Hey You!

I was recently listening to the Whatevertown podcast and the topic for discussion was what you would say if you had five minutes to speak to your grade-9-era self. So in my case that’s about 1996, aged 14. And I thought, “Hey, I’ve just downed this cup of coffee, that would be a good thing to write a few bullet points about on my blog” so here we go:

  • Start taking care of your teeth! Please! Do anything!
  • It’s okay to put a little effort into your studies. I know you got used to coasting on no effort, but that was starting to fail you in junior high, wasn’t it? Yeah, it was. Listen, it’s not going to get better, and it’ll take a long time to unlearn those habits, so why not start now?
  • Grownups are right when they say that high school is a relatively small portion of your life, and whatever happens now is going to fade pretty quickly once you’re on the other side of it.
  • It is okay to ask those questions about Christianity that you’re harboring. Or to express doubt. But again, do something.
  • Okay it looks like kind of all of my advice is to just to put effort into bettering yourself and expressing yourself, rather than just bottling everything and self-medicating with video games and movies. Maybe I should have lead with that.
  • Sloan and Super Metroid are still awesome.
  • You know it’s probably best that you forget we ever spoke. You’ve got to do what you do, and make the choices you make, so that I can be where I am now, and yeah there are a lot of things that we could have handled better but we’re in a good place in 2019 and I don’t want to change that. Even the heartaches.
  • It’s going to be okay
  • bye
  • okay but p.s. really do get some kind of dental care going, you will have to get a lot of work done to ‘catch up’ and your first dentist will not be very good at her job

Thing I Saw: Snow’s mostly gone!!!!

Thing I Learned: My brother just informed me that Swiss Army Glasses are real (although only in limited quantities! get yours today!) I don’t like them.

I’m Grateful For: being able to live long enough to have perspective and gosh, maybe even insight

Hey 14-year-old me, in two years this album will come out and become one of your favourites of all time, heads up


It was time again for EtherLAN this last weekend, and it was a little less exhausting than it has been due to more people on the admin team to share the load. So that’s nice. My emcee-ing was weird as always, but hopefully passable. The more important news from the weekend is that I…

Completed my first “normal” difficulty Super Metroid Randomizer Run! For the uninitiated, you submit an unaltered ROM file to this site and choose your seed and difficulty settings. It spits out another ROM in which all the items are moved around, and the ammo pickups are shuffled (so they may be the same and may not). I have a pretty set path that I’ve developed over the years for completing this game, so it’s really exciting to re-route things based on my available options, and come to bosses without the equipment I usually rely on. Some encounters were actually far more exciting than they’ve been in years, and I get to learn some new techniques and tricks for moving around the world. I loved it and will definitely try it again!

Not really a lot else to say today. Just recovering from the weekend and making a note of the Smetroid thing.

Thing I Saw: EtherLAN has a boardgame side as well as a videogame side, and whilst travelling from one to the other I randomly stumbled across a D&D session in progress. “You’re all awesome” I shouted in passing, probably to their confusion.

Thing I Learned: It’s common to use certain dried spices, like dill weed, to affordably add grassy texture to the base of your Warhammer figurine miniature. Bonus fact: after mistakenly calling them “figurines” while judging a painting contest, I was firmly told that they were in fact miniatures. Double bonus fun fact: The Australians call them “war dollies” and I am not making that up

I’m Grateful For: Clever programmers that make our lives better and our games more exciting!


Read the news last week that hundreds of immigrant parents have been deported from the United States without their children. The policy of separating families at the border has always seemed cruel and unnecessary to me, and is part of the reason I’m avoiding travel to America entirely. And sure, Homeland Security claims that parents are always given the option of returning with or without their children, but how many were coerced? How many understood the options as given? In any case, reading this has at times given me valuable perspective as I parent; even when Cassidy is cranky, frustrating, or just crying and whining I think there are probably parents out there that miss even these moments. Parents that would gladly take a crying or maddening child if it meant spending a little more time with them. Breaks my heart.

So let’s shift to a more positive note. Yesterday I realized that I think I’d really enjoy a career in broadcasting. Radio or television’s fine. I like talking into microphones and I’ve really enjoyed the podcasts and film things I’ve done. I can also get pretty absorbed by the production side of things as I make my videos. I love music and sharing what I know. And so I was listening to a host on the local radio station and suddenly thought I would enjoy that! and then went on a Googling Rabbit-hole.

If I were to go back to school for this idea, I think I’d even like the coursework.

All of this significant because when there have been times that I’ve been dissatisfied with my career at Jelcan, and I’ve looked elsewhere, very little has really spoken to me as something I’d actually like to do. There are plenty of jobs I could do, and at least one other career that interested me (librarian, which I actually investigated early last year) but this is the first one I’ve come up with on my own. It was exciting to think about! Lori noticed my excitement as I told her about it and pointed out the significance of having an idea that actually seemed to bring me happiness, even if just to think about it.

Nothing is definite, no directions are being taken. I put feelers out to a friend of mine at the radio station just to see what kind of path people typically take to get there, but there’s no serious thought or discussion beyond that. However, I do see the significance of just having an idea that makes me happy like that, and if nothing else I want to keep it around just to inspire projects that I can do here and now while I continue to work at Jelcan.

Thing I Saw: After getting very frustrated at a puzzle in Shadow of the Tomb Raider last night I took to YouTube to find the solution. In what may be a first for me, actually seeing the solution upset me so much that I threw up my hands and turned off the console entirely. I’m sure I won’t stay away.

Thing I Learned: According to How To Invent Everything, London’s upgraded sewer system, constructed more than a hundred years ago and still in use today, was created on the wrongheaded principle that Bad Air (miasma) causes disease and death. Kind of amazing that something so useful could be built on entirely the wrong idea.

I’m Grateful For: A country that generally welcomes immigrants.

I’m already losing track of songs I’ve shared so I apologize for repeats

A Revelation

I fixed the header image. It’s now the right way up and no longer an incredibly large filesize because watching it slowly load in was making me sad.

Something that comes up every so often between Lori and me is our definition of the word “excited”. She’ll ask me if I’m excited about something coming up and I say, well, no, but I am looking forward to it. And it turns out that’s really what she means by excited, just sort of, “looking forward with positive feelings”. To me excited is like…fired up! You think about the thing and you can’t wait and get all energized!

So the other day she asked me what I get excited about, by my definition. More than just “generally positive feelings about” and into “genuinely fired up”. I had to stop and think about it, because at first glance my answer is Not Much. Which made me a little uncomfortable. But then it came to me, and after some stumbling and sheepish grinning I admitted…pastries. (and baked sweets.)

I’m not kidding. I’m a bit embarrassed about it, but gosh, I love ’em. I like to look at them in the store, I get a thrill when I pick them out and buy them, and then of course I enjoy eating them later on, usually after waiting a little longer than I want to, just to build up the moment. In response, Lori brought some filled strudel things home yesterday and my response was literally

I’m not entirely sure why this is, and noticing the tendency has been a bit of a surprise even to me. I’m going to unpack it one day.

Thing I Saw: Last week a man parked his truck on the road near our office, and walked around a snowy field across the road in lazy figure eights. He was carrying a shovel in one hand, and a chainsaw in the other. Lloyd and I watched him do this while we waited for our coffee to brew. Eventually he stashed his tools in the back of his truck and slowly drove away. We have no idea why.

Thing I Learned: I use a CPAP machine which needs distilled water, with 4L jugs ranging from around $2-3 around town. But! It turns out a local grocery store has refillable jugs and the refills are just 50 cents! Hooray!

I’m Grateful For: Delicious pastries!

This came up on Spotify this morning and I realized I wanted to share it. So chill.


My daughter has been waking up like clockwork at 6:30am to call me out over the baby monitor. (This morning she was yelling: “Nathan! I want to say hi!!”) This isn’t impossibly early, but the problem is that I’m not wise enough to adjust my bedtime so that I’ve gotten enough sleep to compensate. Maybe someday.

Last week I was reading the newspaper (yes, actually, this isn’t just a setup for a joke) and came across an interesting blurb about an upcoming fundraiser. Two local musicians are doing an event called “he sings her songs” — lowercase styling being part of the title. They’ll be performing for two days this weekend, covering songs by female songwriters, with proceeds going toward a local women’s shelter and a pregnancy crisis centre. March 8th also happens to be International Women’s Day, which the musicians acknowledge. And I just want to add here that I have no beefs with either of the musicians or the organizations they’re supporting.

But here’s the thing — the musicians are both men. And what’s more, in the blurb, one of them points out that “Female musicians and writers are unfortunately under-represented so I think it makes impeccable sense to try to level the playing field.” Further, he adds that “Historically, there have just not been as many female artists, at least so far as I know, and that’s said [sic]…there are more now and that’s a development I find altogether quite heartening.”

Hey, I have an idea! If it’s Women’s Day and women are such wonderful under-represented artists, why not, you know, cede your performance spots at this fundraiser to them? I can think of four local artists off the top of my head, and I’m sure there’s more — are they all busy somehow? How exactly is this “leveling the playing field”, my dude?

Anyway I’m not mad, it just stuck out to me. Can’t wait for the mansplanations of each song’s meaning, should be great 🙂

Thing I Saw: A full case of donuts at Valley Bakery because I was finally there early enough in the morning, and it is a glorious sight to be sure

Thing I Learned: It’s been 7 years since Mass Effect 3 came out, concluding in a messy and often hamfisted way one of my favourite video game trilogies ever. I paid for the game with money I won playing bingo, and that is the truth.

I’m Grateful For: This long john donut from Valley Bakery that I am going to mindfully consume after finishing this post.