump through my TV and strangle them with my own bare hands.  That’s powerful stuff!

Unfortunately the last episode aired in June, so there will be quite a wait until the new season starts up.  Being an HBO show, they tend to have irregular schedules.  I’m going to have to find something else to occupy my time.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that Game of Thrones is based on a series of novels by George R.R. Martin!  More accurately, Game of Thrones is the first book in a series titled A Song of Ice and Fire. Can’t say as I’m a huge fan of that title, but I see where the author is going with it.

So it looks like I’m going to have to pick up the books if I’m going to get my Game of Thrones fix until HBO is ready to carry on the story.

 

Thank You

Published August 22, 2011 - 0 Comments

Imagine how incredibly stoked I was yesterday when I logged into my Amazon Associates reports and saw that I had two referrals for Bossypants credited to my account!  That means not one, but two, readers enjoyed my recommendation of that audio book enough to click the link and purchase it for themselves!  It’s not really the money (which is pennies) but more the fact that someone trusted my opinion enough to part with their hard-earned money that gives me hope that maybe this blogging thing has a future.  So thank you to whoever that was!  🙂

As a double bonus, I checked my clickbank account and saw that I had a referral from my CureBrokenHeart site too!  That one probably surprised me even more, as it’s a $21 referral fee, and that site was really just a test.  I haven’t done much with it, and was more interested in the process than anything else.  I did learn some valuable lessons from that experience, so that’s ok.  To have sold even one product through that site is like icing on the cake!

And because things come in threes, I’ve noticed a nice increase in the daily clickthrough rate on the in-text links, particularly on my LadyAshburnham Pickles site.  The daily rate has jumped from $0.02 to $0.10 which is obviously a far cry from financially sustainable, but a big step in the right direction.

At this critical time it’s more about confidence than financial growth.  This past weekend was a good one.

A huge thank you to all my readers.  I couldn’t do any of this without you.

Sincerly,

Stephen

My (rust) Bucket List

Published August 20, 2011 - 0 Comments

I was looking at my car the other night, and noticing that the rust is starting to take hold.  It’s not really any wonder.  It’s a 2002 Kia Spectra, and to say that I don’t really take all that good care of it would be a bit of an understatement.  It’s never been undercoated, waxed.. I’m not even sure if it’s been washed.  OK, maybe when it was brand new.  But now it’s closing in on 10 years, and that’s the magic number that I’ve always told myself.  I want to get 10 years out of it, drive it into the ground, and then get something new.  I usually say “Lexus” although in truth, it doesn’t matter what.  I just want something that’s a bit of a step up from my Spectra.  Now with the rust starting to spread, I know that 10 years will be a good run for that car, and have started to keep my eye out for something else.  I’m not in any huge rush.  I imagine that I’ll wait until the spring/summer of 2012 before I take anything out for a test drive.  I just want to get through the winter with this one and then see what happens.  That was the plan.

That very same night that I noticed the rust, was the same night that I was going into work… to find out that a major announcement had been made that day that dramatically changes the way my life course was going.  Our CEO announced a voluntary layoff package for unionized employees with no cap on the number of people who can go, and extending eligibility into 2013.  It’s pretty obvious what’s going on, and within my own group more than 50% of employees are eligible to go.  Outside, things are even more grim.  Most of the seasoned network technicians are within that retirement span, and so many of them have been saying that they’re leaving… there’s not going to be anyone left outside.  And with no one outside, those of us who are inside don’t really have any reason to be there.  If you don’t see me driving a company truck within the next 12 months I will be extremely surprised.

Life as we know it has come screeching to an end.  It’s time to make some serious decisions.

You Can Build a Subscription Site Around Pickles!

Published August 19, 2011 - 0 Comments

I was listening to another great episode of the Smart Passive Income podcast last night, and Pat was talking with chef Keith Snow from the Harvest Eating blog.  Keith has a subscription site based around healthy eating and local foods.  He was discussing how the subscription model worked for him, and the passion required to be successful in a niche market.  It was a very interesting interview, but I paused it to come upstairs and sit at my computer.  That was last night.  This morning I turned it back on and the very next words from Keith were “You can build a subscription site around pickles” if you are passionate about your niche.  I couldn’t believe that he said that!  He was just looking for an example off the top of his head, and he chose pickles!  It made me smile because of my Lady Ashburnham Pickles site that I am slowly working toward.  (Although, I don’t see how that could ever be a subscription site in my case, but I am pleased with the traffic that it’s getting right now).

Dream big… or not at all…

Where’s The Beef???

Published August 18, 2011 - 3 Comments

Last week I cooked a roast beef  dinner when the kids were visiting.  The roast was sliced and sitting on a plate out of view.  My 9 yr old daughter walked into the kitchen,  took one look at her plate being filled with veggies and demanded “Where’s the beef?’.

She’s obviously unaware of the commercials that Wendy’s used to run back in the 80s, but it was such a sincere question I burst out laughing.

For all those feeling a little nostalgic…

House No More

Published August 16, 2011 - 2 Comments

Yesterday was an interesting day for me… I signed over “the house” to my ex.  Here, take it, it’s yours.  I’d forgotten how much paperwork is required for these matters.  I’m sure that I signed my name no fewer than 10 times.  Sometimes with my middle name included, sometimes not.

At the end of it… the house is no longer mine.  The mortgage is no longer mine.  I have no responsibility to the house whatsoever.  I offered my house and mail keys back to my ex.  She took the mail key, but told me to keep the house key because it would be easier when dealing with picking up the kids.  Makes sense, but I wanted her to know that it’s her house now.  For better or for worse.

I have an envelope full of photocopies from yesterday.  It represents a huge step forward in the ultimate divorce phase.  It’s also a bit of a reminder of our failures as a couple.

Everything happens for a reason… and I do not pretend to understand what any of those reasons are!

Glee 3D Movie Review: Brace Yourself!

Published August 14, 2011 - 3 Comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve waited in anticipation for any movie, but Glee 3D was different.  I’ve been a fan of the show since episode 1 (although it took me a long time to watch that episode, and I was essentially forced into it).  So when the Glee 3D concert movie was announced, I was pretty excited to watch it.  I joked that I’d be the only guy in the theatre, but hey… that’s ok.  I didn’t care.

Well…

I wasn’t the only guy in the theatre.  I think there were 2 others.  There might have been a third, but it was dark.  The first thing that I noticed was the complete lack of people in the theatre!  I honestly thought that going on Saturday evening of the opening weekend (it only plays for 2 weeks) would be nuts.  I thought that I’d be sandwiched between a bunch of crazy teenage Gleeks, swooning over their favourite characters.  Instead, there might have been 25 people in that theatre!  It was a little disappointing in a way, but maybe the people who didn’t go knew something that I didn’t.

Are you beginning to sense my overall feeling of disappointment?

The Glee 3D concert movie is one part concert and one part “touchy-feel-good see how real people connect with the the show”… Let me get this out there right now before anyone has the wrong impression… I am not unsympathetic to how some people’s real life obstacles may help them identify with Glee’s themes of acceptance and being true to yourself.  It’s not that I found stories un-interesting…  My issue with breaking away from the concert portion of the movie is that it killed any flow that the concert had.  I think the longest uninterrupted section of the movie was 3 songs.  I found it extremely distracting to watch a song being performed, and then cut away to someone continue their story of how Brittany is their favourite character and how identifying with her has helped her deal with her Asperger Syndrome. More concert… less everything else…

The second problem with breaking up the show like is that the actual performance was incredibly short.  There were so many songs that I wish they had performed, but didn’t.  It felt extremely “light”.

So was it a horrible experience?  No.  There were some shining moments.

Although I am not the biggest fan of 3D movies, I believe that a concert movie is probably a very good use of the technology.  That being said, they certainly could have done a better job.  At the end of the show, the cast throws “Slushies” onto the crowd.  This would have been a perfect showcase of 3D to have it come directly at the viewer, but it doesn’t.  On the upside, Lea Michele appeared to be standing directly in front of me at one point…

When Heather Morris performed Britney Spears’ I’m a Slave 4 U, I thought my heart was going to stop.  Wow.  That girl can move.. and wow…

Naya Rivera (Santana) … I was happy to see her get featured in a few songs.  Considering how little some of the main characters performed, Santana’s two songs were quite noticeable.

Gwyneth Paltrow was a nice surprise addition.  I considered leaving that out but then thought… “Really?  Who reads this blog that is going to go see the movie? ”  So no spoiler there.

All in all… I have to be honest and say that I was quite disappointed with the movie.  I think that it had great potential, and there were parts of it that I enjoyed very much.  But if I was home watching it, I would be skipping through big chunks trying to find those enjoyable parts.

I hate to say it… but the D in Glee 3D stands for “dud”…   🙁