Thursday, December 25, 2008
I celebrated my first Christmas in 1978, and now here I am in 2008. It has been a good Christmas. No early morning trips to the hospital this year. We spent it at home alone for the first time since we got married. Very nice. One young child and a baby are mayhem enough for one day.
Anyone who lived with me while I grew up won't be surprised that Christmas starts early in the Mike MacKenzie househould. Alex woke up at 5:45 this morning. Avril got him out of bed to feed him a bottle. Meanwhile, the crying woke Kenny up, and he promptly climbed in bed with me. I made the suggestion that we go see if Santa came, and he was all for that idea. We followed the MacKenzie tradition of opening stockings first, then having bacon and eggs for breakfast before opening the rest of the presents in an orderly manner. We were done opening presents just before 8:00, which was the time we were allowed to open stockings when I was kid.
Like many babies, Alex enjoyed the wrapping paper and ribbons more than the actual presents. His favourite presents (once the ribbons and paper were thrown away) were a stuffed Mickey Mouse from his Auntie Afton, and a ride-on train from his Grandma and Grandpa that Kenny is jealous of. We haven't received presents from Grammie and Papa yet, so we'll see if they can out-do their Laqua counterparts.
Kenny is in train heaven. He got a lot of presents this year, most of which was Thomas-oriented, from tracks to movies to remote-controlled trains. He did get a few non-Thomas gifts, such as Veggie Tales, Hoodwinked, candy, a Curious George book, cars, and candy. His favourite toy is Alex's train, but his new Tidsmouth Sheds track set seems to be a close second.
One of Avril's favourite presents is the new blender I got for her. Don't worry, I got her some pretty things, too, along with a score of books and some movies. As for me, my gifts were mostly movies and video games, but I think my favourite is the second installment of The Dark Tower graphic novel.
I also enjoyed the assembly that was required with Kenny's presents.
I hope all of you had a merry Christmas. I look forward to seeing your blogs about it.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The famous starving-dungeon-prisoner picture. This was taken in the summer 0f 1985 in Nova Scotia. Mary and I were staying with Grammie and Granddad while the rest of the family did a cross-continent car trip.
Here I am with Jake and Noah in the winter of 1989 in Raymond. Looking good, boys.
This was taken at the beginning of my senior year at Raymond High School, which was the fall of 1995. I was 17 years old and, I've never been better-looking. Man, I wish my hair was still that thick!
And here I am at the end of my senior year (spring 1996) with my prom date, Alison. It was the start of a long, interesting friendship.
This was taken around the mid-point of my mission. This would have been either December 1999 or January 2000. I'm modeling what coconuts actually look like. I'm also skinny. This was in Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Philippines.
September 17, 2004. The day I married Avril Laqua. Also the day, I'm told, that Noah and Heidi decided that they were going to get married, carrying on the tradition of Noah's life reflecting my own. Avril and I were married in Cardston, and our reception was in Stirling.
Me and my boys, Alex and Kenny, in October 2008 in Edmonton. I'm not as skinny as I was in 1985 or 1999, and I'm not as handsome as I was in 1995, but I sure am happier.
Monday, December 15, 2008
I hate being late, so I'm usually 15-20 minutes early for everything.
I only ever roll over in one direction in bed. Rolling over the other way just feels wrong.
I once urinated on a dead monkey.
I still feel guilty about a lie I told my parents when I was nine years old. Although, in retrospect, I think they might have known I was lying at the time.
I once ate a plate of spaghetti full of dead ants, and I knew the ants were in it before I ate it. This was near the end of my mission in the Philippines, and I was really hungry, and I wasn't about to throw away a huge plate of spaghetti.
If I look at a clock and it reads 11:11, I have to stare at it until it changes to 11:12.
Whenever I hear a comedian or a TV show joking about how hard it is to assemble furniture and follow the instructions from stores like Ikea, I get really mad, because that kind of stuff is really easy to me, and it just seems to me that they're blaming their own idiocy on other people.
When I worked at Thriftlodge, I was never in a good mood while at work. My mood varied between mildly irritated and apoplectic.
My torso is very long in relation to my legs.
Nothing (besides certain people) brings me more joy than a new pen.
I hate it when people call Thanksgiving "Turkey Day".
Whenever I get a new watch, it needs a new battery within a week.
Quite often when I listen to music, I tap my fingers in a specific pattern to each syllable being sung: index finger, thumb, middle finger, index finger, ring finger, middle finger, pinky, ring finger. I can't stop until a phrase ends on the last ring finger of the pattern.
I eat that big piece of cartilage in chicken breasts.
I love the smell of grocery stores.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Once we got the house into livable condition, we wasted no time getting a Christmas tree. I'm always sure to buy the tree on my own so that Avril can't stop me from getting the $55 one. Kenny loves Christmas trees, and he very much enjoyed helping to decorate it. The only problem was he put all of his ornaments in the same small area of the tree. Mommy and Daddy had to spread them out later when he wasn't looking. Alex is fascinated with the tree, and now that he can finally crawl, the tree is one of his regular destinations.
I also broke out Mum's Christmas cook book and made a batch of sour cream cookies. Kenny helped me make them, cut them, and decorate them. Decorating for Kenny consists of getting frosting on his knife, wiping I little bit on the side of a cookie, and then eating the rest of the frosting. Avril, on the other hand, did a wonderful job decorating her share of the cookies.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Just for fun, I have compiled of lists of quotes from conversations I've had online that I think would make good band names. The name in parentheses is who said it. Band names with a * indicate names that Avril and I have used in Guitar Hero or Rock Band:
*Comfort of the Damned (me) Explanation: I was making the argument that Hell was on fire so that people could see while underground. The exact quote was "They were really thinking of the comfort of the damned when they designed that place."
Noah and the Cats (Heidi) Explanation: Heidi was simply talking about Noah and their cats.
*Suzy Ho-Bag (Heidi) Explanation: Heidi was using the name Suzy Ho-Bag as a general term for any woman of ill-refute.
Godlike Teeth (Noah) Explanation: Noah was bragging about his perfect teeth.
All Hail Hyper (Sean) Explanation: I forget what exactly we were talking about, but Hyper is me (short for hyperferrianism), and Sean was being sarcastic.
He's Estreeeeeemely Handsome (Heidi) Explanation: Heidi was calling Noah extremely handsome.
*Psychic Mind Twins (Heidi) Explanation: Heidi has said this often, both online and in real life. She and I have similar senses of humor, and we'll often come up with the same joke at the same time. We are, therefore, "psychic mind twins".
Dudeman (Noah/me) Explanation: This is actually what Noah and I called each other when we were roommates. I forget who said it first.
*Just Regular Rape (Mindy) Explanation: Mindy was talking about the differences between date-rape, spouse-rape, and "just regular rape". I found it morbidly amusing that she marginalized such a horrible thing as rape by adding "just regular" to it.
Duke of Sarc (Noah) Explanation: I said something sarcastic, and Noah dubbed me the Duke of Sarc.
*Your Face is a Metaphor (me) Explanation: A running joke on the Mo-Board is using "your face is..." as a comeback. If someone were to say, for example, "That dog is ugly" someone would come back with "your face is ugly!" In this instance, someone said something was a metaphor, and I came back with "your face is a metaphor!" No, it doesn't really make sense, but that's why it's funny.
Toxic Breastpump (Heidi) Explanation: this was in reference to the whole plastic-baby-products-that-cause-cancer scare not too long ago.
Mad Head Hyper (aklady--not sure what her real name is) Explanation: Mad is Heidi (short for mad misky), Head is Noah (short for headolence), and, as I explained earlier, I'm Hyper. The three of us hadn't been on the Mo-Board in a while, and aklady was wondering where we were. She said, "Where are the Canadians? Mad, Head, Hyper?" I just dropped the punctuation.
F-words and Boobies (me) Explanation: one of the other members of the Mo-Board mentioned that he always made sure that his hotel had HBO before he checked in. Heidi asked what was so great about HBO, and I facetiously answered: "F-words and boobies."
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I was walking down 10th Avenue in Lethbridge, and I saw Noah and Heidi’s dogs running around. People were afraid of them, but I knew that they wouldn't hurt anybody. Noah was with me, and we turned onto the street that I lived on looking for his house. Unfortunately, his house had collapsed, so we figured we should find a nice house for him quick. In the front window of the nicest house on the block, we saw Gary Bialik, so we went inside and helped him move a huge sofa. Once that was over, I went outside without Noah and found myself in a large parking lot in England. A bunch of people had gathered for Superman's wedding to Lois Lane. I watched from my car. At the climax of the wedding ceremony, when Superman was supposed to show up, there was a glorious chorus of trumpeting from the heavens accompanied by an angelic choir. I looked up and, instead of Superman arriving, Jesus was descending from Heaven with a host of angels. When Jesus got close to the ground, Superman grabbed Him triumphantly, and it turned out to be a banner with an incredibly life-like and glowing image of Christ on it. The wedding was over, but someone pointed out that Lois wasn't there. Superman explained that the ceremony had been performed, and all Lois had to do now was show up and accept it. Then, in the distance, nuclear missiles started falling. We all watched in awe at the dozens of mushroom clouds blooming in the distance. I said to Avril (who was suddenly beside me, and we weren't in a car anymore) that we'd be find because we were in a small town that wouldn't be a target. "Look, that mushroom cloud over there is probably London." As I was saying this, a nuclear bomb exploded much closer to us. As the shock wave radiated out from it, I realized that it would reach us. I turned and ran with Avril and her parents away from the shock wave, which was blowing the ground to pieces and sending rubble about 50 feet into the air. As we ran, I knew that we weren't going to outrun it, and I realized, with a weird calm horror, that we were about to die. I stopped running, and, in a moment of conscious control over my dream, I kind of phased myself out of reality and the shock wave passed me without hurting me. I had intended to save Avril and her parents, but they vanished as the shock wave passed. I was left alone in a gray, desolate landscape, and that's when I woke up.
I didn't record any of the details of this next one, but it's amusing enough to mention:
I dreamt that Rob and I went to the moon in a rocket-powered minivan.
This next one is kind of disturbing, and I was trying to be a little artsy when I wrote it down. I had this dream while Avril was pregnant with Alex. Also, my shoulder had been hurting for the last few weeks, and I jokingly referred to it as my shoulder cancer (kind of like the eye cancer I had on Facebook, only obviously a joke because I was saying it in real life):
I'm in the unfinished basement of my house with Avril. It's completely bare, just concrete floor and walls and a skeletal wooden staircase leading up to the main floor. I don't feel well, but I'm not concerned about it. Avril is having complications with her pregnancy. Her life and the life of the baby are in danger. Dr. Terry Smith is there with us watching over her.
I have a secret about the baby. He's half Martian. I'm the father, and Avril is the mother, yet somehow my unborn son is half Martian. That's probably what's wrong, the reason the pregnancy has gone awry. I should tell Dr. Smith, but I'm afraid to.
I feel worse now. I'm nauseated, and my left arm hurts. Do I have cancer? I should talk to Dr. Smith and get tested before it's too late.
Avril is lying on the cold floor. She's barely conscious. A few more people are here trying to make her comfortable. I don't recognize the newcomers, but their presence doesn't alarm me.
My nausea is worse. The pain in my arm has spread to the rest of my body. I'm getting weak and light-headed. It probably is cancer. I should tell the doctor.
Dr. Smith comes near and I stop him. "The baby is half Martian," I say.
"That will make it hard for him to adjust," Dr. Smith says and moves on.
There are more people in the basement now gathered around Avril. I'm standing alone on the other side of the room holding a narrow slab of concrete that came from the floor. I'm growing weaker. I know now that I have cancer. I'm dying. I'm naked and frail, my body withered and covered with radiation burns. My teeth feel loose in their sockets. I can't hold the concrete slab anymore, and it tips over, cracking in half when it hits the floor.
I look over towards Avril. She is surrounded by about a dozen people. They are laying her down on the dirt where the concrete slab had originally been. It looks like a shallow grave. She's still alive, but they're preparing for the worst. I try to go to her, but there are too many people and I'm too weak to push my way through. I want to say good-bye to her before I die, but they won't let me near her.
They lay a sheet of linoleum on the floor. It covers Avril. Since I can't be near her, I start making my way upstairs. My father is up there. I can at least say good-bye to him. Halfway up the stairs, I meet Aunt Cheryl. It has been a while since we've seen each other, and she wants to talk. I love Cheryl, but I'm desperate to reach Dad. When I open my mouth to say so, two of my teeth fall out.
And that's when I woke up and ran my tongue along my teeth to make sure they were all still there. I was still in pain, but it was just my left arm. I had been laying on it awkwardly, and it was aching considerably.
And, for no particular reason, here's a picture from the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association's annual gala in October:
Monday, November 17, 2008
So I went to church yesterday, and all anyone could talk to me about was "my" curfew by-law. Apparently, while I was in Edmonton, this was front-page news for the Three Hills Capital. I went out and bought a copy and was a little disturbed to read this sentence from the first paragraph of the article: "The entire by-law was developed and put together by the Town's municipal intern--Mike MacKenzie." As if it was my idea and my decision to pass the by-law. A glaring omission from the sentence was this phrase: "under the direction of the Town Council." Yes, I researched the curfew by-laws of other towns in Alberta. Yes, I wrote the by-law. Why? Because they told me to. I'm an administrator. It's my job to carry out the wishes of Council. They're the ones who told me to make the penalties harsher. They're the ones who voted unanimously to enact the by-law. Thankfully, the local nogoodnik teenagers have no clue who I am, and they probably don't have the smarts and the will to look through past issues of the paper to find my picture.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
"Um...Orange?" he said.
The flight attendant repeated what she had said.
"Marmalade?" the elder said.
Obviously flustered, the flight attendant repeated herself a third time and finally got across what she meant. She was asking if he want porridge or omelet.
I was thinking about this because I thought the girl in the drive-thru was asking if I wanted chipotle ketchup when she was asking if I wanted utensils and ketchup.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Starting at the end of September, I've pretty much been constantly on the road, which is the main reason why I haven't updated my blog in a while. On September 26, I went to a career fair at the University of Lethbridge finding recruits for the Alberta Municipal Affairs Internship program. I left Avril and the boys with her sister Afton in Lethbridge while I went to Edmonton for the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association's annual convention at the Shaw Conference Centre. Highlights from that conference were seeing Patrick LaForge (President of hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers) and Premier Ed Stelmach speak. When that was over, I went back to Lethbridge to pick up my family and took them back to Trochu.
The week of October 20-25 found me back in Edmonton for Executive Week for Interns. It was a nice chance to meet up with my fellow interns from around Alberta and see how they're doing. We also got to meet Ray Danyluk, the Minister of Municipal Affairs. He's a cool guy.
November 4 and 5 found me back in Lethbridge for another career fair, this time at Lethbridge College, which is where I went to school. I took an extra day off so that I could head out to Purple Springs on Saturday to visit Noah and Heidi. Avril headed home with Alex because she had to be at church on Sunday. Heidi babysat Kenny while Noah and I headed to Medicine Hat for a Matthew Good concert. It was a great concert. I've been wanting to see Matt Good live since 2001, so it was great to finally see him. I'll upload some really poor-quality photos of it from my phone once I'm on my own computer. The opening band, Secret Broadcast, was pretty good, too.
Noah drove me back to Trochu on Sunday, and then on Tuesday, Avril and I packed up the boys and headed back to Edmonton for the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties' annual fall convention. I'm the still in the middle of it. Darryl Sittler (former Toronto Maple Leaf) will be speaking to us tomorrow.
I got sick at the AUMA convention, I got sick during Executive Week, and Avril and Alex are sick now, so I'll probably get sick again, too.
Fortunately, this is the last conference or convention I'll have to go to until February, and I plan on staying put (except for the move from Trochu to Three Hills) until then. That means no Christmas traveling. Feel free to come visit us, though.
Pictures coming soon.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
We just spent the week in Edmonton for what's called "Executive Week" for all of the Alberta Municipal Affairs interns. It kept me quite busy, but I enjoyed most of it. I've connected more with my fellow interns, and I got to meet a lot more people involved in local government. On Monday, the interns had dinner with Ray Danyluk, the Minister of Municipal Affairs. He's a very charismatic man. I liked him. In fact, if he were the leader of the Conservative party, I might vote Conservative.
As is custom for whenever I visit Edmonton, I got sick. So did Alex and Kenny. That made for a few nights of terrible sleep. We're still not quite over it, but we're on the mend.
The boys had some time to play with their cousins. Kenny and Max clashed over trains, but things went well for the most part.
We stayed an extra day so that we could join in the celebration of Dad's 59th birthday. It wasn't a big party, but it was nice to be around for it. I miss a lot of the family birthdays being one of the out-of-towner kids.
Scroll down to the "On the Move Part II" entry to see pictures of the house we're moving into.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
A family has recently moved out of the Three Hills Branch. They called us up a couple of days ago and offered to rent their house to us until May, which is when my internship ends. We hummed and hawed about it for a couple of days, and then this morning we decided to take them up on their offer. So we're moving from Trochu to Three Hills at the beginning of December.
There are a lot of reasons why we decided to move. Money was a small reason. Right now, we're paying $1200 rent with utilities included. The Jabureks are going to charge us $875 not including utilites. The utilities will add up to about $250, for a total of $1125. Not a big difference, but that's $75 we didn't have before, and every bit will count because Avril's maternity leave runs out in November.
The biggest reason to move for me is the differences in the houses. We'll be living alone in the house instead of sharing it with two other families who always seem to be setting off the smoke detector. All of the screens on the windows in the Trochu house have holes in them, and some are missing. The Trochu house has a useless steel chimney that leaks water when it rains and will be a major source of heat loss in the winter. The windows in Trochu aren't sealed well, which will also be a heat concern in winter. And then there's the flood, which really soured my mood towards the house, and there's quite a bit of water damage to the floors, walls, and my temple clothes.
The house in Three Hills has a nicer yard that is completely fenced in the backyard (good for little kids), and we'll also be closer to more ammenties, such as IGA, the aquatic centre, church, and the hospital. Also, as much as a like Trochu, Three Hills is a nicer town. My evening walk route in Trochu didn't have sidewalks the whole way, and along one street there are hedges grown over the sidewalk in places, and in one case the sidewalk is completely torn out for a development that's dragging along slowly.
This year was the first time that Avril and I spent Thanksgiving on our own instead of going to visit my family or her family. It was a very relaxed, enjoyable experience. Kenny insisted on helping in every aspect of preparing the meal. He especially helped me a lot making the death by chocolate for dessert.
Alex enjoyed the mashed potatoes, and I also fed him some Gerber's vegetable and turkey baby food. Kenny's favourite part of the meal was the sweet potatoes, probably because of the marshmallows on top. My favourite part was the turkey sandwiches that I'm still enjoying. I also enjoyed the stuffing. I made Mum's stuffing recipe, and I got to keep it all to myself instead of fighting over it with a dozen or so people. Avril doesn't like stuffing, and Kenny wasn't all that interested in it.
It would have been nice to see my family. I saw the photos of the Lloyd MacKenzie family Thanksgiving on Mum's blog and thought that it looked like a nice gathering. On the other hand, it was nice to stay home and relax with only two kids to liven things up.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Alex can't crawl yet, but he can get around. He'll roll onto his belly and push himself backwards and squirm around the whole room. Then he'll start yelling because he doesn't like to be on his belly for very long. He knows how to roll from his belly to his back. I've seen him do it. But his preferred method of getting off his belly is yelling at Mom and Dad about it.
Kenny's vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. He's a smart little boy, and very cute. Yesterday, I was at the opposite end of the house than Avril and the boys. Kenny came running up to me and said, "There you are! I'm so glad to see you!"
Monday, October 13, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I closed Alex's door and stepped into the laundry/entryway. My feet were in an alarming amount of water. It was over a centimeter deep. I turned the light on and immediately saw the problem. The hose connected to the cold water tap on the washing machine had burst, and a jet of water was shooting up and hitting the shelf above it. I turned the tap off, and went into the kitchen to see how far the water had spread. The water spread all the way into the dining room. Avril arrived behind me to see what was going on, and she was closely followed by Kenny. We spent the next few hours cleaning up by soaking towels in the water and wringing them into a mop bucket, and then emptying the mop bucket into the bathtub. Kenny thought it was a great adventure, so at least one of us enjoyed it.
Kenny didn't go back to sleep until noon. Alex woke up at 6:00. After the mess was cleaned up, we slept in shifts.
The ceiling in the empty suite below us is ruined and has to be torn out. We don't know the full extent of the damage to our floor yet. Our landlord is bringing his insurance company to have a look at it. Avril had just cleaned the house a couple days before, so none of our stuff was permanently damaged. A couple of books got wet, but other than that, we came out of it nothing worse than tired.
Friday, October 10, 2008
An explanation for those who know me in real life instead of online: the name of my blog is Hyperblogianism. It's a modification of my longtime screen name "hyperferrianism". I wanted an original name (as opposed to such names as sk8trdude2000), so I took the word "ferry" and added a bunch of random affixes. Later, due to popular demand, I provided a definition: "Of, relating to, or resembling the act, characteristic, or state of having too many commercial services with terminals and boats for transporting persons, automobiles, etc., across a river or other comparatively small body of water." But never mind that.