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…☯️

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. ☯️

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. ☯️

The Bunny Hop Weekend

This weekend was Easter weekend, which has carried different meanings for me throughout my life. Having grown up in a devout Catholic household, it signified the period of time where Jesus Christ was crucified and died on the cross for humanity’s sins, only to resurrect a few days later. It was an aspect of the Bible that I came to know quite well as a child, with religious movies representing Christ’s resurrection playing on the television all weekend and frequent sittings at our local church (sometimes more than one church). As I grew into adulthood and Catholicism’s hold on me released, I slowly forgot about Easter weekend. Hell, I didn’t even get to see it as a long weekend since, as a police officer, statutory holidays meant nothing for my work load.

In recent years, I’ve been lucky in the sense that I get that additional day off, making for a three-day weekend. That can be nice, especially from the standpoint of getting some additional rest. However, as I grew into parenthood, I came to realize that the weekend also came to symbolize bunnies, chocolates, candies and egg hunts. Having grown up with Type-1 Diabetes means that I didn’t experience most of those things as a child. One would think that this would mean I would enjoy going through it with my children but things of that nature are often less fun when you have to be the adult who cleans up after everything that’s done to entertain one’s children. Although I do very much enjoy the Easter jelly beans I received. They’re good times… But I digress…

Typically, my family would travel up to my in-laws, as they’re the only family we have nearby. With my family being all the way in New Brunswick, my wife’s parents are usually the host of our holiday travel plans. We’ve been pretty lucky in the fact that we’ve been the only ones who not only live afar and require accommodation when we travel but also have children. This means Grandma and Grandpa would not only receive the pleasure of our company but get to see their grandchildren for any given holiday weekend, as well. But as life moves forward, families expand and not only are two of my wife’s siblings married now, they also have children of their own. The conundrum this causes is that, much like at my mother’s home in New Brunswick, there is no longer any room to accommodate everyone.

Although getting together as a family is still important, not only over the holidays but as a general practice, fitting that number of people into one residence is not only impractical but can cause friction that one should not have to deal with over a holiday visit. With that in mind, my wife and I took things in a different direction this year and sent our oldest son, Nathan, up to stay with his grandparents for the long weekend. My sister-in-law was travelling through Regina on a trip of her own and offered to bring him up on her way back. He left last Friday and is scheduled to be picked up by my wife tomorrow while I’m at work.

With only one child to entertain and the fact he’s a toddler and doesn’t care where we go, we spent the weekend browsing designs for the bathroom renovation we should be starting soon. We took the opportunity to eat out a couple of times, one of those meals was at my favourite eatery: FatBurger. I consider myself to be a bit of a burger connoisseur and FatBurger has the best damned Mushroom Swiss burger I’ve ever had in my life. I had the opportunity to catch up on a significant amount of laundry and we even changed things around slightly in the living room. As an added bonus, I took today off as an extra day, although I know myself well enough to know I’ll likely check work later.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good and quiet long weekend. Tomorrow, I get to start back at a fresh new office as my location has changed. That should be an all-new adventure. It’ll be interesting to have my entire organization on one floor as opposed to spread out across three floors. As with all things in life, there will be some good and some bad. I’m looking forward to see in which direction this new office will tip the scales. Happy Easter to all those who celebrated this weekend. ☯️

Another One Survived…

I somehow managed to muddle through another year without having to deal with the ridiculousness of April Fools’ Day… Throughout the year, I’ve been the victim of a number of different pranks in both my personal and my professional life. Everything from having my jacket sleeve filled with shredded paper or having one of my coworkers spritz a touch of pepper spray into my coffee. In the event you’ve never been pepper sprayed, it works by reacting with the mucous membranes; eyes, nose and mouth, mostly. So if you take a sip of it when it’s in your hot coffee, you may not notice it right away. But once it hits the inner lips, son of a bitch…

For the most part, playing pranks on friends and family can be hilarious and somewhat harmless. It’s when you do something that causes mischief or interferes with the general public that it becomes problematic. For example, one year I had a batch of kids who would constantly move a park bench into the middle of main street and put a toilet bowl on top of it. It would be pitch black and the middle of the night, so there was no finding who did it. But it was dark enough that a vehicle coming down the street could potentially collide with it. We’d take the time to remove it and as we’d patrol, we’;d find it back in the street, minutes later. Cheeky bastards! Working on the evening of April Fools’ Day was the worst day to be a cop, followed closely by Halloween and New Year’s Eve.

So, where does it all come from? I mean, I’d be lying if I said I never played a few creative pranks on friends in the past. But why do people feel that they need one specific day on the calendar to get all their mischief out of their system? Depending on the source you dig into, the calendar may actually be to blame… I found a couple of different sources behind April Fools’ Day’s origins and all seem to stem from the same general story. So, I’ll share a snippet from History.com:

“Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.”

Since I grew up in an environment with a heavy French population, I can confirm the French part of the explanation. I remember the paper fish thing from my early years in grade school. Sources go on to describe some different traditions in different countries, kind of like how Halloween has different backgrounds in different countries, as well. But depending on whether you’re the one playing the pranks or receiving them, enjoying it as a fun little escape from the everyday hum-drum of life is subjective to the recipient. I can’t recall if someone managed to get one past me last year but this year, I was lucky enough that April Fools’ Day took place on a Saturday so I didn’t have work to contend with, and none of my friends seemed inclined to try and pull anything on me. One more year survived… ☯️

It’s All In Where You Look…

It’s pretty easy to get jaded against life and stay in one’s lane. While doing so, we unfortunately have a propensity to ignore the world around us and this leads to missed opportunities; opportunities for ourselves and for others. Every once in a while, those opportunities can be important, especially if they provide aid to someone who may need it. And helping others is important, if not only because it’s the right thing to do but because we would want the same from others if we found ourselves in need of said help. I experienced just such an occasion while driving home from work yesterday.

My day at the office was much like any other. The day flew by and I accomplished a solid day’s work, satisfied with my efforts. I put in for some prescription refills before going home, which required me to travel to the east end of the city, since I’m pretty picky about what pharmacy I use. one of my many quirks, I guess. I picked up my prescriptions and made my way home, taking a circular bypass road we have in Regina called “Ring Road.” The weather yesterday was quite mild, with the early evening temperature sitting at 0 degrees. Although this may sound nice, the issue it causes is that the snow and ice around the city melts and creates a lot of water. this would prove to be an issue on Ring Road.

As I was driving westward towards home, there was heavy traffic on Ring Road, with many people banking hard towards their end-of-day destinations. All of a sudden, a small, red SUV started to skid and swerve, going into a fish-tail and ultimately clipping a guard rail at an overpass before being thrown into the median ditch. It all happened quite quickly, so most people in the immediate area could be forgiven for driving past. Stopping on a dime would be unreasonable. I turned on my hazard lights and pulled over to the shoulder. I noticed that no one else appeared to stop. I couldn’t see the driver and the passenger area of the vehicle appeared to be filled with smoke.

I grabbed my gloves, which were ironically a pair of police-issued slash gloves that I had left over from my policing days. I slipped my cell phone into my pocket and started trying to cross the highway. The only thing that pissed me off more than people’s lack of concern, is the fact they weren’t stopping for the only person who had any. While I was waiting, another concerned person stopped as well but by then, a young male driver had emerged from the vehicle and was talking on his cell phone. When I explained that I was a retired police officer and would be helping the young man, she thanked me and got back to her vehicle and departed promptly.

I managed to make my way across the highway and checked on the driver. He was speaking to his sister and trying to explain exactly where he was. Once I confirmed that he wasn’t injured, I offered to take him home. I helped him to gather his important items from the vehicle, secured it and brought him to my vehicle. he explained what I had already assumed; he lost control driving over an icy patch of highway. The problem is that as snow and ice melted and trickled down onto the highway surface from the overpass, an amount of water settled in the shade. Although only a few degrees colder, that water froze, causing an icy hazard. As everyone assumed the roads were bare and dry, the young driver couldn’t predict that he’d be facing this hazard.

He was miraculously lucky… Once he lost control, he somehow managed to avoid all the other traffic on the highway AND only clipped a guardrail as opposed to smashing into it, head-on. I suspected some mild shock on his part, as the depth and severity of his situation didn’t seem to hit him until I pulled up in front of his house. Although only acting in a civilian capacity, I still advised him to get his vehicle towed away from where it was before it caused another collision and to file a claim through his insurance provider. he was incredibly grateful and I ensured he had some family waiting to receive him before I pulled away.

As I was driving home, I couldn’t help but think that out of the several dozen, bordering on a hundred vehicles that whipped past the scene, only myself and one other person had the thought to stop and check on another human being who may have potentially been injured and needing help from someone. I couldn’t help but imagine that had that been me… Or worse yet, my wife, I would curse the world for failing to stop and lend a hand. Although I admit that my prior police training would have prompted me to stop, I can’t help but believe that the goodness in people should still be a presiding factor in our decisions.

I’m glad I was able to help this young man. I wished him the best and hoped everything worked out for him when I drove away. Before he stepped out of my vehicle, he made a point of how lucky he felt that I was there to help him out. He attributed the miracle of his survival and the fact I showed up to the “Big Guy.” I made a poijnt of explaining to him that no thanks were necessary and that there were still good people in the world who simply want to help. It’s all in where you look… ☯️

The Hood-Gi…

I pride myself on the fact that I don’t usually endorse or encourage the purchase and/or use of any particular product. My blog isn’t intended as a “shopping” site where I throw out goods or services. That being said, any person who regularly reads my blog on any browser has noticed there are advertisements on my posts but if I’m being honest, they do very little for my bottom line. I’ll often make a point of reviewing books, movies and certain key products without necessarily endorsing them.

But once in a while, I treat myself to something that I feel is worth sharing, and today’s post is just that kind of exception. Like most couples, Valentine’s Day brings an opportunity to do something romantic for our partners, in whatever way we recognize will be something that pleases them and lets them know much we love them. For myself, I actually had a very nice item that I had ordered for my wife but when the product in question arrived, it was nothing like what I assumed it would. I was back to the drawing board.

My wife, for her part, asked me what I would like. And this is where I introduced her to the Hood-Gi. This garment is exactly what it sounds like; the combination of a hoodie and a martial arts Gi. Since I’m subscribed to a plethora of martial arts pages through my Facebook and social media platforms, the good ol’ AI bots that monitor social media pages will often throw martial arts-related pages at me. Sometimes they’re interesting, sometimes they’re not. On this occasion, I found the Budo Brothers website…

My Hood-Gi…

I was intrigued by this concept of a Hood-Gi, so I visited the webpage. I found a couple of martial artists who came together almost a decade ago and began designing clothing and equipment aimed at the interest and functionality required by martial artists. My intrigued continued as I found a variety of products on the website ranging from batons, kali sticks and cloths, to the Hood-Gi, which is what I ended up ordering.

Gotta love the blue…

So, what makes this garment so special? Well, the outside of the hoodie is made from actual Gi material. It’s pretty heavy and has some toughness to it. I spent the majority of last weekend wearing it in order to break it in, much like I would with a traditional Gi. The inner liner has a beautiful Japanese “wave” liner inside. Unlike a traditional Gi, which fastens by tying it off at two corners, the Hood-Gi uses magnetic buttons, which I was sceptical about at first but actually hold the garment securely closed.

There’s a normal traditional front pocket as you’d find on any standard hoodie. But the garment also contains side pockets for self-defence items and an inner pocket that can hold your smart phone. The hood is slightly oversized, which almost give it a “Jedi” look. All in all the garment is incredibly comfortable and I’m looking forward to wearing it outside the house as the weather gets warmer (it’s too thick to be worn under a jacket).

All in all, it’s definitely a fun piece of clothing and if any of you decide you want to check out their website, you can find them here. They have a variety of products and just as an FYI, it appears that they ship out of the United States, so just be aware if you’re ordering from another country. Otherwise, the martial artist in me can appreciate the asthetic and functionality of this garment while the old, dad-bod in me appreciates the comfort and look. ☯️

Slide Into This Feel-good Post…

Last Saturday, Nathan finally asked me to make our way to the sliding hill on the east side of our neighbourhood. I say finally because he’s usually spent the last few winters asking to go sledding as soon as there was snow on the ground. This year, he didn’t seem to be so into it, preferring to stay inside and melt his brain with his Netflix kids and Nintendo Switch. I’ve managed to get him outside to play in our yard, which is easy for him to come back inside and resume his hermit behaviour. So it was quite a surprise when he decided he wanted to go sledding.

The weather was quite mild at only -4 degrees and it was a perfect day to go hit the slope for an hour and get some fresh air. We slipped on our winter gear and made our way outside. Nathan had received a snow scooter for Christmas, which is basically a razor scooter with skis instead of wheels. I was anxious to see him use it but he refused, claiming he felt he would wipe out too easily. I brought it along anyway, in the event he changed his mind (and because I wanted to try it myself). We had the hill to ourselves as no one else was there. Not surprising as it was the weekend and it was before the noon hour.

Despite the mild weather, it was quite chilly once we got to the top of the hill and lost the protection of the houses and trees at ground level. Nathan had a blast, whipping down the hill and alternating his runs with his plastic toboggan and crazy carpet. I took a couple of short sprints down on the snow scooter and let me just say that I’m glad no one else was on the hill to see my sorry attempts. besides the fact that the handlebar was too low for me, the foot board was too small and I couldn’t keep both feet on it. This made it extremely hard to keep my balance.

At one point, we had a race with Nathan on his crazy carpet and me, using the plastic toboggan. My heavy weight, whipping down the hill, allowed my gratuitous posterior to feel every bump, groove and edge that was present on the slope. The result was every joint in my body objecting and asking what the fuck I thought I was doing… It was enough to get Nathan laughing at all the moans, groans and the sound of a hundred mousetraps closing as I tried to get up. Where has the time gone?

As with all things in life, despite the fun we were having, some negative aspects reared their ugly faces. The cold temperature and the exertion of climbing the snow hill over and over caused my blood sugar to drop below 4.0 mmol/L, which was a problem since we had only planned on being gone for an hour and I hadn’t brought anything with me. The cold also drained the battery on my pump, which is a bit more of a problem since having the battery go dead for more than a few minutes wipes out all my settings. I really should write that shit down somewhere. But it was fun and we got to spend some time outside, getting fresh air and exercise. ☯️