Monday, December 9, 2013

New Phone

After three years, I replaced my phone.  While the old one still worked okay, it was running a very old version of Android (Eclair), and I couldn't download much in the way of new apps.  That would've been okay, but I also worried that the apps I did use would be updated to require a newer version of Android.

Anyway, I've been weighing my options for a few months, and it ultimately came down to a three horse race: the HTC One, the Nexus 5, or the iPhone 5s.

The first is getting close to the point its successor will be released.  I really considered the Nexus, but when I heard Google won't be upgrading Galaxy Nexus phones (only two years old) to the newest version of Android, I lost a little bit of interest.

Finally, there was the iPhone.  The iPhone 4, released three years ago, got the iOS7 upgrade, and I've really liked my iPad in the year I've had it.

So I took the plunge.  This is the first official photo of the Kissing Couple of Grande Prairie taken with my iPhone 5s.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Sick Week Wonderings

So, why is it that when you need something the most, you're unable to get it?  I've been sick for three days now.  I know that, more than anything, getting some extra sleep and eating something will help me get better soon.  With that knowledge in hand, I've tried.

Wednesday:  I was home sick, dozed/slept for most of the day (~10-5), but barely managed to eat a small amount of yogurt in the morning, and couldn't even finish a carrot for supper.  Then I woke up around 1:30 in the morning and tossed, turned and dozed while having weird and frustrating fever dreams until nearly 5:00.  If Amanda hadn't gotten up to get me some Tylenol and milk, I'm not sure what would've happened.  But thanks to her, I finally *slept*.

Thursday:  I was home sick again, but was joined by Amanda this time.  I managed some yogurt in the afternoon and ended up just cooking Kraft Dinner and hot dogs for us because it seemed like something both easy to make and easy to eat.  Then I went to bed, where I tossed and turned for a really long time before giving up and taking some melatonin.  (It normally works pretty well for me on sleepless nights, but it tends to give me vivid dreams, and after the weird dreams I had the previous night, I really wasn't eager to take it).  I finally fell asleep, but woke up nearly two hours before our alarms were set to go off, and couldn't fall back asleep.

Tonight:  it's after midnight, I've been up since ~5:00, and I know I need some sleep, but I'm pretty much wide awake.

So, let me reiterate my original question:  why is it that when you need something the most, you're unable to get it?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Remembrance Day Again

I attended the Remembrance Day service this morning.  I did not attend last year, so this was the first time I have gone in Grande Prairie.  Once I was done being cranky at all of the people who showed up late (yet had time to stop at Tim Horton's), I really did get something out of the ceremony.  The prayers were led by a man who noted the importance of Remembrance Day not just for remembering those who fought and gave their youth, health, and life for the freedom we enjoy, but so we don't forget what kind of people we are.

We can nitpick about stupidity and ignorance among the people around us, but ultimately we are people who are kind and hopeful, and who prefer peace to war.  Remembering these traits and aspiring to better ourselves in them is one of the best ways we can also remember who died to defend us.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

If Nominated, I Shall Not Serve

I'm a member of the local Children's Literature Roundtable.  The current president's term has ended, and will not serve again.  So at our AGM tonight, the question came up as to who will serve as president.  Nobody volunteered.  When we took a secret ballot to see who everyone thought could serve, it ended up as a three way tie between me and two other people.

We all shook our heads no.

In a previous meeting when the subject had come up and someone tried to convince me to put my name forward, I reminded her that I only attend about half of the meetings.  I would attend more, but the best meeting day for most members of the group is actually a lousy day for me to attend.  If the meeting is held at the Library and it's a quick meeting, things work out okay.  But if the meeting is elsewhere, or it runs long, or is a potluck meeting, it doesn't work out so well.

Another major part of things is that I see things very differently the the rest of the group in some respects.  We gave a presentation at the local library conference in September.  During the preparation for the presentation, one member said she felt we were all set.  At that point, I had no idea what the content or the structure of the presentation would be, no idea what my part in it was supposed to be, and (if I'm being honest) no idea why anyone would want to come to it...  I know my opinion differs a fair bit from the group on a few other things too.

In short, the group needs a president whose feelings about it dovetail to some extent with what the group already is.  A contrary opinion is handy now and then, but it's not okay for the head of the group.  That's how these sorts of things ultimately fall apart.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

First Food

Amanda and I ate at Opa for the very first time this afternoon. We were out at Future Shop, and when we walked by Opa, Amanda tugged me toward it.  I wasn't sure, but we were both getting hungry and we've eaten at Mucho Burrito and Subway many times.

It was great!  Their pitas were amazing, my Caesar salad was pretty good, and even their French fries were good.  Needless to say, Amanda and I will go there again.  Now the only problem is that we've added another option when we go to food courts, and it might make our decisions more difficult! :-)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Storm is Coming

Amanda and I went to a Grande Prairie Storm game together tonight.  Our team lost, but we had a lot of fun... And took a photo together!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Awakened by a *Thump*

So, the dream world has gotten the better of me once again.  I woke up mid-fall as I was running away.  My foot slipped out from under me, and I fell hard on the floor.  It felt like I had burnt off the entire surface of my knee with the ensuing carpet burn.  All because of a stupid dream.  I woke Amanda up, and made her pretty annoyed with me, all because of a stupid dream.

I know Amanda feels bad for me when I have a dream that scares or startles me that much.  But I can also hear the tone of her voice when she asks me what happened.  To be fair, she was startled out of a sound sleep once again to hear me sleepwalking and reacting to a dream.  I probably yelled, and definitely made a loud thump when I hit the floor.

Anyway, I'm going to stay awake for a while and let her get back to sleep.  Hopefully in an hour or so, I'll be able to as well...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Nostalgia

Amanda and I just spent the last two and a half hours talking.  Most of it was spent talking about the not-so-fun points earlier in our lives -- about bad jobs, bad apartments, and times we weren't doing so great financially.  Each of us have had some times that felt pretty miserable, but it was sort of fun to reminisce about them together.  We told stories about old roommates and incidents between us and them, and remembered our first apartments and all of their shortcomings.

When we decided it was probably bedtime, I fired up my iMac to see if I had photos on there from my first apartment.  I did, but I also had something better:  a video I had taken.  I took the video to send it to my brother, and it was a walk through of the apartment along with my commentary.  It was great.  Amanda and I both laughed about the dorky way I acted in the video, and commented about how badly stuff was arranged in the apartment, and had a great time doing it.

At the time I lived there though, I knew the apartment was a temporary stop.  I never fully unpacked, and spent a fair amount of time worrying about money because the rent was high and my landlord's claim that the smaller, cheaper apartment he rented out would become available soon was not panning out.  I was in a new job, where I felt like I wasn't contributing much and couldn't find things to keep busy with.  In short, in many ways I wasn't very happy there.  But it sure put a smile on my face to look back on it and see how far I've come in five years.

Maybe tomorrow after I'm done at the Library, Amanda and I will make a similar video of our current apartment.  Maybe in five years we'll sit together at my computer, watch it, and smile about how young we were, how little we knew, and how much things have changed.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Election Issues

Next Monday is our local Election Day, and as of yet, I know next to nothing about most of the candidates.  I'm hoping to have some time this weekend (maybe between going into the library for a program on Saturday and then again on Sunday) to read up on what each of them are promising.

But then again, it might be simpler not to.  I already know of two people I plan to vote for because I've seen proof that they are pro-library.  It's a limited amount of data to know about a person, I admit, but as a practical matter, knowing someone is in favour of the organization that pays my salary is more useful to me than any number of promises about fixing potholes or lowering taxes.  (Please note that I picked those two topics of discussion out of thin air -- I'm not using them to single out any of the candidates).

Similarly, I know one or two people I really don't want to vote for.  Again, it's based on a very limited thing -- their campaign signs.  As a library technician, I know the dangers of judging a book by its cover.  However, I've also come to a point in my life where a lousy cover makes me wonder where else the publisher and/or author cut corners in the book.  Was it edited poorly?  Is the author coasting on past successes?  If a candidate makes a sign that makes me shake my head and wonder what they were thinking, I start to question that candidate's judgement a little.  They've already failed in their first test, and they haven't been elected yet.

So we'll see what happens.  I plan to do my duty and vote.  I just don't know how much more informed my vote will be than it currently is...

Friday, October 4, 2013

Oldies Movie Night

I've been sick all week, so when Amanda proposed that we take it easy tonight, order pizza, and watch a John Hughes movie from the '80s, I agreed.  I had never seen any of the movies she suggested, and after we searched to see what Netflix had, we decided on Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

...it was pretty good!  I don't know that it quite lived up to everything I had heard about the movie, but it was good.

When we finished that, Amanda commandeered Netflix and loaded up How to Marry a Millionaire, and it just finished.  I think tonight was just what I needed after a solid week of being sick:  an evening on the couch with my favourite person.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

High Hopes Dashed

Amanda's favourite house is only a few blocks away from where we live. When we go for a walk together, we often head down that particular street and stop to admire the house. She's told me more than once that if it ever is for sale, we'll take a look at it regardless of whether the price is in our range or not.

When we were driving to her parents' house for supper tonight, Amanda pointed and said "My favourite house is for sale!" We quickly agreed to drive by on the way home to confirm her sighting. So a few minutes ago, we were driving home and Amanda reminded me. So we turned off and looped back around. We could see the house up ahead, and as we drove closer, saw the sign...

...a sign that said "Elect Blah for council". >:-(

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Niece

I don't know if I've mentioned her without it being in passing, but my newly-acquired niece is pretty awesome. She's cheerful, smart, and the fact that she likes Hello Kitty *and* Ninja Turtles is incredibly cool. The middle statement really hit home today, as I found myself in a position of talking with an eight year old. I think he was trying to impress me, but the conversation ended up feeling like a month's worth of late-1980s gossip about video games. He had all sorts of theories that were sort of the equivalent of "If you beat Mario 37 times, he gets a gun". After less than five minutes, I was thinking that my niece (only five years old) was a better conversationalist than that boy.  So, she's pretty cool, and when she, her mom, and her brother come to the library, she hops right into the chair next to me to ask me to search for books for her.

This all makes what happened on Saturday night even funnier. Amanda was reading our niece a bedtime story that involved various Marvel superheroes and villains. One page showed the Blob, a nemesis of the X-Men. Our niece asked about him, and I explained that he's really fat and can't be hurt. After a bit of talking, she pointed at my stomach and said "Like that one?" I said yes, and she said "It's soo big!" (In reference to my stomach)

I thought it was hilarious, Amanda (while grinning) told her that it wasn't a very nice thing to say. Anyway, when the time came for us to leave, I said goodbye and scooted up the stairs. Amanda was a little bit behind me. But I clearly heard our niece say "Auntie Amanda, you forgot to close the door!" So Amanda walked back down the stairs, and I heard the bedroom door shut. Then after a second, I heard her yell "AUNTIE AMANDA, you forgot to say goodbye!"

Her parents, Amanda, and I all started cracking up.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Blame Game

As a culture, we like the play the "What-if" game. What if a different actor had been in the movie? What if I hadn't gone to Japan? What if I hadn't met Amanda? (The last one is a particularly horrible thought!)

In fact, we're encouraged to think this way -- to look back at the decisions we've made and how they contributed to our current situation. For instance, when I worked at a mill a few years ago, I was hit by a tier of lumber at the stacker. The operator hadn't been paying attention, and forwarded the next tier before I finished pulling the poorly-graded boards away from the previous one. It's pretty clear that the stacker operator was at fault, but when we did an accident investigation, we had to look at the root cause. I was on the wrong side of the boards.

I didn't cause the accident, and the other person involved was certainly to blame. But I had made what I'd normally call a low-percentage move -- something that may work, but has a low percentage of happening without other consequences (see balancing a milk jug on a cereal box).

Traffic accident investigations and post-action reports work the same way too. They focus on finding all things that may have led to the final result. Were you past the stop line? You may have contributed. Were you texting with your cell phone? Your distraction may have helped cause the accident. I realize these examples are concrete evidence rather than matters of opinion, but they help show that as a society, we're obsessed with looking for anything that might have helped to cause an event.

We need to get away from victim blaming. This is true. But at the same time, I think that people need to realize that our culture surrounds us with these few questions: "What if?" and "How could it have been avoided?" So if we screw up and ask these questions at precisely the wrong time, please cut us a little slack before denouncing us as horrible people, okay? Believe it or not, most of us are actively trying *not* to be.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Wheels that Drive our Lives

Since January, we've been keeping our eyes open for a newer car for Amanda. Her faithful Ford Taurus  that has served her well for many years is now on its last legs. Her family is definitely a Ford family. Her dad owns a Ford truck and a Mercury, and her mom drives a ford as well. Her sister and sister-in-law? Also Fords.

As for me, my family has a bigger mixture. Dad: Ford, Mom: Toyota for life, Tyler: Dodge now, but who knows later? I've ended up taking after my mom -- I drive a Toyota Yaris, and if I were to win the lottery, would happily stay in the Toyota family.

So what has it been like looking at vehicles with Amanda? Well, it mostly involves checking out used Fords while I excitedly point out any Toyota on the lot. I constantly joke that Amanda should get a newer version of my car so she can be cool like me. But she's a Ford fan.

So it looks like this Fehr household will have a multiple automotive personality disorder: Fords for the hydraulic shop and Toyotas for the library.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Words that *Should* Exist

I remember doing some writing when I was a child. I wrote about a man, or robot, or something that was in trouble. At the most exciting part (in my pre-ten-year-old's opinion), I wrote that the character "jamp" out of the way. I remember showing it to my parents and having a lengthy "discussion" (they discussed, I argued), I finally gave in and changed it to "jumped."

I think I associated the verb jump along with other action words. After all, my character hadn't "runned" or "standed." Why in the world would my character have jumped? This is why English, for all its versatility, is a screwy language. Japanese is way, way, way better. :-)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Staff Parties

The Library's staff barbecue was tonight, and Amanda and I were there. It was a lot of fun, as we had a handful of people who all wandered over to see the bling on our hands from getting married. Most of them agreed that my ring is nice (I prefer the word "spiffy"), and that Amanda's ring is beautiful.

It's always kind of weird getting together with one of our groups of co-workers like that. One of us is really familiar and at-ease with the group, while the other is a little more on the outside of things. Next week, we'll be changing roles when we attend the staff golfing day for Amanda's shop. Luckily, I know at least two of her co-workers reasonably well (her dad and brother), so as long as I'm grouped up with Amanda, her dad, or her brother, I'll have someone to visit with throughout the day. ...That said, Amanda and I may have to cheat so that we're in the same grouping. I've never gone golfing with her before, and I'd really like to!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Time, Life, and Love

For the past few months, Amanda and I have been watching Doctor Who. We started with the ninth doctor, and have continued on with the tenth. Tonight we watched the two parter episode that introduced River Song. We've been thoroughly spoiled regarding River due to Pinterest and other things, but the whole premise of her life and how she and the doctor meet at different orders in their lives really struck a chord with us.

We haven't seen enough to know for sure, but if they were living their lives in exact opposite directions (as some of the spoiler material has implied), River would have known that the doctor's first meeting with her would be the last time she ever saw him. When Amanda and I talked it out after the episodes were over, I tried to put it into terms of our life together.

Just imagine if Amanda was experiencing our life together in the opposite direction that I do -- not minute by minute, but day by day perhaps. Today, she would see the wedding ring on her finger and know that our wedding was coming up for her, and in the past for me. In just over three weeks, she'd never be able to call me her husband again. Even worse, even a single reference to how long we've been together would leave her knowing the horrible truth that she only had a fixed amount of time left with me.

Two and a half weeks "after" our wedding, she'd hear me tell her how amazing our two years together have been, and would know exactly how limited our time together would be. A little under a year "later", and she wouldn't be able to call me her fiancée anymore. Two months "after" that, never living with me again. Just over a year "later", and never seeing me again. And finally, on July 10, 2011, receiving an e-mail that started with "Hi there. This website..." And knowing that the two of us would never speak to or see each other ever again.

It's an incredibly sad idea. It makes me want to grab my wife, hug her fiercely, and thank God that we're living our lives in the same direction of time, blissfully ignorant of when one of us will be stolen from the other. So if you'll excuse me, I think I'm going to wrap this up so I can do exactly that.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Short-Lived...

So our living room is a mess again. We visited Amanda's sister and her family yesterday and picked up some of the stuff she took home for us the day after our wedding. So for now it is all in our living room...

On the plus side, it's consumable stuff (leftover pop, beer and wine), and we have some people who will take the beer off our hands. It'll make things a little simpler than us returning things to the liquor store.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Quiet Life

I thought once the wedding was done, I'd be back to updating this blog regularly. The stress of preparing for the wedding would be off, and I'd have more spare time to pontificate about various topics. It hasn't quite worked out that way.

Amanda and I have quietly been enjoying married life the past week and a half since we returned from our honeymoon. We were both home the past two days (Amanda was sick, and I had taken the days off) and while Amanda slept, I've been getting things done.

Since I moved out here just over a year ago, our place has been a mess. Amanda had an apartment full of stuff, I had a condo full of stuff, and there was an awful lot to fit into one apartment. The first major improvement happened when we set up my desk and bookshelves in the living room. A bunch of the boxes we moved from my condo were emptied and recycled in fairly short order. But our place was still crowded. Then we rearranged the storage room and added more boxes to it, and rearranged things in the living room somewhat. In spite of it, things were still really cramped... Until yesterday.

Last weekend, I saw that Target had bookshelves on sale for an extremely good price. I talked to Amanda about them, and we picked up two of them Monday night. So I cleared some space on the living room floor and assembled the yesterday. One is in the living room where a much smaller bookshelf (now moved to our entryway) was, and the other is in our bedroom. I emptied six boxes onto the new shelves, loaded most of our board games into the smallest shelf, and at the end of the day, we actually have a decent living room again. It seems incredibly spacious to us, and feels much better while sitting in there.

So that's what we're up to lately.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Working Weekend Again

[originally posted early August 2013 -- correcting a typo much later changed the publication date]

So how are Amanda and I planning to spent our first full weekend at home as a married couple? Well, I have to work, so she's going to hang out with her sister. :-(

Other than that, we talked today about a few changes we could make to our apartment to give us a little more space. Hint: more shelving may be involved. So even though I'm stuck working and we won't get as much time together as we'd like, we've got a project to think about.

Maybe we need to start thinking about code names for it. ...I like Project Delta Hello Kitty Fanta Mark III. Amanda's mileage may vary.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Honeymoon Part 5

Sadly, our honeymoon is now over. In less than an hour, Amanda and I will be asleep, and we'll be at our normal jobs at our normal times tomorrow morning.

It was an incredible week though. Our wedding went off without a hitch thanks to lots of help from our families and friends. Even the cleanup went fairly quickly and smoothly! Amanda and I had an exempt productive morning on Monday packing up for our trip, and then we were off to Edmonton.

We explored, shopped, and visited things each of us had hoped to see, and had an amazing time together. Together alone, I should say. At any rate, we drove home from Edmonton yesterday, and spent the rest of the day (and today) unpacking, doing laundry, and enjoying the last few hours of our honeymoon before the real world intrudes again tomorrow. Things will be different though. I've got a ring on my hand now. And inside the ring, there's a tiny affirmation for when things aren't much fun. It reads "I OK". (Actually, it's a label that means my ring is 10 karat gold, but I prefer to think of it the other way).

So, before I leave this to go to bed, here are a few more photos of our honeymoon. The first is of Amanda in front of the wall carvings on the front of the Royal Museum of Alberta. In the second, the Great One looks on and can't believe the Kissing Couple of Grande Prairie is taking a photo in front of him. Finally, the last photo is of Amanda in our hotel lobby, grateful to get off her feet for a minute (we did a ton of walking while in Edmonton)


Friday, August 2, 2013

Honeymoon Part 4

Highlight of the day: taking a great photo of Amanda next to a giant stuffed Scully in Toys R Us!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Honeymoon Part 3

Today was a shopping day! Right after breakfast, Amanda and I headed out to find Old Navy, and wandered from there to nearby businesses that seemed interesting. We ended up buying a bunch of clothes and visiting Ikea in the process. After supper, we did something I planned on doing during each of our previous trips to Edmonton: visit the Strathcona County Public Library. I applied for a job there about a year and a half ago, and have been curious about the library ever since. Amanda and I were both impressed by it, but had to make our visit short because we arrived there only a half hour before closing.

It was a good day!

I've got two photos tonight -- one is of Amanda and me in a mirror at Ikea, and the other is Amanda trying on a leather jacket at an outlet store we visited.



Honeymoon Part 2

Day two of our honeymoon was spent wandering. Amanda and I saw that some galleries in Edmonton had some interesting shows going on, so we walked for a while and checked them out.  Then we spent the afternoon along Whyte Avenue, having lunch at Julio's and doing a little shopping. We didn't have to rush, and we were able to spend much more time in a few areas we had to rush through on our last trip.

The two photos at the bottom of this post were bookends for the day. I started by getting a photo of Amanda outside of our hotel, and ended with a photo of us together outside of an underwear store with a funny name.

We had a lot of fun, and I hope today is just as good!




Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Honeymoon Part 1

Amanda and I are off on our honeymoon! We took this photo together yesterday when we stopped in Whitecourt for a quick washroom break and to trade off driving duties. Amanda drove the final stretch and I navigated us through Edmonton, first to Olive Garden (yay!) and then to our hotel.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27, 2013

July 27, 2013

On this day, Amanda Marlene Buchan and Jacob Llewellyn Fehr (aka. the Kissing Couple of Grande Prairie) were married. It was the best day of our lives.

Tomorrow, or... today

This is it. In thirteen hours, I'll be marrying Amanda. The last 10 months have been quite a ride. It's been wonderful to have Amanda as my fiancée, and tomorrow she'll finally be my wife.

I'm excited.

I'm not nervous right now though. I think all the stress of the wedding preparations over the past month in particular has inadvertently kept me from being nervous about marrying Amanda.

So before I watch Amanda walk down the aisle and say "I do", I want to thank everyone who supported unconditionally and helped us to prepare for the wedding.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

THE Song

So... Amanda and I went looking for the perfect rendition of Here Comes the Bride tonight. I vetoed any version that was heavy on organs -- organ music feels like it is really out of place outside of church. I (jokingly) suggested all sorts of techno, rock, and dance versions, most of which resulted in Amanda making faces at me.

The version Amanda went with is very appropriate for an outdoor wedding (which we're still hoping to do), but it'll work just fine inside the hall if the weather forces us to have the ceremony indoors.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Last Minute Tasks

We're down to the wire, and only last minute stuff is left. I want to make up a simple itinerary to send to wedding attendees by e-mail, and we still have to buy pop, juice, and water on Thursday. Amanda and I started making the reception playlist, and we've got to finish that up still.

We'll make it. That said, July 29th and our five hour drive to Edmonton will seem incredibly relaxing!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Only a week

It's only a week away at this point.  One week from now, I'll be trying to sleep, completely excited and absolutely freaking out about the next day. One week from now, our wedding rehearsal and dinner afterward will have finished, and everyone will just be waiting for the next day.

Holy cow.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Making the Playlist

I've talked about it more than a few times on this blog, but I finally started working on our reception playlist tonight.  Amanda fell asleep a little bit early tonight and I wasn't quite ready to nod off, so I started putting songs into a playlist.  It's an extremely rough-cut playlist, as I was mostly putting in anything I thought I'd enjoy hearing during the reception.  Maybe tomorrow night after her final dress fitting, Amanda and I will sit down together, weed out any songs that either of us think may be questionable for the reception, and then start adding music from her computer to the list as well.

Oh, and we have to find a rendition of Here Comes the Bride that we like too.  :-)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Two Weeks

We're down to just two weeks now. Two weeks from today, Amanda and I will be married. In fact, two weeks from now we'll be partying at our reception with friends and family, having just celebrated our six hour anniversary. That thought puts a real smile on my face. Amanda and I just passed the two year mark from our first date a few days ago. I moved to Grande Prairie just under a year ago, and we've been engaged for nearly ten months. I can't imagine being anywhere else, or wanting to be with anyone else.

That said, there are still some weird moments. There are days I lay in bed wondering how things ever ended up this I way, and how amazing it is that I'm nearly married. Sometimes when I'm with Amanda's family, our friends, or the members of the roundtable group, I sit there thinking "how did you people end up as part of my life?"

At any rate, there are only two weeks until I'm married.

Yay! :-D

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Pre-Wedding Fashion Show

Amanda ordered some stuff from Old Navy online, so I'm currently watching a bit of a fashion show. T-shirts and shorts and scarves, oh my!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Movie Night --Despicable Me 2

When Amanda and I watched Star Trek: Into Darkness, we saw the trailer for Despicable Me 2. Amanda laughed at the trailer, told me we had to go see it, and spent the last two months randomly saying "bee-doh bee-doh bee-doh" to imitate the minions on the trailer.

I'd never seen the first movie though. So when we were at Future Shop last weekend, Amanda and I picked up the first movie. I enjoyed it, Amanda loved it, and we were all set for the sequel.

It was great. The story was fun, the minions cracked us both up, and it was a pretty good take on the "reluctant guy meets a girl" story too. Oh, and the scene during the credits was funny, and had some of the better 3d effects we've ever seen.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Medium-Size Stuff, Done!

I took the afternoon off and finished up the last two medium size things we needed to finish prior to the wedding. I booked our catering, and it should be delicious. Booking that restaurant was painless, and I'm sure our guests will enjoy their food.

I also got our liquor license and bought most of the alcohol we'll need for the wedding, which was an odd experience. I never took my first drink until I was 30 years old, and so never went on beer runs while I was at university. As a result, it was very odd to load my car up with alcohol. I took a photo of it while my little hatchback was crammed full of beer, wine, and coolers, and it looked incredibly weird.

Anyway, we're basically down to small stuff for the wedding. The last three weeks of preparation should (knock wood) be fairly straightforward.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Zomg Wedding Preparations

Amanda and I sat down after supper to plan some of the final things out for the wedding. We were at it for over an hour. There are two or three medium things along with approximately 18.7 trillion small things left to do in the next 23 days.

Yeah -- we're barely over three weeks away from our wedding. To make things more interesting, I have to work all weekend, and due to my program schedule, cannot take off other adjacent days as I would normally. Instead, I'm taking Friday afternoon off and I'll be visiting a restaurant and liquor store to try to wrap up the last two medium things on the to do list.

We have time to get this stuff done. I know we do. I also know that if we magically had an extra month of time before the wedding, most of these things would be left alone for that month because we wouldn't want to have to store everything for seven plus weeks.

Still...  July 27th is going to arrive in a hurry. Buckle up Amanda. :-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sunny Sunshine Happiness

Amanda and I took this photo together during an incredibly sunny afternoon this weekend while walking to the mall. It was really nice out, Amanda's hair was shining, and I think the photo turned out pretty good!


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Ready to Party

Amanda and I picked up the most important part of the decorations for our wedding reception this afternoon: a disco ball. I don't think the reception would be much of a party without it! We've got the disco ball, its motor, and we just need some kind of light to shine on it. Not laser light though. Though it would look cool, I don't want to blind everyone in the hall.

Now, if only we had *multiple* disco balls! :-)

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Day we've been waiting for

For 11 months now, Amanda and I have waited for this day. The sale of my condo is officially complete. That means that I'm no longer paying mortgage payments or strata fees for a place I'm not living in. It's a huge relief to have finally sold that place, and Amanda and I can start looking ahead toward saving up and buying a house in Grande Prairie.

It's also a relief for another reason beyond the financial burden it put on us. That condo was the last thing that kept me looking back at Tumbler Ridge. I still talk to a few of my friends from there, and that won't stop any time soon, but I'm no longer tied to the town by a piece of property. I don't have to think about the economy, local government, or housing market out there anymore. I'll still check in on the newspaper's website to see what's happening now and then, but it'll be done as a spectator, not as a participant.

So, only two months shy of five years after I returned to Tumbler Ridge, I'm officially saying farewell to it again -- but this time it was on my terms. And that has made all the difference.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

One Month...

When we were out having supper tonight, Amanda pointed something out. We're only a month away from our wedding. Exactly one month from right now, we'll have been married for around seven hours, and will hopefully be having an amazing time at our reception. It's kind of weird to think about. Two years ago, I hadn't even sent my first e-mail to Amanda. One year ago, I had just interviewed at the Grande Prairie Public Library and was packing up to move. And now here I am, just a month away from marrying an amazing woman who also happens to be my best friend.

I have an awesome life.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Photographer other than me

Today Amanda and I met with our wedding photographer to have our engagement photos taken. It was sunny and hot outside, and we were sweating throughout. But Amanda and I had lots of fun during the whole thing. The best part was when our photographer asked us if we were okay doing kissy photos.

Amanda and I both started laughing, and I explained this blog to our photographer. She seemed to like the idea, and then carried on with our photo shoot. It was a good way to start our Sunday, and I'm sure we'll be happy with the results!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Reminder of What Once Was

Hey, remember when this blog was filled with photos of Amanda and me kissing?

Yeah, me too!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mario Karting

Amanda and I have been semi-obsessed with Mario Kart lately. Mario Kart Wii has seldom left my Wii in the past few weeks, and while home sick yesterday, we killed time playing both it and Mario Kart 7 at different points during the day.

What makes it fun for both of us is the balancing. When we're just two racers in the pack, we each have to go all out to avoid losing. As a general rule, (though there are major exceptions), I tend to be better at video games than Amanda -- mostly because I spent much more of my youth playing them than she did. The Mario Kart games even the stakes though. The computer players fit against both of us evenly, and whoever is in first knows that the position is only temporary.

So with that, it's time to fire up my trusty Wii. It's time for some racing!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Book Review: Inferno - Dan Brown

I recently finished Dan Brown's newest book: Inferno. I was an enormous fan of The Da Vinci Code. I picked it up used while on a trip, and was so enthralled that I stayed up far too late reading regardless of the exam I had to write the next morning. Even now when pick up The Da Vinci Code to re-read it, I find myself a little spellbound.

Then The Lost Symbol was published, and I was disappointed. The importance of the secret object(s) seemed overblown, and it annoyed me how things switched between a plot-based tchotchke being metaphorical and literal and then back again.

Inferno took a similar step backwards from the level of The Da Vinci Code. The big conspiracy could have been resolved with a short conversation, the ending was underwhelming, and the book as a whole seemed very preachy. In short, I was disappointed.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

A Modest Wish for a Reasonable Discussion

Amanda and I watched the first two videos of Tropes for Women in Video Games by Anita Sarkeesian today. I have a lot to say about them. I didn't agree with all of the points put forth in the videos, but basically thought they served as an excellent starting point to have a reasonable, measured discussion about how men and women are portrayed in video games.

I don't think the videos will accomplish that goal, for a few reasons. First, there were a few cases in which Sarkeesian argued against a strawman. She argued that part of the damsel in distress trope is that even in the cases when the female non-player character has a role in the storyline, it is a minor role that did not affect the progression of the game. She was right, however I believe she missed the point entirely. These are video games -- progression through the game is *player-driven*. Regardless of gender, non-player characters should not have any real impact on the plot.

Second, the opposition is brutal, sexist, and generally unwilling to have a fair conversation where they argue their points based on merit. Sarkeesian's Wikipedia entry was mercilessly vandalized during her Kickstarter campaign to fund these videos. The reply videos dissecting her arguments mostly had one or two real points surrounded by personal attacks and double standards. One man essentially argued that she should not have done the video because she did not follow the scientific method to produce it. His reply video had no scholarly substance either, yet he must have felt that the bar he set for her to surpass did not apply to him.

I think in the end, this video series will start a war fought with personal attacks and sexist comments. And that's too bad. I had hoped these videos would be the video game equivalent of the Bechdel Test -- something that stops short of saying something is or isn't expressly sexist, but makes it very clear that a problem exists. 

At any rate, Amanda and I will keep watching the videos. We had a lengthy, intelligent, reasonable discussion about the issues involved. Hopefully other people will quit with the bashing and personal attacks and do the same.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rained Out...

Amanda and I had an appointment to have our engagement photo taken tomorrow, but we've postponed it. The weather has been incredibly unpredictable and rainy, and unless we decided to go for a Singing in the Rain style photo complete with umbrellas for props, our photos probably wouldn't turn out as we had hoped.

So we've postponed things for at least a week. Hopefully we'll have at least one day of sunshine for us to take care of things.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Moving Ahead

The conditions have been removed, and the closing date for my condo's sale has been moved up just over two weeks! In less than three weeks, the last thing tying me to Tumbler Ridge will finally be dealt with. That means it's super-official!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Disappearing Evening

Our evening disappeared tonight. I got home, started supper, then ate with Amanda when she got home. We had planned on going swimming but instead spent a bunch of time getting our new cable box working properly. By the time that was done (8ish), it wasn't worth going anymore. So instead Amanda was using her iPad and I found my brother online playing Minecraft.

...two hours later we looked up from what we were doing and realized we'd better finish up and head to bed.

It was a good night, but it disappeared incredibly quickly.

Monday, June 10, 2013

It Starts With a Mud Hut

I've written at length on this blog about my love of Minecraft. Today I finally had the opportunity to play it online with my brother. We found a newer server, set off into the wilderness, and started building. Night came far too quickly for us to gather a decent supply of torches and build a proper shelter. S my brother and I improvised a quick shelter made of dirt.

So we joked about our mud hut. Even when we had better materials, we kept adding to our mud hut rather than building something else. It *still* has no roof. :-)  at one point, an player on the server complained that some of his better items had been stolen. We joked about sending a message to the administrators confessing to the crime and telling them that we hid the items in our mud hut.

Anyway, it was a blast playing Minecraft with my brother online. I hope we can find time to do it again soon!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Just Seven Weeks

When Amanda and I were out for a walk tonight, it hit me. In just seven weeks, we'll be married. Seven weeks from right now, we'll probably be leaving our reception and heading home. Finally, seven weeks from now, we'll have been husband and wife for approximately 8 hours.

This is crazy.

I knew we were getting closer and closer, but to realize there's less than fifty days until our wedding kind of blew my mind. It blew Amanda's too. Fortunately, most of the heavy lifting for our wedding is done. We've still got a lot of smaller details to attend to, but at the very least, we will have a place to be married, someone to marry us, guests watch, and a photographer to immortalize the day.

T-minus seven weeks. The countdown has started.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Driving and Daydreaming

Amanda and I went out for a drive after supper. It was similar to a drive we took about a month and a half ago -- to look around a few different neighbourhoods. At some point in the future, we will be looking for a new place. Our current apartment is fine, and the rent is okay, but it is a little bit cramped for the two of us. After all, we both lived alone prior to moving in together, and both had enough dishes, towels, and entertainment devices to fill a one bedroom place each. Now all of that stuff is in a single apartment.

Amanda would also like a dishwasher, and I don't think getting one for here is practical. ...It'd also be nice to be able to do laundry without contending with our neighbours' schedules.

Well, we'll wait for my condo to finish the sales process, save some money while we look around, and maybe we'll be settled into a different home by this time next year.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ranting about Regulatory Changes

I recently read about the changes that will be made to the cell phone industry in Canada -- notably limiting contract lengths to two years. On the whole I think this is a good thing. For the last two phones purchased, I debated long and hard about whether to sign a lengthy contract to receive a cheaper phone or not. In the first case, I only signed a year-long contract for a small discount on my phone because I wasn't sure what my life situation would be like in three years.

Then in the holiday season of 2010, I purchased my current phone and signed a three year contract. At this point, my phone is showing its age, and I'm definitely thinking about a new one. The big difference between me and the folks who advocated to regulatory change is that I do not feel entitled to a new one. Many of the complaints about the cell phone industry in Canada revolve around the argument that consumers are stuck in their contracts and left with "obsolete" phones by the ends of their contract. This argument is patently ridiculous.

First, a three year old phone is not obsolete. It may not be cutting edge, but the iPhone 4 (released nearly 3 years ago) still runs almost every app offered on Apple's App Store. It still receives updates to iOS, and is even more functional (wonky Maps app aside) than it was when it was first released. I'd say those abilities define a device that is not obsolete.

Second, nobody held a gun to consumers' heads. Nobody was ever forced to sign a three year cell contract. The subsidized cell phones out there are an *incentive*, not a God-given right. There was nothing stopping people from buying phones outright, buying inexpensive phones, or perhaps not throwing out their phones every two to three years just to trade up to the newest flagship phone.

Finally, do consumers not realize what will happen as a result of these changes? The price of subsidized phones will increase -- a lot. If Telus, Rogers, or Bell can no longer spread the cost of that subsidy over three years, they'll either cut the subsidy or raise the required monthly plan minimum over two years to compensate. The era of paying only $50 a month for three years and less than $200 for a flagship phone will end. I think there are already signs that this will happen.

If one of the major cell providers, say Telus, had changed things so consumers only had to sign a two year contract to receive a top-of-the-line subsidized phone, wouldn't they have annhilated the competition? Even if the competition matched their terms, the immediate boost to subscribers would be enormous. Because they haven't done it, I have to assume that they cannot afford to. If a customer signd up for the minimum $50 monthly plan to receive a phone whose price was subsidized by $500, Telus would be earning $1200 over two years and essentially giving the consumer $500. That's a gross profit of $700 -- $350 per year -- less than $30 per month. The same subsidy and subscription over three years would give a gross profit of $1300 over three years -- $433 per year -- roughly $36 per month. In other words, their profit per person would drop by one-sixth. Their subscriber base would have to increase by roughly seventeen percent just to even out at their current level of profits, and that's assuming that they wouldn't need to upgrade their network to handle all of that extra traffic.

Anyway, I'm in favour of shortening the contracts because it'll hopefully prevent people from being stuck in a lousy situation should they drop and break their new phone shortly after entering a three year deal. I just don't expect any tangible benefits to consumers beyond that.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Repairs

Amanda and I played handyman/handywoman this afternoon! Two of the boards in our box spring had broken. We dismantled things enough to pull the broken boards out, then installed replacement 1x3s. It took a little while, but we got the new boards in, glued and screwed, and attached to the wires that support the top of the box spring. 

All in all, it was a very productive day!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Greenery and Wedding Preparation Update

Amanda and I made our second annual trip to the greenhouses together. Like last year, we took a photo together amidst the plants to commemorate the visit.

I don't remember all of the plants we picked up, but they did include a chocolate mint plant that Amanda is hoping to train to grow around the rail on our balcony. She had good luck doing it last year, so hopefully that'll carry on!

In other news, Amanda and I were really productive on the wedding front today! We picked up our marriage license, arranged for my tux rental, and picked up the jacket for Amanda's engagement ring that will make it into a full blown wedding ring. It changed the nature of her ring -- it became much bigger and blingier, but Amanda seemed to like it a lot.

We've got more work to do and not a lot of time to do it, but we were definitely heading in the right direction today. Hopefully tomorrow will be just as productive!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Unknown Photo Locale?

I don't remember where Amanda and I were when we took this, but I really like how the photo turned out!  Oh, wait.  Yes.  I do remember!  We took this photo together in Whitecourt just before having lunch at McDonalds on our drive home from Edmonton. Amanda and I drove around Whitecourt looking for a non-chain place to try, but many were closed on Victoria Day, so we gave up and went to McDonalds instead.

Anyway, I like the photo -- Amanda looks really cute and the colours are great. With the exception of the black pickup truck poking into the photo between us, it feels like a very balanced photo to me. ...It'd be nice if more of my photos turned out this way.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

Even more Edmonton.

Amanda and I took this photo next to the ice rink in the West Edmonton Mall. I still think it would be incredibly cool to go skating there one day. Perhaps we'll take a trip to Edmonton at some point where we don't need to cram the entire mall into a single day, and can actually take a more leisurely approach to the mall and Edmonton as a whole. I mean, our trip basically involved Olive Garden, Ikea, Toys R Us, a small portion of Whyte Avenue, a branch of the EPL, and the mall. It was a lot of fun -- we just didn't see much in the grande scheme of things!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Circle of Cuteness

I took this photo of Amanda at Bed Bath and Beyond in the West Edmonton Mall.  You may notice that me taking pictures of Amanda/Amanda and me in mirrors is kind of a trend.  I thought Amanda looked really cute, and I thought the mirror framed her face nicely.  So I asked her to freeze where she was while I got in position to take the photo.

We spent a fair bit of time looking around while in Bed Bath and Beyond, and I joked about all the stuff I wanted to add to our wedding registry -- the most expensive towels in the store and other ridiculous stuff as well.

At any rate, we got a great photo together and purchased a bunch of Amanda's favourite candle-branded scent stuff for her car.  Win-win!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Random Mall Kissing

I have no idea what area it was, but Amanda and I took this photo together in the West Edmonton Mall last Sunday. We took in the entire mall, and stayed for supper and to watch Star Trek: Into Darkness in the IMAX theatre.

We visited the Prairie Mall yesterday to pick up a chain Amanda had repaired, and the contrast was amazing. I commented that the Prairie Mall would comfortably fit in one floor of one phase of the West Edmonton Mall. The really interesting thing is that our local mall seemed reasonably large to me during my years of living in Tumbler Ridge.

So I guess what I'm saying is that Einstein's theory of relativity applies to malls, too!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Art and Feeling Artistic

While we were at the West Edmonton Mall, Amanda and I stopped in at DeSerres. I love shopping at art stores like this. For the few minutes I'm in the store, I feel incredibly artistic and motivated to draw, sketch, paint, knit, and sculpt. It's an amazing feeling that far too often only lasts until I reach the outside of the store after paying for my new art supplies.

But the intent is always there. I'd love to draw and sketch on a regular basis, and even write my own webcomic someday. I really enjoy painting and I spend far too much time considering the oil paints available and what I'd use them for. On this trip, I ended up with a few new tubes of paint (sadly, one that duplicated a colour I already had in that particular brand), and some sketching pens in various colours. On the way home I used them to sketch the scene I saw while Amanda was driving. It turned out fairly okay, but I really haven't done much with the pens since.

The paints, unfortunately, have just been put with my other painting supplies until the day Amanda and I have a place where I have room to paint. It's okay though -- I'm enjoying my daydreams about the landscape I could paint with the new colours I picked up.

Oh yeah. Amanda and I took a photo of us kissing outside of DeSerres. I think it turned out pretty good, especially since I managed to get the logo in frame as well to show exactly where we took this photo.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Waiting in Aisle A, next to row B

Amanda and I also visited Ikea while we were in Edmonton. We took this photo together while waiting to pay for a lamp, small vases for centrepieces at our reception, and the tray to a baby high chair called antilope because Amanda's brother-in-law asked us to pick one up.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Glorious Moment

So... While Amanda and I were in Edmonton, there was an amazing moment. We went to Southgate Centre and looked around for a place to park. We drove by the Foci parking (two Ford Focuses next to one another) and by some other vehicles until we found it: the Yari parking area.

There were two Yarises parked there already: a blue one, and a clone of my car. So I demanded that we park behind the clone car. Amanda was driving, as she did for much of the in-Edmonton driving, and she agreed to park where I asked.

Why was I so insistent?

So I could then ask her to take this photo. My Yaris is the one on the right.

Well played Edmonton, well played.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Edmonton-Bound

Amanda and I took this photo together on our first stop on the way to Edmonton. Our trip, while good, was marked by waiting for tables at restaurants. Amanda joked that she'd have to post about my attitude in IHOP, and I'm kind of happy to see that she didn't.



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Off to Edmonton

Amanda and I are off to Edmonton tomorrow, so this blog may go unupdated until Monday. Bt hopefully we'll take some great pictures together while we're there!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Small Piece of Happiness

The ball winder I bought as part of Amanda's birthday gift finally arrived today. So as I type this, she is happily winding away as I sit on the kitchen floor watching with a smile on my face.

There are small moments of happiness and contentment that appear out of nowhere. The trick is to recognize and enjoy them.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Preparations

Amanda and I are getting ready for our trip to Edmonton this weekend.  We've been talking about our road trip playlist, and it's going to include songs such as:

Shot Through the Heart - Bon Jovi
If Looks Could Kill - Heart
Danger Zone - Kenny Loggins
Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane

and other songs, too.

We're planning to do some shopping at West Edmonton Mall, visit the Strathcona Country Library, and spend a few hours wandering around Ikea.  Oh, and we're hoping to go see Star Trek: Into Darkness at the IMAX theatre in the mall.  It should be a full weekend!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Just in Time...

So, Amanda and I managed a just-in-time moment yesterday. Because we were going to the mall anyway (so I could see what Target is like -- it basically feels like Zellers Plus to me, which is just fine), I suggested that we stop by the jewelry store so I could order the jacket for her engagement ring. When I told the clerk our wedding date, she seemed to freak out a little bit.

That store is closing up for a little bit in July for some renovations. She did the math and figured that there are only eight weeks or so until it closes and was worried the jacket might not arrive in time if anything goes wrong. But by the end of things, she seemed much more confident about it. (I think our positive attitudes rubbed off on her).

So we should have the jacket for Amanda's engagement ring in time for our wedding. But boy, it's a good thing we ordered it yesterday.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

Here's my toast to all the mothers out there:

Here's to all the women who teach, support, and sacrifice. To those who bring life into the world, and nurture and love their children.

To the wonderful moms of the world, thank you. Thank you for everything.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Campfire

Amanda and I just finished washing off the stink from the campfire we were sitting beside this afternoon and evening. For the record, it was in a proper fire pit surrounded by a sand border that extended out about four to five feet from the pit and was watched by at least two people at all times. In other words, the odds of it starting a forest fire were pretty small.

Anyway, it was great. We visited with our friends, cooked hot dogs and kebobs, and generally enjoyed the warm weather. We were the first to leave at 10:15 and it was still light out.

Summer is awesome!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Penny Arcade Kickstarter

As some of you may have read, the folks at Penny Arcade are running another kickstarter campaign. This one, with a goal of $10.00, is to bring back Downloadable Content, their podcast series.

I've seen some of the ranting on Twitter about how they've co-opted the system and done all sorts of horrible things through this act, and thought I'd put my two cents in:

So what?

Many people do not use Kickstarter for its intended purpose. Fangamer, for instance, used their Kickstarter to fund the reproduction of shirts that had already been produced and sold profitably. Where was the outcry in that case?

Anamanaguchi, whose music I really enjoy, is running a Kickstarter so they can release their next album the way they want. The album is done. There's no reason they couldn't have it on iTunes where people like me could slap down a iTunes gift card and say "Take my money!" Instead, in a very real sense, they are holding their album hostage. None of their fans (who would be very happy to pay for more of their music) will get to hear the album unless together they can raise enough money to meet the stated goal. There's a word for that: ransom. Why aren't there storms of outraged people filling Twitter with complaints?

Richard Garriott had a Kickstarter campaign for a game based loosely on his classic Ultima series. Richard Garriott is also the man who reportedly paid $30 million dollars to fly as a space tourist. Why wasn't he vilified for his Kickstarter campaign?

Here's the thing. I like all three of the people/groups I listed as examples. I supported the Fangamer Kickstarter, missed Richard Garriot's while it was running, and I plan to support Anamanaguchi's.

My point is that people use Kickstarter for a variety of reasons. They use it as a storefront to sell pre-orders for a product, use it for publicity, and use it to mitigate risk so that if a product is a commercial failure, the creator is not on the hook for the expense of production. Very few of these people are receiving any scorn for their use of Kickstarter.

So why not extend that same courtesy to the Penny Arcade guys?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Sidewalk Not Taken





It's been a while since I posted one of these photos!

Amanda and I went for a long walk last night.  It started as a simple loop around the park, but then we extended it to walk by a house Amanda thinks is really neat.  We continued on, and ended up walking down a bunch of small streets that neither Amanda nor me have ever walked down.  Amanda's lived here most of her life, and I've been coming to Grande Prairie on a regular basis for nearly two years, but somehow we've always missed these particular streets.

At any rate, we took this photo in the course of our long wander together.  The wind was whipping Amanda's hair around a little, and it made for a great photo!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Raptors are Coming

Amanda took me out tonight to see the re-release of Jurassic Park in 3D. We've been talking about going to see it for a few weeks, and tonight we finally managed to do it. It was great. I've seen the movie many times, but it was always on a VHS tape, and I hadn't watched it in years. I laughed, flinched, and held Amanda's hand tighter at all the right moments, and I was surprised at the effect the movie had on me.

Now, for any re-release like this, there's always the question of how well the movie has held up. In this case, Jurassic Park held up admirably. There were a few moments that dated the movie ("it's an interactive CD-ROM!"), and a few pieces of dialogue that were firmly rooted in the early 1990s. It wasn't so much the specific words or slang that was used -- just the general tone of a few conversations.

At any rate, the 3D conversion was done well, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weekends out of Sync

So, Amanda and my weekends are out of sync right now. Two weekends ago, I had to work Sunday afternoon for a few hours while she was off. Last weekend, I worked all weekend while she was off. This weekend, she'll be doing inventory at her job while I will be off. Then the following weekend, I have to head in for a few hours on Saturday while she's off.

So to the people who schedule things, and the powers that be, I'd just like to ask a single question:

Really?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered

The wedding invitations are in the mail, and a huge weight is off our shoulders.  Now we've got a place and time to get married, someone to marry us, someone to take photos, someone to cater everything, and shortly, some people to come as guests!

What would we do without the guests?  Without them, it would just be Amanda and me getting married.  We really wouldn't need the hall or caterer -- just the two of us the the woman marrying us.

On the other hand, it'd be very clinical.  It wouldn't be a celebration.  How much of a celebration could it be without us getting to watch our friends get a little rowdy over the course of the evening?  Not much of one.

We're in the home stretch.  There's less than three months until the big day, and only a few things left to figure out.  Wedding in T-Minus 8 days, and counting.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Personal Space

I have a very strong sense of my own personal space.  If you ever see me standing in line at a grocery store or the bottle depot, you'll see me at least a few steps behind the person ahead of me in line -- never closer.  It's just a matter of where I feel comfortable, and I don't feel the need to be any closer to people beyond Amanda and my family.

But not everyone feels that way.  I can't count the number of times I have a feeling while I'm waiting in a line, and I realize that someone is standing *right* behind me, and is literally breathing down the back of my neck.  I don't understand it.  There's more than enough room and no reason to bunch up like that, yet many people still crowd as close as possible.

I was in Japan in 2007, and to me, it felt less intrusive to be crowding onto a train in Tokyo than it is when people stand too close behind me in line.  Maybe it's not so much *my* sense of personal space as it is my disbelief that other people don't have the same sense of personal space.  Or maybe I'm just self-centered and can't believe that people don't have any respect for my personal space.

At any rate, if you see me in public and are in line behind me, please leave an extra step between us.  I won't say anything, but I'll be grateful.

Monday, April 29, 2013

You are cordially invited...

Done.

All but one of our invitations (we're just waiting on a mailing address) are printed, packaged with RSVP cards and return envelopes, and have been sealed. I'll be sending out the mailing ones tomorrow, and we'll be giving Amanda's family their invitations in person on Wednesday.

It's a huge load off to have this task done, and our printer did an incredible job on all of it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wedding Invitations DONE!

Our wedding invitations are done! Amanda and I finished them up while re-watching Pitch Perfect. We're thrilled with the end result, and it was great being able to edit things on the fly. Amanda doesn't like the shape of the letter A in a particular font? *Wa-Chow* and it's changed. I'm not happy with the overall spacing and placement of the purple peacock in the corner? *Wa-Chow* and it's changed. Some capitalization errors need to be fixed? *Wa-Chow* and they're changed.

So tomorrow night's task will be to finish up the RSVP cards and envelopes. I think that'll go fairly quickly for the most part, and then we'll have finished one of the last remaining big picture items for the wedding!

Oh, and Pitch Perfect was hilarious again. I joked with Amanda that Fat Amy is her favourite movie character of all time, and she didn't argue too much against it :-)

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Things That Cheer Me Up

I wasn't in a great mood by the end of the day today. Work was mostly fine, except for one interaction with someone who blamed me for something that wasn't in any way my fault. So I was cranky after work until I saw a sign that causes me to look on the brighter side.

Then things changed. I wandered around a grocery store I'd never been to before, and was really impressed with its design and service, laughed at some of the products I saw for sale (notably a can of "gravy and meatballs"), and came out of there feeling much better. I ditched my plans to drop in on a payday-week-Friday get together for library staff and came home to see my favourite person.

So it doesn't always take much to turn around a bad mood. Sometimes it just takes a little inspiration and time spent appreciating the little things. Oh, the sign that turned things around and made me smile? It looked like this:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

tl;dr

There's a notation online that looks like this: tl;dr. For anyone who doesn't know, it means "too long; didn't read." It's often used as a dismissal of a lengthy post or comment thread (arguing against it based on its length, not the ideas discussed), or as a way of telling people that the writer is going to argue against his/her interpretation of a post based on skimming its content. Both uses seem rather rude to me.

I don't understand people who feel entitled to talk and have an audience but do not accept the responsibility of listening in return. It's self-centered, and points to one of the major problems in our society -- the growing sense of entitlement. On any given day, I'll see people texting on their phones while working, getting angry about having to wait in a line, and arguing that age restrictions should not apply to *their* child. I really think we need to chip away at this sense of entitlement, myself included.

The first step? Changing the meaning of tl;dr. I'd like to see it used for its third (and woefully underused) purpose: to summarize a lengthy post for the benefit of others who may not have the time nor inclination to read the entire thing.

tl;dr
Entitlement is bad -- we need to work on it.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Amanda's Birthday

We celebrated Amanda's birthday today. I took her out for supper tonight at the Escape Wine Bistro (good food, kind of expensive, restaurant was too warm, and there was a loud man with redneck tendencies at the next table). Last night I baked her birthday cake, which I decorated with a Monopoly theme to match the card I designed for her.

It seems like Amanda has had a pretty good birthday except for one thing. In what is becoming a tradition, part of her gift that I ordered online has had shipping trouble and won't be here for another week in all likelihood. :-(

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Signs of Progress

When Amanda and I walked back from Michaels last night, I took this photo:



It's of the construction cranes at the new hospital site, as reflected in the reservoir in Muskoseepi Park.  A year ago, this photo would have been somewhat emptier, and a year or two from now, it'll be much fuller as the hospital breaks the horizon.  It was a very odd moment, because when we looked in the other direction, we could see the new ICF building on 102nd street poking around the Catholic Church belltower.

Both progress and spring are in the air.  I think we're just hoping that neither one involves floods.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April Wander

Because the weather was so nice this afternoon, Amanda and I walked over to Michaels to pick up a few things for our wedding invitations and centrepieces. While we were out and about, the two of us took a photo together in the parking lot for Save On. Amanda was looking very cute, and my hair wasn't looking bad, and everything came together in the photo!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Urges

Sometimes I have urges that I can't explain. They're just a feeling that if I do a certain thing, eat a specific food, or even try to fall asleep in a particular position, it will ultimately be the right thing to do.

About an hour ago, I was looking out our bedroom window. Amanda and I were actually going to bed, but I looked out at the lights reflecting off the wet road, and hear the rain, and had a sudden desire to go for a drive.

So I did. Amanda didn't feel up to coming (as I said, we were heading to bed when I got the urge), so I put on a jacket and went for a drive. I picked up my iPod on the way out, and chose an album that ended up being perfect, and drove for a little over a half hour.

It was wonderful, and just what I needed. Something about the drive and following that initial desire just *worked*. I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders, and when I got home, I was my normal cheerful self, not the cranky Jake who was around earlier in the evening.

Sometimes my mind knows exactly what I need, even if I don't understand why. I'm very glad I followed that urge tonight!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The 80s Yet Again

So tonight I got Amanda to watch a true classic from the 80s she's never seen: The Goonies. To be fair, I've never seen it either, at least, not the whole thing in one sitting. I've seen bits and pieces through the years when the movie is on TV, but I've always either come in halfway through, or had to leave for a while.

How well does it hold up? Well....

I still like the movie, but there really isn't much to it. Kids find treasure map, elude three traps , find pirate ship, and save the day. But to hear the kids talking about it, even while they're still in the cave, they're the greatest heroes ever. At one point, Mikey gives a short speech about how they even made it further than the guy who knew all the stuff about One Eye Willy. It's true, but walking a dozen steps past where that guy's trip ended isn't exactly a huge accomplishment...

At any rate, we had fun watching it, and who knows... Maybe Thursday night will be 80s movie night in our household! Next week: Top Gun.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Un-Colas

I believe I've talked about the Cola War in our household before. But there is also an Un-cola war going on. Amanda enjoys various flavours of Fanta, and I even joked that we'd have to give our child a middle name consisting of Amanda's two favourite things after me: YoshiFanta.

But I'm not as big a fan of Fanta as she is. In fact, I seldom drink it at all. I even bug Amanda some about the different flavours she has in the fridge. But it's all in good fun. Honest!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Playlists

Amanda and I have spent the evening on the couch working our way through her music collection in iTunes. We're not actively selecting songs for our reception playlist, but are actually commenting about songs that would work well for road trips. After all, we'll be going to Edmonton in a few weeks and we'll need some tunes for the road.

...and I don't think Amanda will be happy if I have one of my Minecraft playlists going while we're rocketing down the highway. In fact, I think the second time Splash Wave came on the stereo, Amanda's hands would tighten on the wheel, and I'd get the mother of all glares. :-)

At any rate, it's been a fun evening. It's hard to improve on spending the evening with your favourite person talking about your favourite songs. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to head back to it. :-)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Coincidences

There are some weird coincidences in my life. They aren't necessarily important or amazing -- just a little weird.

One of Amanda and my favourite graphic novel series in Scott Pilgrim, where the main female character's name is Ramona. It was after Amanda had borrowed the graphic novels from me that we first tried our favourite pizza place in Grande Prairie -- Ramona's Pizza.

The therapy dog that comes into the library for kids to read to has the same name as my family's dog from when I was in my preteen and teen years. Then the dog's handler had a friend bring in her newly trained therapy dog, whose name was the same as a dog my family had when I was a little kid.

There seem to be a lot of little, weird coincidences in my life, but when they all appear like that, it makes me think I'm *right* where I'm supposed to be in my life right now -- beside Amanda! :-D

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Muddy Waters

It's spring run-off time. That means that Aquatera has issued a statement saying that there is a higher-than-normal concentration of chlorine in the water supply for Grande Prairie, and that it may taste somewhat like dirt for a while. They recommend letting tap water run for longer before using it, letting water sit to settle before drinking it, and adding a small amount of lemon juice to the water to disguise the taste.

I followed the first two instructions, but the water in the bottle that I filled with Brita-filtered tap water that has sat for quite a while to settle still tastes like dirt. ...and our shower smells like a swimming pool.

Ahhhhhhhh, spring is in the air!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Toolbox

So, Amanda and I tried to repair the hinge on our freezer tonight. It involved two hammers, pliers, vice grips, a multi-tool, and a surprisingly small amount of swearing. One, usually unhelpful, phrase may have been overheard by our neighbours:

"Look! I just made these parts redundant!"

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Reading Material

Our reading material is all over the map yet again. Right now, I'm reading the final novel of a Star Wars series, a book about Detroit, The Belgariad, and just finished re-reading Omnitopia Dawn. Meanwhile, Amanda is still getting excellent mileage from her iPad and Kobo as she works her way through the original books that some of the shows we're watching are based on.

Now, it seems normal for me to read so much. I always have, and once I started my library career, things in that area became even easier as my access to books widened. Before I started working in Tumbler Ridge, I had no idea how easy interlibrary loans were, or how they are really no trouble for library staff to perform. But after a few short months, I had an ILL queue that was usually six or seven books long, plus a list I maintained of future books I intended to interlibrary loan.

Amanda takes another tack. Since she got her iPad and Kobo, she's more likely to buy a book on there rather than wait for it to arrive at the library. Some books do not work well on eReaders, and she still asks me to order those in. But for the rest?

...it's awesome living in a world where I can borrow books from over one hundred libraries with no extra charge, and where Amanda can instantly start reading a book she's become interested in, even without stepping outside our front door.

In short, our reading lives are good.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Sightseeing

Amanda and I went for a drive tonight to go look at houses around Grande Prairie. We're still waiting for my condo to sell (if you're interested, it's listed for sale with Royal LePage in Tumbler Ridge, BC), but we wanted to see what was out there.

So we started by driving through Highland Park because we'd seen a few houses for sale there on MLS.ca, then continued on through Patterson. Then I got us turned around and we ended up heading down the road toward Wedgewood. All I have to say about that place is "holy big houses Batman." Some of the places were nice, but many felt sort of like overkill. So we toured around Wedgewood and, as Amanda likes to say, got our eyes full, and continued onto Countryside South.

We saw a lot of neat houses tonight, most of which were too much for the two of us, but it was sort of neat to see what's out there in Grande Prairie. Until tonight, in fact, I wasn't aware of how many different suburb developments there were here.

Now I'm a little bit in awe of the different neighbourhoods and am filled with a desire to pick up a house plan magazine or two.

In other news, my future niece apparently had a dream about zombies riding bicycles. I sincerely hope they were not in our current neighbourhood.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The snow....

Yeah, I think I've had it with the snow. We've gotten a lot of it this winter, and a ridiculous amount in the last month after it seemed like spring had arrived. Last week, in fact, I went on a three-hour long walk on clear, mostly dry sidewalks and roads. Now? They're all snow-covered again. When Amanda and I were out and about this afternoon, even her heavy sweatshirt wasn't enough for her.

It's time for spring. Luckily, we avoided the weather for a few hours by going swimming with Amanda's sister and her children. I invented a new game with Amanda's niece. I flopped myself onto a floating foam mat. She hopped on beside me and I tipped the mat, spilling us both into the water. I think we "played" that game twenty or thirty times in a Rowan's she never quit laughing and asking to play again.

Friday, April 5, 2013

...?

I don't know what to write about tonight. Most of the time there's something I feel like rambling about. I've even got a handful of ideas of nights when I feel ambitious and want to write a lengthy post about a topic I've thought a lot about. Tonight I have neither of these things. Amanda is sitting beside me, playing Monopoly on her iPad, trying to help me with ideas. They're good, but not quite what I feel like writing about.

Life is just good right now. Amanda and I have the major stuff for our wedding figured out, our jobs are going okay, and my biggest worry is losing a little weight for our wedding.

So that's it -- life is good, and I have nothing to write about!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Slipping away ...with math!

I can't believe how fast time is slipping away. As of Saturday, we'll only be sixteen weeks away from our wedding. It seems like just yesterday it was still at least six months away. Sixteen weeks is 112 days. That's 2688 hours, or 161280 minutes.

So as of 2pm this Saturday, there will be just 9676800 seconds until Amanda is my wife.

9676800, 9676799, 9676998.....

It's close. It has to be close.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bio-Comic

I recently read a book I'd like to recommend to everyone. It's not a normal book though -- it's both a biography *and* a graphic novel. It's Steve Jobs: Genius by Design, by Jason Quinn, illustrated by Amit Tayal.

Genius by Design glosses over some parts of Steve Jobs's life, and doesn't spend enough time talking about Steve Jobs and his life after his return to Apple in 1997, but overall it was great! The artwork is styling and interesting, and the author took just enough liberties to keep the story pointed in a consistent direction. I highly recommend this graphic novel!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Wedding Songs, Part... I don't know. 8 maybe?

Our wedding day is less than four months away, and there's still time to consider the music we'll be playing at our reception. I'd like to also include the following:

Hey Beautiful - The Solids
My brother has me hooked on How I Met Your Mother, and shortly after I started watching the show I purchased this song that the title theme is based on. It's catchy, I like it, and I think the title is appropriate for our wedding day!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The dream Home of 2013

Amanda and I checked out the Dream Home today. It was much more to my liking than last year's offering. For one thing, the builders actually showed some restraint in the placement of TVs for the most part.

Pros:
Mosquito-screened section of the back deck -- it would be awesome for everything from breakfast to evening knitting.
The master bedroom -- lots of room, awesome shower, separate closets for each of us (or separate closets for Amanda's clothes and her yarn ;-) )
The kitchen island -- tons of room to cook, lots of natural light.
The three TVs behind the wet bar downstairs -- I could pretend I was hosting Sportsdesk!
Though Amanda and I don't drink much, the wine cellar was neat, too.

Cons:
Incredibly high cupboards -- both Amanda and I are reasonably tall, but even I would need a multi-step stepstool to reach the high cupboards.
One of the bathtubs had its hardware installed at the wrong end -- getting into the tub involves an awkward step brushing up against the toilet.
The pantry design was lousy -- vertical separators between shelf sections should not have overlapping fronts that boxes will get caught on, and nobody I know would use the soup can dispenser that looks like it belongs in a grocery store.

WTF?:
Why is there a putting green inside the house?
Why do some of the tubs have glass walls that only cover 2/3 of the tub side?
Why are the microwave and oven door so close to the floor?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Registry

Amanda and I spent some time tonight adding stuff to a wedding registry.  We've got most of the household stuff we need, and even two copies of much of it.  Nevertheless, we managed to find a few things to add to the registry.

I think Amanda and I are doing a good job together on the list -- we both restrain each other's more interesting impulses.  For instance, she suggested that we did not really need 1000 threadcount sheets.  I, in turn, would suggest that we do not need a Keurig coffee machine to sit next to the Tassimo machine we got for Christmas.

It's been fun so far, but I really wish Future Shop offered wedding registries.  We'd be able to add hundreds of items in a wide range of prices from $5 DVDs to the dishwasher Amanda would really like us to get.

Anyway, we'll carry on.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Interruptions

Our plans for last night (continuing to watch Game of Thrones and writing a blog post) were waylaid. I had just settled onto the couch when someone banged on our door. It was a maintenance man from the company who owns our apartment building. The person living below us had discovered a leak in their ceiling. So the maintenance guy came up here to find out what caused the leak.

To make a long story short, he cut a hole in the wall of our storage room, discovered a pinprick hole in a copper pipe leaking water, and came back with the stuff to patch it until they could come in and repair it properly (hopefully on Monday). By the time he left for the final time though, it was time for bed.

I'm grateful that we were both here and still awake though. It made things much easier for everyone.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Busy Day

Both Amanda and I had today off so we could go talk to our florist about wedding flowers and make it to other appointments, and the day was very busy.

Amanda left for her appointment, came back, and then it was time for me to leave for mine. Then we met up for lunch and the florist appointment before splitting up again -- Amanda going to another appointment and me going for a walk before meeting up again to go look at printers. We had supper and just a little bit of quiet time before going to the library so I could give my talk on my trip to Japan in 2007.

My talk went well, and we just arrived home a few minutes ago. Now we're continuing working our way through the first season of Game of Thrones. It's been a very good day, but it's definitely been a busy one!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Diving, Fingers First

I'm getting the urge to dig through my yarn stash tonight. The only knitting I'm doing lately is a half hour on Amanda's scarf during my lunch break every day, and I'm getting the urge to work on something else as well. I could re-start the socks Amanda helped me to start months ago, or I could play with the cotton yarn I have and start knitting dishcloths out of it.

...Or I could just paw through it, allowing each ball and skein to slip through my fingers, and hold each one out for Amanda to admire as well. I could weigh the potential of each kind of yarn and re-consider the projects I'd considered for them in the first place.

So here I go! It's time to dive into my yarn stash!

Monday, March 25, 2013

End of the Long Stretch

I'm finally off for a few days. I know 8 1/2 days in a row isn't much compared to some people, but it felt like a lot to me. So I'll be puttering around home and tending to a few appointments before returning to work for just one day before the long weekend. Yay!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What's in a Name?

Amanda and I Skyped with my mom tonight and we spent some time discussing the names of our future children. One name that we discussed for a while was Mac.

I like it. I've never known a Mac, the name is short, and there aren't many possibilities for misspellings. The few characters I've read about (or played in video games) have been decent guys for the most part. Finally, the word play with the name would be incredible!

Our son would be named Mac Fehr (pronounced "fair"). Because of my small percentage of Scottish ancestry he could even be known as MacFehr! Furthermore, even better stuff would happen if he became a father someday. As Amanda noted, if he had a male child, the child would be a MacFehrson! :-D

I also noted one other thing about a future son of ours. If he had children at some point, he would become a Mac Daddy.

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

But seriously -- Mac is an awesome name. We'll have to consider it if we have a son in the future.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Octopi

Amanda and I went to a Japanese restaurant for supper tonight. We ordered the weirdest thing on the appetizer menu -- spicy mini tako. They were tiny red octopi in a not-so-spicy sauce with sesame seeds. It was very weird to eat a tiny octopus in a single mouthful, and they were all really rubbery, but it was fun to try them anyway.

After supper I took this photo of Amanda and me in the last few minutes before the sun set. I'm really happy with the result!