Monday, April 30, 2012

Use the Force, eh?

A few weeks ago, I wrote this piece about our Maritime Master of the Force.  Shortly after it went up, I received this comment on the blog:
Wow....
Where to start. First of all, thank you...I think.
I mean, that you took the time to post about me, Jedi Master Brad Doucette, is absolutely an honour, my amazingly gorgeous wife Maria will find this hilarious, and believe me, she is hot. We had already been married for a couple years before my "hobby" really surfaced and turned into a full-time (ok, part-time) job. Let's just say I never embraced the geek in me until after I secured the girl, lol.
But now, I do what I love, I have alot of fun, I get to spend all my time with my two amazing boys...AND I GET PAID TO PLAY WITH LIGHTSABERS DUDE. COME ON...who wouldn't want this job?
Well, what do you say to that...other than "we need to talk".

A short email conversation later, and I have an interview with the only Jedi Master who might say "Use the Force, eh?"  Mr. Doucette, or Brad as I like to think of him, is not your typical Star Wars Nerd.  No, while some aficionados of the Lucas-verse are content to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in storm trooper or Darth Vader costumes, Brad's doing something that not many would: bringing light saber battles to life.
In public.  For reals.
To answer the obvious question: yes, he is married.  But I'll get back to that.

Though he claims that he doesn't have a favourite, if pressed his choice was not what I thought it would be: Return of the Jedi.  Why that one, when almost all hardcore fans choose Empire Strikes Back?
I have a certain emotional attachment to it as it is the first movie I can ever remember watching and it reminds me of my favorite uncle.
That's fair.  When I think about it, RotJ was the first Star Wars movie that I saw in the theatre too.  I can't remember why my parents agreed to take us to see it, but I remember we were in Saint John.  The only reason I know we weren't home when we saw it was because we stayed at a hotel after - one of perhaps three times in my life I can remember my father agreeing to pay for a hotel instead of staying with friends - and I remember waking up in the middle of the night absolutely dead certain that Jabba the Hutt was waiting for me to try to go to the bathroom so he could eat me.  It turned out to be curtains (which as absolutely nothing to do with why we have blinds in our bedroom...but why risk Jabba?).

Which character does he feel closest too?  Obi-Wan, of course.
I feel I relate most to Obi-Wan in many aspects like I have been thrust into this position but will ultimately succeed, I instruct others in the ways of the Force, Im not the best Jedi, but I am among the greats(lol), and I have a good heart....and this is all good and everything...but I secretly want to be Darth Maul, mwa ha ha...ahem, sorry.
Clearly, he has a sense of humour.

For those of you that aren't aware, Star Wars isn't just about the movies.  It's not even about the toys (though it's a LOT about the toys).  There are books, comics, cartoons, a television show that's been in the works for quite a while, video games... You won't catch him favouring one over the other:
As for the different media, I enjoy it all!!! The entire Star Wars story and everything about it. I dont limit myself to say I enjoy one triology above the other because I enjoy them all as part of an even bigger story from the Rakatan Empire, hundreds of thousands of years BBY(umm...google it), to the birth of the Sith civilization and the formation of the Republic,  leading to the beginning of the Jedi, their evolution and the evolution of the Lightsaber. All the way to Lukes ancestor Cade Skywalker. Ill read or watch anything.
It was at this point in our exchange that I started feeling like a kid that has bragged once too often about knowing Batman personally and gets called out on it.  Rakatan Empire?  BBY?  For the record, I did google it.  That's when I discovered the Wookieepedia, which houses pretty much everything you'd ever want to know about Star Wars.  How big is it?  It has 92,488 pages.  As a point of comparison, I have 164 posts (including this one).  That means that I am almost 2% of the way to being as big as Star Wars, which is saying something considering my budget.

It also turns out that the day camp is not his first venture into bringing Star Wars to life.  Brad's primary passion is for East Coast Sabers, a group he started that has been growing in popularity since he started it last year.
I started East Coast Sabers in January 2011 and its been a slow start. It was a weekly class to come and swing your saber, a few kids, some adults, $5each...covered the cost of the gym. Bounced around trying to find a cheap location to hold this class, all while advertising any way I could and also while trying to come up with an actual class outline. With the help of Kijiji and Facebook things started to take off...oh ya, the camp....skip ahead a year, 12 brthday parties, a Fredkid Fair, school activity periods, a class of 20 kids and adults, I get a bunch of parents asking if we offer a summer camp?....*BING*....and ECS: Jedi Training Camp was born.

And in case you thought that they might be using, I don't know, plastic swords from the dollar store, nope.  No, they don't have lasers.  But they do use carbon fibre blades.  When was the last time you used a light saber with a carbon fibre blade.  I thought so.


As I said earlier, Brad is married to a woman who is in his words "amazingly gorgeous".  Not only does his wife accept his geeky self, she fully supports it.  Really!  She does the blog for his club and she let him name their youngest son Lucas.  I did not inquire into gold bikinis (I know we're all thinking it, but there's only so far I'm willing to pry).

What is his secret for getting the girl and still being able to embrace his passion for Star Wars?  Did he wave his hand in front of her face and say "I am the nerd you are looking for"?  Did he show her his midichlroian count?  Did he say "I am happy to see you, but that's a light saber in my pocket"?  Take heed, young padawan, for if there is one thing that Jedi Master Brad can teach you it's this:
Let's just say I never embraced the geek in me until after I secured the girl
You can check out more of Brad's pictures and videos at eastcoastsabers.ca.

Monday, April 23, 2012

An Explosion of Creativity at Work

The following exchange with a co-worker definitely didn't happen on company time.  No sir.  And if it did, which it didn't, it couldn't have happened any time in the last four months, that's for darn sure.

I can't remember the details of how this conversation started, or why we were talking about living on another planet, but I believe that it went something to the effect of my friend asking me what it was like living in my own world.  At least, that sounds like something that people would say to me.

In case you can't read the image, I've transcribed it below.  Because I like typing.

 
Text (including all the spelling and grammatical errors, and possibly adding a few new ones)

Friend
so what kind of laws are there if any, for living on another planet ? are they free for the picking, are there taxes to pay ? and if so any laws for pets...growups ?

Me
By international agreement, no country can claim another celestial body as their own. i.e. no country can claim that they own the moon.  Many nations have laws that state that as a property owner, you own the ground and the air directly above your property.  However, this has been challenged multiple times in court, and there are exceptions to even this law for certain things like airlanes for planes around airports, etc.. Therefore, no person could claim that because another planet was above their property that they own that planet as well.

Me
In terms of laws for living on another planet, I assume that you are referring to living in a colony of some sort.  Typically, colonies are established by nations, and usually follow the rule of law of the founding country.  In the case of a colony developed by a company, since it is more and more likely that we'll see a corporate colony than a national one, the colony would follow the laws of the nation in which the "home office" was located.
There may be laws that may be added or stricken based upon feasability or realistic expectation.  for example, if you are living on a colony on a water planet, traditional methodology for marking off territory for ownership may not be applicable, in which case local law would supercede the imported laws.
Furthermore, laws pertaining to certain things may not be applicable due to those items not being available.  i.e. a law governing the ownership of pets may be nixed if no such animals exist.
laws regarding pets may also have to be re-written to include both pets of terrestrial and extra-terrestrial origin (proof that the latter is not sentient would be required to avoid questions vis a vis slavery).
I hop that i have helped.

Friend
[expletive deleted]

Monday, April 16, 2012

Damn It Jim, I'm an Eye Doctor Not A Picture Hanger

I always thought we had a good optometrist, or at least I've never really had any complaints about them...

Then on Saturday, we went in to pick up My Lovely Wife's new glasses.  There was a lack of magazines or papers in the waiting area, so I was looking out the window when this caught my eye.

Seriously.
I think this may be the equivalent of a morbidly obese, chain smoking, alcoholic guidance counsellor.  It doesn't necessarily mean that they're not good at their job...but it might.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Never Fails to Make Me Smile

This is the picture that I referred to in my last post.

The building that I work in used to be an Eaton's.  For those of you that aren't from Canada or are young Canadians, Eaton's was a department store like Sears & Roebuck (five of you will get that joke, some of you will get it after you google it, and then the rest of you will have read that as Starbucks).  To help hold on to the memory of that great time, there is old memorabilia from that bygone age around the first floor.  This includes many pictures.

Among those pictures is this gem.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Eatons Red Wings from 1919.

Little known fact: The apostrophe didn't come into popular use until the 1930's.  Some economists  suggest that it was one of the causes of the Great Depression.

Every time I walk by this picture (which is almost every day) it makes me smile.

Hmmm, that didn't come out quite like I hoped it would...
Google images to the rescue!

There, now you can see all the glory.
Now, if you're like me, you probably noticed the goalie on the right.  I assume that hockey hair styles went through several different evolutionary paths, with some going on to glory (like the mullet) and others becoming extinct (like the top-fro-wingback).

Then right in the middle, holding the trophy and giving us her best come-hither look...

Over to the far left is the woman I assume is the team manager.
"Hey guys, we should probably let Juliette in the picture too."
"Aw, do we have to?"
"Well, she did come to all our games."
"Fine, Juliette, sit over there.  Someone lean a hockey stick on her so she looks like she belongs."
Yes, there is a lot that amuses me in this picture.  But please don't think that I am being in any way disrespectful.  These women played well enough to win a trophy and, believe me, they don't hand out trophies that large for participation, I know.*  I also think that Eaton's deserves a lot of credit for being forward thinking enough to sponsor a women's hockey team in an era where Canadian women had only just gotten the right to vote.

A tip of my hat to you Eaton's Red Wings of 1919.  Your courage, dedication, and commitment to sport is an inspiration to Canadians. Only a truly passionate team could convince the ghost of John A MacDonald came to play with them.

*I'm lying, I don't participate.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cables, Cables, Everywhere, Nor Any That Will Link

I have an amusing picture on my phone that I was going to use in a post.  I've got an older phone that has awesome in that I now have text messaging (I know, I know, technically I could have had text messaging on my old phone, but do I look like a teenage girl to you?  I don't think so.), but primarily it keeps my costs low by not really being able to do anything else.  And I'm okay with that.

Only, now I have this picture that I took on the phone and I'd REALLY like to use it here on the old blogarino.  Long story short, it won't send.  And now the microSD card that I put in it isn't working.  So my only option is to try to use the data cable to connect it to the computer and see if that will work.  Which it doesn't.

Because I can't find the cable.

So fine, whatever, forget it, I'm moving on in the world and I'll figure out another way to get that picture later.  I decide to read a book on my Kobo.  I've read all the books on it (because I'm a reader), and I know I have some on the computer I haven't picked up yet.  All I have to do is connect the Kobo to the computer and download...

No Kobo data cable.

Seriously, what is going on?

I've got a bucket of cables, another basket of cables, and (literally) a crate full of cables.  And none of them are for the two devices that I need.

Sigh.

A couple of months ago, I got tired of sorting through all the phone power cables and finally added a label to them courtesy of some low tech masking tape and markers.  Would have been nice if I'd followed through and done it to the rest of the cables in the house.  I'm not that far away from pointing at things and grunting (a trait that all of us have inherited from my father) but I don't even know the general direction to point.

Is the markup on cables so big that every piece of electronics we own has to have a different cable?  I'm in the wrong business.

Epilogue:
I started writing this about a week ago, then set it aside when other more interesting things came up.  Last week, My Lovely Wife wrote her insurance exam (that's number 5! of 10?!) and to celebrate we went out for dinner.  We then drove by Chapters where we bought her a Kobo Touch.  It's a nice rig, looks amazing, and it will read all the books that I already have.

...and the cable also works with my Vox.

Epilogue 2:  I found the data cable for my phone.  It turns out that my phone is just messed up and I don't think I'm ever going to get that picture off it, at least not in good enough resolution that I can use it here for the purposes I want.  I'm taking our camera to work tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Chose Girls... I Think I Chose Well

This Kijiji ad was sent along to me by a co-worker.

ECS Jedi Training Camp (Summer Day Camp)
Date Listed 02-Apr-12
Last Edited 02-Apr-12
Event Date(s) 09-Jul-12 to 13-Jul-12
Event Time 08:30 to 16:30
Price $140.00
Address Fredericton, NB, Canada

"Adventure, excitement…a Jedi craves not these things…"
...But that’s what you’ll find at
East Coast Sabers Jedi Training Camp
July 9th-13th, 2012
8:30am-4:30pm
Odell Park Lodge
Join us in a Galaxy far, far away and take part in week of fun and games as you take the first steps to joining the ranks of the Jedi with East Coast Sabers. East Coast Sabers is a locally run club for Star Wars and Lightsaber enthusiasts.
Is the Force within you?
Beginners welcome…Masters wanted.
The Jedi are the noble, peacekeepers of the galaxy. Learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi.
Learn about:
-The Star Wars universe.
-Lightsaber instruction
-Respect, teamwork and leadership
-Confidence, control and co-operation
-Exercise and health
…all in a fun and safe environment!
Limited spaces available so register now!!!
Cost -$140.00.
$120.00 if you register by June 1st
Family discount -2 or more children=15% off
For more information or to register contact us

Notice that he waited until April 2 to post this - so it's not an April Fool's joke.

Two co-workers asked if this was me. It is not, and I'm both flattered and concerned that I was the guy they thought of. I'm not that big of a Star Wars fan. I mean, I really enjoyed Star Wars, but it's not like I can quote them from star to finish. I reserve that particular skill for Robocop, The American President, and Quest For the Holy Grail, which make an odd sort of trilogy.

Now, there's no way that I'm going to make fun of this guy - he is a Jedi, and you don't screw around with a Jedi - but I can't help but think that I was one girlfriend away from becoming this guy. I'm not suggesting that this Jedi from just outside Fredericton, NB doesn't have skills with the ladies ("I am the droid you are looking for"), I'm just saying that I might be this guy if I hadn't decided that I was a little more interested in finding out how to get near a bra in its natural environment than watching the Trilogy again (because there's the Trilogy and then there are the Prequels, and that's how they shall be separated).

Okay, I might be a little bit of a fanboy.

If I hadn't been able to convince that first girl to accept that first date (even though it was kind of a mercy date because her best friend was dating my best friend and I think we were both kind of feeling left out), I could have headed down this path.*

On the other hand, if I could send a message back to my teenage self, it would be shower more often. Really, I wasn't joking about how greasy I was. It was like being a human piece of bacon, only without the delicious flavour. But if I could send TWO messages to my teenage self, the second would be that eventually you will have a Lovely Wife that will give you practically unlimited bra access you'll ever want, so don't sweat it.

Jedi Training Dude, I salute you for following your ambition: instilling a love of the Star Wars universe in the souls of the youth of our provincial capital (hopefully we'll get more Yodas than Palpatines - high five if you get that and your loved ones have my condolences), while at the same time getting paid for it.  There are not many people that can say that.

You are truly living the dream in a way that I am not.

*As it turns out, my first girlfriend also moved to the Moncton area. She has a wonderful family and we keep meaning to invite them over for a barbecue. This summer, I swear. I owe her big time.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Vision Quest

My Lovely Wife got new glasses, which she hasn't picked up yet, but is awfully excited about.  That prompted me to think about getting new glasses, as I've been wearing the current model for about five or six years.  They were going to be awesome glasses because I was getting them with the magnetic clip on sunglasses, but all they've really done is added dents in the sides of my head.

True story
I started thinking about all the money that has been spent on glasses over my lifetime - I've been wearing them since I was 6 - and it's a lot.  Like, probably go to DisneyWorld money.  I have insanely bad vision.  How bad is it?  Here's a fun experiment you can do to get an idea!

Go grab a beer bottle.  Any kind, doesn't matter to me, I won't judge you. 

Because ginger beer is as strong as I can handle.
 Next grab a Post-It Note.

Big thanks to Gael for making this part less horrible for me!
Now, rip off one of those Post-Its and write something ON THE BACK of it.  You know, the sticky side. Affix it to the bottom of the bottle, and lift it to your lips as though you were going to partake of your favourite beverage.

See that note you've written that is now stuck to the bottom of the bottle?

That post it note is TWICE as far away as I can see.

People say my glasses are like the bottom of Coke bottles. I have to take their word for it since I can't see that far.
That bottle is about 23 cm tall and the furthest I can see clearly is about 11 cm.  

As my last pair of glasses cost about as much as the two pairs My Lovely Wife just purchased, I have decided to make an appointment to check out the laser treatment.  It's only a consultation where they'll check to see if I'm a viable candidate or not, but if I am I may go through with it.

Have any of you gotten it?  I've talked to a few people who have only had glowing recommendations.  Even if I can't get 20/20 vision, I'd be happy being able to see the bottom of the bottle.

PS - you may notice that there is no picture of me demonstrating by holding the bottle up.  That is because I look ridiculous, and the photoshop opportunities might be more than some of my less classy readers could stand.  ;)