Aug 14

I’m Sort Of Lucky

birdmandesk

I say “sort of lucky”, instead of “sort of unlucky”, because I’m a “glass is half full” kind of guy and I’m lucky in the things that matter.

Take for instance, my marriage. It’s pretty fucking superb. Sure, I got laid off today, but I came home to a big hug and a firm “Don’t worry, it will be fine.”

It’s pretty hard to top that in my book. She’s the best partner in life that anyone could ever want. When I’m feeling down, she’s there. When I’m feeling up, she’s there too. She’s my balance, my light, and my safe harbour. I never have to worry about shit when I’m with her.

In my past I’ve been with people who would automatically freak out if my hours got cut in a slow period. I mean lose it to the point of crying and not being able to sleep, even though I was still working fifty plus hours a week. It was just a bad reaction to change.

crying

How are we supposed to live on full time hours? We’re going to starve to death.

It gave me pretty bad anxiety, but I’m all good now. 🙂

Oh yeah, I got laid off. Kind of sucky, but I knew it was coming eventually, and it lasted longer than it was supposed to, so I’m pretty happy about that. I really enjoyed that job, even though I had to physically work harder than I have in twenty years or so. I was learning new things every day, and I got to meet a shitwhack of excellent people. The salt of the earth, if you will. I also have a recall date for next spring if I don’t have a job by then.

I fucking well better have a job by then.

Even if I have to work odd jobs all summer, and head back to the patch for a few rounds this winter, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be doing something.

I was sort of contemplating doing snow removal this winter*, because I have a plow for the four wheeler and I’m picking up a snowblower for the tractor.They both have cabs for them, so it seems like the biggest part of the company is already started. I suppose I’ll have to register something and do a bit of door knocking to get the word out, but hey, I’ve got nothing but time now.

Totally not me.

Totally not me.

Whether I’ll have any time in the winter is another story.

* Give me a dingle if you’re in the Colborne area and need your driveway done this year.

These are just things I keep mulling over. Lucky for me, I have choices and possibilities. A lot of folks don’t get that luxury. I couldn’t imagine being stuck in a life that I loathe, just so I can exist on a molecular level. I know that there is always the hope that things will get better, but man, if I had lived my 42 years simply to keep breathing and working a job I hate, I don’t think I would have bothered.

Another way that I’m extremely lucky is my friends and family. They’re top notch, AAA people that I sincerely love to be around. I wish I had my own company with a big enough payroll to hire them all, but that’s a bit crazy. I mean, think about it. Who the fuck is going to pay us all to hang around the board room, playing absinthe pong, shuffleboard, and seeing who is the best at axe throwing? (I bet it’s Stanley)

You will never live a boring life, that's for sure.

You will never live a boring life, that’s for sure.

Nobody. That’s who. Unless there was some rich moron that just wanted to laugh all the time and go to fun parties, but didn’t want to take the time and effort that you would need to make your own friends to party with. I suppose that if such a person existed, they would gladly pay us our fee, because we are the funniest, most fun loving bunch that you shall ever cross paths with. It’s pretty nice that I can sit with any random assortment of my pals, and have an absolutely great time. I think that’s pretty rare. I feel like I won a life lottery or something.

Could you imagine being miserable all the time. How draining is that? I remember when I was younger, I thought that good things should just fall into my lap. When they didn’t, I was visibly upset. I couldn’t understand why people didn’t see how great I was, and why they weren’t just offering me a fabulous life. To counter-attack, I would do a minimal amount of work, because in my opinion, I was getting a minimal amount of money. I kept asking myself: Why did they all have to be such assholes? Don’t they know that I am destined for greatness?

Apparently they didn’t.

That was when I decided that I needed to change my work ethic. I noticed that when I was doing something I enjoyed, I would try harder to do a good job, to get better at it. This in turn, rewarded me by getting me raises, bonuses, and other fringe benefits. That made me want to work harder,.

You see the cycle here?

It took me a long time, but I figured out that you need to do jobs that interest you. If you don’t, you’ll be hating it within a month, and sabotaging yourself within six. That’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair to whoever hired you.

I’m not saying you have to absolutely love your job, but you need to be interested in it.

Anyhow, enough droning from me. Sorry that all of this didn’t end up with a point, but what can you do?

She’s got an alligator bag, top hat to match, dressed in black on black,

Birdman

Aug 09

My Wife Said I Should Make A Post Out Of This

(This is from our guest blogging page. Sort of. It’s been awhile since I’ve pandered to you to write anything, but it wasn’t because I didn’t want you to. I just get busy and don’t think about things sometimes. If you’d like to do a guest post or a bunch of them, just follow these steps.)

ChangeTheTopicBANNER

First of all… GET AN IDENTITY. I’d like to say that writing has helped me immensely. I have learned to deal with my emotions, instead of tamping them down; I’ve also learned a lot about grammar and punctuation. I know from talking to a lot of you, that you have some interesting stories, and you also have some funny stories (dogs eating shit comes to mind). I know that some of you are embarrassed to write these stories for whatever reason, and I understand, so here’s a cool thing you can do that will also add mystery to your life. Create a pseudonym (pen name) for yourself. Make it something that no one would guess, and then create an email account for that persona. It’s very easy to make another email address, but I’m not sure of the easiest way. I just go to mail.google.com and make a gmail account, but it’s just a preference thing. I would prefer it if you posted as yourself, of course, because I consider all of you friends, but I do know about stage fright and whatnot.

Second of all… WRITE. It’s really not that hard, once you get started. We will help you with your post as much as we can, and we also have access to real english teachers and shit for editing if we need it. You can write about whatever you want, and we promise not to publish it, until you are satisfied. I think about how you all know me a little better than I know you, and I think that puts me at a disadvantage, so I want to hear about your life. What kind of shenanigans did you get up to as a teen? What are your dreams, fears, trials and tribulations? What scares the bejeezus out of you, and what empowers you, and gets your ass out of bed in the morning. Do you want to hug your kids until their spine cracks, (not recommended) or do you just want to have kids? How’s your relationship? Would you like to hear someone say that they love you, but they never do? These are all things that we want to hear about, because we have all been there at some point. Maybe you have a real problem, and you would like to get other peoples view points on it. We welcome all submissions, and also any suggestions. You never know, you may want to start your own blog if you like it.

Third thing… SEND IT IN. The best way for us is if you copy and paste it into the email body, and send it in that way. It just makes it easy to copy it to the post box from there. The email address is

birdman at changethetopic dot com

Another cool thing is if you do it via the Harass Us page, you can put in a fake email and name, and I won’t even know who you are. That way you can be completely anonymous.

Thanks for reading our meager blog, and keep on loving each other,

Change The Topic

Aug 08

You May Notice A Change

Birdman

Yep, I finally changed themes.

It was long overdue, but because it was daunting, I had a hard time committing to it. My old theme was great, but there was a few problems in the code that prevented me from getting my Google authorship, and that’s sort of a big deal for me.

This page doesn't give me anxiety anymore. No more patches of red code errors.

This page doesn’t give me anxiety anymore. No more patches of red code errors.

I had contacted the old theme’s developer and asked him if he could fix it last year, but he never followed up on his promise to look into it for me. I quit giving money and poked around for a new one, but nothing seemed to migrate very fluidly, so I panicked and gave up. I hoped that the guy would just miraculously fix it for me, so I could live my change-free online life.

He didn’t, and now I’m here. One thing’s for sure; I won’t donate any more dinero to a theme developer until I know that it’s going to work for me, and there is a good support system if I have a problem. Sure I only kick in about $5 every few months, but I think that’s pretty decent for a free theme.

Isn’t it? I could have given nothing and still enjoyed the use of it. A lot of people do, and that’s okay, because it’s a free theme. It’s not like you are stealing from anyone. I just like to show a bit of appreciation for someone’s hard work that makes my life easier. That’s all.

Oh wait. Speaking of appreciation, I want to thank Mark Traphagen at Virante for all of his helpful articles and coaching. For any of you that are wondering why I love spending time on Google+, it’s because of folks like him, Ed Hong, and about a hundred other people in my circles that share freely with their knowledge, art, and love of life. Why the fuck would you want to hang around a social media site that’s full of scams, drama, and other negativity, when you could be getting a handful of Nader Madakto’s photo posts?

I digress.

I haven’t finished tweaking everything, but I really like the feel of my new theme. I’ve added some new sidebar widgets, so you guys can see things like where the people are from that are Googling “How to fuck a sheep” * and other tawdry subjects. You can also see some of the blogs I like, but I took a bunch out from who was on there last time. Anyone who hasn’t posted in months or their site was taken down got deleted. I have to add a few more, but these things take time. Do you know a blog that should be up here? Let me know about it.

* Shout out to the UK and Australia for keeping my numbers up on that post.

A selection from Barking Dog Salvage and Parkadilly

A selection from Barking Dog Salvage and Parkadilly

You may also notice that there are ads on the sidebars now. I wanted to showcase my talented friends that make things, because I think you bastards should start shopping for your ChristmasHanukkahHoliday presents at their stores. Buy a gift certificate for a wedding present. Pick out a nice, outdoor cooktop, family tree, or a distinctly refinished set of shutters for your parents to enjoy. They’ll like it better than a George Foreman grill or a collage of selfies in a cheap frame.

Check out Outside the BOX for tons of unique gift ideas. Or you could buy it for yourself I guess. Rob won't care.

Check out Outside the BOX for tons of unique gift ideas. Or you could buy it for yourself I guess. Rob  probably won’t care.

So tell Walmart to go pound sand, and support a local artist, entrepreneur, or inventor. You will put a bit of food on their table and feel really good about yourself forever. Well, at least until you eat an entire bag of of semi-sweet chocolate chips after your girlfriend leaves you for a pair of dirty carnies that she met at the waterfront festival.

Another new development is that I joined the Tumblr. I don’t know exactly how it works, but Amber says I need to be on it, because it’s where the pretty people hang out. Not that she thinks I’m pretty, but she knows I like to dress up real pretty and dance around in my jeggings and a jaunty cap, so she told me about it. I’m sort of glad she did. I’ll be way more gladder when I figure out how to utilise it for world domination.

Let me see. What else is new? Oh, things slowed down at work, so I’ve had the time to work on the blog. I’m trying to get some creative juices flowing for Movember this year, and so far have only come up with a Tombstone theme and a kick ass Shavedown and after party. I haven’t talked to everyone, but I know Scooter’s in this year, and I hope my guys from last year are going to do it again. We did amazing, and had a great time. Well, I know I did, and really, that’s all that matters.

Remember the nip slip seen ’round the world?

IMG_8090

Well, I’m hoping to do the follow up to it this week. I just need to get the photographers and my co-model on board.

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I know that there is other shit to tell you, but I can’t think of it right now. It’s summer time for fuck’s sake.

I guess I’ll go and get the trailer ready to pick up the Hedgehodge’s garbage. Maybe someone I know would want a couple of small dressers and a little desk to paint up or something. I would do it on Saturday, but I don’t want to be late for the swanky shindig we got invited to. Mrs. B is shooting a wedding that day, so by the time she finds me I should be in fine form. Well, finer than usual, I guess.

Oh wait! Here’s something cool that Mike Stenger just showed me on G+. I’m going to install it as soon as I’m done here. If it’s free. If not, then I guess the hackers can have at me. GoDaddy backs me up for a month anyhow.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends, mmm I get high with a little help from my friends,

Birdman

Jul 22

You Only Live Once

mindofbirdmanYou might as well do it right. Right?

After a long, muggy week of work, I planned on heading north and doing a bit of work on the camp for the weekend.

He probably can't drive me to Bancroft hospital, so I left the chainsaw at home.

The winter was pretty hard on the old girl, so after a collaborative effort we got a big chunk of the washed out driveway replaced a couple of weeks ago, and then celebrated my sister’s fortieth birthday there last weekend . A bunch of things were noted for repair while we were there, so I nominated myself and Mrs. Birdman to start on it this weekend, before we took the kids up there for a few days

I should consult with my wife before planning things. If I did, I would have learned about the party we were supposed to attend with the girls at her sister’s place.

I should also consult with work about when everybody is going to start harvesting wheat.

So I ended up heading north with Blue, to put some tar down on a bit of flashing, split a bit of wood, and drink a bit of beer (Everything in moderation, right?). I figured I would be lonely without my baby there, but it turned out to be just what the doctor ordered. I needed to get some things ready for when the girls came up for their first time at the cabin without me, and I also needed to clear my head.

I wonder now if that’s why Paul and Jim used to go up by themselves sometimes?

Probably.

You see for the last few days I’ve been looking at a ton of photos and listening to the same six songs over and over. Great songs, but even better pictures. Pictures of friends, some that I’ve known since I was old enough to know people.

That’s a shitload of beautiful in one spot.

I needed to get away, to just stop and think. No distractions, except maybe the boy needing a face rub or a half deflated volleyball kicked into the woods for him to chase. I got there and opened everything up, tossed out the mice that had unwittingly fallen into the various pails, and then sat down and opened my first of the two beer I had thrown in the cooler with my steak and an ice pack.

I opened the 12V cigarette lighter package that I picked up at NAPA, took it apart, and went over to where the car battery and it’s myriad of wires taunted me. I picked two that headed for the lamp that Paul had made out of an old coal oil lantern he probably found at a yard sale. I spliced the lighter into it and screwed the mounting bracket into the window trim. The girls were going to have a bunch of things that need to be charged and the generator will only be on at night.

I started to think back to when I used to park my ass at Kelly’s almost every night. There was a pretty waitress there that had a smoking ass, and an amazingly dry sense of humour. I knew who she was, but never had a reason to really talk to her. Well, not since I was seven or eight. That’s when her mom and dad brought her and her sisters over to go tobogganing at our house.

Anyhow, I really enjoyed talking to her, maybe more than I liked drinking beer, but that was usually my excuse for going in there. I could tell that she had been raised to not fall for any guy’s bullshit, but had probably heard her fair share of it. She was witty, smart, and strong, but even through her cynical exterior you could tell she had a big heart. Just like her sisters, and her dad, or so I’d heard anyway.

I didn’t really know him well, but I sure knew of him. When they used to come out to the house I wouldn’t have been old enough to care, or appreciate an adult for anything but whether or not they could get me a hot chocolate. Sure he smiled a lot and seemed happy, but they were all drinking in the kitchen and everyone was happy when that happened. I know my parents really liked John and Cathy. My mom always had such nice things to say about them, like what a nice man he was and how perfect they were together. My dad said the same, and Paul always had high praise for him. That probably had a lot to do with his prowess on the ball field, but I know he liked him as a friend as well.

I knew from talking to Becki, that her dad was her model for what a man should be, and that she wasn’t going to settle for less. Same as her sisters from what I know. I know two of their husbands and they are both stand up guys with good senses of humour. You would need them to survive in that family, I’m guessing. From what I’ve heard anyhow, because like I said, I didn’t really know John very well.

After his celebration of life today, I wish I did.

It’s one thing to hear your folks say what a good man someone is, but totally another to be in a room with a few hundred of his friends and family.

You could say it was a titch emotional.

Yeah, that didn't make anyone cry.

Yeah, that didn’t make anyone cry.

I thought I would have gotten all of my tears out after watching the slideshows of him and his beautiful family for a couple of days, but nothing could prepare me for that room. You could feel the hole that he’d left in that small community. You could see it in the tears and hear it in the crackling voices. He touched so many people with his friendship and sheer love of life, that I’m actually quite shocked I didn’t know him better. Those are exactly the kind of people I like to be around. I suppose I had better get out for a visit with some of his girls soon. I’ll probably start at Preston Springs.

I hope I do half as well at helping to raise our girls as John and Cathy did with theirs. Well, I hope I do as well, but that’s a pretty tall order. Luckily there’s four of us to toe that line.

You only live once, John. There’s not a shadow of a doubt that you did it right.

Love is like a dyin’ ember, only memories remain, through the ages I’ll remember, blue eyes cryin’ in the rain,

Birdman

Jul 18

Darien Lake And The Best Deal In The World

mindofbirdman

You probably think I’m talking about the very affordable rates that they have with their vacation packages, or the slushie cups with the ninety nine cent refills, but I’m not. I’m talking about the USB flash drive that you can buy from any of the rides with photo booths. Those things give you unlimited ride photos, and they’re good for the whole season. If you remember Season 1 of Darien Lake, then you’ll remember the photo of Gadget and I on the Ride Of Steel. My wife paid $10 for that photo and we vowed we were going to get a bunch more this year.

We did.

We started out on Moose On The Loose, because it had been a while since we had gone on any rides, and we wanted to start small and work our way up.

I shouldn't show this, because I took my hand off the handle. The cute teenaged girl told me not to.

I shouldn’t show this, because I took my hand off the handle. The cute teenaged girl told me not to.

I actually didn’t see the camera, even though it was about the size of a Chevy Sprint and I was looking right at it. I had to ask the girl where it was after the ride was over. That’s when these next ones were taken.

Gadget didn't care what the young staffers thought about two grown men riding moose named Carl and Jimmy.

Gadget didn’t care what the young staffers thought about two grown men riding moose named Carl and Jimmy through the wilderness.

We then got out the props. Continue reading