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'.

Monday, August 22, 2005

It's booked. Melanie and I booked our trip to Cayo Coco, Cuba today! We will be staying at the El Senador resort. Not only will it be awesome to be away with my wife, we'll be sharing the time with our good friends, Josh and Amanda. In addition, and with any luck for us (as well as verbal beratings for them), Melanie's sister, Katie, best friend, Melanie Ramsay, and one of the greatest human beings to ever walk the planet, Jon Belanger, will join us as well. It's going to be a great time - you won't want to miss it!

I've been listening to the two unreleased tracks from Deepspace5 available only on their website. Grab 'em here and here quick before they get taken down. It's nice to finally have some decent hip hop since Mars Ill's new album was shelved permanently due to sampling issues. Dammit!

Melanie is gone to work now. She's working two night shifts before she has two weeks off with me. That's right, I'm on vacation - again! Hey, I earned it. Keeping kids safe is a tiring, thankless job most of the time. Especially when you don't get recognized outside of your team (in spite of what Kevin says) or get opportunities to move onward and upward in your career. Yes, I'm bitter. Fortunately, I've got Rick to commiserate with for a while.

I meant to comment on the ridiculous increases in gas prices. In the past couple weeks, one litre of gas has averaged $1.02. For you Americans, that's about $3.12 US for a gallon. I'm not kidding. It's gone up around twenty-five cents (that's a whole quarter of a dollar as well as thirty-three percent) in the past year. Not to mention that the price changes at least once daily. How can it be $1.02 in the morning but $0.96 in the late afternoon? And why does it fluctuate EVERY DAY?!?! AND WHY DO ALL GAS STATIONS HAVE THE SAME PRICE (except for Pioneer, which is consistently .3 cents cheaper) WHEN THEY SAY THEY OPERATE INDEPENDENTLY? AM I ANGRY? YOU BET I AM!!! The government has to do something about this. It's a joke and the only ones laughing at the punchline are the gas companies.

We watched another episode of Freaks and Geeks this afternoon. It rules. Just ask Mike. He's been won over by Sam, Neal, Bill, Lindsay, Kim, Daniel, Nick and Ken. Oh, and don't forget Mr. Rosso! You'd be wise to pick it up and watch it repeatedly.

Karen gave me a gift years ago with a section of Isaiah 58 (verses 6-9) on it. I re-discovered it recently and it is really encouraging. The whole chapter is awesome. Here's the New Living Translation version and The Message for your reading/thinking/pondering pleasure.

It's taken me two days to finish this post because my computer sucks so bad. At least I didn't lose this post - yet. We're going up to Tobermory tomorrow to camp with Melanie's dad for a couple nights. I've never been and Melanie has talked about this place for as long as I've known her. It will be a good time. In the words of Chris Carrabba, "I hope this letter finds you well."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blondel wanted me to update this site. I started to do so then I followed a link that Doug Nagy sent me - I lost everything I had typed. I'd curse Doug but he's a good guy and he makes me laugh frequently so I couldn't do that to him. Listen to Doug's critique of 'Dark Water' and get ready to roar.

Who buys things from spam e-mail? I was thinking about this because I have lots of stupid pop-ups (the same ones over and over) that I can't get rid of plus I get a fair amount of spam in my e-mail. Oh, and I got at least one spam comment on my last post (how does that happen?) Who actually thinks, "Hmmm, I got an unsolicited e-mail offering me a bigger weiner, a girl who wants me to visit her 'naughty' website, the widow of a Nigerian army general wants me to help her get $23 million dollars out of the country and I can get prescription drugs from an unknown source. God bless the Internet!!" Someone must be buying this stuff otherwise these idiots would stop trying to sell it, wouldn't they?

These are the four most important women in my life who are not my wife. They're my teammates at work, four of the six people with whom I spend more time than anyone else in the world. From the left is Michelle (known affectionately as Taylor), Chantal, Jenn and Copeland (her parents actually named her Jenn but we already had one on the team). Now, of course, I'd be remiss not to mention the other two Michelles who have also been vital parts of our team but had babies so they're on mat leave right now. I'm speaking about Lucci and Schulenberg. Can't forget them.

Today was a sad day at work. The first of two in a row. It was the last day my team would be together as it has been for almost the last three years. I'm on vacation for two weeks after tomorrow and Chantal leaves tomorrow until next year because she's going on an education leave. Jenn is taking tomorrow off for a friend's wedding this weekend so it was the last day we'd be at work together because Jenn's moving on to another agency. She's moving back to her hometown in October. I know we'll keep it touch but we've been a family for quite a while and we've gotten along so well it truly feels like a big loss in my life. I've known Jenn for four years now, I think, since she started as a summer student and then got a full-time job (well, sort of - long story!) on our team. Chantal joined almost three years ago and became my "pod-mate" (as Rick refers to it) when the agency moved to our new building. Both are incredible workers and amazing people and I'm going to miss them immensely (as will the others on the team). Thankfully, Chantal will be back in about ten months and I'll still get to see her at church (right, Chantal?). Sadly, Jenn will not be back. Unless we burn down her house. Or maybe threaten her with bodily harm. We're not sure which way we're going to go yet.

Last week, we went to Niagara Falls instead of going to work. Well, it was officially work since we talked about work at times. We went on the Maid Of The Mist, which was exciting and funny and refreshing. We learned why it's important to use the hood of the plastic poncho (didn't we, Taylor & Chantal?). We ate at Boston Pizza - and it was good! We found out Taylor is having another baby! And we sadly learned Jenn was leaving us. It was nice to hang out with my friends away from the office 'cause we don't do that enough. It's not until people leave that we realize how important they are to us. Jenn and Chantal have said that same thing to me. I wonder if most people just have colleagues at work or if they would actually say that their co-workers are their friends. I've been incredibly blessed by these people.

I finished playing softball last night. Our team is the Juggernauts. We kicked some serious butt. My playing faded as the year progressed, unfortunately, but I had a great time. Just as my work team is made of killer people, our softball team doesn't have a lump in the bunch. We went 23-1-1 (that's 23 wins, 1 loss and 1 tie), which is crazy. I look forward to seeing these clowns again next year (or sooner, if they are lucky folks like Summer and Mark). Congratulations to Kevin "K-Dawg" Graham (and Lyndsay) who gets married on the weekend and Johnny "Ringo" Pryke (don't know his fiancee's name), who gets hitched next weekend.

Bill pointed me to this article which just made me angry. This dude needs to change his name because he doesn't deserve it. Plus, he should probably stop misrepresenting Jesus. That's not cool at all.

It's only one week until I go back to Barry's Bay! Woo hoo! We're hoping to book our trip to Cayo Coco, Cuba sometime next week. It's going to be so much fun because: 1) we're going to Cuba in November, 2) I'm going to Cuba with my wife in November, 3) we're going to Cuba in November with Josh & Amanda, and, 4) hopefully Belanger, Katie and Melanie Ramsay will come with us too!

Opus (a.k.a. Jason) just got married a couple weeks ago. Congratulations! I've only corresponded with him a few times but he's tight with Todd. And if you're friends with Todd, you're probably someone who is alright. Anyhow, he suggested you check out this site. It's funny. Melanie won't think so. She'll say something like, 'Oh, that's not nice! Poor kitty!' She's got no sense of humour. Hahahaha.

I can't think of anything else to write at this point. Sorry, Dave. I'll let you know if anything else comes into my brain. Until then, may the Force be with you.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Hey kids, uncle Monkey Boy is in the hizzouse again. I'm at work, waiting for Kevin (my supervisor) to get out of his meeting and for people to return my phone calls. I've wanted to talk to you for a while but never devoted the time to do so. I'm sorry if that makes you feel unwanted. You should probably get more of a life and stop crying.
I had a great week off last week. Vacation rules. We started off the week in an awesome way - at a cottage! Our good friend, Kari, invited us to spend the weekend in the Muskokas. It was her birthday the day before (HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!) so there was cake and cupcakes. Mmmmmm. To balance out the junk food we were eating (which was suprisingly minimal), I started out the weekend with a 9km run on Saturday. I didn't know how far the run was until Sunday when Steve-o and I drove into Port Carling. Not bad for a guy who NEVER runs, though I do exercise some of the time. Oh yeah, the weekend... We hung out, played some boardgames, finished reading 'Rumours Of Another World' by Philip Yancey (killer book), started reading the new Cottage Life magazine, went on a boat tour of Lake Joseph (the homes on that lake - I refuse to call them cottages - were absurd and angering) and went water-skiing. That was a blast. It's only my second time skiing and I managed to drop a ski - ON PURPOSE! Of course, I didn't stay up long (i.e., more than five seconds) on one ski. It's hard to find balance again. A great time was had by all - all being Kari, Melanie, Taxman, Beth, Karen, Steve-o and I. Oh, and I'm sure Kari's parents had an excellent time too.
When we came home on Monday, we went to Melanie's parents' house because her brother, Mike, was down from Toronto for his birthday. Chatted a bit, gave him some small gifts and then proceeded to East Side Mario's for Brad Archibald's birthday party. Brad is Shannon's husband. Shannon is one of Melanie's best friends. Brad is really funny. His brother, Steve, is a pilot for the private airline that flies U2 while in North America. He is the pilot for Adam and Larry. I kid you not. Mike just about crapped himself when he thought two of his passions (flying and U2) could come together in one event. Bill will undoubtedly be jealous. The food was good, the company was fun, we went home exhausted.
On Tuesday, I went out with Whitney. I figured, if she is in the province, I might as well spend some time with her. We went to the mall, during which time the sky unleashed the most incredible thunderstorm I had seen in several years. It was much needed to break the heat we had been enduring. After running through the downpour to get to the car, we went to a local Middle Eastern/Columbian restaurant for lunch - delish! Melanie and I went there the following day too and it was excellent again. A falafel for $1.99? You better believe it! On Wednesday, I sat around most of the day while Melanie worked (as she had on Tuesday) and then got to see Whitney (with Melanie and Mike) and Lindsay Kunkel that night. We watched Napoleon Dynamite late into the night. That's number six, folks!
I don't remember what we did on Thursday. I know I played baseball that night (we won but I played like junk). Friday had Taxman and Chad and I at the gym. Melanie and I then experienced the warm hospitality of Mike Slack, his fiancee Andria, and the Wolfes (Mark & Lisa). Mike got stung by a hornet on his head. He made killer ribs. We laughed a lot. Those folks are good for that, which is part of the reason we like hanging out with them. One of the other reasons is that they smell good.
On Saturday, Taxman, Darryl Timko and I set out at 9 A.M. for the Warped Tour at Molson Park in Barrie (now called Park Place since Molson shut down their plan there). We were excited. Darryl and I were finally going to get to see Mae while Taxman wanted to see The Starting Line, My Chemical Romance, Matchbook Romance and Fallout Boy. We left freaking early because the gates opened at 11 A.M. and, from my recollection, bands were supposed to start at noon. Well, traffic was wretched so we didn't get to the park until 12:30 or so. As it turns out, bands started at 11:10. Who was on first? Mae. That's right, we got screwed. We got to talk to Dave (singer/guitar) later in the day and he said the band was supposed to play one of the side stages but was informed 40 minutes before the gates opened that they were going on first on the main stage. Dammit! We were totally bummed. We'll have to wait until the fall to see them, when they are supposed to do a headlining tour. We did get to watch Thrice (very impressive), Matchbook Romance, The Starting Line, Fallout Boy, MxPx and most of Emery. TSL and FOB were good - except that they appeared to be stupid. Let me expound on that...
Why do bands think it is cool to swear? Or insult their fans/audience? When you call the people watching you 'motherfuckers', it's not a compliment. Nor is it intelligent. Sticking your middle finger up is not shocking anymore. It's dumb behaviour like this that turn me off a lot of bands. I don't know why kids still scream and get excited when bands say cusswords.
On Sunday, I went to church, where I talked to a few friends (Sue & Len, Ben, Rod & Patti, Andy & Diane, Mike Slack) and found myself sitting beside some old friends, Josh & Bethany Vanarnhem (Bethany is a Mullin). We gabbed and gabbed and gabbed, mostly about Stoney Creek Alliance, our old church. I left several years ago, they just left a month ago. That place is so unhealthy. It's incredibly sad and upsetting. I got to chat in the afternoon with Christina Vandermark (Mike's sister) who was in the Creek before she and her mom went to Holland for two weeks (lucky!). Mike and I went to see the movie Millions, which was super-great and then we watched the first half Return Of The King. I highly recommend both of them.
Monday, Melanie and I decided to spend some time together for the first time in quite a while. We drove out to Cambridge, where we visited the Southworks Outlet Mall, which houses an antique market too. We ate at the Black Badger because the other two restaurants we were going to eat at were closed. The food was ok (the wings were excellent) but the service was poor. We were both incredibly tired when we got home so we watched one episode of C.S.I. and then started a second before we conked out. I was in bed by 9:30. I felt great the next morning, very rested.
Yesterday, I was back to work for the first time in 10 days. Back to the drudgery of people not calling back and colleagues not doing as much work as us. Excellent! In the evening, we went on a mini-shopping spree at Shopper's Drug Mart. I had collected enough Optimum points for $75 free!! As it will shock none of you, we spent $30 on pop. That amounted to nine cases. Mmmm, cold, delicious pop. Yes, most of it was diet pop. Hahahaha. We closed the night out by watching two episodes of Dog The Bounty Hunter. I love that show so much. It's on tonight again - woo hoo!
Back to work today, only I've got little work to do right now. My job is so much easier and quick when people call back. Unfortunately for their reputations, it's professionals who aren't calling back. Why don't they? This is part of their job! I don't pretend to understand. It's almost noon and my stomach is starting to devour itself. I hope I have some work to do this afternoon. I hope you are well and not bored. Or, at least, bored away from work. That's a good kind of bored. That'll give you time to visit the links I've included. See ya real soon!