My Footprint


by Me (Acrylic on Canvas)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Winter Sports

So as you may or may not know, we have some pretty interesting winters in Nova Scotia, weather changing from minute to minute almost and this winter is certainly no exception. With this winter supposedly going to be one of the worst in the last 50 years, things are starting to take shape and are bringing about some interesting situations.

I received a digital video camera for Christmas and decided to put it into action the other morning at 5 am when some genius decided if he floored his gas log and hard enough he could defeat the mighty sheet of ice cover the entire expanse of our driveway and parking lot.

This "genius" decided that his best route out of out parking lot, which incidentally has two entrances / exits, was up the sharp incline of sheer ice over an ice encrusted speed bump onto another incline.

After about 20 minutes of fighting inches, the whole while flooring the gas and squealing on ice, he backed down and lost a few feet each time slipping ever closer to parked cars.

Finally after about 30 minutes of this he made it out but not before waking up the whole side of the building and I also obtained 5 minutes of footage of his idiocy.

Not days later while getting ready to head out for a bite we scanned the driveway to get our bearings on the weather and witnessed several cars sliding down the driveway heading for our car, four , to be exact. Fortunately for Shelagh's mother, they were able to spread a half ton of salt on the parking lot to resolve the issue.

It was your pretty standard, come around the corner and it's sheer ice to your surprise, type of scenario, that didn't go horribly wrong. The one thing that did make me laugh my ass off was this guy in a 1/4 ton truck.

Although I witnessed his generous act of helping the original slider get out of her predicament, he used less than stellar judgment when trying to make it up a hill of ice, especially after witnessing a 2 ton salt truck with studded tires slide 20 feet backwards, another true genius, good at heart but clearly not thinking with all cylinders firing.

The one time I truly worried is when a big van came around the corner and slid a very close to the top of the chain that ended with Shelagh's mom's car being severely crushed.

Everyone got out of it with their vehicles intact with no harm done but it will make a great You-Tube once I figure out how do download my footage to the computer lol

I'm sure I'll have more stories, as the mess that we call winter, takes shape, who knows, in a couple months, I may be living in an isolated winter land so I guess I best get used to these crazy winter sports.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I've never been much of a journal person, even though I wish I was, I seem to have a really hard time writing things down. I work mostly internally, figuring, sorting and storing everything in my own flawed brain, which rarely remembers all that is needed to be.

It seems as if my posts have become a lot less frequent but at least, I guess , I'm trying. I do have several journals at home as well, most of them jump months and sometimes years from page to page. I guess I've always tried to record my thoughts, I'm just not that successful at it.

I was hoping to use this blog to polish those skills but alas there are so many more important things going on in my life. I'd imagine thought if I died tomorrow, I'd probably of wished I had written more down. For me it's one of the few ways for the world to know who I was after I leave the physical realm and I wish I was better at it.

Currently my life is in kind of a state of suspension, we are planning to make huge changes in our lives and for me I have a hard time committing to anything that could be disrupted by these major life changes. On one hand I want to do everything that needs to be done in anticipation but at the same time it might all be for nothing if those changes don't take place as soon as expected. I also don't want to put everything on hold for that same reason. I suppose I'll just do what I always do, adapt and make due.

On the entertainment front,I did manage to watch a few movies since my last post, Vacancy, Disturbia and The Quiet Earth.

I thought Vacancy was a pretty damn good psychological thriller. As with most films there is a few minutes of slower character bonding at the beginning but once the action starts I found myself consciously telling myself to breath. The intensity is literally gut wrenching and the whole film is supported by little more than a half a dozen characters. I thought this movie was pure exhilaration with a couple unexpected twists.

One thing I was very impressed with was the directors ability to add lots of violence and disturbing subject matter yet managed to keep to all incredibly tasteful, you never actually saw the brutality but you knew it was happening. I truly appreciate this much more than blood and gore.

I enjoyed this movie, much to my surprise, I didn't think it was going to be very good but it turned out to be a movie I will probably watch again in the future.

I give "Vacancy" a 2 of 3.

Disturbia was really good as well, well made, good depth in the characters and a pretty decent retelling of an old story. This movie almost had a feel of an old Hitchcock film with a modern teen / early adult feel and flavor. The soundtrack was pretty solid as well.

This movie is about a troubled teen under house arrest who through sheer boredom, soon suspects one of his neighbors of ill deeds. Sure, we head straight for the "we don't trust the cooped up troubled teen cliche" , although, in my opinion, he had a damn good reason to be troubled.

Anyway the movie plays out as you would expect and was a tiny bit predictable as far as the "lets solve the mystery" way but I would definitely watch this movie again, it kept a steady pace and went straight for the jugular, no subtlety here.

I give "Disturbia" a 2 of 3.

The most recent film I watched was a 1985, Cinepro production, The Quiet Earth . Let me first state that I am a huge fan of Disaster flicks so I tend to go easier on them but we all know there are many disaster films that are that are just that. Pretty much any disaster flick made for TV blew big time, a prime example would be Category Six, which royally sucked, sorry Dennis Quaid I really like your work but what were you thinking?

The Quiet Earth definitely delivered. I really enjoyed this flick, it was a bit similar to I am legend, except it was good, sorry Will.

The acting was superior and there was so much subtlety I will enjoy watching it again and thinking about all the social and psychological aspects that are infused in the movie. Don't worry they don't ruin the movie or expect you to make huge leaps and connections to enjoy the movie and some things aren't quite so subtle.

It's a movie about a man who had some part in creating a government project that ended up wiping out most of humanity and threatened to finish off the remainders if British Actor, Bruno Lawrence can't stop it. There is a really cool twist on why he survived so I won't reveal it but I think if you have any interest in the doomsday / disaster flick genre, good movies or good acting, you will enjoy this film. The special effects were most certainly "1985" but did not detract from the film.

I give "The Quiet Earth" a 3 of 3.

All in all I enjoyed all these films to one degree or another and it seems a good movie is hard to come by as of late.

Well, I need to get some boring household stuff done, so I should be off but I will try to get back more often and Blog.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Insanity

Well it's been a week or so since I've had the chance to put something in here but it's been a pretty full week, so I hope you're ready for a bit of a read.

The Holidays have always been a crazy time of year for Shelagh and I, as we both have wonderfully dysfunctional family's, who have managed to nicely spread themselves out all over Nova Scotia, Ontario and Alberta.

Shelagh and I don't celebrate Christmas for it's religious aspects but some of our families do. We don't get forced to any midnight masses or anything but it's important for them that we go through the ritual, or at least I think it is. We both love an enjoy our families company very much and always have an amazing time but it can become tiring.

It all starts with the present shopping of which we waited exceedingly too long and became super stressed out about. As we are both people that like to put a lot of thought and care into our gifts, I became even more stressed out about finding just the right thing and making sure that each person would get and equal distribution, all within out seriously tight budget. Needless to say, I think we did pretty well, all considered. I managed to start a couple paintings early this year so was able to quickly finish them off for wrapping.

Shelagh and I had some hard decisions to make this year as far as making our gifts count, the paintings were a great start but we really didn't want to get people stuff that they would either toss on a shelf, re-gift or maybe even toss in the trash.

We decided over a bit of discussion that we were going to use OxFam and give some gifts that will actually help people who really need it. I know most people groan when they even entertain the thought of receiving a donation in their honor, as a gift, but we both agreed that OxFam was much different than most charitable organizations in the respect that it is non religious in nature and it helps anyone in need. They have a wide array of packages to suit almost anyone and most of the packages include education related to the topic you choose.

For example, we purchased 2 Chickens and a Goat.

Each chicken will go to a family or village in need and includes education that give them the skills to run and maintain poultry and poultry related production. This will not only provide food but create economic relief.

Each Goat will go to a family or village in need and includes education the give them the skills to breed and care for goats. This will also provide food and create economic relief.
The first born female of each goat goes to another village and the cycle continues.

There are many other packages available such as clean drinking water, emergency preparedness kits and wide assortment of educational packages that include such things as AIDS prevention.

Most of the packages were exceptionally inexpensive, as low as 15 dollars for a Chicken and the highest I remember seeing was a Donkey, for 120 dollars.

Anyway Check out the site and give anytime, not just for an occasion.

The 24th came pretty fast, which, incidentally, was my birthday and is also the day that Shelagh's family came for Christmas as we were spending Christmas day with my family. Last year we went to their house but we insisted upon cooking the meal this year and having the celebration here.

Everyone arrived around six'ish just after an insane wrapping frenzy. I was happy to see them and to take a load off for a few minutes before getting supper going.

This year we were graced by Shelagh's mother, Monica, the ever lovely, Sarah and Shelagh's brother Iain. We started with some hugs and hello's and then some conversation over a few appetizers.

We opened presents for what seemed an eternity ( they are so good to us) and I almost choked opening many of them, they always get me exactly what I want and need. Among the many presents we received from them was a desktop scanner and a sweet veterinarian book from Monica, a wad of art supplies and a really cool mask from Sarah and a digital video camera from Iain.

After we enjoyed our gifts for a while we moved onto dinner which consisted of roast prime rib, marbled mashed potatoes (sweet potato and red potato lightly mashed) Yorkshire pudding with au jus (beef broth) green beans, peas and snow peas. There was also an assortment of horseradish and mustard sauces for the prime rib, rolls and pickled stuff.

After a brief coffee and conversation break we indulged in a slice of my mom's homemade apple struzzell pie topped with french vanilla ice cream.

We chatted for a bit longer and shared many laughs and stories. After a thoroughly enjoyable and exhausting evening everyone said their goodbyes, Shelagh and I finished off a few last minute details and headed off to bed early in preparation for an equally fun filled Christmas day.

We were up reasonably early Christmas day and were on the road by late morning off to St Croix to visit my Mother, Kathie, Step Dad, David, Grandmother, Gwen and Grandfathers; who are still with us in spirit only, we miss you Howard and Ron.

We stopped at our usual Christmas day destination, the Irving in Mount Uniack, for Shelagh's traditional Christmas Day, Christmas coffee, some gas and the washroom and got back on the road.

We arrived around 1 ish and after the usual barrage of hugs, happy birthdays and merry Christmas's we started opening presents. For 2 hours, we opened presents. We actually had to hurry and open them all by 3 so we could take off to visit my other Grandmother who lives in the area. My family is nuts, they start shopping in January and compile stuff all year so when we finally open it all it takes hours, I love them so much and not because they get me tons of stuff, they get me thoughtful stuff.

I honestly don't know where to begin in telling you what we got from them. I collect camels so I got about 6 or 7 of them from my mother and Dave, ranging from metal to wood to stone, each one more amazing than the last. My mother got me an assortment of wooden boxes, which I also collect, one of which is a really cool retro artist box for storing my supplies when I'm mobile. My grandmother got me a couple gift certificated, which I love getting as well as a sweet new wallet. She also gave me my traditional Lego set.

Ever since I was a child I loved Lego and even though we were extraordinarily broke, my grandmother always bought me Lego for Christmas. It's one of my fondest memories, receiving that new set and seeing all the cool new pieces you got to play with, not to mention that you could add them to your current collection and your building possibilities increased 10 fold. I still love Lego and I love receiving them as gifts, thanks Gram, I can always count on you to remind me of what Christmas was like as a child.

3 o'clock came way to fast and we had to head off the my Grandmother Knowles' (Pat) place, where she and my Uncle Steve were awaiting our arrival. After some hugs and fun with the video camera we all taped a little Christmas cheer to my sister, Tricia who lives in Ontario and couldn't make it home for Christmas. We all miss her so much, especially at this time of family gathering. I love you baby sis, I hope your Yule was special and I hope to see you soon.

My father, Alan, was Christmasing out west this year with his wife Linda and they were unable to join us this year as well. I hope you both had a great holiday. Dad, it wasn't the same without your infectious smile and Linda's whispers are always entertaining, she knows what I mean, wink wink. lol

So we spent an hour or so opening presents, laughing and sharing our lives. My grandmother is a really good woman, a strong, independent business woman, always a plethora of information. We shared our feeling on art, investing and so many other things. It was a really good visit and Shelagh and I had a genuinely great time. My Uncle Steve is always in a great mood and is always laughing, despite having a terrible flu but a few days before. When I was younger he was the coolest guy I knew and I loved visiting with him and I still do.

Unfortunately 5 o'clock came upon us very quickly and we had to rush back to Gwen's place for Christmas dinner. We walked in and they were already eating, as usual, we were late arriving and my grandmother has diabetes, so she has to eat by 5. We quickly caught up and regaled them with stories of our visit with grammie Knowles.

After we stuffed our bellies with food, food and more food, we opened our table gifts, yes you heard me, table gifts. I'm not sure when this tradition was started but my mom always buys everyone something really little but usually really cool and saves it for after dinner. Dave buys her one and everyone gets one last gift to open. Crazy but fun, this year she got me a wooden pizza cutter, it's shaped kinda like a boomerang. It's way cool.

Dave and I finished up the dishes and joined the women in the living room for some Christmas day TV. Dave popped on a new video he got and we watched a couple 20 minute episodes of a hilarious British comedy which was a bit crude in parts but overall quite funny. I'm not knocking the show at all, I just don't find incontinence that amusing. After the fat suits and incontinence show my grandmother put on a crappy Christmas movie to punish my Mom and Dave for making her watch that show. After a few yawns and a head nod or two Shelagh and I decided to hit the road before we fell asleep. It was a seemingly long ride home but I guess road travel seems a lot longer when you're tired.

That pretty much wraps up that day, we got home loaded our stuff in and after some brief down time went off to bed, happy , stuffed and glad it was over!

The next couple days I took off and just kinda poked around, picking up the Christmas trash and straightening up. I don't remember sleeping much because I slept like freaking log the last couple nights from built up exhaustion. Last night we watched Much Music's Top 50 favorite 80's Video's, wow did that ever take me back... oh shit, I can't say that, it means I'm getting old. lol

I had an awesome, exhausting, exciting, frantic, and relaxing holiday. Thanks to everyone who made it special and a very special thanks to Shelagh for getting me through it, I love you baby, you rock, in so many ways.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Shelagh!

Another awesome weekend! It started off with Shelagh coming home early on Friday. She was feeling a little off and quite bummed out about her job, it seems it is not as fulfilling as it once was. After a nap and a little talk she was feeling much better and we decided to do a little more work on our website. We got a lot done were quite satisfied with our accomplishments. Shelagh created an awesome banner for the site and I polished off some of the verbatim.

Saturday was Birthday Dinner Night at Curry Village. We spent most of the afternoon poking around and getting ready for dinner. Shelagh's Mom,her girlfriend Sarah and her brother Iain all showed up around 6'ish and we chatted and ate some fresh baked chocolate chip cookies to get our appetites going. We left around 7 for our 7:30 reservation and soon we were eating some of the best curry dishes the east coast has to offer.

I really enjoy spicy food and what some people don't realize about curry is that it comes in a very wide range of textures and flavors, It's not all red hot spicy. We ordered all sorts of dishes including a vegetarian dish and some Raita, which is a yogurt dish to cool your mouth if you need it. I swear one of the curry dishes made me see through time, it was seriously that hot. I was sweating bullets by the end of the meal but, wow, was it ever delicious and flavorful.

After we finished our meal off with some mango ice cream we headed back to our place and hung out with Iain for a while and then called it a night after a couple episodes of Man VS Wild, great show btw if you like survival type stuff.

Sunday was by far the laziest day I have ever spent in my life, we literally watched movies and talked all day, truly my favorite times are these.

We watched a old favorite, "The Day After Tomorrow" in the theme of our impending storm. Great flick and it got me in the mood for the coming Nor easter that evening. We also watched"The Fifth Element", which we've seen many times but there wasn't much on TV and I think we switched it there and just kinda got sucked in.

After that we watched "Stardust". I thought it was pretty good but I only give it a 2/3 rating because I wasn't blown away by it. It was, however, a pretty good movie with amazing visuals and imagination. You will definitely enjoy watching this movie with the family and guys won't be too cheesed out by the Chick Flicky love story because there is still a few action sequences that will entertain you and most of the female leads are quite easy on the eyes. For girls there is everything and the kitchen sink.

I'm pretty sure we watched another movie after that but I honestly can't remember.

While all of this movie watching was going on there was a huge storm going on outside with massive blowing winds and wet snow. There were snowdrifts everywhere. Eventually it turned to freezing rain and then rain. All in all an awesome night, man, I love storms.

At Midnight, I wished Shelagh a Happy Birthday and gave her a big hug. I proceeded to say Happy Birthday baby sporadically for the rest of the night, until we decided to hit the bedroom for some reading before sleep.

I watched, "The Terminator", while she read her book and then off to sleep.

We woke up together this morning, which is rare but nice when it happens. We shared some conversation, drank our coffee and went about getting showered and dressed. After many more Happy Birthday Baby's, Shelagh headed off to work. She doesn't know but I slipped a word jumble in her lunch box with colored letters that spell... you guessed it, Happy Birthday.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Well, it's been a hectic week and it seems as if, one thing or another, has been keeping me from blogging. Pretty much everyday life stuff.

Obviously, I've been trying to get some Christmas stuff done but with very little money, I have to rely on my creativity a lot more this year. Needless to say, I am trying to make everyone something and you would think being an artist would make that easier but it doesn't. I have a lot of, "I hope they like it's", swirling around in my head but I'm sure being my family, they would love anything I made for them.

Charlie, one of our oldest cats somehow got an impacted anal gland. (And yes, it is as painful as it sounds) The poor guy is on antibiotics and feeling pretty soar but all in all feeling much better than he started. He's napping a lot and still can't sit down very well but is on the mend.

My cell phone is really starting to act up and die on me almost every time I try to do something on it and when I try to power it back on it has a mind of it's own and sometimes takes all day to get the power back on and even then it's shaky at best. Time to switch up I think.

At some point in the last 6 or 7 days or so I also decided that on top of my favorite word "Shank" as in, "You Shank!", I also find the phrase "Nut Meat" utterly hilarious. Call me juvenile if you must but it's not only the words I find humorous but the sound the two words make together.

The way I came to this decision was, as I was eating filberts (Hazel Nuts) and almonds from the shell, our youngest cat, Munchkin Man, came over to see what all the noise was about and started sticking his nose near the bowl. I figured, what the hell, see if he wants to try it.

So I broke off a teensy little piece, then smoothed off any sharp corners and skin and offered it to him. What do you know, he likes filberts! I was going to offer him an almond but the nut meat was too hard for an animal that rarely chews their food more than three times.

There are certain "Human" foods that will poison cats, some that will make them sick and some they simply can't digest. I highly recommend that you do the research, as I have, before feeding your animals anything other than cat food and even that, I recommend you research before feeding it to them. We feed our cats all natural organic dry food.

Never feed any animal Chocolate as it is a mild poison for cats and in high enough concentrations will kill them. Never feed your pets raw meat as they are subject to the same digestive ailment we do eating raw meat. There are conflicting views on raw meat but I go with a," better safe than sorry", attitude. Pork is really hard for cats to digest and can cause stomach and intestinal ailments and upset.

Knowing these and many others, you can avoid giving your animal anything harmful. I don't give my animals much other than cat food and cat treats anymore but occasionally, if they express interest in something natural, (No junk food for kitties!) I will make sure it's clear and test them out with a very little piece. I never give them anything that isn't reasonably soft and no sharp edges, ever.

I dropped a chip on the floor one time and my cat Woogie ran over and slammed it into his mouth in seconds. (He was trapped without food for 2 weeks before we found him, so he now eats whenever opportunity arises) Well, because he doesn't chew more than three times, the chip splintered and he started choking on it. I got him through it but it was pretty rough and at one point I was sure I was gonna have to suck out the chip.

That said, we have 6 cats that all like a variety of different "safe" foods.

Roni's (Ralphie) favorites are strawberries, honeydew melon and medium cheddar.

Chewy's (Charlie) favorites are black olives, romaine lettuce and Gouda cheese.

Heady's (Bobby) favorites are cereal milk, donuts and cooked hamburger off a Kraft pizza.

Woogie's (Douglas) favorites are pretty much anything you give him.

Beeb's (Tweak) favorites are cooked meat and dry cat food and thats it.

Munkin Man's (Munchkin Man) favorites are dill Havarti and Hazel Nut Meat. giggle

Maybe I'll explain how they got their nick names in another blog...

Oh yeah, my wife, a friend and I are starting a website together. I'm not going to ruin the surprise because we don't have it built yet but we're pretty excited and it will provide an very useful service to our global community. You can be sure I'll post it here when it's ready for public consumption ;o)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Legend of the Griffins

Here's a video, I created a few months ago, to honor my old High School, which was in the process of being torn down. I wanted to preserve the memory for all those who loved being there.

Enjoy the clip...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


Well, it is officially winter in Nova Scotia and as far as I can tell from the weather network, all of Canada as well. It started about when I was finishing up yesterdays Blog and is still snowing as we speak. We had a brief reprieve though, long enough for the plows to do their thing.

I had a visit from my good friend Kainan a little after noon and we decided to grab some lunch at Subway. Kainan is a very intelligent guy and we have very similar outlooks on life, so as usual, we got wrapped up talking. He finally had to head out about 2 ish.

About mid afternoon, Shelagh sent me a text telling me to check my e-mail and the word YaY attached. I followed the link she provided me, which was the link to the weather network's warnings page, indicating the huge storm already in progress.

I remembered she said she was feeling down because it didn't feel much like Christmas yet, so with the impending storm, I decided to dig out the tree. It's one of those fake, natural, adjustable ones with the light's already on it, much better than hacking one down... Save the Tree's!

Anyway, neither of us is a Christian but we still throw up the tree for family and company, plus we both like little white lights lol So, I finally got the tree looking like a tree and headed off to dig out the rest of the Christmas stuff.

The cats were going nuts, tearing around the apartment, playing with anything and everything, at least 3 were trying to chew on the tree. The window to the deck was opened and they kept launching themselves out the window into the snow. This is our youngest cats first winter and he was having a blast in the snow, sniffing snorting and eating it and didn't seem to mind the coldness of it. It was really funny to look out the window and see 3 or 4 different sized cat prints intertwined in the snow. A couple of them simply weren't having it and wouldn't cross the window ledge barrier.

I wanted to get some pictures but alas my camera is toast, I'm hoping for a new one for Christmas but things are tight this year for everyone.

Anyway, when Shelagh came home from work, we lit a few candles, dimmed the lights and had some supper. We talked while watched the progressing storm and a little TV, then called it a day.

I tried to set up the humidifier before bed to counteract the fact that everyone in the building had their heat cranked up. Needless to say after 15 minutes of messing with it I decided it wasn't worth the hassle and went to bed.

The power went off once but came right back on and after that we didn't experienced any storm related problems.