It’s not about me

One bullet short of a full gun (36)

Welcome to the “Don’t know what you got (Till it’s gone)” edition of one bullet short of a full gun.

Hacked. I had not blogged in almost two months, but when I got hacked and the blog was gone for a few hours, I realized how I really miss this blog. Of course, rebuilding everything from scratch presents its own challenges. I’m trying to figure out how to have the new “Add Media” see the old images I uploaded in the previous version of the site… I guess this will keep me busy for a bit.

Family Day. Every family day it’s the same thing. My family either works or goes to school while I stay home. I wonder what I could do today since I’m all by myself…

Wii. A couple of months ago, I moved the Wii to the kids TV room. The kids love it, but now I’m out of a source of entertaintment in the living room… Maybe I’ll finally get that PS3 I’m always talking about. Hey, it’s not like there’s any other family member here to stop me! Any good games I should get?

1,000+. On the other hand, I haven’t read any of your blogs in a long while. I know this because my Google Reader is mocking me with its 1,000+ proudly displayed on top of the page… Maybe I’ll catch-up to what you’ve been doing in the past six months. Did I miss anything important?

Exception. Of course, there’s always an exception to every Cinderella power ballad rule: Sometimes you know exactly what you have, and you can’t wait until it’s gone. Counting the days…

In pure Call of Cthulhu tradition, I’ll keep the last bullet for myself for when the madness finally comes.

Grrrrr-Rrrrr!

Grrrrr-Rrrrr!

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#NoMoreBullies

It was about a month ago now that Stuntman Stu (@Stuntmanstu) tweeted this picture:

Stuntman Stu – #NoMoreBullies

I immediately thought that I had to something to support that campaign. Obviously writing #NoMoreBullies on my hand and posting a picture would be the easiest part. Liking the “No More Bullies” Facebook page would also be painless. What else could I do?

I decided to wait about a month before doing anything. For starters, it would give me time to reflect a little more on the whole thing and I thought that if the #NoMoreBullies movement was to slow down a little, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have people “jump in” a little later. Not that I think my meager contribution will make a big difference, but it can’t make things worst, right?

A blog post

Writing a post about bullying / stopping bullies would help spread the message. What tone to use? I try to be a funny guy, but bullying is no laughing matter. On the other hand, I gotta be me. I’m still debating this. We’ll see what will happen.

Buying some stuff

Another thing I’m good at is buying some stuff. I like t-shirts, I like mugs. Surely there must be some sort of item I can buy to support the #NoMoreBullies cause. A quick search on Zazzle tells me otherwise. No stuff with the #NoMoreBullies hashtag? That sounds like something I can definitely do.

#NoMoreBullies Stuff on Zazzle

So go ahead, and buy some #NoMoreBullies stuff, either a lovely mug or an awesome t-shirt or both if you want! I will donate all the profits I’ll make from the sale of these items to any charity StuntmanStu thinks will help the most.

I’m still thinking about that blog post. Stay tuned.

Tungsten

Tungsten /ˈtʌŋstən/, also known as wolfram /ˈwʊlfrəm/ (wuul-frəm), is a chemical element with the chemical symbol W and atomic number 74.

A hard, rare metal under standard conditions when uncombined, tungsten is found naturally on Earth only in chemical compounds. It was identified as a new element in 1781, and first isolated as a metal in 1783. Its important ores include wolframite and scheelite. The free element is remarkable for its robustness, especially the fact that it has the highest melting point of all the non-alloyed metals and the second highest of all the elements after carbon.

Still here? Good.

 

Look at that nice mane of hair. And LovelyWife’s hair is not bad either.

Sixteen years ago LovelyGirlfriend became LovelyWife. This is our Tungsten anniversary. Like Tungsten, being married 16 years is a hard and rare thing. Like Tungsten, we are remarkable for our robustness, and I have a really high melting point.

LovelyWife likes to set things on fire (that’s the carbon reference) including my heart.

And that’s a W. 😉

Happy Anniversary Honey! XXX

Mado

 My brother’s Mother-In-Law – Mado – died yesterday morning after a long battle with brain Cancer. As I suspected, people on Twitter did not spend the night Tweeting about her. They did not make graphics with her quotes, direct people to watch her videos on YouTube.

In all fairness, Mado was not a public figure. She didn’t invent cool computers and technological gadgets like Steve did.

But for her family, she did change everything.

So Rest in Peace Mado. I didn’t know you very well but you did touch my life, and more importantly my brother’s life. You were and are still loved.

 

Enemy at the Gates

The opening scenes of the movie Enemy At The Gates features a sequence in which the main character arrives at the docks on Stalingrad in late 1942, and is promptly queued up in front of a truck, in which Commissars are issuing rifles and ammunition to the conscripts.

The catch is, that only every other soldier is getting a rifle. The Commissars are usually saying something like “One man gets the rifle, the next man gets some bullets. The second man follows the man with the rifle, and when he is shot, picks up the rifle and carries on fighting!”

That’s exactly how I feel at work right now.

Hopefully I won’t get shot. But if I am, I hope someone will carry on fighting.

The matter with me – A car story

Hey, I’ve got eyes that see
Don’t say there’s nothing wrong with me
You say I’m just paranoid, well that’s something the matter with me
That’s one thing the matter with me

Hey, they checked my vital signs
But I can read between the lines
They tell me I worry too much, now there’s another thing
The matter with me. That’s two things the matter with me.

– The Boomers YYZ, The matter with me. From the album What we do.

I remember way back when LovelyWife and I decided it was time to get a car – the first ever thing we would buy as a couple. The year was 1992 and we were living in Montreal. During a week long visit in Sherbrooke, I had to get new sneakers so we borrowed my FMIL’s car and went to shop for shoes. On our way back from the store, I jokingly said something about buying two modes of transportation during the same week, and sure enough by the end of that week we were driving back to Montreal in our very own 1992 Geo Metro.

Yes, it was that color.

One of the main things I remember from buying this car was the fact that since we were really young, the sales person wasn’t taking us very seriously. Before arriving at the dealership, I already knew how much the insurance was going to be, I knew how much the car was going to be and I even knew what color we wanted. Those of you who think that OCD thing I have is recent, not so much.

We walked in the dealership, and when after a while the first person asked us if they could help us, I simply said: “I want this car, in green”. So the guy started telling me about the engine, the fuel consumption, the handling… So I repeated: “I want this car, in green. I need it for Sunday at the latest.” The guy stopped talking and looked at my FMIL. She said that we were the one buying the car, so we finally sat down and signed the papers. We got the car on the Friday.

We drove that car for seven years. Over the course of these years, the car was often serviced at the dealership, and often the mechanics would not take me seriously. Once I was even charged for parts that would not fit on the car.

I always told myself that since I was 21, this might be somewhat normal.

And then in 1999 I started shopping around for a new car. I was 28, so surely I would be taken more seriously that time, yes? Also, I wasn’t going to get a GM because the car place was treating me like a kid.

No. It turns out that even at 28, you’re still considered a kid by car salesguys.

The first place I went to simply *cough* Hyundai *cough* ignored me. So after standing around in the showroom for a good 20 minutes, I just walked out. Only then did someone managed to pull themselves away from their water cooler discussion to ask an half-assed: “Looking for a car?” Yes, but not here.

I changed my strategy at the second place. I walked into Ford, and went straight to the first salesguy I saw. “I want a Focus Zx-3 sedan, silver, manual. Can we go on a test drive before signing the papers?” I thought that would convey the proper amount of interest in the car, coupled with the allure of a really easy sale. Imagine my surprise when the salesguy reply was: “I only have an automatic hatchback version that you can drive, but that’s not really the same thing… So, I dunno. Wanna do that?” I said no, I didn’t want to do that and walked out.

I then went to Saturn, figuring their no hassle thing would work to my advantage. They were nice enough folks, and by nice enough I meant that they greeted me with: “Welcome to Saturn, the SL1 is staring at 15,999$ buy or lease come here and just sign here you have 30 days to bring back the car red is an awesome color”, but ultimately the car was just not a good fit.

I ended up getting a Toyota Echo. It was a great car, but the fact that I was treated like a human being really made the whole Toyota experience awesome.

When in 2004 I wanted a new car, I just went the Toyota way and “upgraded” to a Corolla. Unfortunately, that car was the worst car I ever bought, and the dealership was the worst dealership I’ve ever dealt with. It’s amazing that I kept this car for four years. Of course, when it was time to get a new car, I didn’t want to drive a Toyota anymore.

In 2008 I leased a Nissan Rogue. I have to say that I really enjoy driving this SUV, and I even thought about buying it once the lease period is over. Nissan was nice enough when I gave them my piece-of-you-know-what Corolla, and gave me an awesome deal on a really nice car, so why not. But I like new cars. So when my FFIL hinted that he was willing to buy my SUV one my lease was over – or sooner – I started to think about cars, research them online, look at options. Yesterday I picked up my SUV from Nissan, and figured I was going to get a salesguy to run some numbers for me, help me crystalize my plan to get my current SUV to my FFIL and leave with a new car.

I thought that at 40, I was certainly going to get the proper amount of respect from a business who was about to take anywhere from 20K to 40K from me.

I turns out Nissan is not that interested in my money. Or so it seems. Because when asked about the whole exchange thing, the guy just said: “yes, it’s possible.” When pressed for more information, I managed to get a little more, just enough to know that my FFIL and I had to be there at the same time.

What. The. Fuck. Giving away money has never been so hard.

Here’s what I told the guy:

“I have this Rogue. The lease on it is finishing up soon, and I’m looking for a way to sell this Rogue to my FFIL, and in the same visit leave with a new car, possibly smaller than what I have right now. I’m looking for an approximate pricing on either a Juke, a Versa sedan, a Sentra, a Leaf, a Maxima or any other model that may be a good fit for what I do with a car, which is drive to the grocery store and back. I like new cars and I like fun cars. How do we make this happen?”

Here’s what the guy replied:

“The Juke is not a family car. The Versa has a 4.5% lease rate, you probably don’t want that.” Finally we’re getting somewhere.  “But you’re a preferred client, so you’re getting a deal on the rate. This car (points at Versa) is 17K.”

I’m nodding, looking at him. He’s looking at me. He’s looking outside. He’s looking at his watch. He’s slowly walking away.

“Do you have a business card?”

“Not really. See you around.”

I just stood there. Dumbfounded. I’m a 40 year-old dude and I can’t be taken seriously when it comes to buying a new car. There is something wrong with me. I’m hoping the people at Honda are assholes too, because I really don’t want to drive a Civic.

What if there’s no heaven and I live like a priest?
What if I write a book they don’t like in the Middle East?
What if I do something good and nobody sees?
Then, there would be something the matter with me.
Then I’d have three things the matter with me.

– The Boomers YYZ, The matter with me. From the album What we do.

Speaking of the Boomers

Doesn’t it look like I Photoshopped myself in the background there? 😉 Maybe a beard would make me more respectable?

One of those DAD posts

You know what is really really hard?

Come on, get it out of your system… I can hear you say “that’s what she said” from here. 

What is really really hard is parenting other people’s kids. In fact, it’s not “really really hard”, it’s damn near impossible. Okay, it’s impossible. Parenting your own kid is hard enough as it is – I could give you a thousand examples of the situations that are making me lose my mind as a dad and even as a human being in general. I already wrote about how my son got shot in the park, I already asked you for advice about letting CutieDaughter get a Facebook account, I already told you about ripping the wings of butterflies, and of course I already told you that when it comes to my kids I’m a complete emotional mess.

As a dad, I get through those moments by thinking about the eventual benefits we’ll get as a family once we go through the crap. That is what keeps me going, and often a healthy dose of Whisky.

But when it comes to other people’s kids, there’s no real incentive to go through the crap with/for them because quite frankly the rewards would not be mine to enjoy anyways. I’m not saying that always prevents me from trying. I am a real softie at heart you know, and can’t stand the thought of giving up on anyone. Even kids that are mean to my kids.

In that spirit of not giving up on anyone, I spent about an hour chatting on Facebook with a friend of CutieDaughter.

A friend who basically spent an hour writing that my daughter was the biggest liar who ever lived, and also that she really missed her on Facebook since they were BFF. A friend who calls my house at 2am and hangs up when I pick up. A friend who made my daughter cry more times than I care to recall.

I give up.

Goodbye, friend.