Jan 05

Merry Solstice

I put this up at a new blog I started, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to throw it on here as well. You know, in case anyone was wondering what we were up to.

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This year we had had it with the whole Christmas thing. I have not celebrated it in many years, but this is the first time that Gerri had joined me in my hatred of this most wretched of holidays. We did the bare minimum for the youngest, who hasn’t been poisoned by having to take out a loan for a damned X Box and all of the niceties that go along with this bullshit season.

We went to the bush and cut down a Charlie Brown tree, the girls masking taped up one string of lights outside, and they decorated the tree.

End of story.

When their dad came to pick them up for some holiday time, Gerri and I took off for the Liard River Hot Springs in Northern BC. It was a nipple hardening -26°C. I called the lodge, but they were closed for the winter, so we decided to throw the mattress in the van and camp out with the dogs in the hot springs parking lot. We really aren’t fancy.

It was about 10 or 11 hours to drive there, so we probably should have left earlier than 10 AM. As it was, we ate some A&W in Fort Nelson and then had the bagels we had packed for a supper under the northern lights. It was Gerri’s first time seeing them, and while they weren’t the greatest, there were a few moments where they were fairly active.

We walked down to the springs in the dark, but decided not to chance it. It was so cold that the flashlight quit working, and we weren’t dressed for a frozen two and a half minute run down the icy boardwalk in the pitch black.

How do I know that it’s a two and half minute run? This guy right here.

I’m not sure if that’s a thing he does all of the time, or if it was a one off, but either way, I think that a GoPro would be the way to film that sort of thing. I have never used one, but I remember when my buddy Jay Sharp put one on his dog, Dewey. It was a lot less shaky, and while it may have got a bit more piss spray on it, I think it is all in all a better choice for filming a run.

I digress.

The reason that I’m writing this is to talk about letting go of the whole Christmas lie. Gerri and I have never bought each other gifts for any holiday. It’s pointless, and life is expensive enough without having to worry about whether or not you got big enough gifts for the people you love. I think that your love should be enough of a gift. Well, unless you’re a complete asshole, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you are probably a pretty decent person.

I do miss the whole family aspect, but I figure that I can go home in the spring or summer and make some family time when flights aren’t an extra thousand dollars each. I will get more one on one time with everyone too, because you aren’t trying to mash a years worth of visits with ten people into a four hour pig out.

That’s why this year we chose to go on an adventure to celebrate the winter solstice. The summer here is fantastic, with eighteen hour days, and kids out playing in the streets until ten o’clock in the evening.

Winter? Not so much. It gets light around 9:30 AM and is dark by 4:30 PM, so when the longest night of the year was around the corner, we decided to go and celebrate the downhill slide into spring and summer.

That brings us here

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This was the next morning when we decided to try again with proper clothing and precautions in place. We are responsible, carefree adults you know.

After we laid out a tarp to put our clothes on, we got ready to change into our swimwear. There was no sign of another human around, so we decided that it would be better to not get our bathing suits smelling like sulphur if we didn’t have to.

It was like we were free.

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While we were creeping around the shallow pool, we were overcome with just how good life can be when you just do what you want to do, instead of following what the societal norms are. We were both brought up to embrace the festive spirit and give freely of our time and resources to keep up the facade of the perfect time of year.

Well it’s not the perfect time of year. The days are short and cold, nothing grows, and people get depressed. I suppose that’s why people make a big deal of Christmas, but they don’t have to. It’s much simpler to take off and do something you want to do. Something that you haven’t done before, or that you love doing so much that you would do it every winter. For us, I think it will be an annual pilgrimage to the Liard River, but it could really be any magical getaway. For you it might be to gather around a lit up tree and feel the warmth of your family all together in one place. Maybe it’s a cheap, last minute all-inclusive to Cuba or the Dominican, but whatever it is, you should do it because you want to do it, not because anyone else tells you that you should.

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If you do what others think you should do, there is little chance that you will feel the excitement of hearing footfalls crunching on a frost crusted boardwalk as you stare at your clothes thirty long feet away from where your pale, completely naked ass is locked in a warm embrace with your beautiful wife and best friend.1)They are the same person

You will also miss the oddly comfortable conversation with the friendly park caretaker as your white ass floats out behind you at the steps in front of the pile of clothes that you couldn’t quite make it too before said caretaker rounded the corner by the change rooms. Also, it turns out that we weren’t the first to do this daring feat of almost hippie-like naturism.

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As you can see, we weren’t bothered in the least at not having to shell out the probably seven or eight thousand dollars that it was going to cost for us to get back to Ontario and spend the holidays with our harried family.

For one thing, we didn’t have the cash to do it, and for another, we didn’t feel that we would get enough quality time with our loved ones as they rushed around getting everything ready for their version of Christmas. We bribed the girls with money and trinkets to not go home, and spent a few hundred bucks on gas and food to share a truly remarkable experience with each other, and the dogs, in a wondrous part of our picturesque province.

The ride home was pretty amazing as well. We stopped for lunch at the Toad River Lodge. That was worth the trip right there. I had stopped there in the fall of 2000 for supper on my first and only trip to Canada’s Arctic. We decided to stop for more than fuel on the way home after a sort of frosty welcome at the Northern Rockies Lodge in Muncho Lake. The fact that the gas was 40¢/litre cheaper in Toad River also helped make the decision.

At Toad River we met Darrel, the owner, after he was done helping some motorists with their vehicle problems. The people there were very friendly and the burgers were big and tasty. We dreamed of what it would be like to own and operate a roadside stop for weary and hungry travellers in the north, and what we might have to do to end up there. If you are ever travelling the Alaska Highway, I strongly recommend fueling your vehicle and yourself there.

We stopped at mile 135 to watch the northern lights, because they were absolutely fantastic and I was starting to get distracted by them. The temperature had warmed up to -10ºC so we decided to shut the van off and we watched the light show until the windows were frosted up and then we fell asleep.

The next morning we drove the rest of the way back and enjoyed the few extra minutes of daylight that we knew we were getting. It really is the simple things that we need to learn to love again. Being around mountains and the other wonders that nature presents to us should really be all that we need to embrace to find the balance that so many of us are missing.

I’m learning to find mine, and I hope that you can too.

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Awesome footnotes   [ + ]

1. They are the same person
Aug 04

Hello from GLORIOUS BRITISH COLUMBIA!!!

*I STOLE THIS FROM MRS. BIRDMAN’S BLOG POST TODAY*

fromthedesk

Most of you know that our moving date for going out west has come and gone. I’m here to report that we made it, safe and sound. The only casualties were a long-suffering fan on a stand, and 3 out of 4 panes of glass inside our hutch. Not bad, eh?! We headed west exactly one month ago, in a converted school bus that carried the four of us, all of our stuff, our dog and our dreams for a new future. I have been thinking and preparing for the move for the past year, but I couldn’t have guessed how well our journey would go. When we told people we were moving out west in a school bus, we definitely got a lot of strange looks, but it was a fantastic journey. Our friend Dan helped us pick out the most mechanically sound bus we could find, and then we began the process of ripping out the seats and preparing it for our trip. When the seat removal was complete, we had a huge tin can on wheels, ready for our adventure. We began moving our things onto the bus in what can only be described as a real-life game of tetris. There was not much space that went unused, floor to ceiling. Eventually, the bus was packed to the roof, with a retaining wall that separated us from the stuff. We were 4 people and 1 dog on an EPIC CROSS COUNTRY ADVENTURE! The first hour was spent crying. All of us. It was a pretty miserable place for a bit, but after a good bawl, some hugs and some snacks, life seemed cheerier and we were on our way. As we drove, the scenery got more scenic, and we became settled in our spots on the bus. If you’ve ever driven from Ontario to Manitoba, you will nod knowingly when I say that Ontario is a big place. It took DAYS to get out. While we were making our way across our native province, we saw a familiar site in our side mirror.

D’OH!!!!

We drove over 4,000km in that bus, and this was the only time we got pulled over. I think we were both surprised, since we figured we’d be getting pulled over a lot. The officer was very nice, and even though I was very nervous about being stopped, we were found to be in compliance with all vehicular laws governing Cool Bus operation. Woo Hoo! Score one for the weary travelers. He gave us a souvenir of his visit. :)

Officer Friendly leaves his autograph

While we traveled, we were on the hunt for any ‘Giant Stuff’ for my sister-in-law Katie, who loves all giant fruits, furniture and animals she encounters. We were not disappointed. Here’s a selection of just a few of the giant offerings. Not included are the giant snowman, groundhog, UFO, and other assorted things that didn’t make the cut.

There’s a LOT of weird, giant stuff out there…

There were a few provinces to get to after we finally made it out of Ontario. Manitoba was one of my faves, probably because I drove all day through it. I loved being the pilot on the Cool Bus. There was one small domestic that threatened to break out during my time at the wheel, but after I promised not to enter any more curves at breakneck speed (his opinion!) we were back on track. My basic impression of the provinces were that Ontario was huge, Manitoba was flat, and BC was a welcome sign to get to after 5 days.

Been there. :)

At night we were treated to endless sunsets of blue, pink, purple and orange. The windows of the bus allowed a huge, technicolor display that kept us impressed, province by province. I spent most of my time in one of the two remaining seats on the bus, so I could take advantage of the scenery. If you get a chance to cross the country in a motor vehicle, I do hope it’s a cool bus, with the kind of spectacular views that I saw.

Just one of the beautiful nights on the Cool Bus

Just one of the beautiful nights on the Cool Bus

I snuck this one in here, but fellow Ingress players will appreciate the milestone I reached on our last day of travel… #vivelaresistance

Us at Kakabeka Falls, Thunder Bay Ontario <3

We made a lot of memories. The kids were amazing. They didn’t complain about the drive, or the vagabond lifestyle. We had a life-changing, family-bonding experience. I could never explain what happened to us as we moved across the provinces, but it was pretty great. Eventually we landed in beautiful HUDSON’S HOPE, BC!

It’s really, really beautiful here.

Our home is warm and cozy, and our yard is absolutely gorgeous. We have a large covered porch that runs along most of the side of the house. Our bus even fit in our driveway! After several weeks of cleaning, unpacking and sorting, we are finally home.   I really like it here. It felt like home as soon as we arrived. I’m really, really happy.         If you want to keep in touch, you can find me on Instagram ( missclicks ). Or you can email. Or text. Or send an old fashioned letter. Or hop on a plane and visit. I’ll pick you up at the airport. Cheers from glorious BC! Gerri

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Jun 21

2.5 Days

birdmandesk

It’s been a long time since I’ve woke up this happy.

Well, except for almost pissing the bed and then smacking my head on the door jamb as I stumbleran to the toilet.1)No more drinking two cans of club soda at 2 AM and “stumbleran” can be a word, you just need to use it enough.

Perhaps I should say that it’s been a long time since I was this happy, a few minutes after I’ve woke up. That’s a little more accurate.

On my way back to bed, I noticed the light blinking on my phone. I checked, and there were three text messages on there. One from each of my girls. The first one was exciting, because it contained this.

mufgI got one last night during a hardcore hacking session, and was very pleased to see that my sweet baby got one too. It won’t mean much to most of you, but any Ingress players should be a little envious of us right now.

Imagine my joy at this, and then reading the texts from the girls wishing me a happy Father’s Day and telling me that they love me and miss me.

I’m still crying.

I really had no idea that being a stepfather could be so fulfilling, emotionally.

In a few days, I will be flying home for Liv’s graduation, and to pack my family up for what is to be the greatest adventure of our lives, thus far. It will be filled with every kind of feeling that you can imagine, and I look forward to most of them, but especially the ones like I’m having now.

Those are the ones where I feel truly loved. I really don’t think that there could ever be a more complete feeling of worth as when you are really loved. I’ve had it all of my life, from my mom, and I’m pretty sure from my sisters 😉 , but I think that finding and marrying my one true love solidified it for me.

She didn’t have to love me.

Neither did her daughters.

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Courtesy of the fantastic Erin Campbell Photography (905) 372-7435

But they did, and I am forever grateful for that.

Happy Father’s Day to me, and to all of the other dads out there that get an immense feeling of pride and satisfaction when they think of their family. It’s probably the only reason that I’m not a crazy, eight dog owning hermit in central New Brunswick right now.2)Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Birdman

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Awesome footnotes   [ + ]

1. No more drinking two cans of club soda at 2 AM and “stumbleran” can be a word, you just need to use it enough.
2. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Jun 14

When Is It Okay?

Birdman

Last night I finished my long day of Ingress and met some of the players for a bite to eat and a drink. While I was there, I heard a guy allude to wanting a certain sex act with our server.

Loud, and to the server. It made me feel a bit shocked and embarrassed.

That’s not cool, right? I mean flirting is one thing, but to loudly exclaim about what you would like them to do with their genitals is completely inappropriate.

Hint: These were mentioned.

Hint: These were mentioned.

I’m right, aren’t I? I like to always be right. It gives me a holier than thou feeling.

Now, does it make a difference if it’s two gay men?

I am legitimately asking a question, because I have seen it on several occasions, and I wonder if it’s a different protocol when it’s guy on guy.

Do you remember the time I shamelessly plugged an old post about flirting that reminded me of this?1)That’s right now.

There was another time that I was driving taxi, and a man with two drunk, middle aged women got in the cab. He started talking about getting me out of my shirt, and then reached up over the seat and started rubbing my chest. I grabbed his hand, twisting his wrist back and maybe making him squeal a bit. Partly because he startled me, but mostly because he was wildly inappropriate and invading my space.

Him and his cackling hens started calling me a hillbilly gay basher, and a piece of shit homophobe, and when I tried to explain that it would be no different than if they were driving and some dude that they don’t find attractive did that to them, there would be charges laid, but the one chick said that there was no way she would ever stoop so low as to be a cab driver. Anyhow, they wouldn’t shut up or listen, so I kicked their drunk asses out on the curb.

Luckily for them, it was pretty close to a bar, so it was kind of a bonus. Free cab ride, and they got their excitement for the night. I should have had my wits about me and drove them to Precious Corners or something.  At least then I would have got a little satisfaction from the deal.

I’m not painting gay men with the same brush2)unless they’re into it and there’s a cool sawbuck in it for me, because the overbearing, lecherous ones are a very small percentage. I just find it odd that people don’t seem to be as offended when a man openly does something to another man that may or may not be welcome. For all I know, it’s a globally accepted practice, and I’m crazy to think that the same courtesies should be offered to everyone, no matter who they are.3)Excluding the Welsh, of course

So what are your thoughts on it? If you are gay, would this offend you, or would it be a thing where it depends on the circumstances? If you are straight, please go out and do some field research for me. Remember to take precautions for your safety.4)mainly condoms, a panic button, and some lube

Birdman

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Awesome footnotes   [ + ]

1. That’s right now.
2. unless they’re into it and there’s a cool sawbuck in it for me
3. Excluding the Welsh, of course
4. mainly condoms, a panic button, and some lube
Jun 05

Not My Night

birdman2

This is the most somber Birdman pic I could find.

I’m having a really shitty go of it this time, but of all shitty days and nights, tonight takes the cake for shittiness. I suppose that I have been extra depressed lately, what with the impending move across the country with my family in a bus, so that multiplies the shit exponentially, but holy fuck, really?

My night started as my work day ended, at about 5:00. I went home and finished watching the video that Mrs. B shared on G+. It was about the cool new ways that students are taught in the school district that the girls will be in next year. I tried to watch it while I was getting loaded at the pit, but it was hard with the rumble of diesels and always having to move ahead, so I went home and crashed into the bed under the ceiling fan to cool down and check out the video.

Then the crying started. Not the same crying as the night before, but still a grown man lying in bed with tears streaming down his face.1)luckily the box of crackers was still on the nightstand.

This was me crying about how much further I might have made it in school if we had as many forward thinkers back then, as they do in this area now, and also because I was so happy that people were finally figuring shit out. It’s been a lot of years with the same mentality towards teaching, and nothing was ever getting better. At least not from my perspective.

Now I think there’s hope. Not for the rest of my night, but for our future as a country.

As I finished blubbering, Johnny called to say that he had made these pizza egg rolls and if I wanted to try them, I had better get down there. I then called my sweetest love in the world, and interrupted the birthday party she was attending. She said that she would call me back, so I headed to Chubbie’s to try out these new tidbits.2)They were fucking delicious.

I then went to work to get my phone charger, and figured I’d see if my little truck would miraculously run now. Nope. Thanks for proving that miracles don’t exist, Jesus.

After that, I was going home to grab a shower and hit the sack early, when Johnny called and asked me to get something out of the freezer to thaw for him, I went home, and then in the spirit of helping a friend, I decided to go drop it off to him to save him the trip.

I should have just stayed home.

When I pulled up at the back of the restaurant, I left my car running and my phone on the charger. I ran into the shop and delivered the goods while stealing a pop. I walked back to the door and stopped to shoot the shit for a few minutes. When I went back to the car, I noticed that the door was locked and my phone was gone. Someone had leaned in the open window and snagged it. They also dropped a crumpled up paper towel on the driver’s seat.

I immediately assumed it was our friend David, because that would be a prank that he would do, but it wasn’t. I got John’s phone, called it uselessly and logged in to my Google account, so I could track it. It was one street over, so I took off down the alley, ready to punch the first person I saw with it, but there was nobody there. I met John as I was walking back, and then his phone rang. Someone had brought the phone into the pizza shop.

Yayyy.

I went back and the guy was still there, and pretty hammered. He told us that he saw a drunk native guy grab it out of my car and he followed him until the guy threw it away by the TD bank. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, even though I am pretty sure he was the one that stole it, so I bought him a pizza.

It is sad that people find it so easy to blame the drunk native people, even though this guy was a drunk whitey that didn’t have enough money for a pop. He was talking about how he had just came from his buddy’s place after helping him change the springs in his drag car, which brought me back to the paper towel. When I looked at it, I immediately thought that it was mine from when I was working on the truck earlier. Most guys will recognize a dry paper towel that was used to wipe rust and dirt off of a pair of hands.

The problem was that I had used wet wipes, not paper towel.

Oh well, I got my phone back, and someone hungry got to eat. I left for that shower and my bed, and then this happened.

What fun!

What fun!

Yep. While I was frantically racing around looking for my phone, my tire was getting flatter. I went around the corner and it poked a bunch of holes in the inside sidewall. Yahoo.

The good news is that I will be getting new tires, and not a new phone. The bad news is that I have to get new tires, then new studded tires this winter. I was hoping these would last, but with an eternal slow leak on the driver’s side, and now this, I think it’s better to be safe than sorry. Tires are pretty important.

Oh, and when I got home, the post I had been writing offline got hidden in the computer during important updates. I’ll have to spend a bit of time looking for that I guess. Or try to rewrite.

Ah well, hopefully your day went smoother than mine.

18 MORE DAYS, BABY!

Birdman

P.S. The internet is working again.

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Awesome footnotes   [ + ]

1. luckily the box of crackers was still on the nightstand.
2. They were fucking delicious.