Friday, 31 January 2014

#031 RelaxaShawn


It's been a long time since I had a week like this and I am SO GLAD it's over... well the 'work week' part at least. The weekend has just begun.

And this weekend is about 4 things: 
-sleeping in
-cuddling with the dogs
-watching Downton Abbey Season 4 with Marcel.

I would have hoped it would have been about 5 things, but the Irish Tin Whistle has yet to arrive. So four out of five will have to do. 

So it's time to kick back, relax and enjoy the next two days of nothing much more than pure joy.

...but for the record, I really, really, REALLY cannot wait for the Whistle!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

#030 An AutomaShawn Limerick

There once was a lad from Nantucket,
Whose job he wished he could chuck it.
Printing invoices all day,
For the Auditors' fray;
At the end of the day he said 'suck it!'.

So far this week I've printed over a ream's worth of invoices and used  300 paper clips.

Knock wood no paper-cuts.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

#029 AutomaShawn II

Oh my god!  Today was yesterday on a loop.

In every way, I am now experiencing my own Groundhog Day.

I fear for tomorrow. 

Unlike yesterday however, I managed to squeeze in my lunch today, between 2:45PM and 3:30PM. And I will admit I felt a certain level of satisfaction when, as I was exiting the office and passed the VP and his Assistant and they asked "Leaving early today?" and I replied with "Actually, just going to lunch." to which the VP said, "Ah, the Auditors. I hope your Manager knows this, if not he should." 

Oh, he knows, and his boss knows as well.

For now, it's time to eat, catch a little TV and off to bed to watch some netflixed Supernatural... 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

#028 AutomaShawn

Well it was fun at work today...

As it is, I'm already doing all of my tasks, along with those of the Accounts Receivable department (it's a one person dept...) as the regular person is on vacation this week.

That in itself is manageable, but when you add to that, the fact that our head office in the US has sent up auditors that keep on asking for the Sun, Moon and the Stars to be delivered to them, with a paper copy and an electronic copy if you don't mind, oh and can we have those 3 hours ago? And here's another list.... and another and another.

I think I printed enough invoices, waybills, proofs of delivery and copies of cancelled cheques to wallpaper Versailles!

And the great news is that this was day one of at least three more. Goodie!

My favourite part of the day was explaining to the Auditors that often what they keep asking for, is not available, or simply does not exist. And then tell them again 30 minutes later...

...and then 30 minutes later...

At 3:15pm I noticed, hey! I haven't taken lunch yet. Being the dutiful auto-bot I had not noticed the day go by. So I got up, walked down the hall and told my boss I'd be leaving an hour early on Friday to cover for my lunch today.

...and then I went back to the conference room and told the Auditors that their latest request could not be fulfilled because the documents don't exist.

Monday, 27 January 2014

#027 Cliché AnticipaShawn

A parcel arrived at work today.  Colour me excited. Then, colour me worried, because the parcel was too small to contain a DVD, book and an Irish Tin Whistle. 

I open it and while disappointed that it was not the new instrument, I was nonetheless happy to have received our copy of Downton Abbey (Season 4). We've been DVRing the series on PBS planning on watching them right through. I had forgotten that I had pre-ordered the DVDs back at the end of November. 

It's true what they say, big things come in small packages!

Well I guess you can guess what we're doing this weekend... Downton Abbey Marathon! We'll go the whole hog, have tea, with cucumber and cress sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, and petite fours... all served on our Wedgewood China. We're gonna High Tea the hell outta those DVDs! 

Until then, I wait... wait for the magical, musical parcel.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

#026 AnticipaShawn II

Well, I ordered an Irish Tin Whistle back on Dec 31st as part of my New Year's Resolution to learn a musical instrument. I should have paid closer attention on the webpage when I submitted the order; seems they were out of stock. Thankfully my order was filled on Friday. I hope to have it by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Personally, I'm really excited about getting it, but also a little afraid. Partially because I'll be learning by myself and also because I'm terrified I'll scare the dogs and upset Marcel along the way. Sure, I'll have a book and DVD to follow, and will be able to find lots of stuff on-line, but without a one on one coach/teacher, I wonder how I'll do...?

I'm not saying I'll be a great success, but I hope to be able to manage a couple of songs by the end of the year... 

If I had Aladdin's Lamp, I'd easily use one wish that I could play this. If you're gonna dream, dream big, or don't dream at all.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

#025 Christmas RotaShawn

Only eleven months until Christmas!

Yes, I am that kind of person.

I won't say I'm already planning for Christmas, but I also won't say I'm not.

I will admit to already doing some shopping for gifts as well as decorations. When you see it, get it. You snooze you lose.

And besides, I picked up a couple of new Christmas CDs with iTunes gift cards under the tree last month but didn't get much time to enjoy them. There are also 2 new cookie recipes I will want to try.  And of course there's the fruitcake we made back in November that will be lovingly douse in brandy and and Cointreau every 6 weeks. Then there's the decoration schemes...

Some people's year revolves around their Summer Vacation, their Birthday, Anniversary or Wedding; me, it's Christmas. 

Christmas is the axis around which my world rotates. 

Friday, 24 January 2014

#024 Financial ConsideraShawn

You know what really grinds my gears?  

Upper Management types; in particular, one in my office. The General Manager and CFO for our division.

Under her 2 years in these roles we have seen the largest decrease in sales and profit, the most lay-offs in the 5 years - except for the Finance Dept which has doubled in the last 3 years. I'm not sure how one can rationalize doubling the department that controls all the money when said money has decreased annually during the same period. 

What’s even more of a joke is we have a client that owes us close to a  million dollars. Her brilliant solution is to open new accounts and provide new products and services to this client. Oh, and sending a far too politely worded email every 4-6 weeks kindly asking for a bit of the outstanding balance. I have more than once suggested we withhold all products and services from this client for one week.  As a private medical clinic group, they would soon buckle and pay up. But no, due to a culture of appeasing clients at any cost, regardless of the negative impact to OUR company and employees, we continue having to cut corners and people to make budgetary minimums. 

The latest lay-offs (which I mentioned back on Jan 7th) included 3 extremely hard working individuals. In the case of the individual that worked 2 desks away from me, the hole her lay-off has created now means that the remaining employees in the department have to pick up her tasks, including but not limited to her direct Manager (who knows NOTHING about the task involved) and one of the Finance Dept. employees, who fortunately knows more than the Manager (as she once worked daily in our Dept..)

I'm not saying I'm a financial whiz, but I know when someone is not paying up, or when you have an employee that is as useful as a superfluous nipple... Cut. Them. Off.   What amazes me is that those with any position to do something don’t see this or are afraid that acting on it now would bring them down too.  In the mean time, it’s denial as usual at the office… 

For now, I'll cling to T.G.I.F...  

Thursday, 23 January 2014

#023 TransportaShawn FrustraShawn II

Nothing annoys me more than stupid and rude.  Put that into the Metro and I lose. My. Mind. 

If you stand in front of the opening doors of the Metro or an Elevator, at the top or bottom of an escalator or moving walkway or just inside or outside of doors to a building and I can neither enter or exit because you're too busy talking to someone, or you all of the sudden have lost your mind and don't know where you are or where you’re going, if are not aware that these are not acceptable locations to loiter or are picking your nose etc. I will push you. If you fall and break a limb, I will laugh my ass off. And if I have to, I will walk over and/or on you to get on my way. It's that simple.

And don’t think that mouthing off will deter me, because I swear, as god is my witness, I will throw back twice what you give.You have no one to blame but yourself.

The correct thing to do if you’re not aware, is STEP TO THE SIDE or just KEEP ON WALKING.

A few extra points of procedure if I might…

- Elevator and metro doors are only open mere seconds at a time so moving in quick and orderly fashion is not only preferred, it is MANDATORY.

- Also with regards to elevators and metro cars.  The order is as follows (with NO EXCEPTIONS)
1) People get OFF
Then and only then...
2) People get ON

- Escalators and moving walkways move… NON-STOP. It's what they do. It's who they are. There is no ‘Pause’ for idiots like you that can’t think of what to do after getting to the end of them. If you can’t remember where to go next, step off and to the side. There ARE people behind you that are not able to stop moving forward… they must go THROUGH you.

- Also with escalators and moving walkways, the standard accepted protocol is if you are just going to STAND there and not walk, MOVE TO THE RIGHT, ensuring you leave space on the left for those of us that don’t want to Age, doing nothing but wasting oxygen, looking like a bump on a log.

If all that’s too complicated for you then might I suggest you simply find a rock, crawl under it, curl up and die.

This has been a public service announcement from a person that has reached the limit.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

#022 Dreamtime Feature PresentaShawn

Every once in a while I have a dream that so entertains me that I can't stop thinking about it after the fact...

Last night I had one of those dreams.

It took place at McGill University. Why? - dunno.

The Theatre Department was putting on a production of The Sound of Music. I was helping out as a consultant... since in reality, it is my all-time, number one, most favourite movie/musical in the world. It all began when I was a young boy. 

(As we know, TSoM plays each year on american network television over the Christmas holidays. But living in the Maritimes we were an hour ahead of the American feed on the TV. So instead of starting at 8PM it would start at 9PM and because I was young my bed-time conflicted with the broadcast. As a child I was never allowed to stay up to watch the whole telecast. Each year I was progressively allowed to stay up from 30 minutes to an hour later.  I think I only saw the entire movie, from start to finish when I was 12 or 13. This delayed completion created an obsessive interest in the movie that increased every year. Even though I have 2 edits of the movie on DVD I find it near impossible not to watch it when it is on TV.)

Anyhoo, back to the dream.  Since I was very knowledgeable of the show they asked me to help them with everything from sets and blocking, to marketing and promotion.

One week before the curtain was to go up, the lead, some first year student / protégé fell ill and was not able to continue on. Her understudy came down with H1N1 and was therefore unable to take over the role.

Time was running out and there was no one who knew all the dialogue and songs, as well could portray the emotion to make a convincing Maria.

Two days before opening night, the directors came to me and said that I was their only hope. I was flattered of course, but said I'd have to decline. They would hear nothing of the sort and after a couple of hours of discussing the finer points I relented and went to the costume dept. for a fitting. 

Opening night was a success. While at first the audience was not having anything to do with a man in the roll of Maria, by the time I belted out...
♪ ♫ I have confidence, in confidence alone.
Besides which you see, I have confidence in me.
 ♫ ♪
...they were mine!

Due to popular demand we had to add an extra week's worth of performances and there was talk of taking the production on the road. Articles and reviews of my "Maria" were all over the place.  The casting of a bearded man, while controversial, opened the doors for the Theatre Dept's next production of Hamlet, with a female actress. New equality for Men and Women in theatre was truly born. Casting would focus on who could best portray a particular role, with no thought given any more to gender.

Sadly I woke up just before my appearance at the Tony's with my co-star. We were to have sung "Something Good."

Judge all you want.  I was FLAWLESS as Maria!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

#021 InfectShawn ReflectShawn

I got up for work today feeling pretty good, and thought, 'Wow, we dodged a bullet here. Only one of us got sick with this nasty cold.'

Five hours later...I received a text, 'I'm sick as a dog...'

From the Patient to the Doctor in just a couple of days!

I've never been very good at being an Optimist. Clearly this is a prime example. How is it, no matter how hard you try, it is impossible not to spread a bug through the house. Thank god the dogs can't catch it!

'In sickness and in Health' as they say... So now I will fill in the roll of Nurse Maid, Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. And I do so willingly. I have to say that while I was under the weather with that nasty cold, Marcel waited on me, hand and foot.  Honestly if it wasn't for him I'm sure I'd still be horking up a lung.

So I will gladly make whatever he wants to eat, get his medication, hot drinks, cold drinks, another box of kleenex, rub vicks on his chest... whatever he needs, I'll do so without delay. (I sure hope he doesn't read this)

Hmmmm, sorry, gotta dash... someone wants a hot toddy...

Monday, 20 January 2014

# 020 Olfactory TeleportaShawn

It amazes me just how visceral an odour/scent can re-awaken a long past memory, place or time, in an instant.

On two occasions today I was transported through space and time. And both destinations could not have been more different. 

The first occurred on my morning commute as I got on the 121 bus at Cote-Vertu Metro, heading to work. At the best of times you are introduced to many a 'fragrance' on the Bus (and in the metro) I often consider shoving two wine corks up my nose in the Summer... In general things are more tame this time of year. Today was not one of those days. Just as the last few morning commuters crammed onto the bus it was as if I heard the bell ring in my Junior High School, and it was time for Gym Class. The locker room was at a constant 95% humidity, and smelled of a tangy melange of mildew, angst and awkward teenage male hormones, BO and Mennen Speed Stick. God how I hated gym class, and the main reason was because for a solid hour after, that was still all you could smell. Thank god for High School when Gym became an elective which I quickly opted out making that smell a distant memory... well until today. 

Fast forward, to my evening commute. On my way home on the Metro someone entered the car I was in at Plamondon Metro. In that instant I was no longer sitting in the metro car, I was at my Grandmother's house, or more specifically on the back porch. It was Summer time, I was probably 8 or 9 and was spending two weeks at her house. 

- When I was younger my Parents were divorced and over Summer Vacation I would spend a few weeks with my Mom's Mother. Some younger boys might not have enjoyed that, but I was always close to her, we were two of a kind, our birthdays only a week apart. Like sibling separated by two generations. So this was always a great time for me. And on top of it I was away from my dick of a brother AND Point Pleasant Park was my playground. I can assure you I was not suffering. -

There was a large wild rose bush next to the back door. It would flower all summer long. It was impossible to be there in the Summertime and not smell those roses. 

I can remember all those Summers spent at her house, playing down at the park, going to the country to the old family homestead. It seems like yesterday. And a large part of me wishes it was...


On reflection, I am glad that these two scented flashbacks happened in the order they did... the later more than making up for the former. Not to mention that my sense of smell has returned, post-plague of last week.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

#019 AppariShawn


I was talking to my Parents today on the phone. I'm not sure how we got on the topic, but the conversation ended up at a certain point turning to ghostly goings on in their house. They've lived in the house since 1984, I lived there until 1991. 

Initially we were talking about the family dog, Lady.  I remember their telling me how they used to hear her barking and heard the bell on her collar shortly after her passing. I remember not thinking anything odd about that, in part because I remember certain events I'd experienced in the past, in the house and elsewhere. I believe in ghosts and their manifestations. She even mentioned how on more than one occasion they would both hear her bell and look at each other, questioning the other for validation of what they experienced.

I recall on many occasions seeing a ghost cat within the house, and even at the time Lady would react to it. I never mentioned it to my parents because, well I doubted they'd believe me.  So after Lady passed, a much loved and cherished family member, I saw nothing odd in hearing that they felt she was still there.

When I returned home for a visit not long after, I remember being in the downstairs family room when the doorbell rang; immediately after I heard Lady, clear as day, barking her fool head off (as she was want to do whenever it rang). I even yelled her name out loud to have her stop.  Only after I called her by name did it sink in that she was not there... in body at least.  And on a few occasions I would see her curled up in her favourite napping spot under the end table near the front door, only to disappear moments later.

But back to today's phone call.  Immediately after talk of Lady, she mentioned how both her and Dad hear phantom footsteps in the house. Now this is a little surprising these days considering that they both wear hearing aids, but seldom wear them! :-) I asked a few question about what they have been experiencing and where, because I too have had things happen there as well, other than the ghost cat, and Lady. 

She said they both often hear someone walking around either on the floor above them or below depending on where they are.  She also mentioned how she often calls out to my father when he's not in the house because she hears 'him' coughing, and questioning why he's back so soon... she gets no reply because he is indeed not there.

I didn't bring up my previous experiences because to be truthful I don't want them more spooked than they already are. 

But for the record, this is the main event that is as clear to me today as when it originally happened in 1989. My parents were out of town and I had 6 or 7 friends over for a pot-luck dinner and an evening of board games. As it was the first time a few of them visited, I was giving them a tour of the house. When I opened the door to the basement and turned on the light the four of us all saw a man standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up at is. We all immediately reacted, jumped back and gasped/screamed. And as soon as we saw him he vanished.  I slammed the door and we all took off upstairs. 

We were all shaken up, obviously.  The others who had not been with us said they'd take a look. I offered to go with them and we went back down stairs. When I opened the door (the light was still on, as in my hast from moments before I didn't turn it off) We went down the final stairs and looked around. There was no one there and there was no way for anyone to get in or out, the two windows in the basement were too high and too small to enter or exit. But it felt different.  

When we all went back upstairs 2 people decided they wanted to leave. The rest of us remained and had an otherwise uneventful but pleasant evening. 

I only saw him once more a few months after. I was alone and was going down to get some firewood for the wood stove. As soon as I saw him he vanished. But it was the same 'man', dressed all in black with a trench coat  and a hat, like the top hats men wore back around confederation. I wasn't as fearful this time, in part because any time I opened the door after the initial encounter I expected to see him, but also because I just didn't feel any malevolence or ill will from him. Mind you that didn't mean any time I went down there again that I didn't get in and out as fast as possible. And, on occasion I felt as he was there, even if I didn't see him.

I don't know who he is, or was, why he was there or if he is still there to this day... I do know what my parents experienced did not bare any similarity to my experience with 'the man in the basement' so today I didn't bother bringing him up to Mom and Dad.  While they didn't seem so bothered with what they've experienced I don't really see the need to add to any concerns they have in the house. 

I will keep tabs on what they're experiencing however during future calls...

Saturday, 18 January 2014

# 018 AnticipaShawn

I'm kinda done with chicken soup. That's pretty much all I've eaten for 3 days and I just can't take another spoonful. 

I asked my Marcel if he would mind making a mega veggie stir-fry rice bowl tonight. He makes AMAZING rice bowls with veggies and pork, or chicken. Truth be told, anything he makes is amazing, but tonight I've got a craving and it's for Veggies and rice,  and nothing else will do.

It's impossible most days not to take seconds, regardless of what he prepares. Usually the only way that happens is if the first serving is huuuuge.  Tonight I don't think it's gonna matter the size of the serving, I will have seconds.

I'm not even sure if he's adding any protein into this version, all I really want is a huge ass bowl of rice and stir fried veggies... anything else will be bonus. 

More than anything I just want to chomp down on some cooked yet crisp veggies, and chew. Chew chew chew. (There's not much to chew in soup)

I am already catching wisps of deliciousness coming from the kitchen. My mouth is watering, and in my head I'm singing a little Carly Simon...

♪ ♫ Anticipation.
Is making me late.
Is keeping me waiting... ♫ ♪

Friday, 17 January 2014

# 017 RecuperaShawn

Sleep didn't come easy last night, not because I wasn't sleepy, but because of this cursed cough. Therefore,  I had to rely on my old friends Extra Strength Tylenol PM, or as I like to call 'em, "My Blue Bippies". I actually managed to sleep from about 11 PM til 8 AM.

Today has been all about rest and recuperation.  Naps, and bad day-time TV. Hot toddies, cough syrup, decongestants, and my trusty neti-pot. Chicken soup. Lather, rinse, repeat.

I also managed to squeeze in two episodes of American Horror Story - Asylum. I've got two episodes left, I think I'll hold them til tomorrow... just in case I spend the entire day in bed again.  Not sure what it is about AHS  but when I was sick with a real nasty bug last year I watched the entire first season. I've kept season 2 for when I've been sick since then. Not sure wha I'll do before season 3 comes our on DVD. Oh the torture. ;-) Get it? Torture?! American Horror Story... Torture... Even sick and I still got it.

For tonight however...  more hot toddies and flannels and my own personal man servant, Marcel.  I gotta say, if I'm sick, there is nothing gonna make me feel better, put a smile on face, like he can. He waits on me hand and foot, and even gives me the bed so I can get a good night sleep. Almost makes me wish this cold would stick around a few more days...

Thursday, 16 January 2014

#016 CongestShawn part II

Well, I tried.

Woke up this morning with a raunchy sore throat. I pretty much knew that was going to happen though. But even still I thought, "This is not going to stop me!", I got up, got dressed and went to work anyway.

The best laid plans, as they say...

I actually made it past noon, 1:15 PM to be exact. But the sinus pressure, the coughing, sneezing, and the nausea was all too much.

I was home by 2:30 PM and in bed, fast asleep less than an hour after.  I woke up at 7:30 PM, and now after a bowl of chicken noodle soup, I'm back in bed.

I may know when I'm defeated, but I also know that my bed is super comfy!

# 015 CongestShawn

Well, it started today. 

I woke up with a little tickle in my throat. An hour later as I was exiting the Metro I  felt like I'd been hit by a steam roller.

Somehow I had the wherewithal to bring some zinc tablets and Vit C to the office.  Once I got in the door, I grabbed a hot tea and some Advil and decided that I was going to win this. I was sucking on zinc tablets and alternately drinking tea and then effervescent vitamin C all day long. 

By about noon the pressure behind my eyes faded. Maybe I can do this.  Maybe I can beat this bug into submission from the very beginning.

For lunch I was decided I'd step it up a notch. Chicken Tonkinese Soup with extra Sriracha.  Et voila... I could breathe again!

Unfortunately, by about 4PM a deep cough took hold. I was beginning to lose the fight. Cough drops were useless.

Suppertime called for more soup... Chicken Tom Yum. Delicious but still the congestion continues to increase... 

I have one final attack tonight. I will do a double Neti-Pot and pray that come morning I don't become the walking dead. 

...but I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

#014 TransportaShawn FrustraShawn

If you live in Montreal, and you take public transit with any regularity, you know.

What you know is that with a painful almost clockwork precision there are slowdowns and shut-downs.

About a year and a half ago they pumped a lot of money into upgrading their notification system, by adding notices to their Facebook page, opening a Twitter account for each Metro line, placing multiple flat screen TV monitors in most stations,  and more frequent announcements on the PA system.

So instead of just accepting that the Metro is slow, we now hear that there is a slow-down because of a blocked door, every 10 minutes, pretty much every day. 

Or, like with today with an "emergency intervention" on the Orange Line. They were very good to keep announcing that there was a shut-down between 3 Metro stations and that service would be restored in 15 minutes. And then 5 minutes later that the shut-down was now 4 stations and the service would return in 15 minutes.  And then 5 minutes later that the shut-down was now 5 stations and the service would return in 15 minutes. And then 5 minutes later that the shut-down was still 5 stations and the service would return in 15 minutes. You get the idea... And that 15 minutes quickly has become 30+ minutes.

Here's an idea, accept that you know that an "emergency intervention" is likely going to take more than 10 - 15 minutes and that you're better off saying service will be down for 30 minutes (which is generally the bare minimum) Then if, god-forbid, the service comes back up on line sooner then you actually expected, it makes you look like you were really keen to fix the situation. But no, keep on with your constantly saying it will return in 15 minutes, and then adding 5 minutes to that over and over again until you loose track of the fact that 15 minutes had doubled or tripled in time. It just makes the packed metro cars and stations full of frustrated commuters that much more unhappy and agitated

It gets old. Really quick. Quicker in fact than the non-stop announcements that you question if they contain any actual, valuable, reliable information. People were impressed for the first few weeks or so. Then they realized that you hear the same damn pre-recorded  announcements, non-stop. Seemingly when there's nothing even actually wrong. 

Time to start actually improving the damn Metro lines and cars instead of just telling us it's always broke. 

Monday, 13 January 2014

# 013 Commercial DeleShawn

Do you PVR?

We've formed an unnatural connection to ours. We'll watch the News live and then generally eTalk and the repeat of the Big Bang, by 8 PM we're watching nothing but PVRed shows.  Which is just as well because generally we've got so many things taping that we have no choice but to watch something taped. 

It all started with particular shows being on late and never managing to stay up to watch. Once we discovered the joys of skipping the commercials, we.. were.. hooked. 

But it's not just skipping the commercials, it's the fact that you can watch more shows in an evening. Most hour long shows are really only 40 - 42 minutes. So we end up watching 3-4 "hours" worth of shows in an evening... COMMERCIAL FREE!!!

The only issue that has developed is that now we compete for who is the more skilled at fast-forwarding through the commercials, without going too far and skipping over the actual show. And we get a little worked up about it. 

Sure you say, "How hard can it be?", but from channel to channel, standard network to speciality station, just how many commercials are aired during the break, and what is the length of those ads varies. Causing the most experienced fast-forwarder to become an amateur remote controller in the click of a button, and the other an armchair coach to become a bitter jaded critic. Such was our dilemma last night watching the series première of Helix. The first half of the episode was commercial-free, and then once the ads started they were coming every 5 minutes, with varying number and length.  

Modern day convenience to world problems at the click of a button.

This post brought to you by  the Future Today. (c)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

#012 ConservaShawn

Addict is a nasty word, I prefer Enthusiast. When it comes to Eggnog I am over-enthusiastic to say the least. 

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the drink. Straight, in coffee, with rum or Tia Maria, as a substitute for milk when making ice cream, pudding, pancakes, cookies, you name it. 

The sweet, smooth, creamy, luscious, indulgent, nectar is something I cannot live without. Come mid-November comes along, I am on the hunt. Checking my local grocery stores, daily. And when it comes on the market, I buy it in bulk. Two, four, six litres at a time. By the end of December I begin to hoard the drink. 

Once January rolls around the rationing begins. Long gone are the days of tumblers full of the beverage. We are now in the Coffee Nog only days of the year. It's now a question of how long can we make it last. We are now down to just a little over 1 full litre of Nog.  At best we could make it two more weekends. There is no way we'll beat the record of February 3rd for last glass. 

And once that last sip is gone, it's a long agonizing waiting game until mid-November. 

Until then, it's Keep Calm and Nog On.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

#011 AppreciaShawn

Say what you want about social media, it makes the world we live in seem a little smaller and brings people from a distance seem closer.

Case in point, the friendships I've made on Facebook. A quarter of all the people on my Friend's List are people I've not met in person. But what's interesting is that these are to a great extent the primary people that I interact with. Some I'd even consider part of my extended family.

Through the years some a closer connection has grown, and the exchange of Christmas Cards, and Christmas and Birthday gifts have evolved. Not that gifts equate to value per se, but does indicate at least to, me an intimacy of connection and relationship.  It really says something when you have closer relationships with these people than some family. But then again, you can pick your friends, not your family, so...

One particular friendship that has developed is with a couple in Atlanta, GA. Aside from Marcel and I, and they being gay, we all share a love and fondness for our pets. All rescued dogs, all Chihuahua or Chihuahua cross. 

As I've said, while it's not expected, there has been an exchange of Christmas gifts between us in the past few years. They are at once one of my most firm defenders (and suppliers) of all things Leopard and of Chihuahua Christmas Ornaments. Sometimes both combined! It is the Chihuahua Christmas Ornaments that I cherish the most because they combine two of favourite things, AND they've helped me be able to add to my collection to ensure I have a new ornament for each year I've had my 3.5 pound furry bundle of joy, Santiago de Montreal. I don't know that they even know this, but on those years I've not been able to locate such an ornament they have sent me one. 

It's such a small and yet significant gesture that is deeply appreciated and cherished. And one that would not have existed save for a little web interface known as Facebook.

So I say thank you to Facebook, and to John and Carl as well. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

#010 AbominaShawn

So I'm not sure if you remember that vine video a few weeks back about the cute black fuzzy thing that someone touches and than a gazillion spiders burst forth. If you've not see the vine and have some , well here is a link. I don't suggest that you do view it, but hey, I'm not your mother.

Yea. Nice, right?! Well that thing made a starring role in one of my dreams last night, because yea, I'm all about the creep factor. I woke up immediately, cursing out my subconscious for allowing that image to taint my dream world.

As if that was not enough, I have the ability to continue an interrupted dream if I wake up.  (I had to work on that for years to develop the ability to lucid dream.) Most times this is a great ability, because hey, who hasn't said at least once, "If only I could go back into that dream." But when you've just dreamed of that spider abomination, then no, this is not the time to go back into the dream... decidedly not.

Alas, I did. Within a minute or so I fell back asleep and BAM! like a wicked case of acid reflux, the fuzzy spider thing is back.  

Naturally, I wake up, and yes... I fall back to sleep a few minutes later and the freaking spider thing is there again. 

I'm in my own self-induced, spider-infested dreamland Groundhog Day; and I don't like it. I've said it before, the only good bug is a dead bug.

Tonight I plan on watching 30 minutes of cute kitten and puppy videos. 

This. Cannot. Repeat. 

Thursday, 9 January 2014

#009 SuggestShawn

There comes a time on one's life when you just have to say, 'Fuck it! Y'on your own."

I have a co-worker that talks... NON. STOP. She offers colour commentary to absolutely every single thing she does throughout the day, including vocalizing what she's thinking about doing.

On top of that, she asks questions. Questions. Questions. Questions. She ask's what you'd do? What is your opinion? What does this mean? What is that? How can I find such and such? Where is that thing?

So as a person that's not a total dick, *I* answer those questions. I offer my opinions. I make suggestions. I help out where I can.

And never once is anything I say taken into consideration. It's as if, regardless of what I answer, she goes with the opposite. At first I used to think that I was just imagining it. But I've tested this over time. I'll actually answer contrary to what I even want to say. I'll actually give the wrong answer. I've even answered the same questions (posed at different times) with the opposite answer of the original response, sometimes days or weeks in the past; and she still goes to the opposite answer I just gave.

Well today I drew a line in the sand. And after going on and on about a work situation that we were both dealing with -  I was done with it for over an hour, she was still chugging along because, of course, she was T A L K I N G    N O N    S T  O P...  She asked, how I was done so quickly? I told her I ran a quick report based on historical data from our clients and was able to use that to base who I should and shouldn't call. instead of just calling all my clients (even those that do not purchase the product in question) blindly. Then... get this, I offered her the report so she can cut to the chase and just call the necessary clients.  Well she said that it was a "waste of paper" (the report was 24 pages). This from the person that prints all her email. ALL of them.

I calmly looked at her and said, "While I disagree with what you consider a waste of paper, you're more than welcome to spend the next couple of hours calling clients you don't need to. It's really not my problem. I'll just sit over here not listening to you complain about how behind you are." 

And while I was at it, I said, "And in the future, I suggest, unless you're talking about one of my clients, don't bother asking me anything because it's just a waste of my time."

Yea, that was a dick thing to do, true; but stick a fork in me, I am done.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

#008 CelebraShawn

Well, as far as I'm concerned, I've already surpassed the first milestone for this blog. I've made it past the first week! 

Woo hoo!

So what now? Well, more blogging. But what am I blogging about?  To tell you the truth, I still don't know.  I think I'll just keep with what I've been doing so far and that's use the events of the day to flavour my posts.

Of course that really only works if something actually happened that made me focus, think, want to share it. Today, not so much.

Here's a little recap of what didn't happen...
My Irish Tin Whistle did not arrive yet.
It didn't snow, and it really wasn't that cold out.
There were no Christmas Decorations to take down.
I didn't need a drink to numb the pain.
I woke up easy enough and I didn't take a nap.
I didn't buy any more Christmas Decorations (although I did buy 15 more yesterday...)
Nobody was laid off at work (today).

So as you can see it was a dud of a day.

I did have McDo for lunch, which makes me happy.
I bought a lotto ticket.
I had two solid BMs.
I got caught up on a lot of paperwork at the office.
I didn't wish slow painful torture on anyone today.
... so there's that.

Hey, it can't all be gold here, people.

But I did make it past the first week of blogging again.  And soon I'll have blogged for a month, then a season and before I know it a year will be up. For now, I'll celebrate the small things. The small victories. 

So, yea me. 

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

#007 Corporate Re-organizaShawn

Dodging the Corporate Restructuring Bullet is not easy. I was successful today. Thankfully.

I've seen about a dozen small to large lay-offs in the company I work for, in my 7 1/2 years so far. Knock wood, I've made it through all of them. 

When you see a couple upper management types walk into your department and close the door, you know the axe is falling. The question is 'where'?

As much as you feel bad for those that are gone, you have to hold on to the fact that you're still there, you still have a job. And you have to not dwell on the nagging question that want's your undivided attention... 'could I be next?' 

The truth is, any of us could be next and there's very little you can do to be avoid being one of the next unlucky drones. You can pour your heart and soul into your job, be a model employee, be with the company for 3 years or 18+. It makes no difference. I've seen that today.

Most cuts, when you really look at it, make sense. Today was not the case. I'm sure if you did a poll in the office, no one that was escorted out would have been on the list. Not that you would wish this on anyone, but knowing looks and water cooler fodder quickly provides an alternate short list.

But for now I'm going to have to put all that behind me, as I'm being called into Mr Vodka's Office... 

Monday, 6 January 2014

#006 ConfesShawn

Hi, my name is Shawn and I'm a Christmas-a-holic. It's been 6 hours since my last Christmas Decoration Purchase.

To be fair, everything Christmas is 90% off at Target. NINETY. PERCENT. OFF. Not that I need to rationalize or excuse myself. And hey, I only bought 5 boxes of new tree ornaments. Total with taxes: $4.96. It would have been madness NOT to get them! MADNESS!

They're totally not needed. Completely unnecessary.  100% coveted. 

To be clear here, I will go back. 

This is not a wagon I intend to take a ride upon.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

#005 HibernaShawn

I'm not a napper by nature. I'm more of a marathon sleeper...

...or at least I used to be.

I recall a time where I could go to bed and regardless of time sleep for a good twelve hours and still want to stay covered up under the covers for a few more hours.

Naps on the other hand, were not my friend. If I napped for 15 mins or an hour it was always the same thing - I would wake up groggy, surly, in a foul mood, grumpy for the rest of the day. And worse still I'd not be able to sleep that night. Therefore I avoided them on principle.

As usual, on week nights at least, I am in bed by 9:30 pm, 10:00 pm MAX and asleep shortly after...  getting up is still like it used to be... pure and unadulterated hell!  

Fast forward to Friday and Saturday night... and sleep is but a mystery...   I wake up, 'WIDE AWAKE' awake anywhere between 3:00 am and 5:00 am, and there is NO going back to sleep. I mean who wants to sleep in late into the morning on the weekend? What with al the household chores awaiting... Am I right?!  

Well screw that...  me and Nap Time have called a truce. The last few times I've napped, I've awakened and felt refreshed and still able to get to sleep at night. And I'm pleased to say I napped this afternoon for a little over an hour and a half and I am ready for bed...  Seriously... I could go to bed right now...

...  in fact... 

Sweet dreams.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

#004 LibaShawn

Well we're done. 

The halls have been un-decked, and now I has a sad. 

My boyfriend Marcel seems to be coping much better. See, he's more of a minimalist whereas I  come from a long line of chotchkie loving, clutter bugs that will cover any surface that doesn't have pigeon spikes on them.

While my festive powers have over the years worked more than mere magic on Marcel; he now not only loves to decorated for the holiday, he thinks about and plans this in advance. Even as we were packing up the decorations today, he was talking about decorating for next Christmas. But being a muggle, my powers have their limits.  By about New Year's Eve he starts getting fidgety. Ticks start to become noticeable. He starts hallucinating about clean surfaces, and empty rooms. 

After four and a half hours, everything was wrapped and boxed and waiting on the stairs to be transferred to the storage unit in the morning, and Marcel is happy.

On the other side of the coin, I am depressed. Looking about where once there were Christmas trees, nutcrackers, wreaths, candle holders, and countless other festive bric-a-brac; staring at empty table tops and empty mantels, I am but a crushed shell of a man.

My only option at this point is to hit the liquor cabinet. In fact I'm already on my second Bloody Caesar, and I very well may have a third.

Here's hoping the sweet sweet haze from the Vodka Gods will soon blur my vision and cause bright lights to flash across my eyes...

Friday, 3 January 2014

#003 DeforestaShawn


I hate this time of the year. No, not Winter; the end of the Christmas Holidays. Usually, this doesn't really hit until Jan 6th, Epiphany. That's the regular date I'll take down the Christmas Tree and all the other decorations... but Jan 6th lands on a Monday, and that just won't do. 

As it is, we need to rent a car to get all the boxes and storage containers from the storage unit, get them into the house, take down the decorations, pack them, then get them back to the storage unit, and then finally return the car. All within 24 hours. So tomorrow begins the great un-decking of the halls.

Kiss the weekend goodbye. 

And kiss my Christmas joy buzz away, too.

This year will be more of a challenge than previous years. We currently have 6 trees in the house. And sure, 3 of them are only 2 feet tall but they are all covered in ornaments. When all is said and done, it will look like the place has been clear-cut like the Amazonian Rainforest. Not a tree will be left standing.

All the glitz and glimmer, sparkle and shimmer, twinkle and glow will be gone. Good-bye, my beautiful Christmas decorations, I will miss you. See you in 11 months.

Tomorrow will begin two weeks of the post-Christmas de-greening blues. 

My only solace is that there are still two litres of Nog in the fridge... 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

#002 TemptaShawn

If you know me, you know I love and live for Winter. 

I don’t ski, skate, or do any other winter sport, but I love to watch them on TV, but that's not why.

I guess I just never out-grew that grade-school obsession of hearing of cold and snow in the forecast and immediately praying to God, or the Devil  - whoever it took really, (you do what it takes) for a snow-day.  Back in the day I’d go out and play all day in the ice and snow,  never really noticing how cold I was, or how wet the mittens got until it was time to go back inside. Then, that gut-wrenching moment, the decision that MUST be made… do you do your night’s homework, or has the temptation of not having to go to school the next day pulled so strong that you’ve already blown it off and begun planning the fort you will spend the day making, or the  snowman you’ll make as tall as the trees in your yard? It’s a gamble, but you’ve learned over the years to read between the lines of the smiling forecaster, and even though you know that 25-35 cms of snow will not materialize… it’s already too late. The lure has proven too strong, there’s no going back…   now it’s a waiting game.

These days, when I hear of cold weather and snow on the horizon I still pray for the snowstorm of all snowstorms… even thought I will still have to go to work…  but oh… taking those first few steps in a fresh coating of snow… (that much more a rare sacred moment when you live downtown in a big city.) Being the first person to make a path in crisp new fallen snow…  that act calls to me, tempting me with the pure simple pleasure of being the first.

And even if it doesn’t snow, a teeth-chattering, bone-numbing arctic-blast is still welcome. And today is such a day.  It’s -25’C outside right now (-39'C wind-chill) and I’m not complaining…

I know how to dress for Winter. I’m not an idiot.

I HATE THE HEAT.   My inner body temp must be a few degrees higher than most because I can’t cope with hot weather. I’d rather have to warm myself up a bit than try and cool myself down.  

As soon as I go outside on a day like this, I’m immediately drawn to 3 things:

1) That Calvin and Hobbes strip where Calvin walks outside, stands in place, scrunches up his nose and face and in the forth frame say, “Don’t you hate it when your boogers freeze?” and I laugh to myself, each and every time. You know it and I know it. It’s going to happen. The real question is how long will it take? Can you resist the urge to twitch your nose… once you do, you can’t stop. It’s a contest you know you’re going to lose. Immediately I am a child again.

2) The sound my boots make when I’m walking. It’s a combination of fingernails on chalkboards and a string quartet playing some never-ending staccato air. It’s bittersweet. You love the sound, and you hate it at the same time. It travels up my  spine and back down with every step I take. Even as you read this you can hear it and feel it travel from foot to head and back again. There’s no mistaking it. I can get lost in the sound, mesmerized, hypnotized by each and every step.

3) “I triple dog dare you!” and *cue* tongue on cold metal. (from A Christmas Story.)
I did that once. On one of the main posts on our swing-set in the back-yard. I think I was maybe 6 or so. I remember my tongue freezing instantly on contact with the pole. I also remember being alone at the time and not sure what to do…   It wasn’t as cold as today however, and I guess in my state of fear and exhilaration (yes, exhilaration… have YOU ever stuck your tongue to cold metal.  It’s freaking crazy! Unless you have done it or try it, you cannot completely describe the sensation), I guess I managed just enough tension pulling back  and was blessed with over-active salivary glands that enough saliva was pouring down my tongue so that it wasn’t freezing and it loosened my tongue. And with a *pop* Jack Frost released his grip on my tongue.
I’ll tell you this… as exhilarating as it was, It’s never going to happen again.

But the fascination I have for Winter, the allure of its stark beauty, the desire for the next Snowpocalypse is just a day away.