Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, two turkey dinners down, and one to go, now that we were invited (at 8:45 on Christmas Day) to a boxing day feast with Jenn's Dad's Brother's side of the family.  A good time is promised to be had by all, but if I see another bite of turkey, I think I will go mental.  If you'll excuse me, I got two bottles of scotch for Christmas, and I need to get to work on that.  They aren't just going to drink themselves.  

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Frozen Projectile Vomit

You know that feeling you get when you walk out to your car on a brisk -32 degree morning and you look in the back seat of your car and it appears that someone has had massive projectile vomiting and the vomit is now frozen to your seats, carpet, door panels and ceiling?  

I do.

Turns out I left a can of cola under the back seat during our last road trip to Calgary and it went off in the middle of the night, spraying frozen cola into the upholstery.  I did not have a good morning that morning.  I had to use my ice scraper to get the coke off the seats and roof.  I was not a happy camper.  Once it is above freezing for a few days, I will have to shampoo the whole back of the car.  


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What should we be able to do? A request for input:

Yesterday, our articling student at work was late.  I was later, but that is not the issue.  The reason she was late was that her car would not start and needed to be boosted because of the cold.  Instead, her Mother drover her to work.  They had a working car and jumper cables, but did not boost the car themselves.  Why not?  "My dad wasn't there."


Is that were we are as a society that a young lady of reasonable intelligence can't jump start a car without her father doing it for her?

It got me to thinking, and chatting with a handful of people, what should a person be able to do by the time they reach adulthood?  We came up with a list.  I hope that my readers will provide any additional suggestions.

1. Jump start a car.  This is important because you can use it to help people, help yourself, avoid a 5 hour wait for the auto club, and if a good Samaritan is doing it wrong to your vehicle, they might set your engine on fire before they get your car started.

2. Change a tire.  See 1.

3. Drive a manual transmission.

4. Ride a bicycle.

5. Swim 100 meters without stopping.  This could save your life.

6. Cook a meal for 8 from scratch.  One that is reasonably impressive.  Everyone needs a party piece, and the skills you learn doing this will probably carry over to any number of other preparations.

7. Start a campfire.  Not in heavy winds without matches or tools, just under normal circumstances and without making yourself look like an ass.  I have taught bright 11 year olds to do this, you should be able to as well.

8. Chop wood without injuring yourself.  Again, 11 year olds.

9. Eat a formal dinner without embarrassing yourself.  Come on now people, is this really difficult?

10. Tie a necktie.  If you are a female, you must be able to do it in reverse for your partner who lacks this skill.  It is never acceptable to tie a tie once and leave it that way on the hanger.  It will damage the tie, shortening its life and creasing it in terrible ways, and you will look silly because of it.

11. Iron a shirt without damaging it.

12. Polish your shoes with a paste polish, not the kind that squeezes out of a bottle onto a sponge.  There is a reason they still make the old-fashioned stuff, it works a hundred times better.

13. The next two made the list because of some of the younger people I have met who have problems with them.  Tie your shoes.  Velcro and slip-on skate shoes have not made shoelaces obsolete.  It is also not acceptable to leave the shoes tied and treat them as slip-ons because, first it makes you look silly, and second it will result in damage to your shoes, feet and posture.

14. Tell analog time without thinking about it.  If you have to use the words "big hand" and "little hand" in your head, you need to work on this skill.

15. Tell 'Military' or 24 hour time without thinking about it.  When you are at the airport looking at the flight arrivals screen, you don't want to ask stupid questions.

16. Play an instrument and read sheet music.  This may be the most difficult set of skills on the list, but if you master them you have achieved something of value.

17. Perform general first aid.  You could save a life.  It may be yours.

18. Tell three jokes suitable for mixed company.  They should be funny, and you should be able to tell them with some panache.

19. Hammer in a nail without injuring yourself or bending it in half.

20. Make change without electronic assistance.  I am constantly shocked at how many people in the retail trade can't do this - a skill that takes one minute to learn.

21. Tip appropriately without asking silly questions or using a calculator.

22. Sew on a button and hem a pair or pants.  I admit that I cannot do the latter.  It irks me that I have to pay someone to do it for me.

My dad, being somewhat more frontiers-y than I am, made three additional suggestions, which I include in decreasing order of my own perception of their relevance.

23. Load and fire a firearm safely.  I actually agree with this for a number of reasons and was waffling about whether to include it myself.  First, when the zombie apocalypse comes, everyone will need to know how to do this, it just makes sense.  Second, even in the absence of zombies, I can conceive of social circumstances where a person might be called upon to fire a firearm.  I don;t want to be the fellow who doesn't join the lads  for a day's trap shooting because I am embarrassed by my lack of knowledge.  Ultimately, firearms are still somewhat prevalent in north American society, less so in Canada, but still there, and it would benefit a person to have a working knowledge of something so potentially dangerous that they may interact with.  That having been said, the other reason is that shooting guns is totally fun.  I don't believe in private citizens using firearms for "protection", I don't hunt, all I do is enjoy the act of shooting.  

24. Operate a chainsaw.  Arguably it is more likely that a person will be called upon to operate a chainsaw than a firearm, but I don't foresee the likelihood of a social interaction involving chainsaws.  That having been said, if the power is out and you need firewood, this is a handy skill to have.

25. Castrate cattle.  What can I say?  My dad put in some farm time as a child.  I cannot reasonably foresee any person being called upon unexpectedly to castrate cattle, nor can I foresee someone placed in that situation being left to the task without instruction.

There you have it.  I definitely need a new #25.  Help if you will.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Well, it had to end sooner or later.

Up until now, the weather has been enough to make Ralph Klein believe in global warming.  That will change on the weekend when it is set to drop to -30 for the first time this year.  

That more or less puts the kibosh on any brewing I was planning to do on the weekend.  What may have to get done is the laundry that has been piling up and the ironing that I have been avoiding for so long.  All that aside, I can honestly say that the Christmas season is starting to get a little dull ever since I finished my shopping.  We aren't even hosting a dinner this year, so there is really nothing to panic about.

This means that I will need to get something going.  I need to plan a party.  Yes.  Party.  Jenn will love that.