Thursday, October 9, 2014

And the $tip goes to

I had the pleasure of visiting home depot recently in order to make some slat legs for my bed. I had a little "design" in mind with the intention to make it easy to put together and take apart. A little bit more than screws and wood, I found one of the staff and explained how I envisioned. He not only helped me find the pieces I need, but offered suggestions, which I took, to make it a bit easier to construct. We put together the needed hardware and then headed to the lumber section. We sorted through a number of pieces of 2x2 spruce to find a reasonable straight piece with few pressure cracks. Then he cut up 5 7 inch pieces (4 + 1 spare) and I headed over to the tool section to see if I could rent a drill.

I explained to this guy the plan and how I wanted to rent a power drill and a few bits to do this. He said they don't rent drills (or bits, I wasn't sure what he said) but that instead I could come to the back room and he'd help me drill the holes. I drew X's on each end of the legs so that he had a target to drill. We drilled all the pieces and I assembled the hardware onto the legs. After being rung up at the counter there, I basically left home depot having gone in with a rough design and come out with a finished product.

I know it's their "job" to be doing this, but that had to be one of the best service experiences I've had in a long time. When you think about all the different types of folks who "ask for" tips for doing their job, it puzzles me that these folks (who go out of their way to help you build things and offer advice on design, hardware parts) I would rather leave something extra behind for these guys rather than someone who offers you a friendly smile and interrupts my conversation asking if I want another 7 dollar beer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What happened?

I haven't posted in a while.

What've I been doing? I didn't really keep up with the Chiro posts as they are kind of boring.

But I'll say this - I've been going for a while, and I think I might be getting to the end of the rope. I'm not really sure whether going here has really helped. It all feels great in the moment, but the "adjustments" and untightening of muscles I'm not sure really does much over a longer term unless it is accompanied by a good exercise routine, which is something I had going last summer and into the fall. If you aren't working to counteract imbalances and working to correct posture, the chiro and massage combination seems to only alleviate momentarily before everything falls back into the old habit.

On that note sounds like I outta start hitting the gym that is in my new place. Yes - I moved out of my nine floor horror house and into my own (yes I own it) condo. I bought a condo that is across the street from my office earlier this year (May/June). It is one floor, hardwood floors (dark finish), 1 bed room + den - it is excellent. Low maintenance, spacious and close to all the things I need to be close to.

Also in May, I got a motorcycle license and of course a motorcycle. So when I'm not working away on SEO @tripadvisor, playing soccer, playing chef, or whatever else it is that I do, I'm out riding my motorcycle, so far, mainly around the Ottawa area. I have Suzuki gz250 marauder. It's a small bike, and I may look a little funny on it. Coming out of the safety course, my father mostly told me to get something small to get going, learn the controls and the general handling of a bike. I went bike shopping with my sister and brother-in-law (who has also ridden quite a while) and tested out a few bikes. I sat on them, he drove them and provided feedback. Sitting on some bigger(-ish) bikes, like honda shadow 650cc, some 1100cc yamahas and what not, I found them to be very heavy, and having not ever driven a bike at all ever before, except for the safety course (and even then gearing was not great and I had at that point yet to get the feel for down shifting and engine braking), I felt uncomfortable having something that heavy underneath me having never even driven on the road.

Finally I saw it. The small red gz250 motorcycle sitting over by the window. Weight felt great! On top of that it reminded of my little red bicycle upon which I graduated from training wheels to true two wheel style. My brother-in-law took it for a spin and said that the gears felt smooth. I liked the weight, the proper nostalgia was there , and he provided good feedback. On top of this, insurance was reasonable and so was the purchase price, which I negotiated from from about 2199$ to 2K even.

Anyway after waiting a week or so for brake pads to come in in order to pass the safety check the three of us went back to the dealership to get it. Brother in law drove it home as I still hadn't had any actual road experience. Over the next few nights I took it out for a drive around the quiet streets of my neighbourhood. It didn't take to long before I was able to get out of second gear and into third, forth and fifth and back down with fair ease. My first venture was across town to my sisters place to go for a cruise with my brother in law. It was on this cruise and a few subsequent ones that I really got my head into the feel of the engine and RPM / speed matching and shifting and smooth operation.

Since, I've been out to Hawkesbury, down to Prescott, up into the Gatineaus to about Wakefield, and west about as far as Carleton Place. Many many routes remain for at least this summer on the little 250. My uncle has an organic bee farm in Arnprior, which I intend to visit sooner or later, I have a friend in Montreal who I will be visiting as soon as next week. Mont-Laurier is my next furthers point Northbound and down towards Kingston / Gananoque / Thousand Island park way would be another.

Less concrete plans, would be to head all the way down to the Toronto area, do a loop around lake Ontario and come back through the US, passing through Rochester and Syracuse. Even further out would be cross country and maybe even all the way down to the Mexican border and maybe EVEN through Central America.

Taking notes and inspiration from motorcycle philosophy such as The Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Motorcycle Diaries this new activity has opened up a whole love and experience of freedom that has slowly but very evidently begun to change my perspective.

I tend to attribute the drive for all this new change to a miserably failed relationship that began at the beginning of the winter and ended mid April. If she for any reason were to ever read this, I would say, despite all that went wrong and didn't work out the experience propelled me in yet a new direction and for that I am thankful and look back only with a sense of "If only..." :)