Chewbacca (2001 – 2015)

A few weeks ago i said goodbye to an old friend. Someone i have only fond memories of. Someone that has lived so much life and contributed to the lives of others until his very last days. The only Pontiac that will ever have a place in my heart, Chewbacca.

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Chewy, as he was known to friends, got his name from an unfortunate and persistent power steering fluid leak. But Chewy continued to be reliable through that and other ailments. He had the experience and the kilometers to drive to the moon if he wanted to (True story. Over 400 000 kms) but chose to spend his life here on Earth, with us.

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The time he contained my entire life, on the move to Winnipeg.

Chewy has held and transported a lot of people and things that were important to me over the years. Shared a lot of good times. Facilitated many a camping trip, housed me for summers spent at the lake and helped us to farmer’s markets everywhere. We’ve shared crazy nights and sleepy days and coffees and sunsets and friends.

Chewy ‘s last days were trying but he did not suffer. He literally went out with a bang, I would expect nothing less from such a fiery spirit. He was worth much more to me than the $250 and the hubcap we got from the wrecker. I know he will go on to make an excellent pop can or bicycle, whatever this Earth has in store for him next he will no doubt go above and beyond the expectations. Because that’s just who he was.

Adventures were the norm.
Adventures were the norm.

Here’s to the memory of Chewbacca, a loyal minivan, anyone who was lucky enough to know him would tell you that although he had the body of a Montana, he had the spirit of a wild horse.

 

Chewbacca (2001 – 2015)

House Building: The most Expensive Full Body Workout Program Ever

I feel like I cheaped out on ya on yesterday for only posting a Build Update.  Truth is I was up until late sanding the living crap out of every surface in the house.  I hate sanding so much.
So so much.
A lot.
I can’t wait for the day that I am no longer covered in drywall dust. Anyone who has had the pleasure of putting up new walls knows what I mean.  It gets in everywhere and I mean everywhere.  Cleaning drywall dust out of my eyes, ears, nose has become just a normal part of my life.

This project has changed my life in many ways.  Some I anticipated, some I did not.  I knew it would require a huge financial commitment and take up a lot of my time, I didn’t have a problem giving up either of these things.  One thing I did not anticipate was having to do the most physical labour I’ve ever imagined.  Like I knew ya, there must be lifting and screwing things together and being on your hands and knees but I had never really put myself in those shoes.

It started out easy for me for the first while.  When we were framing out the containers all I really had to do was measure and cut things with a mitre saw.  I wasn’t really into it because I had no idea how to frame anything, I would just do what I was told.

Drywall season was the hardest hit.  After day 1 of drywalling ceilings I couldn’t lift my arms. We were also unknowingly doing it the hard way.  Where we would line it up, push one end of the sheet into the corner and one person would hold it up while the other moved a ladder into place and ran around looking for a drill.  Working harder, NOT smarter, if you will.  That week I lost 5 pounds.

After the drywall was up, naturally then comes mudding (not bad)… and therefor sanding (horrific).  The current bane of my existence. Nothing like a few 3 or 4 hour sanding sessions to sculpt your guns.

#4EverSanding
#4EverSanding

The worst part is that for some reason, I’m absolutely useless with the sanding thing that goes on the end of a broomstick (what is that thing called?). Just something about the pressure vs. motion thing that I can’t nail down.  I gave it an honest go for about a half hour before I wanted to launch that thing javelin-style into the corn field behind my house.  So Ive been using a hand sander the whole time, which requires moving a scaffolding bench around every 30 seconds so I can reach the ceiling. And my hands cramp up first thing in the morning like I have crippling arthritis.

Other than that things are GREAT. We plan to prime the walls next week!  I can’t wait to get into colors and furniture and the REAL exciting stuff!

House Building: The most Expensive Full Body Workout Program Ever

Signs you’re Currently Living your Quarter-Life Crisis

You’ve done everything right in your life up to this point.  You went to high school. Graduated. Moved out of your parents house. Went to college. Graduated. Got a job to sustain your basic needs. Now you wake up everyday and wonder what the fuck you’re doing. Classic QLC.

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Your job is not satisfying.  Any of the following scenarios may apply.   At one time maybe it’s what you thought you wanted, now it’s definitely not.  You’re stuck at a McJob until you figure out what you’re next move is.  You’re in “hurry up & wait” mode, just putting in time until you can move up the ladder.  OR you’re like me and went to college but now you have no desire whatsoever to pursue that thing you went to college for.

Sunday Brunch Caesers are your religion and also a metaphor for your existence.  A shot or two of alcohol dressed up as something of more substance, but really just an excuse to drink before noon.  You’d drink em everyday if you could but for some reason they’re always the Sunday cocktail special.

You sometimes kinda wanna have a baby… You also sometimes definitely don’t wanna have a baby.

You browse Craigslist and get emotionally attached to every listed west coast acreage you can’t afford for another 4 years, which is so close… yet so far away.

If I had a dollar for every rent cheque I’ve ever written, I’d probably have one whole rent cheque.  When I was 18, paying rent in exchange for a whole month of free will was the shit.  But somewhere down the line when you realized all the money you’ve paid in rent over the years, could of equalled a down payment (a couple times over) the freedom feeling dulls and rent-cheque-writing turns into a single-tear-rolling-down-your-cheek kind of experience.

Some of your friends are married.  Some of your friends are parents.  Some of your friends found Jesus.  Some of your friends are drunks.  Some of your friends are drunks in Thailand. Together these 5 categories equal 100% of your friends.

Your whole world right now is just day-in, day-out scrambling to find something you are passionate about.

Remember that time we did too many drugs and handled it like high-schoolers?  Sometimes you want to do that again but you don’t know how or where to buy drugs anymore.

You are tempted to make impulsive decisions, but the indecision is paralyzing.  Every decision is the worlds hardest because all you can think about is how each choice could potentially shape the rest of your life.

No pressure.

 

Signs you’re Currently Living your Quarter-Life Crisis

How to Drive in Canada’s Third Largest City

I’ve lived in Vancouver for 6 or 7 months now and still consider myself a new Vancouverite.  I also consider myself a decently laid-back, positive human being.  Very few things get me overly rattled, upset or angry.  I swear rarely and usually I’m good at keeping calm and going with the flow.
Unfortunately for me, one of the biggest (and most unavoidable) differences between living in a city of less than 1 million people and living in a city 4 times that size, happens to be one of the few things with the ability to get me extremely heated.  And I mean ANGRY heated, not sexy heated.

9902823That thing is traffic.

So from my own awesome experiences of driving in the city with the worst road congestion in Canada, I’ve made a list.  Because that’s what I do.

How to drive in VanCity:

    •   Forget about blinkers.  Those don’t mean shit now.  You might as well just break the signal arm right off.  Throw it.  Why should you have to tell anyone else what direction you’re going to forcefully propel your heavy metal driving machine full of flammable liquids? It’s none of their business.
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    • Remember: Your time is exponentially more valuable than anyone else’s on the road.  So drive in a way that fucking shows it.
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    • It’s always good to know how to properly formulate deep penetrating insults, should you get in a shouting match with another driver or a pedestrian, which is way more likely.  ( I have a whole thing about pedestrians just wait for it. )  ‘ Adjective – vulgar word – noun ‘ usually does the trick.  Don’t be afraid to get creative, if its good enough it’ll haunt them for years.  See chart below.

      from Reddit
      from Reddit


    • Highway 1 during rush hour = parking lot
      Highway 1 all other times = autobahn
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    • Avoid rush hour like the plague.  Not a joke.  This shit will literally make you Dave Grohl in the video for “Walk”.  Which might actually get you home faster but is still an expensive and irrational move.  But you’ll still make that move because you’re not thinking clearly due to breathing in pure exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke for the last hour.
    •  

    • So far I’ve gathered that diamond lanes are for buses, sometimes motorcycles, people with passengers and assholes? Is that right?
    •  

    • It makes me angry even writing about this next one.
      Pedestrians.
      These idiots are gonna run onto the streets, cross wherever they fucking feel, friggin’ slalom in between cars stopped at reds and everything short of having  a picnic on your hood.  This is 3 times worse anywhere near a beach and ESPECIALLY down East Hastings.  One time on Hastings I saw a guy so high on meth that he skateboarded into the front of an oncoming Eurovan and tried to walk away with a broken leg. Yeah. Meth: not even once.

 

    • Cyclists are a whole other thing, I could write a whole article on specifically them.  They’re gonna do whatever the f they want with complete disregard for road traffic food chain so just try not to hit them, I guess.
    • All lights more like guidelines. Greens are green. Flashing greens are also green. Yellows are greener. Reds are redish.

 
Traffic aside, Vancouver is a great city with lots to see and tons to do. This place has become my home over the last half year and I cant imagine living anywhere else. If I drove a helicopter, monster truck or a flying dragon it would be perfect.

How to Drive in Canada’s Third Largest City

10 Things you Shouldn’t do After 2AM

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“Nothing good happens after 2am.”

Most people know the saying that applies to a night out. I’ve learned that whether or not alcohol is involved … it’s just a good rule of thumb.

There was a time (a dark, dark time, years ago) when my life was basically shaped by the repercussions of post – 2am decisions. It was hellish and avoidable but I can see now that it was necessary in becoming the happier, wiser human I am today.

So for your reading pleasure and future well-being, I’ve compiled a list (of bad experiences) of 10 things you really really really shouldn’t do after 2am.

  1. Change locations: Don’t go to another party. Don’t go to an after-hours-bar. Don’t go meet your drug dealer. Don’t go to your ex boyfriends house. Don’t go to any boys house, for that matter. Just go home and take your makeup off. You’ll be really happy you did.
  2. Shop online: What an excellent way to spend all your money and ruin your credit! This was my worst and most destructive habit for the first half of my college career. It took me a whole year but I did eventually pay off my credit card (Who T.F. gives a 20 year old a $5000 limit on their first credit card?! What?!) My next point…
  3. Banking: Not online, not at an ATM. No good will come of this.
  4. Creep your boyfriends Facebook*** (tres importante): I should probably make this number 1. Honestly, if you are already dating the person – you should probably never do this, like at all, like even during business hours. Because gurl, if you’re looking for trouble, insecurity, ex-girlfriends and self-inflicted heartbreak – yous is goin’ to find it.
  5. Fast food or anything from 7-11: Obviously.
  6. Don’t even make your own food: When it’s 2am and you’re freaking starving, you just don’t care. Your gonna make something that’s unhealthy to begin with and cover it in cheese. Doesn’t matter what it is, you’re gonna put cheese on that shit. You know it’s true. You will eat too much and then fall asleep. Then you will wake up in a panic in the morning and immediately engage in the worst bowel movement of your life. What a terrible way to start the day.
  7. Call anyone at all: Unless it’s like a serious emergency, you’re not calling anyone in good intentions. And booty is not an emergency.
  8. Tweeze your eyebrows: I PROMISE you, you will overdo it and you will hate yourself for it the next morning when you look in the mirror. I cannot stress to you how crucial eyebrows are, they can seriously make or break your entire face. Don’t screw around.
  9. Surgery: Don’t let your friends take out your stitches or cut off your casts. This one in particular always takes the form of a challenge and a really good idea, but is actually a really bad idea in disguise. There’s going to be that one friend that’s all, “No guys! It’s cool, I’m a dental assistant.” Need I remind you that dentists (nevermind, dental assistants) are barely medical doctors.
  10. Make life decisions: Humans naturally get a little crazy when the moon is out. Any serious decision you’re about to make is best left to the next day. You’ll always make a better choice if you sleep on it and make up your mind in the daylight, with a clear head. This is actually a good rule for any and all decisions.

Ted Mosby said it best;
“When it’s after 2am just go to sleep.
Because the decisions you make after 2am…
Are the wrong decisions.”

 

10 Things you Shouldn’t do After 2AM

Turd Polishing & Baby Killing

golden_turd_2014If you’re a creative professional, you already know this game.
Turd Polishing and Baby Killing are two concepts that were laughable in college but have since become my reality as a freelance web developer.  I’ve been freelancing for about a year and a half, since I graduated college (Canadian college – before you get unnecessarily proud of me) so my career is still young but trust me – when you’ve been thrown in without warning, you learn fast or die.

Turd Polishing:  The art of trying to make other peoples shitty ideas (or content) look good.

This is something my film instructor in college used to say when we were trying to cut together a decent video using mediocre shots.

“You can’t make great video out of lousy shots.  If you’re shots aren’t equally as great, you’re just polishing turds.”

The term just stuck with me (insert gross poop joke here).

I worked for an agency in Winnipeg, Manitoba for a short while and through my experience there, I can say that you will definitely do this more if you are freelancing.  This is because when you are freelancing clients tend to see you as more of a scribe if you’re not working alongside a team of creatives and under a flock of well dressed c-suites.  When the truth is, some of us just work better solo.

It’s because of this thinking clients like to assume the role of creative and bring you their fucking crafts.  Brace yourself, as the following are true stories:

“Here’s a bag of product where I slapped my new label overtop of part of my old label, you can take product pictures of this right?” (Nope.)

“I made this flyer in Microsoft Publisher.  I want the website design to be similar so I can still use these.” ( F nope. )

And my personal favorite (I’ve heard this more than once) :

“I whipped this up in Paint…” (pls exit)

I haven’t yet found a polite way to tell clients that by bringing me Paint JPEGs, you are only embarrassing yourself.  If you’re going to bring in something you “whipped up” in Paint you might as well just draw it on your driveway in sidewalk chalk.  At least that would make for an interesting meeting.

Baby Killing : Coming up with awesome, revolutionary design and function only to have the client reject it.

This concept was introduced to me by a rather well known developer I met in Toronto in 2012.  At that point my dev career was but a fetus and I had no idea that this man was speaking the damn truth.

You’re going to come up with a lot of effing awesome ideas (because you’re a genius, obviously) that are gonna get shot down.  Unless you’re the ultimate salesperson or a wizard, this is unavoidable.  After the first like 5, you’ll learn not to get too emotionally attached.  Unplug the digital umbilical cord.  Store these ideas, use them elsewhere.  It’s not your fault you’re smarter than everyone else.

I’m not saying web development & being a creative professional is all bad.  Obviously I enjoy what I do and find it very rewarding, otherwise I wouldn’t do it.  If you’re any good at whatever it is you do, you’ll have a lot more successes than polishing sessions and more happy clients than slayings. But this crap is just more fun to read about.

Turd Polishing & Baby Killing

Moving out of Manitoba taught me things.

Stevie in Kamloops Lookout point just outside of Kamloops BC. Hands down the most beautiful place I’ve seen in real life.

Early this year, I sold/gave away/abandoned all my belongings that wouldn’t fit in my tiny, red, Ford Focus. Keeping only my computers (necessary to work), clothes (necessary to make appearances in public) and an ungodly amount of protein bars and dried fruit. I’m proud to say that Winter 2014 was the time I finally said “FTW” (fuck this weather), left my beautiful and enormous house in the heart of Franco-Winnipeg and made the road my new home.

I can actually say that for one month (not just any month – but January) I was actually homeless. By day I would drive and by night I slept on the chesterfields of my gracious friends and family (a few times in my car as it got warmer the further west I got, my parents don’t know this). I stretched the almost 24 hour total drive into a 3-week-long depth-of-winter adventure. That’s right – I survived being homeless… in January… in Canada. It turned out to be the most defining road trip in my entire existence thus far.

I was feeling grateful the other day and made a list of the most important things this move has taught me:

– Leaving all that is familiar to you could be the best thing you’ll ever do. The world is full of opportunity and you have to get out there and take advantage. Even though it sucks to leave your friends and family. Which brings me to my next point…

– Real friends will find a way to be in your life no matter what. You’re going to lose friends when you move, that’s a fact. You’ll realize that with most of those people the only thing you really had in common was geographic location (and a soft spot for jagermeister) and to these people you are out of sight and out of mind. Real friendships know not distance. Your real friends are the ones that still text you everything about their day, you still talk on the phone to regularly, and are the first ones to offer to pick you up at the airport. They are the ones that will make an effort to be a constant presence in your life. : )

– Google maps does not always know best. Just because it’s a route on Google Maps doesn’t mean its a road. Sometimes its a fucking dirt horse trail on a cliff on the side of a mountain, mere meters away from certain death at all times. Should you find yourself in this situation, let me tell you from experience – DO NOT CRY. It will impair your vision causing you to pull over (or just stop because you’re not actually on a road) which will cause the locals to ride up to you on their horses BUT don’t be fooled! They don’t want to see if you’re okay as much as they just want to steal your hubcaps. Also no cell service for 5 hours. So if you die out there, you’re just dead. Thats it. Nobody knows.
BTW this “highway” is called the BC- 99 N. So you’ve been warned, it may say it’s 2 hours faster but it’s not worth the emotional distress and premature forehead lines.

– You learn the most about yourself and grow as a person when you are out of your comfort zone. Which leads into my next point…

– When you move to a new place nobody knows you! Take advantage of this and do things you wouldn’t normally do. If you embarrass yourself who cares! Nobody knows or gives a shit about you and this is a blessing.

– The Hills Have Eyes movie may or may not have been based on the small town of Barriere, British Columbia. (Don’t go there and definitely don’t stay at a Knights Inn there)

– Things do not make you happy. It’s a cliche, for sure, but hear me out. Materially, I have almost nothing compared to what I owned in Manitoba. I still have a car, a couple thousand dollars in computer equipment and some other things but I look at them now as a blessing, not a necessity. When you have nothing you are free.

Now, don’t worry. I’m no longer homeless. I have a place in North Vancouver, so basically I live on the side of a mountain and I’ve never been happier in my entire life.
So yeah – suck it Winnipeg.
Just kidding.
I love Manitoba, I’ll be a Manitoban all my life.
I still rock an MB license plate. Partially because my car won’t pass aircare but mostly PRIDE!
Any of my new Vancouver friends would say I’m living proof that you can take the girl out of the prairies… but your Brandon, MB roots will haunt you all your life.

: )

Moving out of Manitoba taught me things.