Apr

20

Posted by : Patrick | On : April 20, 2014

So we’ve been here since Tuesday night, and it’s true that this is the city that never sleeps… kind of

While many of the local businesses and dining establishments are open 24 hours, it’s really a pretty small subset of what’s here.

I have to admit, the city is beautiful, and getting off the strip, there are lots of gems and deals to be found – the Vegas Premium Outlets are an excellent source of cheap and awesome goods – I picked up 3 pairs of shoes from the DC outlet for less than they sell 1 pair on their website or retail in Canada. (Only 2 were for myself)

Had a burger at BurGR in the Planet Hollywood Casino (the Gordon Ramsay burger joint) and one of those milkshake/pudding fusion drinks they sell, and it was one of the tastiest burgers I’ve ever eaten. The shake was delicious and kind of terrifying. Still throws me for a loop when they ask how I’d like a burger cooked, since in Canada, burgers are simply cooked well done, end of story. E-coli and all that noise.

We also went for a meal at The Peppermill (restaurant near the start of the strip) – it’s about as kitsch as kitsch comes, with neon decor, fake trees, and menu items bigger than your freaking head (no, seriously). The table beside us ordered 2 ice cream sundaes. When the first arrived someone exclaimed “holy shit!” rather loudly. They promptly cancelled the second – the first was easily big enough for all 7 of them. Pretty sure the 1 sundae had an entire gallon bucket of Neapolitan ice cream under all the whipped cream and fruit. In fact, they didn’t finish it. A breakfast at our table had a stack of 3 pancakes that were easily 1 foot wide and pretty thick as well.

I rather enjoyed seeing Motorhead and Megadeth play live at The Palms (also where we’re staying), quite the blast from the past – both bands lived up to their superstar billing, and I heard some songs that I forgot I knew, rocked out, and was crazy sore the following morning. Not sure if it was the concert, or walking about 5 miles before the concert, but getting out of bed was a chore the next morning.

Last night we headed down to downtown Las Vegas, and it was pretty cool to see the older hotels, Fremont street with the live performers and gaudy casinos, and the crowds that reminded me of the Calgary Stampede – except in a place that’s open year round. I’m sure it’s a little less crazy on a regular weeknight, but it was crazy regardless. An outdoor mall with a roof? That lights up? with fish? cool.

As someone who doesn’t drink or gamble, I was skeptical as to how much fun I’d have in this city, but after the past few days, I have to give Las Vegas a hearty two thumbs up – there really is something here for everyone. I’ll definitely be back at the next available opportunity, there’s so much to see and do, and only so much energy to spread around. Plus it’s almost invariably sunny and hot during the day, with cooler, but comfortably warm evenings – walking around in a t-shirt and shorts is rarely going to leave you feeling chilled, although sunscreen is probably a good idea if you spend much time outside during the day (hot. damned hot. it IS the desert after all). If you’re on the strip air-conditioned shelter is never far away thankfully.

Apr

08

Posted by : Patrick | On : April 8, 2014

This is the introduction for the book I started writing last year – I have several chapters complete, and hopefully I’ll finish the entire book this year.

It’s a Fantasy novel, and the premise is, well… to put it simply, we are so dependent on technology and connectivity that it pushes us apart. What would happen if you took someone connected that way, and removed all technology, and went back to basics. Throw in some pixies and some magic, and see where it all goes.

Anyways, the prologue:

It all began one morning, about thirty or so minutes after the alarm went off. I say or so because there was a whole lot of grogginess and unsure reaction to things that may or may not have been dreams mixed among things that perhaps were, and perhaps were not real. The alarm was set for six thirty in the morning, which is far too early for anyone with any kind of reason or wit to be waking up, unless you’re just that sort of person. Apparently that sort of person does indeed exist, somewhere in the world, however, David was NOT that sort of person. In fact, in his perfect world, there was no such thing as a bed time or an alarm clock, there was simply living life, getting tired, resting, and when the mood struck, living life again. Putting it on a schedule was something akin to punching oneself in the face repeatedly while wearing a spikey fisted glove. Not a natural way of doing things at all.

As with all mornings, David was annoyed with the alarm, drifted in and out of sleep, and finally, when the frustration of needing to be somewhere while also needing to NOT go anywhere finally drove the last bit of patience out of him, he sprung out of bed.

And promptly dropped back in. The raised bed with a ladder, and the amazing little workspace beneath it seemed like such a wonderful idea in the shop, but the dents and missing stucco in the ceiling led him to reconsider the value of such an arrangement. Yes, he had more space for work, play and anything else that might strike him as the thing to do right now, he also had a very sore head, and a ceiling in dire need of repair. He was not particularly handy when it came to fixing up the home, much like waking up was not his forte, so as it turns out this may have been one of those ideas that was of the “poor choice” variety.

He was awake. And still in bed. With a throbbing head.

Fuck.

Shit.

He wondered what that little redhead he’d been flirting with at the market the last few weeks would think if she saw his room. Would she be as impressed as he was with the very functional space?

Or rather… as impressed as he HAD been, until he’d tried to use it?

Enough about the bed, and the wonderful little space under the bed (I realize we didn’t describe it in detail, but really, it is not particularly exciting. A computer desk, another desk with a printer, a chair, and four rather exquisite monitors connected to a very fast computer). It’s really not relevant because he didn’t bump his head on the computers, or the monitors, or the printer or the desks. He bumped his head on the ceiling, which was a product of the raised bed being a mere two feet from the ceiling, which is roughly a foot short of being as tall as he was sitting. He also had to duck a little when he went in to the work space, but as he was usually awake and coherent at those times, it was still not nearly relevant.

David was not a small guy, tall (just over six foot) and lanky, and the small space was not ideal. His curly chestnut hair was mussed and maniacal from the repeated contact with the ceiling, the red marks on his forehead contrasting with his dark, charcoal eyes. If he hadn’t been in such ruins, he would have been a rather handsome fellow.

Sleeping, or half sleeping as the case may be, people tend to need a little extra as far as precautions. Should have thought of that sooner, I expect.

Maybe she’d take one look at the room, blurt something about idiot nerds, and run screaming. That would be a shame. Might be better to get to know her a lot better before introducing her to the cave of awesome, so it wouldn’t become the dank cavern of no one but him, ever.

So David. The guy with the very sore head, and the very high bed. He did in fact, get high every night at some point, and not once from drugs. He used a ladder. He was not the least bit certain whether this was something that would score him points with the ladies, or force him in to a long life of oblivious loneliness. He also fully expected that he would have a long life. That is quite honestly never a safe thing to assume, but he was oblivious to this particular oversight. Not surprising, given he was young, human, and slightly devoid of reason when it came to such things, as are most young men of his age and persuasion.

David looked at his overflowing laundry basket and suddenly his headache was vastly, infinitely, majorly, overwhelmingly awful, almost terminal… not quite terminal mind you, as David, in the vein of most young men, was clearly, obviously and completely (without a doubt) not capable of death (assuming again, silly, right?). He wondered if he had any clean clothing to put on before he left for work in OH FUCK.

He was supposed to be out the door fifteen minutes ago, and in fact, at work about five minutes ago. And he was starving. Starving might be bad, since his head was giving him the all clear to empty his stomach at any moment, and given it was empty, and he was starving, this would be unpleasant to say the least. He was beginning to hate the bed, although the hate was rather muted by the pain in his head. It is pretty amazing how the cause of pain can be pushed back by the fact of the pain, to the point where you blame the pain more than what actually caused it to come in to being. Besides, what if the pain was actually caused by something else, and simply made worse by the ceiling, which was far too close to the bed. By choice. Fuck.

So, food out, no clean clothing… laundry is too damned expensive it would seem, despite requiring nothing but time, which David seemed to think he had an endless supply of at every time, except the one where he was late for work with nothing clean to wear. Thankfully the pain in his head (no, he was not thanking it, it just helped him deal with situation by making him oblivious to it) made thinking seem like a poor choice, and his just grabbed the first things he found on the floor, and ran for the door. It wasn’t until he was half way to the bus stop that he realized three things.

He was wearing a tee shirt that had a band logo, and some rather foul language printed on the back.

He was also wearing pants with no belt and no wallet in them.

His keys were in the pocket of the same pants that held his wallet.

If he managed to get on the bus with no money, unlikely as his throbbing head had apparently removed his last wit, and relegated him to the mental state of a zombie, he’d get to work, where he was expected to serve customers, looking every bit like that very same zombie. And a shirt that said something along the lines of “Everyone I see is fucking stupid, punch me in the face you ninny bitch, let us party”. Odds of getting sent home were stellar, odds of still having a job tomorrow, not so much. The obvious choice (from the moment he woke up with a smashing headache) would have been to call in sick, sleep off the headache on the couch, and do the laundry. Now, he was almost to the bus stop, without his keys, wallet or, oddly a phone. With any luck, one of his neighbours would be kind enough to let him back in to the apartment building. He hoped.

He probably should have turned back, found a way in, and called work, but in his current state, plan b. Walk in, and explain to the boss that he was immensely ill, and could not work today. This seemed like the perfect plan.

About an hour late, since with no wallet and no wits, he would have to walk half an hour to get to work anyways. Clearly actually working would not be a feasible choice, since wits were entirely something he needed to fulfil his duties, and he had not enough of those to get himself dressed and make sure he had everything he would need in his possession before leaving.

As awful as this all sounds, everything to this point was made entirely worse, and possibly awesome, by the fact that at the end of his long, painful, completely horrible, painful walk, he saw the closed sign on the door at work. It was Sunday. He’d heard his phone ring, thought it was his alarm clock (fancy computer alarm that, sadly, had the same tone as his phone), and in his dazed state not realized that being Sunday, it was still the weekend, and he had the day off.

Did I mention fuck?

So, not fired, but a 30 minute walk from home, with a splitting headache, no phone, no wallet and…

Yeah, and then he heard the BANG! Or was it a BOOM! Regardless of which it was, it was loud, and there was the sound of glass shattering and metal creaking with that odd complaint you hear when metal bends the way it isn’t supposed to. Kind of like it’s crying out for help, but because it’s a strong, valiant thing, the whole disbelief and dismay of the noise makes it all the more painful sounding. He looked over, and saw the bus he should have been taking to work (if it’d been the right day, assuming he was still running late, and had his bus pass and all the miscellaneous things that he should have been carrying on his person when he left home) Embedded in the side of a building.

If everything was just as it should be, the bus might have been embedded in the shop he was headed to, but sadly, it was embedded in a different structure – the bank across the street. That struck him as odd, but in his current state it hadn’t occurred to him that it might be something a little more malicious than that. It’s much harder to imagine malice being something other than the sledgehammer in your head when such a thing is taking place. David just wanted some morphine or Advil or… he didn’t fucking know, he just wanted the headache to be gone.

He looked down and realized there was some money there – not a little bit, but quite a lot actually. He grabbed a fiver for the bus from the ground, and wandered off, unconsciously tugging his pants to keep them from falling down, to find his way home, to sleep off this headache and figure out where the blinking hell he’d gone wrong this morning.

Apr

07

Posted by : Patrick | On : April 7, 2014

Brand spanking new WordPress install, just want to test some stuff out

contemplating deleting the entire blog history for a fresh start… reading some of the older entries makes me cringe.

I’d like to refocus this on a few things

Entertainment – things I enjoy, despise or heartily loathe coming out as far as TV, Movies, Music – possibly reviews, mostly random thoughts.

Writing – progress of my book (which is a few chapters in at the moment, and getting some decent feedback)

Dealing with Multiple Sclerosis, and recalling the effects it’s had on my life prior to diagnosis

My (adorable) pug Kaia

My love/hate relationship with Electronic Cigarettes (much better than smoking)

Remembering to write on a regular basis. I suck at this.

And hoping self hosting my blog doesn’t blow up in my face. As long as I don’t overdo it, it should be fine. Wish me luck!

Sep

27

Posted by : Patrick | On : September 27, 2013

So I wrote a post in 2011

Trying to think of how things have changed since then.

I’m not working right now, so that doesn’t help, but everything I’ve learned since I wrote that just solidifies everything I was thinking at the time I wrote it.

“Stuff” doesn’t matter.

By stuff, I mean luxury items.

There are things that are vastly more important in life, most of which have no quantifiable cost.

The people in your life are 99% of that

Of course, in 2011, I had no idea what was wrong with me – I knew there was something wrong, I can’t deny that, but I had no idea what it was or what the long term implications of it might be. If you’ve read some of my recent entries, there’s some frustration at finding out I have a condition known as Multiple Sclerosis. Based on what they know about it, they don’t know a lot. They know that certain drugs can help, they think it might be an autoimmune condition (they’re pretty sure of that actually), but then, some people have had some success treating it as something else entirely, so it might not be.

Anyways, the dream is still the same.

I’d like to get my own place, preferably a small condo with room for 2 people and a dog. I have the dog already

I don’t feel any huge need to be in a relationship, although I do miss human cuddles (I get lots of cuddles, but they’re puppy cuddles – which are awesome in their own right), but I don’t miss complications and all the crap involved with having to be things I’m not because that’s what someone else wants… Unless I find someone who’s cool with me as I am, there’s no rush.

Baby steps.

I need to get myself back up and running at a properly functional level, get back to work, and improve my skills so I can increase my income – No more scraping by at the bare minimum, because there are things I need personally (mostly my own space) that are pretty much impossible to get at what I was making. Plus my medical costs are extensive apparently (I’m not on any drugs at the moment, but the drugs my doctors want me to take cost more than some people OVER the poverty line make in a year)

On the bright side, I think I’ve finally managed to get my dog house trained – she still has accidents, but it’s more 1 a week, as opposed to 3 times a day… gets me out and moving on a regular schedule, so that’s good too.

My goals for the coming year are easy

1. Be more active
2. Eat better (eliminate processed foods as much as possible, cook for myself, stop being wasteful with groceries)
3. Downsize – eliminate shit I don’t need, focus on quality, not quantity
4. Improve the skills I do have so they’re more marketable
5. Teach Kaia how to put her toys away when she’s done with them
6. Be more social, nothing good comes from sitting in my room watching TV

Aug

09

Posted by : Patrick | On : August 9, 2013

Telus, Bell, Rogers?

All of you are awful.

roll back 10 years, my cell phone was low tech, not all that spectacular, and 30 bucks a month got me 200 daytime minutes, unlimited evenings and weekends from 6pm. Minutes that went over the limit of 200 were 25 cents

my first Smart phone was a Palm, and I was paying $60 a month for 300 minutes with unlimited data and all the bells and whistles. 35 cents for minutes

Then a BlackBerry – same plan

Then an iPhone, they took away the unlimited data, so I had 5gb and 300 minutes + bells and whistles all around, $60 a month

Next iPhone, I bumped to 6gb of data and 300 minutes, $100 per month, same bells and whistles, 45 cents for additional minutes

Current phone (still an iPhone), still 6gb of data, still 300 minutes, 5pm evenings and weekends, 45 cents for additional minutes, paying $80 a month – the upward trend reversed a little.

JUST looked at the websites for Telus, Bell, and Rogers (the 3 “BIG” telecom providers in Canada), and to get what I have now?

$140 to $160 a month.

To be fair, that includes unlimited calling.

Big deal – I’ve never even come close to using my 300 daytime minutes, not even once…

so the price of data is going up (while the price of providing data is still dropping), the price of overage minutes is still going up (while the price of providing those minutes is NOTHING), the price of roaming keeps going up, while the cost is less than they charge for our normal domestic services…

Telus, Bell and Rogers – the cash grab, ripoff cousins.

and they’re complaining about Verizon coming to Canada – obviously… when you’re running a huge ripoff on Canadians, and trying to sell it as being an awesome deal? Bringing in a competitor more interested in number of subscribers than profit per subscription is a pretty huge threat.

Hey Verizon – unlimited calling North America, unlimited 4G data with tethering, unlimited messaging… $99? sound fair, because I’ll pay that, and jump ship in a split second.