Year: 2006

A plan

September has been one of the worst months I can remember in ages. Things haven't gone my way, Kaylin's been sick for like 10 days (fevers, sinus colds, aches, pains, the whole works), I've been under the weather for at least a week with symptoms that come and go, not to mention all of the other craptacular things that happened in September. However none of that matters, things are finally looking up!

For one thing, September's almost over. As soon as we close the door on next Sunday, I'm going to do my best to imagine this month never happened. That's a passive thing though, there are also pro-active things I'm going to do.

First off, no more sitting back and letting things happen. I don't know if I got lazy, complacent, or what, but this last few months I've let a lot of habits slip. October 1st is the beginning of a brand new month, and it's one I'm going to keep on top of.

I'm going to get back in the habit of blogging, blogging is good for the soul, so I'm going to do that.

I'm going to be pro-active about All New Comics, getting stuff done ahead of time rather than rushing at the end of the month. This last two weeks I've gotten all of my weekly stuff done on Sunday rather than waiting until Monday or Tuesday. That's good. I'm also getting a head-start on month-end which is also good.

Unfortunately I also have to catch up on August and July…so that's going to be tough, but by the end of next week all that will be done as well.

Ryan is all inspired and ready to do something big. I'm going to try to help him out with that, and make something big happen for him too.

Then there's “The Plan”. I can't talk much about it, but Char and I have a big road map ahead of us. There are two divergent paths, and we will have to see what one we go down, but they are both exciting, and for the first time in a while, I'm in control of my own life.

And that…as Martha says…is a good thing!

When one of those days becomes a week

This was definately “one of those weeks”. It all started innocently enough, a great weekend where the three of us just had fun, drove around, went for a nice long walk, and generally did very little of consequence. It was a pretty perfect three day weekend. It wouldn't last of course.

After three days without having to go to day care, Kaylin was pretty much sure that silly experiment was over. Imagine her surprise on Monday when after having a fun breakfast and playing for an hour or so with daddy, he took her out to his car, strapped her in the fancy new car seat, and they headed over to the dreaded place which shall not be named.

As soon as we arrived in the parking lot, she started crying. The face skrunched, the tears welled, and the bawling began. She and I sat down in the grass outside and I talked to her, telling her that mommy and daddy would be seeing her again really soon, and that we'd play lots when daddy got home.

Of course I'm a big fat liar, because daddy didn't make it home until well after she had gone back to bed…but mommy had fun with her.

When I got in to work, my boss sat me down to tell me about an accident a co-worker had. My friend, and TSN.ca's graphic designer, Liam managed to really mangle himself up, and had spent the last four days in the hospital having a series of surgeries to fix a litany of injuries. He broke his hip, fractured his pelvis, smashed an elbow, and broke his nose. Needless to say he is in quite a bit of pain.

I got in touch with him, and we chatted for a while, but he didn't sound great, and considering he was just 48 hours removed from some pretty big surgery, it's no wonder why.

I don't remember much of Tuesday or Wednesday, other than they were more of the same. A lot of work, driving Kaylin to the day care, and a trip or two to the gym.

Thursday was another day at day care, but Kaylin and I had a lot of fun in the morning. We played, sang, danced, brushed our teeth, and practiced being bears. Around noon, another work friend, Loc and I headed down to do some work for Off The Record, and planned on visiting Liam on our way back to work. What should have been an hour at OTR turned into a two and a half hour ordeal involving showing up at the wrong building, and then driving even further into the heart of downtown, then when I got there the software I needed wasn't installed, and the IT guy who could do it wasn't returning my calls (oh, and the media he left was blank). All in all, a useless trip.

We dropped by the hospital next and took Liam out for his first walk outside, which was pretty cool (by walk I mean we wallked, he got pushed in a wheelchair). He's definately in rough shape, but he's getting better every day. Just the difference between the conversation we had on Tuesday, and his state of mind on Thursday was literally night and day, and I'm totally confident that he's going to be golden, which isn't to say that he doesn't have a lot of work ahead of him, but he's totally got the will to get better, and that's a huge thing.

Friday though was the worst of it. First, Kaylin and I had fun, but the morning felt rushed. I had a 10:30 am meeting to get to, and I wanted to make sure we could take our time at the school. We were bears for a while, we played cars, and we brushed our teeth (and I taught her how to spit after brushing, which was fun).

At work there were a ton of things to do, and seemingly no time to do them in. To make matters worse, I couldn't find the necessary files to get certain things done, and I had to do a ton of stuff from scratch (and things kept coming in that had to be done “right away”).

We finally managed to launch the stuff that needed to be launched, not exactly as I wanted to, and not always looking the way I wanted it to look, but we can tweak on Monday.

Then as I was leaving (around quarter after 7), I was given the icing on the cake. After having a record year, wherein we nearly doubled our profits…I got a massive 2.5% increase! My staff nearly doubled (from 3 to soon 5), my responsibilities doubled, and I'm a “key member of the team”, and I get 2.5%, which unless I'm mistaken wasn't even on par with inflation last year.

What a week.

Just because…

This is a picture of Kaylin and I brushing our teeth one morning. I think this is one of the few pictures that reminds me just how little she still is. I always think of her as my big girl…but she's to tiny still.

What a cutie!

Crazy whirlwind two weeks

So last weekend was Dennis and Tina's wedding, this weekend was the Toronto Fan Supershow. In between there was a week of pure insanity that tried my patience on more than one occasion.

First the good. Last weekend's wedding was a ton of fun. Char, Kaylin and I all travelled to Chatham for the wedding Friday morning. Kaylin got to go on her first long car ride facing front, and she was much happier than normal. We played most of the way down, and I taught her the signs for fish, and tried to teach her birdie. By Chatham she was a fish genius.

Friday night was the rehersal, which was fun, followed by dinner. Around 8pm Char took Kaylin to the hotel, and I stuck around with the boys to “gather intel” for my duties as MC the next night.

After some bowling and go-carts with Dennis and his boys, I headed back to the hotel to write up my notes. About five or six typed pages later and I was ready to go.

Next morning Char headed off to get ready (she was in the wedding party), and I took care of Kaylin. Kaylin and I went out looking for a Memory Key to get the speech off my laptop and get it printed out. THen we went to the reception where I balanced Kaylin on one hip and a video camera on the other.

After that it was back to the hotel for a nap, and my parents came by to look after Kaylin during the reception.

My MC'ing duties when pretty well, I told some jokes, we played some games, and the speeches were both eloquent and sometimes hilarious. The highlight of the night was the little video piece that Char and I put together that surprised both Dennis and Tina.

My mom and dad brought Kaylin downstairs around 9, and she was WIRED, we played with her for a while and they headed up to bed. Char and I partied for another couple of hours, and headed off ourselves.

Sunday we had a little birthday bash at Grandma and Grampa's before heading back to “The 'Jax”.

Wednesday was Kaylin's 1st birthday, and she almost slept through her celebration. We had some cake, and she opened some presents (including her Little People Farm, which she absolutely LOVES), and then went off to bed.

Saturday saw the “Conventional Warfare” article in the Star. A lot of the people quoted aren't pleased with the way the article turned out, but I thought it was what I expected it to be, a fairly puffy piece. The Stop HobbyStar site has seen a dramatic increase in visitors, and by extension All New Comics has seen a number of increased visitors as well.

Today was the Paradise Comics Toronto Fan Supershow, which was a one day event at the Toronto Hilton. It was pretty successful for us, and has already led to a couple of post show sales, which is the barometer by which I measure success of a show.

Somewhere in there I also had to deal with an individual who said some very unflattering things online about me, and then followed it up by reporting me to the police on two seperate occasions.

This week is also a freaking HUGE week at All New Comics. There are a TON of new comics coming in on Wednesday, and we've got more than a dozen titles to put online including a brand new Absolute titles…Absolute Dark Knight.

She’s one year old!

One year ago at this time Char and I were sitting at home on our bed with this new little human being between us, totally thrilled, totally exhausted (Charlene especially), and totally without a clue about what to do next. It's 12 months later, and it's been the best, and most challenging year of my life by far (Just check out all of these Kaylin posts to see).

So much has happened in this year. She's sitting, crawling, standing, walking, talking, signing, eating, drinking, and voicing her own opinions. She's got a very distinct little personality. She doesn't like loud sounds, she loves birds and cats, she's very independant for a little bean, loves to turn pages on her own, likes to dance (especially to House of Pain's Jump Around), she's quick to laugh, and has one of the best little girl giggles on the planet.

She and I have a really special relationship, she's definately a “Daddy's girl”, and she'll sit in my lap and read a book, magazine, or newspaper for minutes at a time (hey, that's a long time when your life span can be counted in double digit months!). Don't get me wrong, she loves her mommy, and there are times that daddy just won't do, but there are also times when she just wants to crawl into daddy's lap and hang out…those are the best times.

So happy birthday to my big girl. You're a year old now, and the future will just get better. Mommy and I are so happy you came into our lives, just don't keep growing up so fast okay?

My mom sent out an email this morning wishing Kaylin a happy first birthday too.

Happy 1st Birthday Kaylin, you are such a precious little Granddaughter and we love you sooooo much.

Hope you have a real special day with Mommy and Daddy.

Thanks Char and Brian for giving us such a little cutie pie, wish we lived closer, can't get enough of the little Kegger.

Cute picture Char for Kaylin's special day.

My heart is with you today I know the miracle of this last year and you will always hold it in your heart and memory for ever. Love Grandma and Grandpa

You can check out Kaylin's mom's thoughts on your first birthday at I Heart Baby Toes.

The good, the bad, and the ugly

So after a few days of reflection, I think this past weekend was actually a pretty decent one. It didn't start out that way, and it ended on an off note, but a lot of the stuff in the chewy middle was a ton of fun.

On Saturday after spending a fun morning and early afternoon with Kaylin and Char, I headed off to London for Ryan's birthday. The skies opened and all of the heavens flooded the earth, and at one point I'm pretty sure I saw an ark float down the street…but the rain let up just enough that I could get to my car and drive off. By the time I reached the highway (2 minutes away) the rain had entirely let up. By some freakish weather weirdness, our house got poured on for another 3 hours, definately the strangest localized weather phenomenon I've seen in a while.

Meanwhile I booted down the 401, confident that my two hour trek to London would be filled with Podcasty goodness, and plenty of iPod iTunes from my iTrip. Of course my iCar doesn't have iAir, so it was bound to be a steamy drive. Although I don't have conventional “air conditioning”, I do have 2 120 AC, two windows down, driving 120 on the 401.

Things were a little heavy for a Saturday (I really can't believe how many people have places to be on Saturday's in this city), but not too bad…until I got to Milton. Just about at the Escarpment, things slowed to a crawl and eventually stopped. I sat in traffic, listening to the news radio which told me sweet FA, and did nothing except sweat, drink my coffee, and sip on some water for an hour as emergency vehicles passed by me. Slowly, traffic was allowed through one lane and we discovered that two cars had collided perpendicularly, while another had flipped into the ditch, and another had somehow managed to get rear-ended (though only one of the non-ditch cars appeared to have front end damage). We booted along for literally 5 more kilometers until we stopped dead again. This time a tractor-trailer had jackknifed and took up all 3 lanes.

At this point I was thinking that either a: God hates me, or b: God is trying to tell me something. Then the coffee, two bottles of water, and the half litre of water I had drank at home before leaving hit…and it wasn't good as my bladder felt fair to bursting. We were eventually led off the highway and sent on a back road of hell tour (although I managed to find a Tim Hortons to relieve myself at first).

After going through a horrendous line of cars to get off the back roads, I managed to get back onto the 401 and booted down the highway and due to a very strong tail wind, and with some finangling of the jet stream, I was able to make the Milton to London trip in record time.

Still, by the time I got to Ryan's, it was 6:40. It had been very nearly four and a half hours to do a two hour drive.

The party was fun though, I got to see my buddy, his wife, my goddaughter, and their three month old baby girl, not to mention my buddy Rich and wife Kara's new two week old little girl.

After dinner Ryan and I went to check out his new house which was pretty fun, it's in a great location, and I can't wait to see what he does with this one (I'm still amazed at what he's done to his current place…and though I've said it a thousand times, the stairs look frigging AMAZING!). We dropped off a package at one of my All New Comics customers' place (that's the kind of service you get from me boys, if I'm in town, I'll drop your package off personally to make sure it doesn't get destroyed by Canada Post), and I popped by my mom and dad's place before filling up the gas tank, grabbing an energy drink, and hitting the road to make it back to the 'Jax by 2am.

Sunday we had a nice leisurely breakfast, and then took the Kegger over to the Imagination model homes to get some design inspiration for our own house. One of the places had a gorgeous laundry room with these great tiles on the floor. While looking around at things, Kaylin decided to stand up and take a couple more steps (oh yeah, she's a walker now). She lost her balance a little bit and bumped her head on the floor, which lead to a 5 minute scream fest. Char got her calmed down with a combination of “You're okay's” and some very clever distraction “Is that a flower?”.

We went over to the Baskin Robbins were Kaylin had her first frozen yogurt (which she really enjoyed), before heading back home.

We ended the weekend with a nice meal, and our very tired little girl fell asleep without her regular bath ritual.

After that I managed to get the latest All New Comics ads pulled off, cranked off some stuff for Black Swan Press (still coming soon), and updated ANC with the weeks' new comics.

I'm really impressed by the amount of business we're doing lately. Just this week alone we've got another 12 orders, which makes two weeks in a row with a dozen orders or more. The ads on Newsarama and Google are definately paying for themselves, and the word is really getting out there about All New Comics.

What does victory smell like?

Apparently victory smells like bacon. Fabio flavoured bacon that is. After being stooged out by the “5-oh”, and being unable to appear at this year's Bond Street Cup (for reasons which I am still unable to speak about on the authority of my team of French Lawyers), my Bond Street Cup trophy has been moved from the protective bunker in my home which it is usually kept in, and was awarded to April “The Fuzz” B and Fabio “The Itallian Stallion” R.

To make matters worse, Fabio sent out the following taunt on Friday;

Bionic man found in Ajax
Weekly World News

The Jax (WWN) – Local residents say that there has been a lot of strange noises emanating from a new subdivision in the metropolis of Ajax. “It sounds almost human, but I'm not sure”, stated local resident Jimmy Stanton, “Its starting to scare the kids.”

Further investigation has uncovered that a certain “Brain Garside” has had a bionic elbow implanted into his right arm. He was hoping to capture the vaunted Bond Street Cup Quoits championship for the second consecutive year. The initial operation went fine, however, when interfacing with the state of the art Windows ME software to control arm angle, launch velocity and release point, something went wrong.
“All I heard was screaming,” mumbled neighbor Marshall Durst.
“Something about not having a security pack or patch or something.
Beats me.”

Several eyewitness report that “Brain's” arm kept trying to twist into strange shapes. “I was right there,” proclaimed Ajaxian 'Slim' Jones, “His arm was doin' all kinds of bendy things and he was saying things like 'It looks like you are trying to write a letter'. It ain't normal I tell ya.”

There have been rumours of failed blood tests and possible HGH abuses, but those have been laughed at by area residents. “All I saw was a huge arc welder and a bunch of boxes of software,” said Gary Bellmore, “Oh yeah, and some comics too.”

Then on Monday, April sent out the following totally gloaty message:

Just want to send a “SHOUT OUT” to all my fans……..actually, I'd really like to thank Nikki and Tim and their secret spy/weapon; Sophie for the great tourny on Sat. It was a lot of fun!! Nice to see everyone there!

And Fab, a heart felt, “thanks man, for making my dream come true” going out to you brotha, couldn't have done it without you.

So “Brain”, Brian, whoever you are, 2007 is just around the proverbial corner, I just hope you're ready.

April “don't tell anyone about my obsession with 'roids” B

Hmmm, I get stooged by the “5-oh”, and the fuzz wins the coveted Bond Street Cup.

I smell a conspiracy. Next year things will be different, and the Bond Street Cup will return to it's rightful place on my mantle.

Tim, I think we should consider putting an asterix next to this year's victory since NEITHER of the previous year's winners were able to be on hand to defend their championship.

Fab, April, congratulations on your victory. Enjoy the victory, next year I shall come with great vengeance and furious anger, and you will know my name is the Roqq.

Garside fails drug test for Bond Street Cup

Canadian Press

7/27/2006 11:29:32 AM

Toronto (CP) – Bond Street Cup champion Brian Garside tested positive for high levels of testosterone during competition, his QuoitsNation team said Thursday on its website, raising questions about his previous victory on Bond Street, and barring him from the coming games this Saturday.

The team suspended Garside, pending results of the backup “B” sample of his drug test, just four days after Garside stood on the victory podium on the Champs-Elysees, succeeding Quebec born seven-time winner Louis Vitrol as a Canadian winner in Paris.

The Swiss-financed QuoitsNation team said it was notified by the Federation de Quoites Internationalle on Wednesday that Garside' sample showed “an unusual level of testosterone/epitestosterone” when he was tested after the third game in the championship series last Thursday.

“The team management and the throwist were both totally surprised of this physiological result,” the QuoitsNation statement said.

Garside made a remarkable comeback in that game, taking a decisive victory that moved him from 11th to third in the overall standings. He regained the leader's position two days later.

Garside has played the entire season with a degenerative hip condition that he has said will require surgery in the coming weeks or months.

Margaret Garside, his mother, said Thursday that she wouldn't blame her son if he was taking medication to treat the pain in his injured hip, but “if it's something worse than that, then he doesn't deserve to win.”

“I didn't talk to him since that hit the fan, but I'm keeping things even keel until I know what the facts are,” she said from her home in London, Ontario. “I know that this is a temptation to every throwist but I'm not going to jump to conclusions … It disappoints me.”

The QuoitsNation statement came a day after the FQI, the quoits' world governing body, said an unidentified throwist had failed a drug test during the championships.

Okay, it's not entirely true, I just double-booked myself this weekend and can't make the Bond Street Cup Quoits tournament to defend my championship. Hey, the good news is that there will be a new champ this year!

Nearly ready to take over the world

Kaylin T. Mouse (the “t” stands for “The” or “Tiberious” depending on my mood by the way) has reached yet another development milestone. She now says actual real life words, and what's more they're words that people other than us can (kind of) understand.

One of Kaylin's favourite things to do is read books. One of the first things she does in the morning is points to her shelf of books. She then takes a book and flips the pages, pointing at certain things, and gibbering away to herself.

This then morphed into her saying words.

First up was “Kitty”, the girl has got some powerful fascination with kitties, and I'm not sure why. For the first 8 months of her life this little stuffed Ty Persian kitty named Peaches sat under a chair in her bedroom (the chair which holds “The bear in the chair” and “Chair bunny” as I refer to them every night). One day she discovered this kitty under the chair and picked her up and hugged her. Then she started dragging kitty around the house, and saying “kiy key kiy key” under her breath. That transformed into “Kitty” one day, and we declared that her first official word. She points to kitties in books, and with great gusto nods her head and says “Kitty”.

Word number two was definately ball, or as she says it (pronouncing every letter) “baaaaaawwwwwwwwlllll”, she grabs a ball and holds it chanting “baaaawwwwwlll” over and over again in her cute little girl voice.

Her first sign was for Duck (she quacks her hand like a duck's beak quacking), because of this great little song Char sang to her for months, but last week she started saying “Duuut”, which I'm pretty sure is “Duck”.

The other day she started pointing at pictures of herself and saying “Kay!”, which we think means Kaylin.

Put them together and you've almost got a sentence! “Kay dut bawwwwwwwwl kitty”.

Of course that's not the end of her brilliance. She also points out a variety of objects and animals, she can find puppies, balls, apples, bannanas, kitties and ducks in her books. The best is when you relate a new word to an item and you see the wheels turning in her head as synapses are forming and she's associating things with these wonderful things called words.

Last night though the best thing ever happened. We were listening to the Beatles song “Blackbird”, which is one of my favourite tunes of all time (even though I'm an Elvis guy, not a Beatles cat), and towards the end of the song a bird starts singing. Kaylin started pointing at the speaker, and Char and I watched her as she frantically started tearing through a nearby book. She got to the picture of the Parrot and urgently started pointing at it! “Yeah Kaylin, BIRDIE!” we both said excitedly, “Birdie!”.

That's by far my favourite moment of the week…isn't it odd how all of my favourite moments these days have to do with my awesome little girl and her beautiful mom?

Spam is out of control!

Okay, I'm at a loss. I'm being entirely overwhelmed by spam, to the point where it is taking an inordinate amount of time out of my day to sort through what is Spam and what is not. Email spam, comment spam, hotmail spam, gmail spam, work spam, home spam, and now frigging Email form spam! It's out of control, and it has to stop!

At work I get approximately 2 spam messages for every 1 legit email that goes through. Our crack IT staff claims that we have a spam guard, but it's letting the obscure stuff through (to their credit, I get no porn spam anymore, but I get a buttload of viagra ads…maybe that's telling me something).

My Hotmail account has been innundated with spam of late, on a 1-1 level (and the rest of the “legit” emails are usually from a mailing list that I've signed up for accidentally while filling in one of the countless numbers of registrations (I registered for 2 more sites just today alone).

My Gmail account gets very little spam, but I'm still seeing 1 or 2 spam messages a week…odd since the only people who know about that account are Google (for my AdWords and Analytics accounts).

My home account gets a few spam a day, but Office's Junk Mail feature seems to catch most of them.

Where it's out of control however is this very site (and All New Comics). The Spam Trolls have latched onto story 21, 6 and 4. The TSN.ca Reloaded story (number 21) gets the most, with spams from such clever names as “Fetish Comment”, Bob Comment, Flights Comment, Terry Comment, and Zen Comment. Here's my favourite part. These comment spammed pages just suck. They usually have dumb assed things to say, and they're just link collections for things nobody would care to click on anyway. Here's an example from “Wedding Comment”

It's a link to a wedding planner. The link goes to a page with more links. That's it. I was going to put the link in there, but you know what? Eff those guys.

Spammers and spam autobots, please read these words carefully with your automated opticizers.

Your

Comments

Will

Never

Get

Through

I approve each and every comment on my website, as a result when I see your bullshit, I simply hit the Delete button. Even better? I changed the approval process so it defaults to delete! Your comments will never get seen by anyone, not even me!

So just go away, you're wasting your own precious resources and everyone's time.

The crap thing is I removed commenting from that story months ago, and the damn bots are STILL getting through somehow. Guess I'll just have to break my comment form to get the message out.

Spam. I hate spam.