Feb 20

Slip Slidin’ Away

birdmandesk

So after a couple of peaceful days, I was starting to get calmed down. We let the dogs out before bed and then drifted off into a peaceful dreamland.

Until 11:40. That’s when Blue started pacing. I woke up instantly and ran him outside before he started pissing in the bedroom. After letting him back in, we got back into bed and drifted off again.

Until 12:45. That’s when the retching started. Luckily I caught it before there was enough saliva to soak through the sheet into the mattress. I ran him outside and waited for a few minutes, in nothing but my underwear, until he was whining to get back in. I figured that I would put him on the couch, as we just got new bedding that day, and didn’t want it soaked with puke.

As I was walking back to the bedroom I heard the retching again and bolted for the living room to see him with his back arched and mouth wide open. I called for him to come, but he was indisposed, so I picked him up and started running for the hall with him convulsing against my chest.

I thought I was home free until my feet shot out from underneath me and I went backwards, bouncing my head off of the maple dresser that the TV sits on as the dog flew forward down the hall. When I came to, he had just finished upchucking what was left in the middle of the floor. I got up and slipped again falling in front of the door with Dover barking behind it. I think he smelled all of the food on the other side, but was upset that he couldn’t eat it. I let Blue outside and started cleaning the walls and floor with a bath towel that was in the dirty clothes. I went outside and shook the moist kibble out off the deck and went back to get the cleaner and some paper towels to get the rest of the grossness off of everything. After twenty minutes of scrubbing with a splitting headache and what I thought was a broken foot, I let Blue back in and went to the shower to get the mashed nuggets and drying grasses out of my hair and skin.

I crawled into bed at 1:15 to a sleeping wife, who woke up and asked why I showered again. I started to explain, but she was quickly out like a light.

Fast forward to about 7:45 when I heard a shriek. “DOVER PEED ON MY IPAD.”

It figures. Par for the course. Needless to say, I was at the lady’s house where I got Dover’s kennel and bought the bigger one for Blue. They will be learning to enjoy sleeping next to each other in the living room from now on.

Birdman

Feb 14

Switching To Green???

Anyone who isn’t interested in reading a very long post about Ingress and some sociopathic behaviour should back out now. I’m serious, it’s almost 3000 words of nerdiness.

Birdman

I don’t think it’s a secret that I like(d) playing an augmented reality game called Ingress.

It started when I was pretty deep in depression, and we weren’t working much, so I had lots of time. I kept seeing things about it on G+ and finally looked it up and downloaded it. Then I saw this image.

choice1-620x350

Anyone who knows me will know which way I chose.

At first it was a bit freaky because I wasn’t sure how the whole going outside to play a video game would work, but after a couple of training exercises and a comment in comms that I was going to try playing the game, I went out to hack my first portal. While I was getting attacked by the portal and driving away as fast as I could, I got a response from Agent SANT0RI, who wondered if I was available for some basic training. After a few minutes of me looking for a car charger, a pickup pulled in beside me with a guy staring at me. I asked him if he was SANT0RI. He was.

He told me to lock up my shitty little1)I added that in vehicle, because we were going for a ride and I was issued some badges and a flashing LED Resistance pin. There was training, but it was far from basic. While we were driving through town, hacking and smashing every portal that could be reached from a vehicle, he asked me what I did for work. I told him that I drove a dump truck, and he asked me if I ever dumped at a certain landfill. I told him that I did, but mostly in the winter when we hauled cuttings from the rigs. He then told me that he used to work there and that he had submitted a portal so he could hack right from the lunch room.

Cool, right? Who wouldn’t want to play the game while you worked? I didn’t really think much of it, and filed it under shit that doesn’t seem that necessary to my learning how to play Ingress. We drove all over town, up on boulevards, down the “emergency vehicles only” walkway at the hospital, and left a stream of blue in our wake. I asked who this NorthernGuard was that was smashing some of the portals that I had just taken, and SANT0RI told me that he was a traitor and a cheater that had left the blue side and went to the enlightened. He then proceeded to badmouth all of the local green team, with the exception of Ghosthands, who he said was pretty cool.

He dropped me back off, and I went out hacking on my own for a while, before going home to bed. I then met NorthernGuard while I was walking around the museum grounds glyphing and smashing what I could. He seemed pretty cool, but I knew better than to trust him. You know, because he’s a sneaky snake and all that.

The next day I got a message from him asking if I was available to come over for a BBQ and meet the team. I said I was, and went over for a burger and to get acquainted with my new brothers in arms. Everyone seemed pretty cool, even though a little ramped up on the blue Kool-Aid, so after eating and shooting the shit for a bit, we went for a tour in this.

Santori008

He turned on the truck’s wifi and talked about going to Portland for an anomaly(Ingress event) while five of us hacked and smashed and basically reblued the town. I guess there was six, because one guy was hacking with two phones, but what do I care if someone wants to play their kid’s account for them? I’m not the morality police, as most of you already know. I was also regaled with how big of a bunch of losers the greens were, and when I mentioned meeting NG, and telling them that he seemed like a pretty good guy, I was told that he is always nice to your face, but as soon as you turn your back he would be right there with the knife.

SANT0RI then told me that it was okay if I talked to the green team, but he didn’t want me hanging out and being best friends with them or anything.

HUH?

HUH?

A grown man actually said that to another grown man. Like that’s going to make me not hang out with someone.

The next night I hit up Charlie Lake and turned everything blue, while I was having dinner, I got an invite in comms from NG and a couple of the other greens to go for a beer, and you know how I feel about going for a beer.

You will probably find this hard to believe, but they were pretty cool. They were just happy to have a blue player in town that didn’t treat them like a handful of used condoms. We arranged for a cross faction mission night, where we were all going to hike the community forest and get the badge.

I couldn’t wait. I was excited for my first mission badge.

There was a G+ community made, and other Resistance players were invited, but I was the only one who showed. We hit the trails and did our mission, but before we were halfway done I was getting messages from SANT0RI and his wife about how it might be considered as cheating, because we were knowingly trading wins.

We weren’t. It was an advertised, organized cross faction event, meant to get the teams together and show that everyone was human and deserving of respect.

I also got this in the message.

With a note saying that this was what he thinks of cross faction.

With a note saying that this was what he thinks of cross faction.

It all went downhill from there. I was branded a traitor to any who would listen, and called some pretty ridiculous names in the comms and faction hangouts. Probably my favourite was, and still is, peewee hearman2)yes, he spelled it like that too. Seriously. He called me that a lot. I then packed up my gear and went back to Ontario to get the family loaded up and headed west. NeoXNemesis (the X is silent), and I did a good deal of hacking and fielding the whole way out, so that she could arrive at her new home as a level 8 and be able to contribute to making our new town a glorious shade of blue with the help of the 3-6 other players here.

Sometime around mid July, we were entertaining friends from the east, and I had to go out and do some Ingress related errands. She was supposed to come as well, as she had the ADAs and we needed her 8s on the portals to have a truly great farm. She decided that it wasn’t right to leave our guests and said that she would drop the ADAs and then come over after and put the 8s on, but I said I would just take her phone and drop them from it.

Totally cheating, but I didn’t really think of it as a problem. I figured that she was going to do it anyhow, so I would save her the trouble. Stupid of me, yes, but there it is. One of my teammates apparently took a photo of it and posted it on a hangout that I wasn’t a part of. I had left the hangout as soon as the harassment started against me. I’m not sure who took the photo, and frankly I don’t care. The fact is that I shouldn’t have cheated, and I wouldn’t have had anything to worry about.

This brings me to the day that I was taking a load of contaminated soil to the landfill, and as I am hitting the Beatton Airstrip portal my scanner picks up a portal I had never seen before.

Screenshot_2015-08-15-16-14-23

That’s strange, but I was working so I didn’t bother to check the intel map. I just threw my phone on the passenger seat and started up the 73 Rd. Imagine my surprise when I was waiting in line and I hear my scanner go off about my XM being at 55%. I had forgot to shut Ingress off when I left the rest stop. When I looked at the screen, there was a grey portal right in the disposal site. The strange thing is that this portal physically wasn’t there when I went over to the TRD side an started poking around. I knew it wasn’t, because there isn’t a blade of grass or tree within a hundred metres of the office. It’s a restricted access site that handles contaminated waste and oilfield fluids. The average pedestrian isn’t allowed inside, and there have been some pretty serious incidences over the years. Sounds like a great spot for a portal.

Here is a photo from outside of the gate.

Photo, minus the text and arrow, are from http://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/regional-news/local-news/touring-the-dump-1.1142125

Photo, minus the text and arrow, are from http://www.alaskahighwaynews.ca/regional-news/local-news/touring-the-dump-1.1142125

Now I don’t know about you, but to me, this is cheating. I don’t know if he just took a picture of the actual statue to the site and then took a photo of it, or how that worked, but I know, and he knows that it sure wasn’t taken there. Even if there was an actual statue at the site, you still can’t put a portal where it could endanger people.

Now earlier in the summer there was a petition going around to get SANT0RI banned from Ingress for spoofing, bullying, and multi-accounting. It was signed by mostly green, but there were probably half a dozen resistance players on it. I responded that although I was confident that he was doing all of those things, I hadn’t personally seen proof of it, therefore I couldn’t sign the petition.

I wish that the petition had come out a month later, because I witnessed the True Blue SANT0RI full on after that. I didn’t really pay attention to it until a few days after I noticed his portal had gone live. I was on faction comms when he was welcoming a new blue player and told them that NG was a known cheater and had a blue account to spy on our comms. I don’t believe that is true, but it might have been. Either way, I was already fuming about his fake portal, so I called him out in the faction comms and told him to quit accusing others of cheating, and I mentioned to him about glass houses and stones.

He wouldn’t quit, so I wrote a big letter to Niantic, documenting the proof of his cheating, and of the dangerous portal. I also included proof of his cruel and illiterate barrages of insults to myself and a few of the Enlightened team, and offered to testify to his dangerous driving habits that I and others had witnessed firsthand, because really, you want to be thorough.

A few days later, I got a reply from Niantic stating that they took the portal down and thanked me for reporting it. It was from a “do not reply” address, and that was that.

I had heard quite a bit about how Niantic does absolutely nothing about reports of cheating, but I figured that it would be different now, because I had proof. That was silly of me, and now I’m quite skeptical of their ethics as a company. I have already told them that I won’t be purchasing any more Chaotic Matter, until there starts to be some changes, either to their Terms Of Service, or to their enforcement of the current TOS. If you aren’t going to punish people who breach the TOS, then make them a lot more lax, so that there is a level playing field for everybody. If nothing is cheating, then everyone can spoof and multi-account, therefore making the game even.

This post is as much about how poorly they enforce things as it is about the people they should be enforcing. I should have been banned from playing, just for openly accusing SANT0RI of cheating and calling him and his friend illiterate in comms. That’s just going on the assumption that nobody has reported me for cheating, with my confession. I figure that if they accept the homophobic slurs like, “the sales of vasoline goes up this time of year, they are considerate of each other.” when referring to my friendship with the enlightened players, my paltry, and true, accusations probably don’t even register.

I say that now, but they probably will boot me from the game now that I have openly admitted everything, and leave him alone for the abuse that I have instilled upon him. If that happens, I guess I will focus my gaming attention on Resources. It’s pretty cool, and it has a lot less drama. If we both got booted, I would be satisfied with their choice, as long as the list of alts got banned as well. You probably think that I’m talking about a couple of accounts, but I’m not. It’s enough that last weekend I was broken down across the road from a remote portal when a level 5 blue portal went to a level 8, then was Jarvised to a level 8 green portal. One pickup truck did all of that in less than 30 minutes. The seven tiny people then went to our town and Jarvised almost all of the blue portals, smashed them, levelled a few to 8 and put frackers on them, then Jarvised them again and left the town grey.

On a good day, SANT0RI couldn’t get seven other Resistance together in his city, let alone a portal that’s half an hour from town, and then he just happens to be hanging out with JimmSlimm and the rowdy crew that shows up every once in a while, at any given location, and destroys a solitary portal.

One day Chikens, a green alt, drove to the 73 Rd, right past several other portals and smashed a portal that had a bothersome link. I assumed it was just some spoofer, so I got on open comms and called out the green spoofer. The only reply I got was from SANT0RI about how I now had the enlightened paranoia. I don’t know why he would have even responded with anything but how the frogs are just a bunch of cheaters. I didn’t even have a clue it was his alt until I saw the name on the petition.

Hahaha

Hahaha

I digress. I will make a category on here with all of the posts about SANT0RI that I am sure to have. I do not respond to him in comms anymore, so I will be defending myself here. I will respond to everything he says to/about me or anyone else that I see fit, and I will share this post in comms every time that he tells a new or used player about how I’m a turncoat or any other bullshit that he decides to spew. Through the advice of a very smart person, I won’t engage firsthand with somebody that is obviously unstable and puts so much importance on a game.

I want to. I want to get mean and cruel; to personally attack in retaliation, but what good would that do. It would only make someone who is bitter about something, be even more bitter and volatile. I have thought about trying to mend fences, but I can’t do that with somebody that only knows how to spit venom. I probably shouldn’t have engaged when I did, but one of my faults is telling it like I see it, so here we are. It’s not like it’s only me that he has a hate on for, but it seems that I’m the target now, so I guess I will try to deal with it in a manner that I think will make it easier for myself and others to chat in open comms without having to endure abuse from another player.

I tried calling him out in comms, but that violates the TOS and makes other players uncomfortable. I have ranted about him in crossfaction hangouts, but that’s not really fair when he isn’t there to defend himself, so I will do it here, where I have the freedom to say what I want, and he can leave a comment if he wants to rebut. I will also be posting every time I see an accusation or slanderous comment to anyone in comms.

I was going to quit this game two weeks ago, because all of the enjoyment had been sucked out of it for me, then I was sad about not playing anymore, so I contemplated switching to the slimy frog pond. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, even though I like that team better than my own. In the end, I figured that I would try to make the game fun again, and try to keep as positive as I can while trying to bust ne’er do wells for ruining people’s fun.

I told you it was long and Ingressy.

Awesome footnotes   [ + ]

1. I added that in
2. yes, he spelled it like that too
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

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.

12530_838564082821563_5212102655223067119_n

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

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 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.

Awesome footnotes   [ + ]

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