All Good Things…

Ah, the 1990’s… They gave us so much. Setting aside the fact that I graduated from high school in the 90’s (yes, I’m that old), the early 90’s also gave us the finale to a much-loved and anticipated follow-up to the original Star trek series. I’m writing, of course, of Star Trek: The Next Generation. TNG hit the airwaves in an unexpected manner, giving us the follow-up series that Trekkies never knew they needed. When the two-part finale aired, it was entitled “All good things…,” a play on the old saying that all good things must come to an end. I felt it a fitting and suitable title for today’s post as, you see, today will be MY last episode, or post, I suppose…

I started this blog all the way back in late 2019. It originally started as a means for me to keep my writing skills sharp. Writing, much like anything else, is a kept skill; one that becomes lessened or lost if one does not use it regularly. “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” may be an apt analogy. When I originally posted, my intention was for this to be a photography blog, if you can believe it. I absolutely love flower and nature photography and my first post was a gallery of various flowers I had photographed during one of my trips in New Brunswick. I’m totally not kidding! You can check it out right here. Those flowers bring back some memories…

Somehow, within a short period of time, I immersed myself in writing this blog and did the same thing I do with everything else; I gave myself goals. My first goal was to expand my own horizons and research capabilities. Through that lens, I began writing about the two things I felt I knew a reasonable bit about: martial arts and Type-1 Diabetes. Before I knew it, I threw my own faith in the ring and began writing about Buddhism, as well. The Diabetes and martial arts aspect developed into fitness & health, writing motivational or opinion pieces as well as the occasional “just because” posts that made me feel good. Somehow, since publishing that first post on February 27, 2019, I’ve managed to write 1,480 posts (not including this one) and have amassed 573 subscribers. Although not quite on part with the modern day “influencer,” and I use the term lightly, it’s not too shabby for someone who started to write on a whim and simply grew from there.

My goals were reasonably simple. On the larger scale, I wanted to share what I knew. I also wanted to keep my writing skills as sharp as a could. On a smaller scale, I wanted to write a post each day for a week. Then a month. Then a year. Then I challenged myself to go for broke and write for 1,000 straight days in a row, a goal that i achieved on December 10, 2022. I found myself asking what’s next and this was perhaps the beginning of a downward slope that would bring me to the here and now. I believe I’ve reached a point where I’ve gotten from this blog what I started out to do. I have maintained my writing skills, which are now in heavy, HEAVY use in the job I started two years ago. I’ve reached the goals and milestones I set for myself and any further or lengthier milestones would just border on the absurd at this point.

I believe I’ve shared reasonable, well-researched information to allow readers to consider possibilities and do research of their own, never professing to be a medical professional or to know better than anyone else. I’ve written on almost every fitness, health, martial arts and Diabetes-related topic I could think of, some being so obscure that it seemed almost a stretch (you can scroll through my posts to find the ones on bowel movement colours, if you need an example). Although I would have never thought it possible, I believe I tapped out my creativity. After all, I did manage to pour out 1,000 posts in a row. How much more could I possibly do?

As with all things in life, there is a balance. For all the good and the enjoyment I’ve received from writing my blog, there has been some negative. I recall getting into a heated debate in my comments section from a very unpleasant young lady who took offence to a post I wrote about meat. THAT was fun. I’ve also had a number of individuals who have unfortunately thought it was their place to question, belittle and demean some of my posts, either in the comments section or to me directly. In a sense, even those were beneficial as they often led to posts about scrolling on by or not commenting on things you don’t agree with. But all in all, it has certainly been a positive experience, one I think that I shall always remember fondly and without regret.

Writing this blog hasn’t garnered the kind of traction I had eventually come to hope for. But I know that I have reached some. And for me, that’s more than enough. My posts will be here, at least until I ultimately decide to shut the account down completely. So I take some comfort in knowing that to some extent, people can still find my posts, read my writing and come to allow their thinking to be stimulated. And for one such as I, that’s all that can be asked. I may eventually come back to my blog. Or perhaps writing here has opened the door for me to pursue something bigger. You know me, always another goal. And that’s what’s important in life; to never let yourself grow stagnant and always keep pushing forward. Stay healthy, stay hydrated and check your blood sugars frequently. Doing so will ensure that I will be here sometime in the future to continue this writing. And it will ensure you’re here to read it. Food for thought… 🙏☯️

In With The Old…

Considering everything my brother and have gone through, medically, throughout our childhoods, it seriously surprises me that I’m not more screwed up than I am. Most of my childhood memories between the ages of four to ten involve spending long periods of time in a hospital; either for myself or waiting on my brother. That’s why the good memories often shine through the murky recesses of my brain like a bolt of godly lightning and leave a lasting impression.

When I was somewhere around the 8-year old range, the outlook on my brother’s life expectancy took a grim turn for the worst. He wasn’t expected to live into his adult years, which meant that he was eligible for a number benefits, such as programs that are similar to “Make a Wish.” Endorsed and supported by local charities back home, my brother chose to get a small, child-size four wheeler, which he rode at his leisure until he managed to fall off of it and injure himself.

My brother was asked to choose an alternative, something that wouldn’t risk bringing injury to himself or others. Luckily, a new gaming platform was released that year that would change the face of home video games… that’s right, I’m referring to the original Nintendo Entertainment System. My brother got the gaming platform, controller, the pistol and a slew of games, which included the original Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Mega Man and a smattering of others. We spent hours on that thing, living it up and spending time together.

My newly-acquired gaming platform

The NES involved some of the best memories of my childhood, considering it was something we could do, even when sick or bed-ridden. I also learned increased hand/eye coordination, reflexes and an appreciation for graphic art. We moved on to Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, and I purchased Mega Man 3, Metroid and Castlevania after my brother passes away. I eventually purchased a Game Genie, along with Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. For you young punks who have no idea what I’m talking about, your childhood sucked! But I digress…

I don’t even recall how I came to lose that gaming system. Although if I had to guess, I would presume my mother got rid of it along with the majority of my toys when I got older. For years, I’ve been trying o find emulator platforms to relive those memories. The problem with emulators is that they eventually encounter copyright issues and shut down. And as much as I would like to purchase a used platform, collectors and hipsters have basically made that all but impossible.

Reliving my childhood with Super Mario Bros. 3

That’s why it came as a big surprise to me when, last Tuesday, I was walking through a mall in Saskatoon prior to returning home from eye injections and saw what appeared to be a miniature version of the NES console. You guys have probably seen some of these advertised on occasion. In short, you have a console and the controllers and the console is integrated with 500 games, so cartridges aren’t required. There is a version of this that was released by Nintendo a couple of years ago. This one is an off-brand, but the games are properly coded and genuine. The level of excitement I felt is almost ridiculous. I could throw my money at the seller fast enough…

I got the console home and Nathan and I have been playing old games like gangbusters. It’s been a wonderful thing, reliving some of the good memories from my childhood. More than anything else, I was amazed that all the same reflexes were still there and I remembered a bunch of cheat spots and secret passages in a few different games. All in all, it was definitely worth the $75. New isn’t always better. Even if only for nostalgic purposes, the older pleasures can sometimes be the best. Food for thought…☯️

Genkyu Nashi…

You know what really grinds my gears??? Just kidding, this won’t be that kind of post. At least not yet; I have a tendency of getting myself worked up on occasion but at the moment, I’m mostly looking to bring up a strange tendency I’ve noticed online. Since I write a blog that often focuses on karate and have subscribed through social media to a number of martial arts pages and websites, the good ol’ online AI’s have made it so that all the “suggested pages” and such usually have something to do with karate. This isn’t a bad thing, especially since it often allows me to learn about other styles, other techniques and methods and interesting subject matter. There is, however, one thing I’ve noticed that seems to nag at me; there is rarely any mention of Uechi Ryu…

I started to notice this trend some time ago when I read an article about top ten karate styles. The usual contenders were mentioned, Shotokan, Shito-Ryu and Wado-Ryu… And no list would be complete without the inclusion of Kyokushinkai, which everyone seems to think is bee’s knees of karate. Oh, I have no doubt that Kyokushinkai has its effectiveness, but I don’t believe that it is truly the “ultimate” way, considering that the proper fit of any given martial arts style is subjective to the practitioner. But when you hear about karate, the majority of the time, it will be one of the styles listed above. Which once again raises the question as to why Uechi-Ryu is rarely if ever, brought up.

For those who are less familiar with Uechi-Ryu, the style was created after its founder, Kanbun Uechi, studied under a Chinese martial artist named Shu Shiwa. Uechi studied with him for over a decade and even opened a school of his own in China. Uechi called the style “pangai-noon,” or “half-hard, half-soft.” Uechi returned to Okinawa and refused to teach ever agin, after one of his Chinese students allegedly killed one of his neighbours. It wouldn’t be until the 1920’s that Uechi would begin teaching students in Okinawa and the style was renamed in 1940 to Uechi-Ryu Karate-jutsu by his students and son. When Uechi passed in 1948, his son, Kanei Uechi, took over leadership of the style and renamed it simply “Uechi-Ryu.”

My style is unique in its focus on hardening the muscle and a combination of contained, focused circular and linear movements. We don’t focus on crossing long distances as many other style do, nor do we dip and lean quite as much as other styles do. Many other styles and martial artists have claimed that Uechi-Ryu is more effective at self-defence than its more offensive counterparts. But yet, when you look up top ten most renowned karate styles or something of the like, there’s almost never any mention of Uechi-Ryu. And I find that odd…

At one point, I posed the question to Sensei and his response was that our style was subtle and traditional and because we cared nothing about competition or how many students we created, people knew less of us than they knew of other styles. Maybe that’s the case. Who knows? there’s a really good video on Jesse Enkamp’s YouTube channel that talks about the ins and outs of Uechi-Ryu karate. I’ll link the video below. ☯️

It’s Treason, Then…

Before I even get into the actual content of my post, I have to say that Star Wars’ prequel trilogy is largely underrated. And the Emperor’s line in Episode III, when Mace Windu and senior members of the Jedi Council finally approach him and recognize him as the Dark Lord of the Sith is iconic. If I was facing a number of skilled, experienced Jedi, I might not be so bold and calm as Emperor Palpatine was. But the line was fantastic, no less. I’ve often made a case for the fact that Jedi are basically just martial artists with modern, energy-based weapons. Even their robes are reminiscent of a karate gi… But I digress… Let’s get on with the subject of today’s post…

There’s a strange phenomenon that occurs for martial artists; it happens when one begins to gain skill and experience and begins to believe that they’re actually “good.” Now that I’ve achieved the age, wisdom and experience level that I have, I understand that being “good” is simply a state of mind and that one is genuinely never done learning the martial arts, regardless of one’s rank. This is something I came to learn the hard way, with some unfortunate happenstance, which I was recently reminded of. That brings us to the here and now, where I’ve come to see that the phenomenon is still quite prevalent and exists in some way, shape or form.

When I was in my early 20’s, I reached a point that I consider to be the pinnacle of my physical skills. I had speed, skill, accuracy and knowledge. Because of these factors, I became arrogant and boastful; something that isn’t becoming of a traditional martial artist. I reached a point where, even when I taught others, it was done through the lens of someone who knew better than they. It reached a point where I became frustrated and even angered by Sensei’s continued scrutiny of my knowledge and skills. It reached an unfortunate point where I thought I knew better. It reached a point where I even skipped on classes where I felt I was being slightled.

Sensei felt this change in me, probably before I even felt it in myself. It didn’t help that his son, one of my best friends, was in the same position as I was. We had conversations about how tired we were with the repetitive training, the constant drills that we’d already mastered, etc… It got to a point where for the first time, I did something I had never done before at that stage in my life; I started to skip out on training in favour of trivial things. I shot pool with friends. I went swimming in the forest. I hung out with my girlfriend. it last almost three months before I snapped out of it and realized I needed to go back.

When I finally returned to the dojo, Sensei acted as though i had never left. It wasn’t until I managed to get him alone after a class one night, when I asked him about what had happened. he explained that he knew what I was going through and had, in fact, gone through it himself. He knew that there would have been no convincing me that I needed to go back until I realized it myself. A part of my inner ego had to be permitted to inflate and pop on its own before I would recognize that this was exactly what I was dealing with; my ego. only once I realized that I didn’t know everything, didn’t know BETTER, could I start to recognize that martial arts is not a journey one can walk alone.

And that’s the lesson… Sometimes, one has to allow oneself to become built up before one realizes the only solution is to break it all down to allow yourself to grow. As the old saying goes, it is hard to fill a cup that is already full. Ego takes up a lot of space. If one is unable to set aside one’s ego, one will never truly be able to successfully learn and progress within the martial arts. Food for thought… ☯️

Fumio Demura

I’m not one to follow mainstream media and I’m not sue this would have been covered in mainstream media, anyway. But I just became aware that two days ago on April 24th, Fumio Demura passed away at the age of 84 years old. To anyone who hasn’t followed the martial way, the name likely won’t mean much. to me, it means the death of another influential icon that inspired the path of life that has made me who I am. In fact, I only came by this information by accident… If I hadn’t been subscribed to several martial arts pages, I would have been oblivious to the incident. But hopefully, as I write about some of his details, you may come to recognize this martial arts icon that has led so many in previous decades…

During my youth, I obtained a number of Demura’s books, including “Bo: Karate Weapon of Self-dense” and “Sai: karate Weapon of Self-defense.” During the 1980’s and without even realizing it, Demura was seen on the big screen as Pat Morita’s stunt double in the Karate kid movies. Interestingly enough, Morita knew nothing of karate and had absolutely no skill, despite being cast as the teacher in those movies. Demura would stand in as the one who performed the majority of the fight scenes, including the iconic scene where the Cobra Kai students corner the protagonist outside a chain-link fence where Mister Miyagi beats the ever-loving shit out of all of them. Yeah, that was Fumio Demura…

A practitioner of Shito-Ryu Okinawan karate, Demura began studying the martial arts at the tender age of 9, only a couple of years earlier than I did, myself. He committed himself to the art, and at the age of 21 he began studying the art of Kobudo, the art of Okinawan weaponry that I came to know him through. I’ve read several of his books and learned a great deal, even from the printed page. Throughout the 1970’s Demura would come to the United States and write several books, among those, the ones I mentioned in this post. in the late 1980’s, he would be awarded his 7th dan in Shito-Ryu and would go on to obtain his 9th dan in the early 2000’s.

All of these are statistics that one can easily find anywhere online. For me, Master Demura is recognized as a a true traditionalist, a practitioner of the martial way and an inspiration to one who would dedicate their life to the martial arts. Although I never had the honour of meeting him, Master Demura had an impact on my life and even in his death, he reminds me of the shortness of one’s life and how our existence is but a flicker; and the importance of making the most of our time while in this life. He left his mark and he won’t be forgotten; even if it’s by an unknown practitioner of Uechi-Ryu in the Canadian Prairies. Rest in peace, Master Demura. We’ll take it from here… ☯️

Til Death Do You What…?

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that “[…] in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Considering the taxes I’ve paid since making my transition into the adult world, quite a number of years ago, I can attest that taxes are not something one can avoid. At least not legally, but that’s another post for another day. The focus of today’s post is death. Most people are leery of death and the concepts behind it. One of the things that allows us as people to make our way through life and work towards goals and find some semblance of happiness is the fact that we seem to be programmed to live without constantly being aware that there’s a finish line and there’s nothing to do to avoid it.

If one were to wake up every morning acknowledging that they’re going to die, can you imagine the kind of chaos that would ensure in the world? People would stop trying. Goals and achievements would come to a screeching halt, crime rates would increase dramatically and the ones who don’t necessarily covet their existence quite as dearly as others would take foolish chances and perhaps bring upon their end sooner than would have otherwise taken place. Problematically, there are some who DO live this way. The results are never good, per se, and there is always the question of what happens after we die. The big problem is that we are programmed to survive, often whether we want to or not. And as I once read in a book by one of my favourite authors, survival is a motherfucker!

We are also biologically programmed to ignore death, preserve ourselves and push forward, which is why for most people, their first thought in the morning isn’t “wow, I’m going to die someday.” The concept of death frightens most people, whether because of their inherent, biological will to survive or because of the unknown. For many, knowing what happens to our existence after death could potentially bring peace. Especially if it could ever be proven that there is some level of existence beyond this mortal flesh. on the flip side, much of what I described in the previous paragraph would come to pass on a high and more extreme level, if humanity ever managed to confirm life after death.

It’s a topic rife with contradictions, since most people avoid the topic and become uncomfortable talking about it. But it’s ever-present nonetheless and I recently had the opportunity to deal with a matter that brought some of these thoughts and concept to the forefront of my mind. When I was young, despite having Type-1 Diabetes, the concept of death was always a bit of a mystery to me. It wasn’t until my own doctors suggested that I would die in a short number of years due to my condition that I awoke to the question of what happens beyond the grave. Given that I was raised by a devout French-Catholic mother, there were plenty of religious concepts thrown into the mix, which were nothing more than extremely confusing for a young child.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later, when my brother passed away from all his illnesses, that it really brought it home for me. It was my first time genuinely dealing with the concept of death and seeing it in its horrible reality. In some ways, many ways, I was fortunate as my brother spent the majority of his life suffering and death brought an end to that. It was one of the driving factors that motivated me to take my life and health into my own hands and ensure I would continue on and live a full life. Three and a half decades later, I’m still alive and very-much kicking, karate pun FULLY intended.

My recent experiences have once again raised the question of what takes place after death and ultimately, does any of it matter? As a people, different cultures have different beliefs and customs behind what happens to our remains after we die. Generally-speaking and only from my own experience, folks here in the western world generally bury or cremate their dead, include religious ceremonies of whatever faith they follow and believe. The ceremonies are given almost as much status and importance as the death itself but the painful reality is that such ceremonies are usually only of import to those who remain; the dead don’t care about such things.

I once read an article written about the concept of life after death where the writer stated that at this point, given the number of people who have claimed to have experienced something beyond consciousness, near-death experiences and such, we should start to consider WHAT happens after death as opposed to IF something happens, since it appears evident that is some activity that takes place. Modern medicine and science have provided plenty of information about everything the brain does to try and keep the body going when it knows it’s dying, which causes the whole “bright light ahead” thing, as well as other aspects that people have attributed to dying. People have reported being “outside” of their bodies, watching as doctors work and were able to hear everything. Since science has somehow confirmed that our sense of hearing is one of the last to cancel out after death, perhaps that could be easily explained, as well.

It’s a fascinating topic, if one doesn’t mind the morbidity of it all. And I don’t pretend to know what happens after death but I will admit that like most, I’ve often been curious. I often turn back to what I once told my dearly-departed aunt, when I visited her for one of the last times as she was dying of cancer. I explained that no matter how one viewed life, there was the possibility of something beyond death. If your life was rooted in religion and your faith was grounded, your beliefs would explain everything you needed. You could find comfort in those concepts. If you have no religion or happen to be an atheist, one still needs to acknowledge the scientific aspect, which is that our bodies are proven to be driven by a measurable form of energy. This energy is seen in the current that controls our heart, maintains our brain activity and I think, contributes to making us who we are as a person. And as we all would have been taught through basic high school science classes (at least the ones we didn’t sleep through), energy never ceases to exist nor can it be destroyed; only moved or transformed.

So not matter what manner of life you live, one could argue that there is an explanation of the afterlife, whether your life is rooted in the theological or the scientific. The question simply remains of what, exactly, will that look like. The bad news is that no one knows for sure. The good news is that since there’s no avoiding it, we will all, eventually, have our answer. The takeaway here is to continue to live one’s life to the fullest and recognize that although sad and includes a deep sense of loss when someone we love passes on, it is part of the natural cycle of life that all living things must observe. Birth, life and eventually death is a something we all will experience. But there’s nothing saying that death deserves our time or attention until our time comes, of which we are usually blissfully unaware. Morbid food for thought on a Sunday morning… ☯️

Warmer Weather Wonders

We had the pleasure of some extremely warm weather over the weekend, which allowed us to enjoy a bit of the outdoors in addition to our outings with the boys. It was nice to see the exposed lawns in the front and back yards. Granted, those lawns look like hammered shit but I’m sure that once I rake them, aerate them and water them, they’ll still look like hammered shit. What can I say; I can live in a house but I have absolutely no fuckin’ skill in maintaining a property. But anyway, I’m getting off track, here…

We decided to do something a little bit different today and went to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum. Despite having a membership to the Science Museum and the fact that most of the attractions there allow for hands-on interaction, We wanted to switch things up and a colleague of mine mentioned that the Royal Saskatchewan Museum has a full-size Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton as part of the exhibit. I figured that would be nice to see. It was actually quite a load of fun and the admission is payment by donation, which is also nice. It meant that we didn’t have to pay a fortune for something we hadn’t experienced yet. We made a reasonable donation and made our way in.

It. Was. Awesome. I loved it. The kids enjoyed it as well, with the exception of the button that makes the T. Rex roar, which scared the ever-living-shit out of Alexander. Which is okay, if you’re wearing a diaper as he was but still… We spent a little over an hour in there and it likely would have been a couple of hours, if I’d had the time to actually read all the exhibits and enjoy looking at some of them instead of hammering through it with the boys. And I would have liked getting a few photos of the boys but I was actually engrossed in the moment, which is how one SHOULD be living one’s life, as opposed to snapping pics of everything and living through the lens of one’s phone.

It was a fun-loaded afternoon, followed by a trip to Western pizza so I could introduce my wife to their boneless ribs. The boys barely ate, which wasn’t surprising but leftovers are always welcome in our home. By the time we got home, it was obvious from the photo above that Alexander had his fill and was tapped out. That being said, he only slept for about fifteen minutes until we took him out and he realized that Nathan and I were staying outside to start cleaning up the garage. He decided the warm weather was the perfect time for him to test out his rubber boots. He splashed, he played and he got more fresh air in those next two hours than he has all winter.

I had the pleasure of enjoying my first cigar of the season, despite the fact I had the boys outside with me. usually, they go out of their way to interrupt me every five minutes, eliminating the entire point of sitting outside enjoying a cigar. But we made it work. Nathan even brought out his razor scooter he got for Christmas and started trying to learn how to find his balance. But what was probably the nicest part of the afternoon was looking up from my seat and seeing the boys, sitting quietly together on the driveway surface, scrawling with sidewalk chalk and spending time together…

The afternoon ended when Alexander decided it was a good idea to kneel in the flooded area in our backyard, resulting not only in soaked sweatpants but some water trickled inside his boots. I got everyone inside and squared away before starting our Sunday routine of laundry, showers and prepping for the week ahead. there is apparently some snow coming, which isn’t surprising for Canadian weather. But with the weather getting significantly better, I expect we’ll be getting outside more and more. It’ll be nice ot be out of the house and getting more fresh air. ☯️

Eye Of The Cryer…

Generally speaking, I consider myself to be pretty spry for my age and condition. Although nowhere near the peak I was in even just ten years ago (yes, I’m bragging), I still consider myself quite capable of keeping up in most instances. Even when it involves trying to keep up with my toddler. At the best of times, Alexander is a rolling, destructive ball of energy that annihilates everything in his path. Although I often spend some cuddle time with him while watching cartoons or something, rolling around on the floor while wrestling at my age doesn’t come quite as easily as it used to.

Yesterday, Nathan was otherwise occupied and Alexander was done his potty boot-camp for the morning (whole other story). As a result, I agreed to sit on the floor and help him build something with his mega-blocks. In true toddler style, he violently toppled something large we had just built. In true boyish-style, we wound up wrestling each other on the floor. Now for those of you who don’t know, Alex is built like my father. For a three-year old, he’s got a fair amount of mass and he isn’t as easy to wrestle with as one may think. At one point, I was on the floor and he was hovering above me (because I was holding him there) and he took a swipe at my face.

This resulted in a searing blast of pain in my face that didn’t seem to make sense. I set him down and felt across my face, thinking his fingernails had cut my cheek or something. Finding no blood, I went to the bathroom and checked my face, only to see my eyeball looking like a vampire’s eye out of a bad 1980’s horror flick… instead of cutting my cheek, Alex’s fingernail apparently scraped across the surface of my eyeball, causing a corneal abrasion.

This is a day AFTER, and includes three doses of antibiotic drops

Ignoring for a moment the fact that I’m unshaven and generally look like shit, one can clearly see that my eye is completely bloodshot and watering heavily. What you don’t see, is the searing stinging sensation, the sensitivity to light and the fact that every time I close my eye, the eyelid drags across the abrasion and increases the pain, ten-fold. Despite the fact I get eye injections every eight weeks, I have to admit that this five seconds of rough housing has caused an amount of discomfort almost comparable to those injections. Pair that with the fact that it seems to have affected my left nostril as well, causing it to leak like a rusted faucet that can’t be stopped. Because I don’t experience enough pain in my life…

So what exactly happens during a corneal abrasion? Simply defined, it’s a scratch on the surface of one’s eye. No fuckin’ shit, right? But it can happen from just about anything from being poked in the eye, scratched or getting something caught under the eyelid like dirt or sand. According to WebMD, the injury is “actually on your cornea. That’s the clear layer that covers the iris, the coloured part of your eye. It also shields the pupil – the black circle in the middle of your eye.” It will result in steady pain, a scratchy sensation on the eye, blurred vision and sensitivity and pain in from the light.

Luckily, my optometrist is a freakin’ rockstar and works on Saturdays. Despite not having an appointment, she was able to fit me in only a couple of hours after the incident. She confirmed the abrasion and prescribed an antibiotic called Tobramycin, which I have to take four times a day in conjunction with lubricating drops to help keep things from drying out. It apparently only takes two or three days to heal but in the meantime, I would have much preferred some of the numbing drops the optometrist used during the examination but apparently, not only do those NOT help heal the eye but you’re not supposed to use it extensively. Fuck.

All of this is to say that injuries can happen in an eye blink (see what I did there?). Now, I get to go to work tomorrow and awkwardly try and explain to my employees that no, I don’t have pink eye; it’s a corneal abrasion. It would almost be easier to just send out a quick email blast in the morning to explain once so nobody has to ask afterwards. hopefully, this will pass in the next couple of days. Sleeping last night was brutal. First, my eyelid would stick. When I’d open my eye, it would create a new blast of pain. For one of our primary senses and despite the period of time that humans have had to evolve, our eyes sure are weak as shit. ☯️

Not All That Glitters Is Gold…

Well, it’s been a couple of days since my organization moved into a new office space and I feel that I’m in a position to provide at least a cursory update on how things are going. In order to have a bit of context, I should likely provide a bit of background on what our previous location was like. In the interest of privacy and confidentiality, what I’ll say is that my organization rented out office space on three separate floors. Several Division, divided by separate floors. There were frequent power outages and water shut-offs, homeless people in the parking structure and little to no support from the property owners in our interest. It came as little surprise when my organization chose to end their lease and seek office space elsewhere.

Since all life is a matter of balance, I should provide some of the positives with the previous location. We had a hotel in our tower’s lobby, which featured a very nice coffee shop. We had a pedway that gave us access to a two-storey shopping mall, which featured just about anything you could think of needing in one’s day-to-day life. need some nasal spray? Pharmacy. Need something for one of the boys? Dollar store, pharmacy or retail location. Hungry and forgot my lunch? Food court inside the mall and various restaurants outside. Last but certainly not least, it was a five-minute walk from my endocrinologist from my office.

Now, on to the new location. As people, we’re groomed to assume that newer is always better. This isn’t always necessarily so. Some of the things I’ve dealt with in my first morning include network issues, furniture issues and constant noise since our entire organization is now located on one shared floor. Towards the end of the first day, our network phones weren’t working and our internet was kicking in and out. We no longer had individual temperature control for each individual office, which means that I’ve basically boiled in my office for the past two days since the weather has been in the high teens for the past couple of days.

I think that some cheques were written that this new location couldn’t cash. that being said, I have to be honest… It was nice to mingle and speak with multiple staff members that I would previously only communicate with over email or text message. My staff have discovered some alternatives to the coffee shops they would have used at the mall and they seem to be pleased. That being said, there’s renovation work that still needs to be completed, despite the fact that we’ve occupied the space. My office is about half the floor space of my previous one, which as I write it, seems like a total first-world problem. But ultimately, one needs to acknowledge that one does not need all the gilt and gold in order to feel rich.

I think I’ll be happy in my new office. there’ll be a period of adjustment as with all things in life. The secret is to make the most of any given situation and adapt as required. There’s good to be found in any situation. One needs only to find it and see it. People just need to realize that newer isn’t always better. And not all that glitters is gold. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Some other cheezy fuckin’ analogy… I don’t know, pick one! bottom line is, I’ll make due with whatever location I have to work in. ☯️

The New “Office”

Despite the fact that I have moved into a new office space, this isn’t what this post is about. I’ll no doubt be writing about what my new office if like, once I’ve gotten through the week and have acclimated to my new environment. No, this post is about a different kind of “Office.” Since we had some spare time and no evening plans last weekend, I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with my wife building a newly-acquired LEGO diorama of the hit television series The Office.

The completed project

Ordered directly from the LEGO Canada website and boasting 1,164 pieces, this diorama-style set shows the main entry and office space, Michael Scott’s office and the staff board room in a fun display that took us well into the wee hours of the morning to complete. With our snacks, wine and streaming on the big screen, we sat side-by-side in the living room in an attempt to assemble this beast on our living room coffee table. And we succeeded. All in all, it didn’t feel as complicated as some of the other sets I’ve assembled. Despite the large number of pieces, every little coffee cup or item on Michael Scott’s desk counts as a piece, requiring no assembly, so it’s a bit misleading in terms of how complicated it would be to assemble.

Michael Scott’s office

Interestingly enough, Michael’s office is detachable and can be removed as a standalone piece. Since this doesn’t apply to the conference room, I’m not sure what the thinking behind this may have been but the railing system that was used is pretty unique and I haven’t seen it in any of my other sets. I handled most of the bulk assemblies while my wife put together some of the smaller components that my meat hooks were too big or indelicate to handle. If she hadn’t dealt with all the stickers, the diorama as a whole would likely look quite bland as I wouldn’t have bothered.

The conference room…

For those who have watched the US version of the series, you’ll recognize a number of familiar aspects within the completed diorama. As you walk into the office, Kevin is standing there with his large pot of homemade chilli. There are pieces inside to represent what he spills on the floor, I simply didn’t bother to spread them around. Next to the fax machine behind Pam, you can see a fax to Dwight from his future self, warning him not to drink the coffee. There are a number of awards and things on the wall, including Pam’s drawing of the office itself. The white board in the conference room has the pyramid scheme that Michael thought was not a pyramid scheme, drawn upon it. there’s even a jello mold containing Dwight’s stapler on top of a filing cabinet.

If you look on the right-hand side of the very first photo, you’ll notice a small barrel that Dwight used to start a small fire during a fire drill. And you can clearly see Stanley holding what appears to be a pretzel that he got from the vendor downstairs. So many little details… All in all, it was definitely a worthwhile set to work on and I was even happier to have gotten the opportunity to work on it with my wife. Both our backs were killing us by the end; being bent over a coffee table wasn’t the most comfortable of assembly positions. But we powered through and got it completed before we hit the sack and it marks the first time I’ve assembled LEGO with someone else. Even after all this time, we can still have firsts. I’ve added the larger, beige baseplate for better stability and my goal will be to have it set up in my new office location eventually. ☯️