Sunday, January 31, 2010

:: Songs stuck in your head ::

As I was sitting here, browsing the Interweb for potential housing purchases (I'm moving - perhaps you've heard), my iTunes, which is on random, started playing some late-'90s Korn song that I didn't even know I had in my playlist.

Anyways, the song itself is pretty forgettable, but I hadn't heard it in ages, and it instantly reminded me of the summer between Grade 12 and college. And it's encouraged me to write a post that I'd been meaning to write for awhile (And actually may have written before, but a quick archive search turned up nothing, so I apologize if this is a repeat).

Through the years, there have been a handful of songs - or collections of songs - that instantly bring up a lot of memories, mostly good. And with that in mind, here they are:

1. Cruisin' Classics
When I was a kid, we took a handful of road trips to California - to go to Disneyland, or to visit my family in Northern California. And we had a handful of tapes (remember them?) for the trip, but the one that got played the most was Cruisin' Classics, which I'm pretty sure was bought at a random gas station one day, for about $3.99. Now, anytime I hear any of the songs from this tape - Rock 'n me by Steve Miller; Don't Worry Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin; Kokomo by the Beach Boys, among others - reminds me of sitting in the back of my parent's Volkswagen van for hours at a time, asking "Are we there yet?! Are we there yet?!"

2. Collective Soul
Anything off Collective Soul's self-titled blue album reminds me of Grade 11 spring break. Chris and my parents had gone out of town somewhere for a hockey tournament, so my parents let my stay home for 4-5 days by myself, along with Jay, who was in the early stages of living with us at the time. We didn't really get up to too much debauchery (because we were nerds), but we did drive around a lot in my dad's Hyundai Sonata, and we left the same Collective Soul CD in the stereo the entire time. And listened to it over and over and over again. So whenever I hear a song off that album, I think of that week - complete with drinking, driving downtown for no reason other than because we could (not while drunk though), playing tennis, and Duke Nukem. Good times.

3. Korn
I already mentioned this off the top, but Korn was still pretty popular when I was in Grade 12. I'd switched schools for my final year of high school, and my new friends were big fans of Korn and metal bands. Whenever I hear, say, Freak on a Leash, for example, all I remember is house parties at my friend Brett's house, which almost always got waay out of hand and would end with cops being called, doors being pulled off the hinges and toilets being shattered. Yes, shattered.

After spending the first 16 years of my life being cripplingly shy, this was the year I finally started coming out of my shell a little bit, mostly because Brett forced me too. He was outgoing, fun, and popular with everybody, and even though I was shy and at a new school, he made a point of dragging me along for the ride, including me in everything, and I always appreciated that.

It was a far cry from Grade 11, where I became something of a pariah because I was too smart, too responsible, not cool enough, etc.. (You know how high school works). I don't see anybody from Grade 12 anymore - not Brett either, because he kind of went sideways after high school, but these are the memories I'm left with.

4. Thunderstruck, AC/DC
Anybody who ever played minor hockey will likely have this song stuck in their head for eternity. It was always the default "hockey warm-up song" during the 5-minute pre-game warmup, and was a go-to song at pretty much every tournament you'd ever go to. It was also the "theme song" of the Langley Thunder, back before they were the Hornets and then, finally, the Chiefs. And when I was 12 or 13, I went to a lot of junior hockey games.

5. Apologize, by Timbaland/One Republic
Not a great song, by any means, but it's a more recent memory. Last spring, when Chris, Jenna, TO, Carly and I went to Las Vegas, this song played in the Monte Carlo casino - where we stayed - over and over again for four days. Now, whenever I hear it, I think of sitting in that casino, in front of a slot machine or video roulette table, drinking my face off, and losing money. So no matter that this song isn't that great, and is definitely not my style, it has grown on me because of what it reminds me of.

6. The Distance, by Cake
The first time I heard this song was when my cousin Brian came to stay with us for a week from his home in California. He was up here for a hockey scouting showcase that Chris was also in, so Brian and a couple of his hockey buddies - Marcus and Beltzy (real name also Brian) - stayed at our house, and they had a Cake CD. I'd never heard of them before, and now they are one of my favourite bands. We had a really great week, and even though I keep in touch with Brian on Facebook, the other two guys have sort of fallen off the radar, which kinda bums me out, because they were great dudes.

7. Any weird punk cover of a previously lame song
Mike likes punk music, and he especially likes really weird music. When I lived in Kamloops, he made me a CD with a ton of weird cover songs by bands I'd never really heard of - like Ghoti Hook, Black Train Jack, MxPx. They covered songs from Celine Dion, Paul Simon, and a bunch of '50s tunes. I still have the CD on my shelf, and the songs are all in my iTunes library (Even the bad quality ones, which suck), so whenever one comes on randomly, I think of driving aimlessly around Kamloops with Mike and Shaun, eating Arby's and stealing garden gnomes.

Feel free to add your own songs/memories in the comments.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

:: Indulging the Id ::

id. noun: the part of the mind, residing in the unconscious, that is the source of instinctive impulses that seek satisfaction in accordance with the pleasure principle.

I don't like change. I don't know why exactly, but I don't. Never have. Part of it comes from my being a very organized person – I like to know where something is, when something is happening, what is about to happen. Essentially, I like – I need – my world to be in order. I'm borderline obsessive-compulsive, in this regard. It's not my finest quality, and it's annoying to be point of being quasi-debilitating, but I've learned to deal with it.

The other part of this fear, I figure, stems from my rationality. I am not an irrational, spur-of-the-moment person. Sometimes I wish I was, but I'm just not wired that way. It's been like that all my life, really. I went to school and did my homework because that's what you are supposed to do. And then when I was done that, I went directly to university – did no pass Go, did not collect $200, did not go to Europe, or join a garage band, or a travelling band of gypsies.

And four years later, I did the expected again – I got a job. Surprise, surprise.

The point is, I have almost always done the safe thing – or if not the "safe/smart" thing, then at the very least, the thing that will cause the least amount of upheaval in my life.

But this year is shaping up to be, well, pretty much the opposite because, as of this week, my house is for sale.

Why did I decide to do it? Well, there are plenty of rational reasons – I don't really like my high strata payments nor the strata council itself; Christene lives with me now so more space makes sense; I can make a tidy profit; my place is older and needs a new roof, etc etc etc.

I could go on – and in my head I usually do, considering I tend to need self-reassurance 50 times a day, to convince myself I'm doing the right thing. But here's thing – I might find problems with the strata no matter where I live; Christene insists she has no problem staying where we are; roofs get fixed eventually, and profit or not, a lot of that money gets sucked up in the process of buying a new place.

So... why am I moving? Well, that's what's odd:

I'm moving because I feel like it.

At its core, that's really all it is, I think. I just want something newer, bigger, better. And even though the rational-thinking part of my brain is telling me "That's not a good reason," the other half says that there is nothing wrong with wanting that, whether it's selfish or not.

I mean, sure there is something to be said for being content, and not adopting a grass-is-always-greener philosophy, but if you can make it work, and want it, why not? It's that same reasoning that led me to buy my truck last April. Sure, I didn't need a truck. My car was perfectly fine. But I wanted one, so I bought it – my id run amok after nearly 30 decades of being caged.

And though I've waffled back and forth (much to the chagrin of Christene.. just ask her), it was only this week that I've accepted that this reasoning is perfectly acceptable, perfectly sane.

So yep, time to sell the house.

Now enter that fear of change again – the moving stage.

This entire year – or at least until August – is going to fly in the face of how I like to run my life. You see, the plan is to sell my place first, get the money in hand, and then go about finding another place – about the most irrational thing we could do this side of selling the house outright for $6 and an old boot (Believe me, there were offers).

Partly, this is because many new housing developments require huge deposits/down payments, which of course, are hard to come by unless you've sold the first place first. It'll be OK – we won't be homeless or anything. We're just going to move into Christene's parents' basement, which is where Christene lived before.

And though I know it will be fine, it's completely out of character for me. There I'll be, in a new town (Cloverdale), living out of a suitcase and a couple drawers, all my stuff in storage and scattered around, trying not to go completely batshit crazy until we move again. And the going crazy part isn't a slight against anybody – Christene's parents are awesome – but more an indictment of how neurotic I truly am. I fully expect to get the shakes at some point.

On the plus side, perhaps this will be an opportunity for me to grow as a person – to overcome my crazy fears and realize that the world won't actually come crashing down around me if I haven't done laundry in 2 weeks, can't find any of my stuff, and find myself watching TV on an old couch in the basement, next to Little Mo the family cat.

Or it'll kill me. Guess we'll see.

Monday, January 25, 2010

:: Geez, I didn't see this coming... ::

Oh, wait. I did.

You may recall a few weeks ago, I wrote about the new bathroom policy in my office building – a policy that required a key to use the bathroom. I enjoyed my "private washroom" situation for about a week or so, until a few other people finally discovered it on their own.

Since this brilliant plan was put in place, there have been three keys floating around the office for each washroom. On Sunday, one of our male employees – who knows that the keys also open the handicapped room – tried to use the handicapped washroom, but the key snapped off in the lock, thus breaking the key and ruining the lock.

Down to 2 keys.

Then this morning, after building maintenance removed the broken key and apparently fixed the lock, I took one of the remaining keys and also tried to unlock the handicapped room. Of course, the lock was still broken, and the key got stuck in the lock. It didn't break, but it cannot be removed.

We are now down to one key, and the handicapped washroom is now not lockable. The holder of the remaining key (well, it's his department's key) tried to blame us for using the handicapped washroom.

"If you just used the proper washroom, this wouldn't have happened," he said.

This logic is flawed, to say the least. Doesn't matter if I needed to use it or not (full disclosure: I did not need the privacy of this washroom. I just felt like using it). The fact is that this washroom is available for use. It's not banned. Fuck, it's not even frowned upon.

It's a readily available washroom that I'm entitled to use. The problem wasn't that somebody used it – the problem was that the lock was broken and not repaired properly.

It's like somebody getting in a car accident, and then someone else saying, "You know, if you never left the house, this wouldn't have happened."

I can't wait until the third and final key goes missing. We'll all be pissing into coffee cups.

Friday, January 22, 2010

:: File this under "Not Surprising" ::

Chris and Jenna are in Edmonton this week, for a hockey tournament. On Wednesday night, they went to the Canucks-Oilers game. As you may be aware, the Oilers – losers of 15 of 16 heading into the game – blew a late lead, and the Canucks won it in overtime.

Had this result been in Vancouver, the rink would've been filled with Wooo!'s (which to the uninitiated, is the newest fad, Rick Flair-esque cheer at GM Place). Apparently, the numerous Canuck fans in attendance in Edmonton – Chris said "at least half" were wearing Canuck jerseys – tried to recreate this trend. Some more, uh, directly, than others.

Chris, via text message: Oh, there are some unhappy Oiler fans in here. This is hilarious, I don't think I can get enough Rick Flair's in before I leave.
Me: Haha, excellent work. Woo it up.
Chris: Oh, I did. Everyone was doing it. Especially me. Very loud too. And right in people's faces.
Me: Are you drunk?
Chris: No, buzzed maybe.... only had like seven beers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

:: Time limit ::

Twice this morning, people I've been talking to on the phone have wished me a "Happy New Year."

Granted, today was the first time I've talked to them this calendar year, but still, isn't it a little late? At some point you've just got to cut your losses and move on.

Friday, January 15, 2010

:: Bathroom Genius ::

As of this week, the washrooms in our company's building – which we share with one other business and many empty suites – require a key to enter. This is partly to do with the building changing ownership, and the new company wanting this rule, and partly because having unlocked toilets is an apparent security risk.

Not sure what security risks are posed by a urinal, toilet and a couple sinks – terrorist activity is pretty low 'round these parts – but whatever the case, this is the situation we're faced with. None of us like it – we think it's a tad unnecessary, not to mention a bit of a privacy invasion, reminiscent of elementary school when you had to ask permission to pee. I mean, some of us pee an awful lot, which is what happens when you drink 3 cups of coffee, a Diet Coke and about 5 glasses of water in an eight-hour shift, but so much for sneaking out gracefully and quietly....

There are about 4 keys for both the women's and men's rooms (soon to be less, as people lose them. My department has already lost one. It was bound to happen.), which is fine, but there is also a separate handicapped washroom on our floor, and the building owners did not give us a key to this washroom. Now, there are no handicapped people in our office, but this bathroom is the only one that isn't communal in style – and it is also a bit out of the way – and as such is very popular for people who have to drop a deuce, or just like their privacy.

There was the usual uproar about how we should ask for or demand a key from building management, but nothing has come of it quite yet, and the uproar has largely died as the week has gone on, as people learn to accept that they'll no longer be able to shit in peace.

What they did not do, however, is take one of the regular men's/women's keys and try it in the handicapped washroom door, just to see what would happen.

But I'm smarter than everyone else so I, of course, did this right away. And ever since Tuesday, I've had my own private bathroom, because I haven't told anyone about my discovery.

And I don't plan on doing it, either.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

:: How to ruin a conversation you no longer have an interest in ::

In the department adjacent to mine, I overheard three of my colleagues talking about wild animals, and more specifically, close encounters with these animals. At first, I was mildly interested – one story involved a cougar in a campsite, another had something to do with being about 10 feet away from a bear, another still involved a wolverine, I think.

But though my curiousity was temporarily piqued, the conversation officially Jumped the Shark when one colleague started a story this way, and I'm paraphrasing here (but not by much):

"One time a badger ran in front of our truck..."

At this point, one of the others (the guy who told the wolverine and bear story) stopped her in her tracks with a "A badger? C'mon..."

And you know what? He was right to do it. I mean, seriously – you're bringing a badger story to the table? A fucking badger?

Of course, the badger-tale teller tried to defend her story – which she of course hadn't even finished – and this conversation/disagreement went back and forth for a few annoying minutes, before I'd finally had enough*.

So, what did I do? Well I walked over there, pretending to listen for a few minutes, thus immersing myself in this conversation about badgers, and then said, with a straight face, "Who cares about a badger? A couple summers ago I came face-to-face with a Werewolf. Now that was scary."

Then I walked away. The looks I got were, of course, full of bewilderment, and I'm not entirely sure anybody knew how to respond. Was I actually serious - he can't be serious, can he? Was I being funny? Was I mocking them?

Needless to say, it killed the conversation right there on the spot. Mission accomplished.

*full disclosure: This was the second time today a loud, mostly useless conversation came from this part of the office, so my patience was wearing thin already.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

:: Track records and over-reacting ::

"When you said you were coming over, I thought we were going to have to clean out the basement again." - Christene's mom, when Christene went home for dinner one night this week, without me, because I had a prior commitment.

I guess this sort of thing has happened before.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

:: Celebrating in style ::

This weekend marked Christene's and my one-year anniversary. Technically, it's not an exact date - if you wanted to get technical, it might be New Year's Eve - but we figured that, in order to distance the occasion from the holidays, whatever weekend is closest to Jan. 7 would be our weekend.

We decided early that we'd go out for a nice dinner - we decided on The Keg because we're predictable (and it's delicious) - and then we also decided we should do something "fun" earlier in the day. Trouble was, we didn't think up anything ahead of time, so on Saturday morning (after a healthy sleep-in by yours truly) we tried to come up with something. In typical fashion, it was Christene who came up with all the ideas:

Science World, IMAX, Capilano Suspension Bridge, some museum in Burnaby that she inexplicably likes, the States, etc....

And in typical fashion, I pretty much shot every idea down. Not because I'm a jerk, but because anything that involves going downtown immediately gets a strike against it. I just don't like going into Vancouver. I guess I'm lazy. Eventually, I got on board for the States, but once we had breakfast/lunch, we quickly realized this was not feasible - there simply wasn't enough time in the day. I guess we should've thought it up the night before, and left earlier in the morning.

In the end, after returning from breakfast, we tried our best to salvage the day, but still, could not agree on anything to do. So what did we do, you might ask? Well, we took a "nap" which was then followed by, well, an actual nap.

For more than three hours.

We woke up just before 4 o'clock. And the thing was, we weren't really that upset about our "wasted day." It occured to us, as a matter of fact, that this is just who we are:

People who make grand plans for their big day, and then end up doing absolutely nothing, yet still are perfectly content. Better than content, actually.

Eventually, we got our act together and went for dinner, and this is when our day hit another snag: The Keg had a two hour waiting list. And that was just for the bar! (Or so we overheard somebody say).

So now our day was really shot (no surprise) , but again, we salvaged it by going to our favourite Greek place, Galini, which turned out to be fitting actually, because it's where we actually went for dinner last year, right before the New Year's Eve party at Brett and Tara's. We followed that will some Marble Slab and a quick jaunt to the casino, before retiring for the evening at about 10 oclock. Christene went to bed (she had started not to feel well earlier in the day) and I stayed up to watch the Canucks/Flames game that I had PVRed.

So all in all, 'twas a fantastic day. Just not exactly the one we'd planned. But then again, we didn't really "plan" anything at all. So if there's anything I've taken from this experience, it's this:

Even if you fail to plan ahead for your one-year anniversary, don't make reservations anywhere, and for no real reason fall asleep for hours upon hours right smack in the middle of the day, you will still get laid and get a good meal.

Take notes, fellas.

Friday, January 08, 2010

:: I've had to remind myself of this many times over the last 48 hours ::

"I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinion I have no respect." - Edward Gibbon

Thursday, January 07, 2010

:: Oh, now I remember why the gym sucks ::

Last night, I went to the gym for the first time in awhile. It was obviously busy - as it is every January, as people try to make good on their New Year's resolutions. By mid-March the crowds have thinned out, but yesterday it was busy.

My gym is also quite small, and there are only five or so treadmills. When I was there, four of these treadmills were occupied by four mid-20s bleach blonde guys - the typical douchey gym rats. I didn't know just how douchey, however, until about the five-minute mark.

As I watched from a stationary bike, I realized that these four guys were all at the gym together, and not only that, but they appeared to be "racing" each other.

Yes, racing each other. On treadmills.

They were really into it, too. At one point, two of the guys actually high-fived each other, so pleased with themselves were they. Yes, while running. It was at this point that Ed Hardy himself (is he even a real guy?) could not have made them any more douchebaggy.

Douchiness notwithstanding, the real problem here is that they were racing. Did I mention they were on treadmills? They kept the "race" going for about 5-6 minutes, at least. And they really seemed to be getting into it. The problem, in case you haven't already figured it out, is that treadmills aren't ideal for racing.

Sure, the four guys kept bumping their respective speeds up and up and up, but the thing is, once one guy gets to a level that nobody else can manage, it's over. Just stop. He wins. He's the fastest. Simple math suggests that, whether you are racing to 1 km or 1,000 km, he's getting there first. There are no speed bursts, so slowing down, no winning by a nose. No drafting. No nothing.

Just one speed. That's it.

If they were simply goofing around, then maybe I'd give them a break, but I couldn't tell for sure that they were, and - judging simply by the high levels of douchery - I would guess that they were more serious than not.

God I'll be glad when the herd thins again, and all the gotta-get-in-shape-for-2010 folks give up and head back to watch TV. Because one they're on the couch, they can high-five all they want.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

:: On labels and living arrangements ::

"Does it count as common-law if I'm still married to somebody else?" - Christene, wondering aloud about our living arrangement.

Friday, January 01, 2010

:: 1999-2009: A Decade of Debauchery ::

"You know, this year really hasn't been a good one for me." - Christene, about 10 hours into 2010, and about 20 minutes after she finally stopping throwing up.

I have a terrible memory. Whereas there are people out there who can remember all sorts of days, event and altercations from their elementary school days, I cannot. Can't even remember much of high school, truth be told. I wish this was not the case – especially because there aren't a whole ton of photos to document these days, either – but such is life.

And though my memory is often hazy, I do tend to think of my life as having four parts: The first being all the elementary school (and earlier) days that I barely remember. The second would be high school – with most memories I'd rather forget – and the third epoch in my life is actually the shortest – the two year college period, from 2001-2003, when I lived in Kamloops. (My college experience was actually four years, but the first two were at Kwantlen and largely uneventful).

The fourth era, the one I currently find myself in, is, of course, post-college. Real Life. And as Era Three is left further and further in the rearview mirrow, it is still is a very large, important part of the last 10 years. The seven after that, of course, are big too. Lots of changes. Lots of mistakes. Lots of bad, lots of good.

Lots of booze.

In note form, here is a brief summation of the past 10 years, best as can be remembered. I know I'm skipping out on a lot, but by the time I got to the end of the list, I was pretty exhausted.

Jan. 1, 2000: I ring in the New Millenium at a house party in Burnaby. I know only two people at the party, and 10 years later I have no idea how we ended up there. Just one of those things... Even the two people I went with are now but names on a Facebook page – I haven't seen either in about eight years.

Jan. 1, 2000: Y2k is a bigger bust than an Eddie Murphy movie. No computers explode, break down or otherwise cause trouble. The world does not come to an end.

Early spring, 2001: I am accepted into the University College of the Cariboo (now Thompson Rivers University).

Summer, 2001: I change my mind about moving to Kamloops and back out of UCC, and am accepted at UBC instead.

Late summer, 2001: I change my mind again. I un-enroll (de-roll?) at UBC and beg and plead my way, at the last minute, back into the program in Kamloops.

Sept. 2001: I move to Kamloops for my final two years of university. My first year, I room in a quad with two volleyball players from Alberta and a Korean exchange student none of us ever see. We only know he's in there because the smell of his weird, Korean cigarettes wafts under the door.

Sept. 2001-April 2002: I decide that I hate Kamloops and all the people in it. I spend every single weekend in Langley, thus single-handedly subsidizing the Coquihalla Highway and it's tollbooth system.

Sept. 11, 2001: Some towers fall down, or something.

Nov. 2001: My one quad-mate, Jay, accidently burns his chest during a Nair-related, chest-hair-removal accident.

April 2002: I move home, relieved to have survived Year 3 of university.

June, 2002: Chris, Ian, Bucholtz (barely) and Jeremy and company graduate high school, and are released into an unsuspecting world. At the same time, Kwantlen college's average GPA plummets, while local beer sales increase expontentially. The two are not unrelated.

Sept. 2002: I move back to Kamloops for my final year of school. Instead of the shitty dorms, I move into a basement suite in Aberdeen.

Sept. 2002-Dec. 2002: Lots of booze. Lots of memory loss. Check the archives for the details.

Fall, 2002: I "help" Chris write a couple essays for one of his Kwantlen classes. He gets better grades than Tara, who is in the same class. Seven years later, she has still not let it go.

Dec. 31, 2002: Instead of spending New Years' back in Kamloops, as originally planned (because most out-of-towners decided at the last minute against coming back to the 'Loops in time) I end up at a party in Langley, at a now-demolished-for-townhouses house in behind the Wal-Mart. It's the house of an old high-school buddy I happened to run into the night before, and it is not my scene. Not at all. Fights in the driveway. Coke all over the counter. Spray-painted walls. Entire cedar chest full of weed (for selling). I was home by 10:30. Good times.
January, 2003: We throw a Christmas tree off a second-floor balcony, over a fence, and down a muddy hill. Years later, I admit to sneaking out, thus avoiding a landlord-directive to go pick it up.

February, 2003: In a magazine writing course, in which we produce a real magazine to be inserted into the local paper, prof announces that due to space, some people's stories won't make it into the magazine. All four of my stories are cut. Cue serious complaining to my friends and fellow students. One class later, prof pulls me into the hallway to tell me I can't complain, it makes him look bad, it's not appropriate, etc etc etc. I tell him that I paid thousands of dollars to take the course, and therefore it's my right to complain as I see fit. I walk away. He never brings it up again.

April, 2003: After skipping three out of every four classes of a two-semester, six-credit art histoy/photography course because it was taught by some hippy burnout, full of prententious art students and was fucking brutal, I stay awake for about 60 hours straight to finish the required course work. I read three books, write two papers, build a pinhole camera out of wood, take and develop about 20 pictures with it, and write another report about said camera. The worst two-and-a-half days of my life, bar none. I finish in time, sleep for 17 hours, wake up and drink for about two days non-stop. I ended up with a C- in that class. Lowest mark of my post-secondary career, but it works for me.

May, 2003: I graduate from UCC with a bachelor's degree in journalism, with a 3.2 GPA, or somewhere thereabouts. My two proudest achievements: that I went through four years of school without a single Friday class; and that my GPA dropped all eight semesters I was enrolled (first year at Kwantlen: 4.2; fourth year at UCC: 3.1).

Summer, 2003: Unemployed, I spent the summer blowing through the rest of my student line-of-credit. Highlights include going to Merritt for our first musicfests. It is a gongshow, and requires three posts to fully explain. (Links at left, in the Hall of Fame).

Oct. 2003: I run out of money, forcing my move to Peace River, Alberta, where I suck it up and take a job at the Peace River Record-Gazette where the annual salary is a whopping $25,000.

Dec. 23, 2003: I come home for Christmas, and find a strange, unknown blonde girl sitting at my parent's dining room table. Turns out her name is Jenna, but at the time, I had no idea who the hell she was. "Oh, we're just friends," says Chris. He continues to say this for oh, about a year.

Oct. 2003-April 2004: I spent nine months in the north, experiencing up to -50 temperatures, blizzards the likes of which I've never seen. No snow tires on the Civic the whole time. I piss off or fight with the following people in town: the alcoholic general manager of the local senior hockey team; the coach of the Catholic school's girls volleyball team; a drunken native guy in the McNamara Hotel; football parents; football coach. I apologize for nothing.

Feb. 4, 2003: Chris comes for a visit.

April 4, 2004: The Cannons take the field.

late-April 2004: I take a new job back home, and say "sayonara bitches!" to the Great White North.

Sometime later in 2004: Kelsey moves here from Enderby. Our text messaging costs all go through the roof. (Seriously, I didn't even know how to send a text message before she moved here. Now I sent about 300 a day).

January, 2005: For no real reason, I decide to go to Toronto for four days, along with my dad, who is headed there for a work conference. While he's there doing work, I spent my day aimlessly wandering around the downtown core in the snow. We go to the Hockey Hall of Fame, get a tour of the Air Canada Centre, and eat delicious hot dogs from street vendors. The Holiday Inn we stayed at is also the location of the coldest, best-tasting beer I've ever had. At the Mahogany Bar. Delicious. I also discovered a bar/restaurant called Fred's Not Here, so obviously I call from the hotel, asking for Fred. He wasn't there, so it's not just a clever name.

Feb. 20, 2005: I get in a fight during a hockey game.

June 19, 2005: Kelsey discovers the joys of potato salad, thus fulfilling her life.

November, 2005: Brad gets in a bad car accident. We all spent many hours and too much energy worrying about him, until he gets out of his coma a month later. One of the worst times of all our lives. In retrospect, it's nice to know none of our efforts were appreciated. Such is life.

April, 2006: I buy my townhouse, just a few days before my 25th birthday. My goal was to own something by the time I was 25, and I succeeded by the skin of my teeth.

Sept. 2006: Me, Chris and my cousins head to Bowen Island for the first annual MeatFest, in which disgusting amounts of animal flesh are consumed. Highlights include my team winning the golf tournament, and the 3 a.m. round of steaks.

Sept. 2007: MeatFest, round 2. This time, I win "The Show" award for being the drunkest during the golf tournament. I drink one beer per hole, and finish the round by tripping, falling, and sliding down the backside of an elevated green. I still have the grass stain on my white golf shirt. What a time to be alive.

Nov. 1, 2007: Seven of us go to Cancun for a week (Guess who made it an odd number?!). It is glorious.

April 2008: I get a Facebook friend request from a woman I do not recognize, with the message "I think we went to high school and university together!" I add her. A week or so later, at my company's annual conference, a strange woman approaches me in the coffee lineup and says "Remember me from Facebook!?" It is the same woman.

We exchange awkward pleasantries, and that is that. As it turns out, she ends up getting a fulltime job in my office a short time later, and we not only went to the same high school and university, we have tons of the same university friends, and also live across the street from each other. This crazy mystery woman also is best friends with Christene, who I meet sometime later.

Late April, 2008: I go to Vegas for my birthday, with my dad. I quickly realize that Las Vegas is my favourite city on the planet.

Sept. 11, 2008: Kelsey announces she's moving to Fort McMurray, in an attempt to out-run her debt. She is roundly criticized, mostly by me. She is also mocked, also by me. "Ill be back by the spring - by your birthday at the latest," she says."

Oct. 2009: Back to Vegas.

New Year's Eve, 2008: I invite Christene to a New Year's Eve party at Brett and Tara's house. At the end of the night, in a drunken stupor, I slip and fall down the stairs. All part of my charm, apparently. Or maybe not. Either way, it impresses Christene.

May, 2009: Me, Chris, Jenna, TO and Carly head to Phoenix, then rent a car and drive to Vegas. Carly accidently leaves her wallet, complete with ID and hundreds of dollars, in an A@W washroom in Sun City, Ariz. We realize this hours later at some awesome trading post in the middle of the desert. Thankfully, it's still there - and with money in it - and the wallet it FedExed to our hotel. Because all's well that ends well, TO manages to avoid killing his wife. Close call though.

Spring, 2009: Kelsey, not exactly true to her word, is not home for ball season. Neither is Scott, as it turns out, because he's been suckered in by the lure of riches.

"We'll be back by the fall," says Kelsey. "Just a couple more months."

August, 2009: Me and Christene go to Vegas - my fourth time in less than two years, and Christene's first time ever. It is oustanding, except for the 40-degree heat.

Fall, 2009: "We're just gonna work through the winter," says Kelsey, in a text message. "But we'll be there by next ball season for sure. I promise."

Fall, 2009: I stop believing a damn thing Kelsey says.

Christmas, 2009: It is relieved Scott and Kelsey's lease in Fort Mac is not up until October, long long passed the end of baseball season. Not many people are surprised.

Dec. 25, 2009: A delightfully hilarious story regarding herpes is revealed, over a few beers on Christmas night. One of the holiday highlights.

New Year's Eve, 2009: At Davy and Colleen's for NYE this time, Christene and I are well on our way to intoxication before we even arrive, having stopped at a pub earlier in the evening. "I'm gonna try hard not say too much," says a drunk-but-hiding-it Christene.

2:30 a.m., Jan. 1, 2010: In a delightful twist of fate, exactly 365 days after I fall down some stairs, Christene bails while going up the stairs at her parents' house. The commotion wakes up her parents. Once I discover that there are no injuries, I laugh heartily.

So there you have it. A lot of changes from Jan. 1, 2000 until Jan. 1, 2010 - which is not all that surprising really, considering that 10 years is a long god damn time.

It was the decade I became legally allowed to drink; bought two different cars, a townhouse; travelled; somehow snared myself a girlfriend, and kept the same group of friends I had in the decade previous - the latter being a rare feat, I think.

And there's a ton of other people I met in this decade that I didn't know existed before - Christene, Kristyl, Sean, Kelsey, Meghan, Jenna, Katie, Dan, Davy, Colleen, TO, Carly, Melissa, Mike, Scotty to some extent (I knew he existed but we weren't friends).

I even managed to keep this blog alive for the last seven years.

And if it somehow manages to survive 10 more, I wonder, what will I be writing about then?