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...


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


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.

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


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


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


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


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


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


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!