Free is just another word….

I have a mantle clock. It is just a small little thing. I received it as a going away gift when I left my position as a Shipper / Lead Hand at a small manufacturing company back in the winter of ’99.

The curious part of this was that I did not receive the going away gift from my employer, but from a supplier who took me out for breakfast and gave me a catalogue from Amway. I was allowed to pick anything I wanted from that catalogue, it was already paid for.
I’m never good at picking a ‘free’ prize. It’s like some kind of test that I ultimately end up failing.
In my senior year of High School I won a writing award. the prize, donated by the local historical Society, was a $10 gift certificate at ‘Sam the Record Man’. This is back in 1986 and $10 would have gotten you any album in the store.
So there I was, standing in the store and looking at all of the cassettes. Anything I wanted! I must have looked for over an hour!
Def Leppard? Dire Straits? How about some Men Without Hats?
All the choices in the world and what do I walk out of there with?
ABBA, The Album.
Yep.
The last time I remember listening to it all the way through was on a mini vacation, driving across Manitoulin island right around Midnight back in ’93. I still have the cassette though….
Years later, I was at a Fork Lift Rodeo (there used to be such a thing). It was a skills competition. I was pretty good at it, but truth be told I liked it just for the chance to be able to drive the nbice new Toyota propane Fork Lifts. At the end of it all, there was a prize table and you got to pick a prize from the table based on your standing. Being that the competition was put on by the Industrial Accident Prevention Association, most of the prizes were safety related. I found the one that wasn’t.
A propane torch.
Realistically, I did not own a house. But I knew that I would….someday.
Three years later I bought a house. Now I would finally be able to put that torch to use!
Interestingly enough, home ownership does not guarantee the need for a propane torch.
So I waited. I was patient.
In 2004 my patience was finally rewarded! In a cold snap of over -40, the pipes in the crawlspace under my house froze solid! No problem! I had just the tool to tackle that task! A brand new, nerve been used propane torch! I knew right where it was not just a little bit of smugness that I retrieved it from its safe storage in the garage and eagerly prepared to save the day! I turned on the propane and flicked my bic and…..
Nothing happened.
Apparently if you leave something like a propane torch sitting for 13 years, it may or may not work. My model came down decidedly on the ‘may not’ side of things.
Which brings me back to my clock.
My clock and I lost tough for a few years. Many things happened in my life, much change. Some change the clock was around for, some it was not. At some point though, the clock stopped working. I knew it awhile back, but had always assumed that it was a dead battery type issue. So the other day I ‘found’ the clock again and happily put a new battery in it.
Nothing happened.
The clock hands remained immobile.
Well, there goes another ‘pick your own prize’ down the tubes!
No worries though. It really is a good looking little clock, and it still tells the right time, if only twice a day!
 clock

Just some thoughts…
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Hold, please?

Life can be oh so very interesting sometimes. Now and zen something happens to illustrate just that! I will explain….

Shortly before Christmas, while at work one morning, I had to make a phone call to a courier company. I was, of course, immediately placed on hold “due to the high volume of calls”.  The music being played while on hold was a piano piece, and while I certainly did not recognize it, it spoke to me without hesitation! All too soon I was off hold and placing my order with the Customer Service Rep. At the end of our dealing, I asked her to please put me back on hold.

She did so, and I was once again listening to this absolutely beautiful piece of contemporary piano music. But then, less than 30 seconds later, the CSR was back on the line.

“Are you finished sir?” she asked.

“No! Please just put me back on hold!” I snapped.

“But sir, you are tieing up my line.” She did not sound pleased.

“I realize that”, I told her, “But I need to finish listening to the piece of music that is playing!!!”

She put me back on hold. By this time I had attracted the attention of my co-worker in the next cubicle.

“Seriously?” I heard him say.

“YES!” I hit the hands free button so that everyone in the office could hear the soft sounds of one of the most beautiful piano pieces I had heard. Strangely enough, no one else seemed to share my enthusiasm for this music. I felt a bit dejected as I hung up the line, The music was gone, and I knew that I would never hear it again. It was a fleeting moment in time….and now it was over.

I tried to remember the tune, but within an hour it was gone from my head. Too late, I was kicking my butt for not having recorded some of the music on my smart phone. That afternoon I downloaded the “app” Shazam. This app is supposed to take a few seconds of a song or music and idnetify it for you. I knew that I had lost out on this piece of music, but I was determined to be ready for the next piece that caught my interest.

Fast forward if you will….a couple of days later. It is morning, the Saturday before Christmas. I am trying to locate a 15 gallon aquarium that I wish to give to someone special as a Christmas gift. I had tried getting one at Petsmart, but they had none in stock when I visited their local store. By chance, I ended up on their website and they showed one in stock, which I promptly ordered. But, not wanting to drive into town for nothing, I decided to call the local store to confirm the availability.

I dialed the number and as soon as it was answered I was put on hold.

You guessed it.

The mystery piano piece was playing!!!

All too soon I was taken off hold by a young sounding man. I quickly asked him to put me back on hold.

“Really?” he asked. Apparently this just isn’t a common request!

I assured him I was serious and he put me back on hold.

I put the house phone on ‘speaker’ and got my smart phone out and opened up Shazam.

I’ll be damned.

In less than five second it had identified the music. I was still skeptical, and loaded up Youtube to try it out.

Shazam had nailed it!!!

The music in question:

Lavender Skies, by Gary Lamb.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebIACH5_0Mw

Life is good. Life is an awesome journey…..

Cheers everyone!!!

While you see a chance….

My understanding of the Steve Windwood song by the above name, which was released in 1981, is that it had a remarkable lineup of musicians playing the instruments.
If you count Steve Windwood that is.
He played all of the instruments, recording them one by one until all was done. Very patient…very talented!

The end result is a pretty good song, with a pretty good message.

So, the other day I found myself in a situation where I saw a chance….and I took it.
I have had a motorcycle license for over 30 years, but sadly, my own motorcycle has become a permanent fixture of my garage since 2001.
As luck would have it, I tripped over a 2008 Suzuki GS500F at a used car dealer. It had been there quite awhile, and they were apparently very eager to get it off their showroom fllor. I offered them $900 less than they were asking for it and they accepted!
It had just over 1000 miles on it!!!!

If you want to see happiness, picture me on a motorcycle for the first time in well over a decade. That night, I went for a nice drive with the woman I LoVe holding on behind me.
Life….is good!

Cheers!

bike

All the news that’s fit to….wait a minute!!!

This morning, on Google News portal, under WORLD NEWS, the following articles:

WHO backs use of experimental Ebola drugs in West Africa outbreak

AND

George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin Kiss During Romantic Dinner in Italy …

From my blurry eyed, just woke up perspective THIS is what is wrong with our society!!! Why should I care that George Clooney and his fiance engaged in PDA??? Hell, if they saw some of the things that my gf and I have done in public…oh wait, different blog!
My point being….fluff news does NOT belong under “World” subheadings!!!

Still, I wonder what they had for dinner?

:-

A better idea….

I woke up at 5am and literally one minute later the power went out!
No problem…I have candles and oil lamps.
A few minutes ago, shortly after 7am, the power came back on.
It is raining. Dull. Dark. Windy. The rain is making a melodic symphony upon the roof of my bedroom.
I could stay here all day….

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The importance of Initial Stability

A quiet Sunday morning. I’ve already had breakfast on the deck with a beautiful woman. The sunrise was beautiful, the weather a perfect summers day!
How contradictory it is to sit under a pergola on my deck, just the two of us. My house is in the country, on an acre of land. Just my lady and I on a beautiful morning. Last week we were in Manhattan for several days. I was out and about in that huge metropolis at all hours of the day, and there is NO place on that island where you feel alone. Lonely, maybe. But never alone.

Later in the morning, while listening to The Sunday Edition on CBC radio I casually did some surfing on the internet and happened across the main page of Wikipedia. Today, they announced, is the anniversary of the sinking of the Swedish war ship Vasa. On this day, 386 years ago, The Vasa was on its maiden voyage. It had taken two years to construct and outfit this huge warship, and it was on its way to take part in the 30 Years War. After sailing just under one mile, a gust of wind caught the ship. It leaned hard to port, with its open gun ports going below water. The sea rushed in, the ship filled, and promptly sank in front of thousands of people onshore who had gathered to see her off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasa_(ship)

1280px-Voyage_of_the_Vasa_2.svg

It was found, during an inquest and in the years that followed, that the reason for sinking was a “lack of initial stability.”
In layman’s terms, they built the ship wrong!

This wasn’t just any ship. This was to be the flagship of the reverse fleet. The King of Sweden was very anxious for it to take up station. While he was in Poland leading his troops in battle, the new prize of his navy was sinking to the bottom of the Baltic. Sadly, there were many involved in the building of the ship who knew that the design was flawed and that it would most likely meet with a disastrous end. Presumably they did not see it coming this quickly!
They never told the King….because they were afraid of his reaction.
Thirty men died.

Almost 400 hundred years later, we all recognize that trait in our everyday lives. How often have you avoided telling someone bad news because you were afraid of their reaction. How many maiden voyages have we embarked upon that have sank in the first mile? Sometimes we all lack that ‘initial stability.’
But even if we lose a flagship now and then, there is more to life than one bad voyage. Life really is about the journey, NOT the destination!

Cheers to all!

SAM_3160

Mid summer post

There are people who follow my blog.
There are blogs that I follow.
I have a lot of admiration for the blogs I read. Ordinary people taking a chance and putting there thoughts out there for all the world to see.
That’s brave!
I also admire the people that i see who have found the will to write on a regular basis! Good job by you all!

A special shout out to Frugoal and her 93 days of summer writing campaign! I have really enjoyed that, and find myself looking forward to the daily e-mail notification that she has added yet another post!
http://frugoal.wordpress.com/author/frugoal/

I hope to find some inspiration from you all!!!

Cheers!

SAM_1978

Sometimes the choice in letting go is made for you….

So even though the calendar says Spring has sprung, the weather seems to want to dictate otherwise.
After a rather surreal 24 hours which included having everything she had of mine dumped on my front door step (and that ended up being the tame portion of the day!)…I woke up early on Saturday morning and went to get a haircut.
Then it was off to the big city to have lunch with an old friend. He lives almost 5 hours away from me, so we always meet in the middle.
We had a great lunch, and after many hours of pleasant conversation and catching up we parted ways. I went to use the mens room before beginning my long drive home.
Here’s the thing.
I’m a pack rat. I keep small things as souvenirs of events. Ticket stubs especially, or hotel room cards. That kind of thing.
A little over a year ago I was dating a nice woman who just happened to have a more screwed up life than mine. Her estranged husband had just been sentenced to jail for having sex with an under aged student. Her teenage son had just returned back home and was rebelling. But worse of all, he tween daughter was acting out by pathologically lying at school, making every ones life unbearable.
In to this mix enter I.
We went on a few dates, art gallery visits and the such. The last time we went out was to an independent film festival.
Things fizzled after that, and I moved on, as I always do.
But I kept the ticket stub from the Film Festival in my leather jacket.
I don’t know why. i felt bad every time I tripped over it.
Then, while I was using the facilities in the mens room….the ticket fell out of my pocket.

Problem solved!
There it stayed.

Life’s strange sometimes…..

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Pubs of Halifax

It’s no secret that this has been one heck of a winter. It just wouldn’t let go! So many things on the go, yet I seem to be stuck in the doldrums of the winter that will not quit!
I was walking up to my car the other day and noticed something in the back window. I knew it was clothing of some sort, and assumed that it was a sweat shirt or something of that nature. The only reason I even paid attention to it on this particular day was that I had noticed that the constant exposure to sunlight was starting to fade the black colour in several areas.
A T-shirt and a pair of shorts. The T-shirt was a graphic T, depicting “The Pubs of Halifax”. The shorts match the shirt in material and colour.
They belonged to a woman.
I just don’t know who.

Life can be VERY strange sometimes….
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He’s got this dream….

That is a line from one of my absolute favorite songs of ALL time.

“Baker Street” by the late, great Gerry Rafferty. One of life’s simple pleasures is tripping across that song on the radio. The mournful wail of the saxophone, the haunting words…. pure poetry from beginning to end.

By the way, I KNOW there is a remake out there… it just simply does not merit mention in this space.

Anyways… I always ponder over that line whenever I hear that song.

`He`s got this dream about buying some land, gonna give up the booze and the one night stands…. `

Is it instinctually human to have a desire to own land? Maybe it’s just me? Hell, I own an acre of land, with a humble little abode on it, and I feel like buying property every time I hear that line! Not a huge amount of land, just enough that I can’t see anyone from it. Maybe 10 acres or so…. maybe a little more. The desire within me gets to the point that sometimes I check around my area to see what is available in the way of vacant land up for bids.

There is a LOT of speculation going on out there!

A lot of people think their land is worth a LOT of money. Who am I to say… maybe it is. It is safe, at this point, to assume that I am in no danger of losing my virtues by becoming some kind of land baron. I’m simply just not that smart, and I am really, really cheap!

Oh… and my lack of smartness in prior engagements (That is so funny when i think about it….), has left me without the funds required of a baron of any type.

Now in spite of this, I still look. I look at land far away from other people. Somewhere with some space. Just me and no one else. I want to be able to protect that tiny little sliver of land from anyone ever building a McMansion on it. I want there to be some wildlife on it. Ok, not lions and zebras and the such, but squirrels are welcome, and chipmunks, and maybe some deer would cross my mythical, nonexistent land at some point. Oh! Bunny rabbits… gotta have some bunny rabbits! I don’t fancy myself a Dr. Doolittle or anything silly like that, but it would be nice to protect some small area from the evils that we have visited upon this land in the name of progress.

Now, as to the rest of the line that has me so enthralled…. I am really not much of a boozer. Two beers is pretty much a full night of drinking for me. As for one night stands.. I had one once. But I kind of screwed it up…. it started on a Saturday and went through until the following Thursday!

So that just leave the dream, about buying some land. I know at this stage in my life that it will probably remain just that, a dream. Still, it is a nice dream. A sunny day dream, with green grass, a little creek, birds singing…. and me just lying there, flat on my back, staring at the deep blue sky and taking it all in.

Of course, with my luck, that would be precisely the point where I get stung by a bee, to which I am deathly (you know, to the point of death) allergic.

bambi