This year marks the beginning of a new annual tradition. The Birthday *Effi-jay!
Here’s how it happened. On the morning of my birthday, Dave called to wish me well and find out what I had in store for the best day of the year. I told him of our plans to hang out, eat sushi, then asked what he was doing to celebrate the one day he looks forward to all year round. “Michelle’s coming by later; I thought we’d write your name on a paper and smoke it for you.”, he said. I was honoured, but concerned. I’m not a spiritual person, but if someone is trying to send me cosmic joint energy I’ll take it! That being said, via a paper with a name on it seems like a poor delivery system. Not only are there a million (I’m guessing) people with this name, but we’re talking pot here… it’s likely to find the first dude with my name and just say fuck it, close enough. I therefore felt the need to demand a portrait instead. This would increase my chances of reception, or at least ensure that someone handsome picked up the wave. I also asked that a photo of them enjoying the Effi-jay be emailed to me for blogging purposes.
And there they all are! Two of my favourite people, and the maiden Effi-jay in honour of yours truly!
I love you and miss you both. Thanks for putting up with my demanding requests.
I decided to clear the photos off my phone again after noticing I somehow took 341 photos featuring the inside of my pockets. See all those black squares up there? those are all the thumbnail previews shrunk down to the smallest possible size Ubuntu allows (without losing file names) so I could fit them all on the screen and capture it. Even at that size I had to capture two images and stitch them together.
Here’s some more random photos of things I find while working.
Cat poster on a door in some house where I hung drywall. Clearly amazing.
An old telephone in a super nice elderly woman’s house where I tore out stairs. Unfortunately I got laid off before we got to install the new stairs, but I did get to help build and stain them at the shop. I took this photo for Holly. She likes old phones.
This was from a job I did last weekend with a friend. We had to replace a bunch of toilets in a church, and there was a bunch of weird things. First thing I noticed was the poor placement of the toilet paper dispensers in each bathroom. This was by far the worst one.
The second thing I noticed was this creepy statue in the Rector’s office. It appears to be some sort of reaper luring a mouse or rat with cheese. This may have biblical references, but they are completely lost on me.
Then I found something I can’t explain. I can only assume it is a red alert indicator for when the church goes into a full lock-down, but I have no idea. It was hiding in a back stairway we had to use.
And finally there was this. A creepy vault door with a combination lock and everything. I assume this is also used in the event of a lock-down.
Annually I spend approximately $100 on clothes. Most of which get bought at second-hand shops and concerts. I have a lot of clothes that are older than Gage, including the majority of my footwear. I am reluctant to get rid of a lot of shirts because I love the artwork, or the band featured on it. Holly has made several attempts at making me donate some of my favourites on the ridiculous grounds that I never wear them, but I always refuse. Recently she found an idea from that god damn pinterest site (you know, the one that’s been increasing ‘honey-do-lists’ at an exponential rate around the world ever since it’s inception…) which I was okay with.
She used some canvases or something (I don’t think the round things are canvases, but I don’t know what they’re proper name is) and stretched some of my old shirts over them. She stapled them on the backside, and now I just have to find a place to hang them and I can keep them forever!
The top two are made from one shirt. Probably my favourite shirt of all times, which I unfortunately bought when I was at my fattest (220 lbs), so it hasn’t fit in about ten years. I had a hard time watching Holly cut this shirt up, but after I saw the finished product my panic subsided. She did a fine job, and I look forward to having these hung somewhere I can see them all the time. It’ll be like wearing my favourite shirt every day!
The bottom two are both examples of awesome artwork. The first is a design I made based on my cat’s face because she was the coolest and I love her. I have this tattooed on my left index finger so I already see it every day, but I couldn’t bare to part with this shirt I had custom made. It shrunk too much for my massively elongated body after many wash cycles, but that doesn’t matter any more!
The second is a shirt I bought at a show probably eleven or twelve years ago for a Canadian metal band called Three Inches of Blood. I love their first two albums, but the rest is really hit and miss. I just really like the design on this shirt. It’s a wizard. Or a warlock. Or a sorcerer. I don’t know the difference. They all have beards, that’s all that matters.
Although I have managed to avoid cellphone ownership for a large part of my life (come to think of it, I think I’ve owned more pagers than I have cell phones… remember pagers?) from time to time it’s been necessary that I have a cell phone. It’s always been a work related thing, and that’s the case with my current phone. When I got this job I was given a phone and told to keep it on me. So far I’ve used it three times for work texts, twice for personal texts, and I’ve taken about two hundred photos with it. If they’re going to insist I have a phone with a camera, I’m going to insist I take pictures of all the random shit I encounter that makes me stop and think – the fuck is that?
The photo above is permanent marker on the side of a set of steel shop shelves. The shelves have been stored away for years and will soon be put to use in our newly expanded shop. Not sure who Pookie is, but someone likes him / her.
This is some case that was on the second floor of the shop. I asked what it was for, but no one knows. It’s got some sweet squirrel / horse art on it, and either JVK or 2UK had it monogrammed but no one knows who JVK or 2UK are.
This is a panel of a carpet at a nursery school we built cabinets for. I found this funny because the two guys I work with are always using the name Zippy when they can’t think of someone’s name, or they need an imaginary scapegoat to blame a mistake they made on. The same way people say “so-and-so” , or “what’s-his-face”.
This one is Rex. Back once again after hearing the sounds of power tools screeching from across the vineyard. I decided to take a sandwich break and share a little with the handsome wanderer before he got back on the road.
I’m guessing this isn’t what they had in mind when they gave me the phone, or how my boss expects me to be spending my time, but let’s face it… it’s going to happen.
In my previous post where I rambled about work, my new boss, and my love for being outside I also mentioned that I recently built a safety rail on a roof. For those who have never been on an ICI flat roof before, they are commonly covered in a few inches of stone. This particular roof I was working on had a lot of stones that were split into two pieces. As I was stuck waiting for another guy to go up and down the lift to get tools and materials I wandered around and picked up a few of these. I was hoping my Dremel and its engraving bits (courtesy of The Dude) would be capable of hollowing out a portion of the stone so I could hide a spare shed key in there.
When I got home from work I immediately let Dempsey out of his crate and after a pee stop we both went to the shed. I traced my key onto the rock with a Sharpie then fired up the Dremel. Less than a minute in and two things became abundantly clear: with enough time I could definitely accomplish my goal, and Dempsey loves the taste of powdered sandstone. I had to eventually kick him out of the shed because he wouldn’t stop trying to lick up all the piles of dust I was quickly creating. About thirty minutes in I was almost done. There was a few spots that were riding high, but my hands were freezing, I was filthy, and Roan wanted me to take him and Dempsey to the Dog park so I left it unfinished temporarily.
The following afternoon I got off work a little early and it was beautiful out. I spent about ten more minutes with the Dremel and I now have a stash-stone. I still want to get a couple little magnets from somewhere and set them in there to hold the lid on well, but until I find something that will work it’ll be fine how it is. Until Dempsey tries to eat it… I’ll have to find a spot out of his reach to hide it I guess.
After I finished crating all the “super secret” cargo at the shipyard I was supposed to be off for a period of about two weeks, while the owner of the company was on holidays. That all changed on Tuesday when the guy who runs the other crew (let’s call him Bo-Bandy for now…), Bo-Bandy, unfortunately suffered a minor heart attack. I was called to fill in while he’s getting rested and tested so he’s not overdoing it. I didn’t mind at all since I enjoy the work, need the money (fuck you xmas), and get a chance to work with the guys who have the most experience with all the tools, jobs, clients, procedures and – most importantly – the owner. I have yet to work with the owner. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from him regarding my work, which makes me happy. But most of that feedback is just relayed through him, to me, from the client. Without us working together on something he only sees what I can do, and not how I do it. A lot of people can do the jobs I’ve been hired to do. It’s a question of whether they can do them smartly and safely, while being fast and efficient. When all he sees is the finished product, there is always the chance that I’m acting like an ass all day, fiddling with my smart phone, maybe not wearing pants, who knows. So far my work has been enough to keep me there, which from what I hear is often a difficult task; the place goes through people like I go through blunt wraps. I’m sure one day soon I’ll get to work with him, and soon after that know whether it’s a good thing or not. Either way I love the work, and I love working outdoors again.
The job I was called in to finish on Wednesday was a safety rail on a roof near the skyway. It was -7° that morning when I stopped to get my coffee, and the lovely lady behind the counter asked “You’re not working outside today, are you?”. I assured her that not only was I working outside all day on a 32′ lift, I was looking forward to it. I remember having conversations with people at John Deere about how much better it feels to work outside every day, regardless of the weather. Most thought I was crazy for preferring the outdoors in our cold Canadian winters, but I love having the world as your office. Just look at the view I had while working on that railing in the photo above. All day I watched massive boats pass through an engineered waterway that acts as a boat escalator (see: Welland Canal), while a C-130 Hercules circled above us (a regular occurrence here in Niagara). You don’t get that experience when you’re stuck in an office or warehouse. You just get neon lights that fuck with your head and eyes and make you contemplate not coming back after lunch. I get no lunch, and I don’t even care. I just like the job that much. Hopefully there is enough work to keep me there for a long time.
It only took a little over two years, an iPhone and the absence of his mother, but my nephew finally started warming up to me. Anyone who has been around me and tiny children knows it usually doesn’t go well; we’re equally terrified of each other. My Mighty nephew is no exception. This photo above is literally the first time he’s ever willingly been in my presence, let alone within my reach. I’m not naive enough to think I had anything to do with it, the credit all goes to interactive Dr. Seuss book iPhone apps, but I’ll take it however I can get it.
Teeny tiny Mighty baby steps.
I have always known February 19th to be a day of celebration. It’s the day the cobra patriarch adds another candle to his cake. And although this year was no exception to the tradition, the day started out on a sad note. The diner around the corner decided to call it quits after 14 years. Not only was I sad that I would no longer have my morning walks to look forward to, but I also loved the 2 minutes of interaction and banter I had with the diner’s owner, Nick. He was always very friendly and accommodating and just look at that moustache… That’s a moustache that knows coffee and doughnuts.
I asked Nick if I could take a picture of him on his last day and he was more than happy (as you can probably see) to pose and asked if I was going to make him a star. I said I’d try.