Saturday, December 22, 2012

#136. or, Ho Ho Holy crap, this is a long post!

  I think that I'm finished putting up the Christmas lights in my yard. I could actually put more stuff up, we have more stuff, but there has to be a point where you just say, screw it, this is good enough, I've got other shit to take care of! The 22nd of December seems like a good day to make that call.

  I've been working on putting up our lights for some time now. I think that I've probably talked about doing it on at least a couple of occasions. And you probably have an image in your head right now, of Clark Griswald's house, covered in 20 000, imported, Italian twinkle bulbs. The truth is, it's not quite that grand. I like having lights in the yard and on the house. This year though, because we still have some puppies about, we've had to avoid putting things on the ground near the house.

  Cause puppies like to chew on stuff. Puppies chewing on stuff that plugs into electricity, isn't such a good idea.

  Also, if I were to actually put some of this stuff away, BEFORE July, I probably wouldn't have to spend as much time fixing things, as I do putting them up. And, a bit more care at putting the lights away, would avoid messes like this:

The warm glow of Christmas lights just before they melt through the kitchen floor

  So, this is the post where I try to take you back in time, (again) in an attempt to re-live some of the Christmases, of your childhood. If you read THIS POST, I had whipped out my magical Sears Wish Book, from 1974 and asked what you had wanted from it when you were a kid. The thing that grabbed you by the scruff of your polyester shirt, as you flipped through the pages with sticky little fingers from the death grip on your candy cane,  while you stole away to your private hiding spot to see what wonderful treasures the pages held for you.  The thing you circled 18 times in red felt pen, that was at the top of your list to Santa Claus, and made you take out the garbage that one time, without even being asked, just to bump your name, a line or two higher on the "nice" list.

  Let me reach into my magic sack, and see what I can find. (I know that sound dirty, but it's not! Get your mind out of the gutter.)

  It seems that the GI Joe's were pretty popular back in the day, One Day I'll Be That Guy, Queen Holly,  and Wily Guy all talked about wanting one of them along with his Kung Fu Grip!

   And a special add on for Wily Guy, who remembered having the GI Joe jeep:

From the Desert Patrol Set  $15.99
 For Shirley, who had the Barbie car that she had to share with her sister. It might not be the same as the one you had, but it's the only car that I could find that wasn't the motor home or the beach bus.

That's one good lookin' Ken in that car with Barbie!
Kianwi, was pretty adamant that I didn't forget her Baby Crissy doll. Here's 6 of them!

I believe the specific one she wanted was 3rd from the left. $4.99
 My friend CLR, thought she had dreamed about getting some skates.

The girls beginners skates were $10.99
  Stephen, The Chubby Chaterbox, said that in 1974, he was newly married and most likely didn't even check out the toy section. I figured, a newly married couple might be looking in a different section of the Wish Book.

The sexiest lingerie I could find, $11.98 

  So that was all of the items that I could find from the Wish Book. There were a few others who asked about items that I had to do a bit of searching for.

  Like Debra, who asked about the Brother typewriter she got as she went off to university.

hopefully that's close?
  And Heather, who is far too young to have been looking in the 1974 Wish Book, asked about Cabbage Patch dolls.

  Bryan, who lives in England, (I think?) was wondering about the Johnny Seven. I had never even heard of this before and had to google it. Once I found out what it was, I wished I had one when I was a kid!

 Michael said that he didn't have the GI Joe, but it did remind him of The 6 Million Dollar Man action figure that he had as a kid.

  Daniel, who grew up in the Soviet Union, suggested, that as a child, he probably was interested in things like books and microscopes.

 Youngman Brown, remembered having a Power Wheels. It seems that there are hundreds of Power Wheels vehicles. The ones that stick mostly in my brain are the jeep ones. That's the one I found.

 And finally, Shockgrubz and I got into a bit of a discussion about a green power wheels. Eventually, I think we narrowed it down to being The Green Machine. The pimped out version of a Big Wheels.

I remember wanting one of these, but had no concrete to drive it on.

  So that's my list. I hope that I didn't leave anybody out. Although I may have, this post became far more labor intensive than I had thought it would be. If you didn't get on, I apologize. I had a lot of fun remembering all of these things. I hope that you were able to remember some simpler times as well.

  This will most likely be my last post until after Christmas, I wish you all the best and hope the holidays are everything that you imagine them to be. Here's a Canadian version of a holiday classic for you to enjoy.

This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

#135. or, I'd like to give you some schwag

 So, here's an interesting little tid bit. Today's post, or, more accurately, today's date (December 19th), marks the completion of my first year of attempting to be a blogger. I can't begin to tell you how much I wish I had one of those New Years Eve, noise maker things, that unroll like the tongue of a lizard in the jungle, rolling it out to snag a passing bug.

 Cause I'd blow that noise maker right now to signify fanfare and exuberance. That, and we'd all get to wear silly hats.

  WOO HOO, will have to suffice.

  I think it's been a pretty interesting year for me here. It's been quite a learning curve from the day that I pushed that publish button, on my very first post until now. In fact, there are still certain things that I'd like to be able to add, that I'm not quite sure how to, just yet. That will come, I hope.

 I'm little bit disappointed that this is only my 135th post. Truthfully, when I began, I had intended to be somewhere between 200 and 300 posts right now. But the fact that I'm still here almost every week, at least once, isn't too bad, I guess?

  When I started this, I never really expected to have too many followers. Other than, of course, my relatives and the few people that I chatted with over on facebook. Now, I have 61 wonderful people who are listed as my followers and have had around 23000 views on my blog. I suspect that that's middle of the road numbers, but that's OK. I'm a middle of the road sort of guy.

  So, are there any crappy things about doing this? A couple, that I can think of. It's been really difficult to give some of the other bloggers, that have been so supportive of me, the time they deserve in having me return the favor of commenting back on their posts. I read a lot of blogs. Sometimes I need to think about them for a while before I comment. Once in a while, I just forget to go back to leave a comment. That's something I wish I could do better.

  Also, I've been getting A LOT of spam comments the last month. It always excites me when I get a notification of a comment that somebody has left. When I go to check to see what's there, and it's somebody   leaving an add for something, it's rather annoying. I don't know how to fix that, other than to turn the stupid CAPTCHA back on but I don't really want to do that.

  I would like to think that my writing has improved a bit over the last year. I still spell like shit, but have developed a phenomenal friendship with the spell checker. It makes me look much smarter than I actually am. I have also bought my domain name, and would like to switch my blog over onto that in the new year. If you were to google, right now, you get a picture of a boat, or some such nonsense. I'd like to get something there that's at least relevant to this site.

  Now, without all of you, I'd most likely still be here, but I wouldn't be having nearly as much fun. So here's the good part. I want to give you something. I would like to give EVERYBODY something, but I don't know how to do that. Also, I can't afford that. So, until I'm able to become a billionaire, playboy philanthropist, through my imaginary job as a male underwear model, only one person will win something.

  This something :

........because, how can you look bad in a John Deere hoodie!

  From today, until January 1st, I'll keep track of all of the comments I get on my posts, and from the comments on posts that I link to facebook. Of those names, I'll draw the name of one person, who can decide which hoodie that they would like, and I'll mail it to them. Simple as that. I hope you win.

  In other exciting news, the fine fellows over at Dude Write have seen fit to award my last post with a Chairman's Choice Award. High praise indeed!

  And finally, if you're at all interested in burning off that gallon of gravy and egg nog that you plan on consuming this Christmas, don't forget to go to my blogger 5K page tab, on the bottom of my header picture. You can leave a comment there and my friend Kianwi and I would love to add your name to the list.

  Honestly, it's the end of December already and I've only been to the track one time. There's no need to feel intimidated about this. We're all friends here, and we don't judge.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

#134. or, Back in Time

  I love Christmas, really.....I do. But for some reason, I just can't seem to get a handle on the spirit of the season. There's just so much going on and I can't slow down enough to appreciate everything that's going on.  The days are flying by as we get nearer and nearer to Christmas, and I'm still trying to get my yard decorated . I think, tonight, we're finally putting up our tree. I hope that puts a little festivity in my soul. But I think that 6 or 8 glasses of rum and eggnog might kick start my festive mood as well.

  One of my favorite holiday traditions has always been the Sears Wish book.  I mentioned this before, but even now, I still look through the toy section. Even though, I don't think that I have actually gotten a toy out of that book in, well, a very long time.

  Anyways, do you remember when I made a mention of having a collection of 30 year old TV Guides? I hope you do, Because it was only my last post. I took a bit ribbing for that (thanks Kianwi). BUT, something else that I have is a Sears Christmas Wish book from 1974.

  I like to look at it when the season rolls around, When I'm all hustled and at whits end, trying to get everything done, It has the magical ability to transport me back to when I was a kid in polyester pants, flipping through the pages, making a list of things that any 6 year old kid would be envious of. Back when it was me who was tucked under the covers at night, dreaming of Santa Claus and his flying reindeer.

  And what was at the top of the list for 6 year old Ken-inatractor, long before there were any thoughts of cows and combines? When Ken- the astronaut, still filled my imagination. Or, Ken- the spy, had me writing notes in invisible ink of lemon juice that held the plans for saving the world from some evil genius.

  The item that topped the list was this:

The one in the middle, item #10. Paratrooper set- $7.99

  So what else was available from the Sears Wish Book in 1974?

Maybe a boys, crested hockey jersey, also $7.99 (yes, that's my thumb.)

  Or, maybe you were into GI Joe? But not just any GI Joe, a talking GI Joe, with the KUNG FU GRIP! There was a whole page dedicated to him. And oddly enough, he costed $7.99 as well. You could however, pick up any of his Kung Fu lackeys for $4.99. Quite the bargain for all of that Kung Fu awesomness.

   When I took these pictures, it hadn't really occurred to me that everything was going to price in at $7.99. What was expensive in 1974?

 How about this "Yellow Gold color" solid state, quartz wrist watch!  Yours for only $195! What do you get with this watch for the incredible value of $195? Um....well, it doesn't have a calculator. It doesn't have a stopwatch. The add doesn't even mention if it has the date and month. It does however, say that this, Yellow Gold color watch, is the "biggest step forward in time keeping since the invention of the sundial". So, all of that, and it's accurate to within 5 seconds a month.

   Apparently, in 1974, 5 lost seconds or so a month wasn't all that important. Maybe that's not such a bad thing?

 Anyways, if you were around in 1974, or even have an interest in something historical from around then, ask me about it in a comment. Did you get something, or want something as a kid from the Sears Wish Book, way back when, and want to slip back into a simpler time?  I'll try put them together in a post with pictures, around Christmas and help you to remember what it was like to be a kid again,

  ..................... in your polyester pants.

This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK

Friday, December 07, 2012

#133. or, There's a leak in my bed

  Currently, we are in the midst of renovating our bedroom. Nothing quite as extensive as blowing a wall out and actually changing the physical configuration of the room. But still, the floor is down to the plywood and we're replacing all of the trims and the window. So, in terms of sleeping facilities, my wife and I are somewhat........transient.

  Before we could start this renovation, we had to go through some of our stuff and, well.....weed things out. Now, we've been together for over 20 wonderful years. And fortunately, when we moved in together, the woman I love, came with household things. Like everything necessary to function from day to day. The only thing of value that I brought along was my official framed, 1989, Batman movie poster. Which she did grudgingly let me hang on our living room wall for a little while, or at least until she found something less man-cave-ish to replace it with. Now, my poster lives in the basement with our stinky children.

  Anyways, we had to cull some of our belongings. It's gotten a little easier to do that as I get older, but I still catch her rolling her eyes when I get, perhaps overly defensive, at her suggestion of throwing out my 30 year old, TV Guide collection and my zip-lock bag, full of broken wrist watch pieces. Some things are just sacred to a man. Plus, I may need that stuff some day?

  Now, because I'm always thinking about my wife, (besides the every 7 seconds thing) I wanted her to have the semblance of an actual bedroom while ours was in transition. So, I took it upon myself to transform our basement work room into the new, temporary, master bedroom. I use the term workroom, rather loosely, because while that's what we intended it to be, it's probably better described as the hell hole where we throw everything that we think we should keep, yet never use. It's the room that we keep the door closed on.

  So, I cleaned the workroom/hell hole out, and my son hauled away a whole trailer load of junk. It took me 3 days but I turned that space into a cozy area for us. I brought down a dresser for her, hung temporary closet rods, and set up our BYOB. (bring your own bed) This might come as a shock you, but sleeping on a bed, that folds up into a space slightly larger that a backpack, is not quite as luxurious as it sounds. It has a collapsible framework and an air mattress that slips into an attached sleeve. Really, it's not so bad, except I think it must have a slow leak. Over the few days we've been using it, I noticed that while we lay in it together, everything is fine. But when one person would get out, all of the air would fill the void left by that person, and whoever was left in bed, would drop down onto the framework. And because I suffer from the inability to jump out of bed, bright eye'd and bushy tailed, I would try to find the most comfortable position left available, by contorting my body to avoid all the high spots on the framework. Also, if whoever had gotten up, say to use the can or something, returned and flopped into bed, the person who had stayed, would be shot off the mattress, a few inches into the air. Which was fun, until my wife got mad at me for repeatedly getting in and out of bed to bounce her into the air and made me stop.

  One other thing that I overlooked, was making our bedroom right next to the furnace room. Actually, I had thought that one layer of drywall would sufficiently muffle the sounds of 2 furnaces rumbling away. I had failed to consider that while the layer of drywall was there, (which has no sound muffling qualities whatsoever, just in case your wondering)   all of the duct work runs directly into the workroom/hell hole/cozy bedroom. You would be correct if you were to assume that two tin boxes running the length of a room amplify sound, like to 100 times louder than if we had actually slept right on top of the furnaces. It's like trying to sleep in the engine test facility of a DC10 hanger.

  But we're getting used to it. I have to re-inflate the bed every other day to keep it firm, but that's not such a big deal. And while it's still noisy as hell, we seem to be getting used to the constant rumble of the furnaces. I've also noticed that there's something oddly comforting about laying in bed and actually being able to reach out in the dark and touch some of my power tools.

   ......................although I'm not sure that my wife appreciates that perk quite as much as I do?

This week, I'll be joining up with the other Dudes at Dude Write, with this post. I encourage you to pop over and read what the guys bring to the table. You can get there by clicking on THIS LINK

Thursday, December 06, 2012

#132. or, The K&K Virtual 5K

So, here we go.

  I don't know about you, but I seem to make better progress toward an end, if I have a goal to work toward. Now that things are beginning to slow up a bit for me, I would like to get back into the habit of running when I'm able. It's been something that I've done at the track, at the local arena, for the last few winters. It's been in the back of my mind for, like....almost forever it seems. It's just been hard to get motivated to drive into town in the evening to do it.

  My friend Kianwi, over at Simply She Goes, and I have come up with this cockamamie plan to do a virtual marathon. Just to be clear on this, a virtual marathon is NOT sitting on the couch, in front of the TV with a controller, directing an avatar around some course. I suppose it could be, but that's not what we had in mind. The plan is to actually compete with each other and do this 5K marathon together, at the same time, 3000 km apart.  In 3 months from now, on or about Saturday, March 2nd, we will hold our very first virtual marathon.  The sweet part is, we want you to join us in this adventure.

  Over the next week or so, we'll be putting up pages on our blogs to link back to all of the posts that relate to our run. Anybody who has an interest in joining up with us, is welcome to let us know in a comment or drop either of us an email. Kianwi at, or me at, We will be creating a list of anybody who joins up, and posting that on our pages as well. The list will be shared between us and will be visible on both sites.

  This is going to be a pretty casual affair. I mean, our goal will be to do as well as we both can in this, but we won't be posting weekly or anything early on. As we get closer to the date and things start to come together, we'll share the information we come up with, to let you know how things are shaping up. If anybody who wants to participate, wishes to do a post about this, we would be more than happy to link back to that post on our pages and you'll most likely get mentioned in one of the posts.

  The cool thing about this, is that conceivably, there could be a whole whack of us doing this in different parts of the world, without having never actually met each other, but still competing toward the same thing. So the more people the better. And if you can't run, then ride a bike, or just walk your dog, or get through the 5K anyway you can.

  We would like to let you know how we're doing at this, so the plan is to tweet about our progress and I'll likely comment about it on my facebook page too. We want to create a twitter hashtag that anyone can use, to comment on the progress in training that you have as well. It's probably going to be #KKRun so you can start watching for that to start popping up shortly.

  Hopefully, some of you will consider joining us. I think it's going to be a fun thing and if we can make ourselves better over the course of it, we all win.

 Now you need to head over to Kianwi's companion post and get her take on all of this.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

#131. or, Week 8, Get-away give-away answers.

Over the last 8 weeks, I've been following along and answering questions as often as I've been able, over at Carrie's, Hammock in the Honeysuckle site. Last Sunday, she asked her last question, well, 2 questions to be more exact. Tomorrow, she will draw from the entries of everyone who linked up with her, by answering her questions.

  The 2 questions she posed last week were:

  1. If you could be locked in somewhere overnight, where would it be, and what would you do? Would you be by yourself, or with someone, and if so, who?

  2.  Many of us have one moment or decision that, if we could go back, we would choose differently. If you could go back and get a do over, what would you do?

  To answer the 2nd question first, I think that I would like to go back and spend more time with my older boys when they were younger and in the lower grades in school.

  When my family was young, I was working pretty hard. I used to think that that was the important thing that I had to do to provide for my family. I pretty much missed all of the events that happened in school and the field trips that went on while my oldest son was in school. I was always the guy who couldn't quite find the time to make it to the assembly,  because there was one more important thing going on, that needed to get done first.

  After my father passed away, I realized that I was misguided in that thinking. I tried to be more involved in what my kids were doing and made the time to be there. I got my bus driver's licence so I could drive on field trips, and followed my boys to basketball trips and all of the school activities that I could manage.

  My two oldest boys are done school now, my youngest son is in grade 7. This is the first year that there isn't any Christmas concerts to go to and if there are any field trips, most likely, I won't be asked to drive the bus. I'm finding that I'm missing that. Especially this time of year. I kind of enjoyed watching the class programs that the little kids put on for the holidays. I wish that I could have been there more often to watch my older boys do their presentations.

  If I had a do over, I wish I could go back and give those little kids the attention that they deserved when they were smaller. Because before you know it, they're not little kids anymore, and if you blinked, you just might have missed some of the most magical times ever.

 So, for the first question, If you could be locked in somewhere overnight, where would it be, and what would you do? Would you be by yourself, or with someone, and if so, who?

  On Carrie's post, she talked about spending the night in one of those grand bookstores, surrounded by books of every nature. At first, I thought that sounded pretty good. I love to read. My problem is, that I'm a notoriously slow reader. I just like to take my time. If I didn't quite understand a paragraph, I'll go back and reread it just to be clear. I might spend 4 months reading a book. My favorite time to read is in bed just before falling asleep, and more often than not, I'll wake up with the book on my chest. So, maybe the bookstore isn't the best plan for me?

  Then I thought, I might like to be locked in a Victoria's Secret store with my wife. OH, the time I could have, watching her try all of those frilly things on! But, I'm no spring chicken anymore. I'm almost 45. With all of that visual stimulation, I'd be attacking my wife with all of the determination of an 18 year old, but these days, anything much more than a half hour, is a marathon. Then of course, I'd need a nap, and probably wouldn't wake up until the morning. So that might not be the best plan either?

  Maybe, I might like to spend some uninterrupted time exploring the The Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I've always loved rockets and space and the idea of suiting up travelling into orbit and looking back on the Earth.  I think they would have some pretty amazing things to look at. I might sit in a simulator and imagine that I'm circling the moon. Just look things over and get familiarized, just in case, one day, they need some middle-aged farmer to go into space to save the world.

  You better believe that I'd rock that intense, slow-motion walk.

    ................although, actually leaving the ground and throwing up might not be so cool?

  Anyways, that's my answers. Whether I win or not, doesn't really matter. I've got to connect with a bunch of fun people over the course of The Great Get-Away Give-Away Contest. That's the important thing here. I've made some new friends. And, I got to link back to Carrie's site multiple times, which is good too. She's a pretty awesome blogger, and I would encourage you just to stop over and take a look at her site and what she has to say. I'm quite certain that you'll want to stop back again.