Where you can read the relatively rational ramblings of a silly half-monkey, half-boy. This freak of nature is named Joel. He also responds to the name 'Bart Wang'.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Thank the Lord for vacation. That's right kids, uncle JoJo is off work - again. And I'm only using one actual day of vacation, the other four are made up of overtime I am taking back. My job has a lot of challenges but the time off is nice. And then I'm back to work for only three weeks before I have another two weeks off. Of course, I'll have to wait another two months before I get a week off again. Oh, wait, many of you probably have only two weeks a year. Seriously, I don't know how you do it. Your diligence and commitment astound me (in a really good way). I know I am very lucky.

So what has Joel been up to then? Lots and little. Last weekend, we went up to a cottage owned by the parents of our good friend, Kari. She's an awesome person. They have some fancy digs on Butterfly Lake, which, I learned, is across the street from Lake Joseph, one of the three big lakes in Muskoka. The company was wonderful, as Kari and her parents are incredibly generous hosts. We were also joined by the Taxman and Beth on Saturday and Sunday and then Steve-o and Karen came up on Sunday. Waterskiing and tubing were activities (as was a 9km run for me) partaken and enjoyed by all.

I've managed to hang out with Taxman a couple times this week, which has been great.
We had a good workout on Monday that has my arms still tight. Yesterday, we went to Limeridge Mall, where I picked up a couple small gifts for Melanie, some protein powder and a t-shirt for me. I also bought some stuff for Melanie on Monday. Since her birthday and Christmas are only a week apart, it ends up being costly and challenging to think of so many presents and buy them all at once. This way, I spread it out and can have almost everything purchased long beforehand. I know, I'm a genius. Oh yeah, this was about Eric... He's an awesome guy. We're going to the Warped Tour tomorrow with Darryl 'The Pimp' Timko. Who do I want to see? Mae. That's it. Just Mae. I'm paying $50 to see a 30-40 minute set by them. Oh, well, MxPx will be there too and I've enjoyed their music for a long time. Taxman did me a favour by lending me CDs from The Starting Line and My Chemical Romance so I could listen to them before the show because they're playing too. I haven't listened to them at all. I'm an idiot.

Because I've just figured out how to add pictures to my blog, here's another funny one of Eric a.k.a. Taxman.

I got three new CDs this week. The new MxPx was purchased at the mall yesterday (it got a really good review in Alternative Press and it sounds good on its first spin). The postman brought me the new Stavesacre EP (I have no idea how these guys aren't huge) and I finally received Denison's new album. The artwork looks nice. I already know the music is beautiful.

While at Kari's cottage, I finished reading Philip Yancey's Rumours Of Another World. It was an excellent read. That dude is brilliant. I loved Yancey's awareness of the world and his acceptance of mystery when it came to God and His involvement with us. I'm going to read Heaven by Randy Alcorn next. Mike lent it to me quite a while ago and I have heard nothing but rave reviews about it.

Whitney abandoned us back to Calgary yesterday before heading home to Portland. The past month went by so fast that I didn't get to hang out with her nearly as much as I wanted. She accompanied me the other day to the mall (during the most torrential downpour I have seen in years) and we ate some delicious Middle Eastern food by her house. On Wednesday, we dropped by her house before she attended our house, where we laughed like fools at Napoleon Dynamite. That movie still rules on its sixth viewing. Bye, Whitney! We'll miss you!!

Well, I suppose I will go now. I was happy to hear that Bill & Ronee enjoyed their trip/family reunion in California. It's only three weeks until my friend Chantal leave us at work to return to school for her Master's. Jon Belanger and Kenny Rogers sang to me on my voicemail ('The Gambler' is a classic). We're hanging out with Mike & Andria (and I think Mark & Lisa too) tonight. Mmmmm, barbecue... You have yourself a fine day today and enjoy your long weekend (if you're Canadian). If you're not a lucky Canuck, consider moving up here. We've got four long weekends (May, July, August & September) throughout the summer! Peace out!

Monday, July 11, 2005

I'm back at work. Well, I'm at work every weekday so that's not surprising. I can't believe I didn't post about seeing Denison. Denis, I'm sorry. Hahaha. He opened the show in the middle of June for Copeland and Rainer Maria. It was late so I didn't stay for the them. Melanie got called into work that day so Mike and I drove to Toronto where we hooked up with Todd Brown and Luke Allen for some grub. It's always great hanging out with Todd because his good looks are surpassed only by his dry, dark sense of humour. It was also nice to finally meet Luke Allen, who has been talked about (mostly good things, Luke, except that one "accident" with Bechard) for several years in that social circle. We kicked it, ate, laughed like fools and then proceeded to the Kathedral/Big Bop. We were waiting outside for Melanie to meet us there. Mike and Todd were hilariously debating the merits/demerits of 'Star Wars Episode III' when Melanie drove by. I ran down Queen Street to catch up with her, scared the shit out of her by knocking on her window and then headed back to the club. I chatted with the merch boy (I think his name was James but I'm not sure - sorry, duder) and then the man of the hour showed up. We talked briefly and then it was time for his set.
As always, he brought the love. He only played for 30 minutes but they were glorious minutes I tell you - glorious! A few new songs (I think 'Little Flowers', 'Everything But Sleep' and 'Are You A Dreamer?') were mixed in with some older material ('Stations', '24 Turned 25'). I can't remember the other songs, though I did record them to video if you are interested in seeing them. After his set, we gabbed a bit more before I started pestering him for the new record. Todd contributed by physically intimidating the much smaller DW and soon we had ourselves a pre-release copy of 'Are You A Dreamer?' Dang, yo... I listen to this constantly now. It's an excellent sing-a-long record. It hurts me not to share it with everyone I know. But you should go buy it ASAP. Thanks for not forcing us to beat you down, Denison. I look forward to seeing you again when you're back in Ontario.

I've got two personal phone calls today at work. One was normal (Taxman was checking in to see when we could workout) and the other was great but odd. Gunner from C101.5 Mohawk College Radio called me at work (unless he called my home and Melanie forwarded it to me at work) to answer my question about a song. I kept hearing this song on the station that was really great but I never heard the song title or artist. It was driving me nuts so I called the programming director last night (after previously e-mailing the station and calling the request line with no responses). The message today was Gunner playing the song - 'Counterclockwise' by Roger Clyne (formerly of the Refreshments) - on my machine and said he was going to play a three song set of Roger Clyne and send it out to me. Rad! I'm pumped to finally know the name of the song. My experience with C101.5 has been so good. Sure, there's lots of stuff I don't like (I'm not crazy about musical/show tunes) but I've found several good artists I hadn't heard before (including Ray LaMontagne and The Forecast).


I'm back at work. For you, it was instantaneously. For me, multiple days were involved (from Friday to Monday). The weekend was good. On Friday night, I worked out with Taxman (a good leg-back combination effort), we had a BBQ with Melanie (the best hostess you've ever met) and then had Chad & Cheri-lyn join us. We went out and rented 'The Jacket' with Adrien Brody and Keira Knightley. It was good. It could have been better with some obvious questions being answered about major points in the plot. I won't say them here because you might want to see the movie and that would ruin it for you.
On Saturday, Melanie and I went to Niagara-on-the-lake and wandered around. It was a nice day out. We ordered pizza and watched 'Finding Neverland'. Of course, I didn't rent it; I bought it. I find it difficult to rent movies when I can often buy them used for just a bit more money. It's almost $6 to rent a DVD and I was able to buy it for $12. I also picked up the recent release, 'Festival Express', similar to the original Woodstock concert film, that documented the 1970 travelling festival featuring the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, The Band, Buddy Guy and some others. It looks pretty cool.
Sunday had us attend church before going to Melanie's parents' house. We chowed down and swam. I actually conked out for at least half an hour in a lazy boy before we went to a big BBQ for church. We got to gab with Darren Salmond, Mike Slack, Andria Harvey, Mike's sister Melanie (who was up from North Carolina), Jen Eitel, Rich (forget his last name) and Melanie's sisters, Katie and Jenn. A good time and excessive amounts of sugar were had by all. We then returned home and kicked it with Mike and Sandi for a couple hours before I had to go to sleep. Belanger called me last night... At 12:40AM. Twice. Fortunately, Melanie had turned the ringer off on the phone. He called me from the Kenny Rogers concert to tell me it was "awesome." The second call featured Jon singing along with Kenny to 'The Gambler'. Jon was more prominently featured in this version than Kenny. It was very funny (though I suspect it would be less so if the ringer had been on). Thanks, Jon! I am jealous!
I'm just awaiting a client to show up. Half of my team is away today so it's just Taylor, Copeland and me. Oh, and Kevin. I have two weeks left of work before I have another week off, then I've bumped up my vacation in August to two full weeks. Woo hoo! Of course, that will leave me with only three and a half weeks for the rest of the year. I hope I can make it through... Of course, it might be more if as I accumulate more overtime. Sorry, don't mean to rub that in, Bill. Hahahaha. Hope you are all well.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Honestly, I've been meaning to do this for a while. I know both of you have been looking for an update on my life but I've let you down. Sure, sure, I could call you directly but that would require less time than typing it all out plus there's that whole personal communication thing. The Internet provides emotional distance with the appearance of intimacy. Much more comfortable, wouldn't you agree?

Before I go on, here's a picture of Melanie, Mike and I with Philadelphia's second favourite son, Denison Witmer. The first favourite is so obviously Rocky Balboa. He kicked ass back in the middle of June when he played in Toronto. I don't think I posted about that before. Todd and I got a single copy of his new record, 'Are You A Dreamer?' My answer is, 'Yes, Denison, I am a dreamer. Your wonderful new record is the soundtrack of my dreams. Those dreams also include your cute, little butt.' You need this record more than you need that next breath of air. Trust me, you'll love it.

Lotsa stuff going on with me, much of which has been good. Let's see, it's been over a month since I posted anything. I had two job interviews, one for a school board social worker and one for a supervisor in my current place of employment. I don't want the first one (it's only for 6-8 months) but don't think I did that well on the interview so they probably wouldn't want me anyhow. Though getting and declining a job offer sure would be good for the self-esteem! I do, however, want the supervisor job. Bad. Really bad. I think I did quite well during the verbal interview but not-so-hot with the written part. I was told I would hear about the outcome by the end of this week. Well, that has now been shifted to the beginning of AUGUST! Crud... Not much I can do but pretend like I don't care about the delay.

I was on vacation last week, which provided a lot of time for fun activities. The first weekend was busy with get-togethers. I think we had two, one Friday and one Saturday. Don't recall the second one but the Friday had us at the lovely home of Mark & Lisa Wolfe to surprise Mike Slack & Andria Harvey and congratulate them on their recent engagement. It was a lot of fun to hang out with the Stagecoach crew. Melanie and I have been so lucky to get to know many of the people at our homechurch.
On Sunday, Mike and I went to see 'Batman Begins'. It was a great movie. Very well-done, exciting and entertaining. The only criticism I have is that the action/fight sequences were done so close-up that I couldn't see what was happening - it was just a blur of movement. Later in the week, I watched 'The Fellowship Of The Ring' in the 'Lord Of The Rings' trilogy. Hot damn, that series rules!!! I borrowed Mike Slack's collection of all three movies a long time ago but never watched them until last week (sorry, Mike). On Monday and Tuesday of this week, Melanie worked nights so I watched 'The Two Towers' and loved it even more. Can't wait to see the last part soon.

What else did I do? Spent Wednesday trying to get a repairman to fix our fridge, which had been on the fritz for a week or two. Bill (I suspect that is not his actual Vietnamese name) came over and found the problem (the thermostat and timer broke so the heating elements were completely encased in ice), fixing it for $200 after tax! Much better than the original suggestion from another repairman, who said it 'sounded like' we should replace the fridge based on my admitted inept descriptions. Thank goodness Bill came over and saved us a ton of coin.
Tuesday, Melanie and I went to Port Dover, which was a lot of fun. We sat on the beach, swam in Lake Erie, checked out some local shops and ate. Melanie had a foot-long hot dog while I ate some delicious perch. While I love foot-long hot dogs, it seems blasphemous to be on Lake Erie and NOT eat perch. Mmmm, perch. Played baseball that night too (Summer won the game for us with an amazing hit over the outfielders' heads). Thursday had Melanie, Mike, Whitney (yahoo, she's home!) and I at Wild Waterworks at Confederation Park. We had a blast going down the slides repeatedly. It was hilarious. I would go back for sure and recommend you check it out. One of the slides is completely dark, which is freaky but awesome. Mike and I kept closing our eyes on the other slide (which you could see) and it was even more fun because the twists and turns had us almost flipping over every time.

On Canada Day, we had a shin dig at Melanie's parents' house, who loaned us their pool and BBQ. Tonnes of good people showed up for a swim and charbroiled animals on the grill. It got really cool in the evening, which was weird. We really enjoyed ourselves and hope you did too, if you were privileged enough to join us.


I wrote the above stuff at work on Wednesday morning. Or was it Tuesday? Yep, it was Tuesday. It's now Thursday night and I'm going to sleep. Some more developments with the supervisor job (I strongly doubt I have a chance in heaven for it), Sandi is down from Winnipeg, talked to Bill today, edited a short story for Blonsi, looking forward to the weekend... I shall make efforts to write more this weekend. Of course, for me, efforts mean little. I'm am the prince of procrastination (Blondel is the king).