Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Welcome to the year 2015.  Another year to live life a little better; to try to succeed at something.

Most people don't take New Year's Resolutions seriously.  Why?  Well, because they say that you can't keep them.  While I agree with that, I will argue that there is more to attempting to resolve to succeed at something than whether or not you actually succeed.

I would argue that actually trying something is, in fact, a small form of success.  A lot of people do not keep their New Years promises, but even more people don't even make any.

Last year I had a goal to jog for 300 miles.  It was a crazy goal, aiming for the stars, but I believed that if I stayed the course, I could achieve it in 2014.

That's my final tally.  I failed miserably.  I made up excuses about being tired or busy.  Some of my reasons were reasonable, some of them were just plain lazy.  In the end, I failed.

This year I am going to try it again!

I've thought about my lazy strategy last year.  I figured that having the Nike app would be motivation enough to get me my 300 miles.  That was very poor planning.  This year, I have thought about what it will take to get my Winter runs in at night, which was probably my biggest excuse last year.  And I will try to have a schedule to make sure I give a good effort 3 or 4 times a week instead of a mile a day.

Also, I am bumping up my goal to 365 miles.  That's a goal nearly 10 times as what I actually accomplished in 2014.

I'm not guaranteeing that I will succeed this year.  But I think that it's reasonable to think that I will get a lot closer to my goal than I did last year.  Little by little, I just might achieve my 2014 resolution sometime within the next few years.

We're all failures at something.  I just wanted to make my failure known as motivation to work harder for it.  Maybe you failed at something this last year, too.  Well, actually, you most certainly did!  What are you going to do about it this year?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Tis' been a while.  Months, actually.

I just wasn't feeling it.  I know that I should have pushed through the slump but, honestly, these last few months the well has been dry.  Not much to say.  I have been reading a lot; blogs, books, articles, magazines.  Maybe, for me, reading other people was a sufficient amount of noise for my life.

But yesterday I felt like I wanted to come back to say a few things.  I was busy then, so here I am now.

I've been flying solo for 5 days now.  Barbara is in the city waiting for the baby to arrive, so I am out at camp with the boys.  I cram in work and their lives into the waking hours.  It's a lot busier than usual, but it's not too bad.

I've been playing a lot of soccer with the boys.  The weather has been nice, so we've been out there kicking it around for 20 minutes or so after supper.  The darkness drops at around 5pm now, so we are limited these days.

We've also been playing a lot of NHL monopoly.  We throw our own twists and rules into it to give it a nice Gitzel boys flair.  We "draft" properties and make trades based on everyone's well-being.  No heists.  It's a pretty good time.  I won tonight.  No big deal.

Miles is almost 7 now.  Jonas is 5 and a half.  They are so big and grown up.  When I drop Jonas off at school he runs off without saying goodbye.  I chase him down and he half acknowledges me, embarrassed by his needy dad.  Forget hugs and kisses.  He's got a teenaged attitude.  At home he's a cuddle bear, but at school he's an independent, cool dude.

Last night I came across this video:

Here's the link if you can't see it:

This was about 2 and and half years ago.  I can't believe it.  You hear it from parents, how their kids grow up so fast, and then you become one and it's real.

I had an idea to write a kids book called "I miss you already".  It would be about a kid growing up in stages, not unlike "I love you forever".  At each stage, the parent mourns the loss of their child of the previous stage.  A baby into a toddler, a toddler into a kid, pre-teen, etc.

This video reminds me of that idea.  While I am pretty much the same in that video, that little 3 year old is gone.  Is it too morbid to think about it that way?  I can't really help it.  Although its great that he's grown up, in my heart it's a tragedy that that little fellow is no more.  Those lispy words are sharper now, more confident in his speech with each day.  Cars toys are all but forgotten, like Woody at different points of the Toy Story movies.

I mean, he's wearing a backpack in the house.  3 year old Jonas is one of the best things ever.

3 year old Jonas is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.  It was a period of time when we hung out a lot.  Barbara was running a Kindergarten in China, Miles was attending.  It was me and Jo.  We were best buds.  I was feeling down and out and he was there for me.  To cheer me up.  To walk with me to the corner store.  To make it through a few more months in China.

I miss him.

Time moves on and there are a lot of good times with the boys these days.  I catch myself, in those moments, and realize that I am right where I want to be.  If I'm kicking a ball with Jonas or cutting out a craft with Miles, there is no better place to be.

It's really nice to find happiness in hanging out with my boys.  Jonas is particular is just like me when I was 5.  He loves playing goalie, he often runs off in a fit when he doesn't get his way.  He is picky.  It's like I'm hanging out with 5 year old me.

Miles is so smart and sneaky.  He's also hit another stage.  He lies.  Today he was allowed 1 candy from his bag.  I saw a wrapper and asked him if he had had one yet.  He said no.  I told him to open his mouth and I could see the little reminent of Rockets candy on his tongue.  I asked him again if he'd had one already.  No.  I told him to look me in the eye and say it and he did it without hesitation.  Finally, I told him about the crumbs on his tongue and his face reddened up.  He confessed and I forgave him and life moves on.

It sure is curious, these stages.  They grow up, it's good, but it's also terribly heartbreaking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd : a non-reviewer's review

I wish I could write good reviews.  I can never give a good book it's proper due.  I stumble over my words, hovering so where between "it's an honest read" and "I laughed 'til it hurt" most of the time.  It will help if I keep this short.

I would consider myself a pacifist.  I don't like violence.  I shy away from conflict.  I'm not into guns or hunting.  I have no desire to kill anything.  In fact, I eat meat mostly out of how inconvenient being a vegetarian is and because of the fact that I am a somewhat lazy person.  

A Farewell to Mars isn't just a book about nonviolence, it's a book about active peace.  It opens up to the ways of Jesus, the peacemaker himself, and shows that he had a new way of doing things here on Earth.  All these years later and it's still a new way because we are slow and stubborn people who like to see people pay.

This book sheds light on the person of Jesus having a lot to say about how people, individually as well as communally, should live in this violent world.  War and violence saturates our history, and Jesus came not to slay our enemies once and for all but to put to death the very idea of redemptive violence.  

I really appreciated Brian Zahnd's stories as this, too, is "an honest read.";). He opens up on his past failures as a pastor, revealing his honesty in changing his mind about something he had felt so right about all along.

The bare basics of this work is that we are to understand this Jesus as being the peacemaker.  He came to break apart the endless cycle of war.  Yet Christians continue to take sides, continuing to battle with flesh and a whole lot of blood.  This book proposes we do what we can to stop the cycle of violence.

I've read through this book twice now and I think it is a great read that helps quiet the soul.  Meditating on the path of Jesus is something we all need to do from time to time.  Thinking of the crowds and authorities that stood against him and his selfless reaction to it all is so otherworldly that we can't help but forget it the moment after we're reminded of it.  This book is a reminder of peace that would be helpful to read regularly.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Michael's Loved Ones

There was once a man named Michael.  He was a good man.  Everyone thought of him as a good man, and more so, he was a good man even when no one was looking.

One day he fell in love and got married to a beautiful woman.  Their love was so deep and strong.  They enjoyed their lives together so much so that they needed to have children to share their love with.

They ended up having 4 children.  Michael never knew what life truly was until he had children.  Those kids were the stars in the sky for Michael.  His love for them blossomed deep within his heart each time his wife told him that they would be having a child.  With each new addition his love grew.

His kids were fairly close together in age.  Michael rearranged his life once his first child was born.  They were his priority.

Michael awoke early each morning to spend time with his kids.  Lucy loved her Lego.  Michael would spend hours with her; creating space ships and building fortresses for the little yellow people to defend.  Michael put his best work into those projects, and often times he would be quite amazed at what his little Lucy could inspire out of him.  But most importantly, Michael loved to sneak a peek at the look in Lucy's eyes when she would see his creations come to life.  Her eyes would glow with anticipation and shine the brightest when he handed the project over to her to inspect.  Her warmth melted his soul.  She had it in the palms of her hands like a puddle of warm rain.

It was like this with all of the children. They all woke up with sparks; thumping out of their beds, onto the floor and out to their treasured toys.  Davey drew pictures for his mom.  Big hearts encircling a stick-person mom and stick-person Davey holding stick hands.  Davey was in love with his mother just like most little boys are.  Michael enjoyed this so much.

With Lego and crayons littered about,  Michael would adventure with his children all the while giving his wife, Maggie, a chance to catch up on her sleep.  Every morning Michael would wake up with almost as much anticipation as the kids.  He never questioned where he had gotten the energy from.  They gave it to him!  He went to bed earlier so that he could get up early and enjoy every moment he could with his kids.

Michael would drop what he was doing at any moment of the day to play catch with his boy.  He brushed Sarah's hair for her every night.  Greg enjoyed science, and along with his dad pulled off many all nighters together to get his projects just right.  Just right.

Later on, the kids grew older, yet Michael was the kind of dad all of the other kids at school wish they had.  He picked them up from school and they all walked home together.  Later on, when Lucy was old enough to date, Michael would let her walk home with her boyfriend.  Later in those evenings there would always be time to catch up with dad.  She would tell him all about her day, even about her boyfriend.  As her Dad, Michael would give Lucy just enough advice to keep her safe and not too much to scare or drive her away.

It was a perfect balance.

Luce and Mike were buds.

They all grew up.  Lucy got married.  The other kids went off to college.  Sarah drove her little, red Corolla back and forth from her school every other weekend to spend time with mom and dad.  Michael would drive down to watch her soccer games and catch up on all the exciting things that were happening on campus.

Sarah confided that one of her Professors had most likely been treating her unfairly, though she was determined to come up with a way to talk to her to try to straighten things out.
Michael was startled with the joy he felt; realizing that his little girl had grown up to be such a lovely woman of honour.  He was amazed that he could have such an incredible kid.  Amazed that he had something to do with it.

Life moved on.

Some of Michael's kids lived farther away than he would have liked, but there was always a way to work out regular visits.  Greg lived close by, the only one of Michael's children to not marry.  They had coffee every Tuesday at the cafe down the road from where Greg worked as the manager of the grocery store.  They laughed together like old friends.  Greg would share book and music suggestions with his old man, who openly and honestly had never had the time to keep up on all of the good material out there.  He trusted Greg's suggestions, which more often than not were spot on with what he was into.

Michael grew older, and has time passed by his children maintained the focal centre of his life.  Michael worked in a successful career all the way into his 70's, so one would never be able to say that Michael neglected any responsibilities for the sake of his children.  Michael was responsible, and his life unfolded with all of the peaks and valleys that many other people would go through.  It was not a perfect life.  Yet, to Michael, it really seemed to be because of the joy that his children gave him.

In the end, Michael had 9 grandchildren.  The kids would take turns having sleep overs at grandma and grandpa's house.  Each small child couldn't wait their turn.  Sometimes Grandpa and Grandma would take them mini-golfing, a skill that Grandpa Mike had took great pride in every since he started taking his little ones there many years earlier.

Michael was handy with woodwork, as he was a carpenter by trade, and spent many hours teaching his little grand kids the ways of the craft.  By the end of their visits, often lasting 3 or 4 sleeps, the kids would go home with a new craft that they created with Grandpa; a wooden box that opened like a puzzle, or a car with real working wheels.  The grand kids loved their Grandpa and Grandma.

One day, it was Christmas time, and Michael had the entire family over for dinner.  They had all gathered into the kitchen, with the kids sprawled out on the rug in the living room.  The kids would spill juice on the rug from time to time, but Michael wouldn't care at all.  They were more comfortable lounging around on the floor and Michael loved to watch them all together slicing into turkey and crunching on dill pickles together.

It was that evening, in a moment where the room moved around him, that Michael found silence.  And in that silence Michael experienced what the peace of 75 years of love feels like.

His family laughing and sharing together.

His wife wiping away tears that had appeared after enjoying a story that Greg had been telling.

The rest of the kids resting after a satisfying meal, leaning back with their arms around their loved ones.  Sarah absentmindedly stroking the back of her husband's neck.  The adults all seeming to be embracing each other and the table in between them.  It was joy.  Pure and real.  Michael never thought he could feel so content.  So appreciative for life.

10 years later.

Michael found himself at the end.  He was lucky enough to be in his own bed at home, surrounded by them all.  Actually, there were too many of them to fit into his room at one time, so they took turns visiting with him and Maggie, who sat in a chair next to the bed pouring water for those that came in to sit for a while.

Michael was in a good amount of pain, but there were drugs that he took to keep it from being a distraction.  He was able to talk in short spurts.  The kids would lean in close to hear him.  There was even a moment where he told one of Greg's old jokes, suddenly startling the somber room into a rumble of joyous laughter.

Eyes being wiped while Maggie shifted the pillows bellow Michael's damp hair.

The time came to say goodbye.  There were a lot of tears.  This man meant the world to them.  It was a life filled to the brim and pouring over.  They were glad to have shared such a wonderful life with him.

One by one, two by two, and 3 or four at a time, the room and the house slowly emptied until it was just Michael and Maggie.  They sat together for a while, listening to music that Greg had once suggested Michael try out a long time ago.

With what little energy he had left, Michael began to sob.  Maggie comforted her loved one of 63 years and sobbed together with him.

It was only a matter of time now.  Michael's breath began to sound more and more laboured.  Maggie sat with him, holding his hand, her face damp and red.

Michael kissed his wife and told her that he loved her so much.  With his last breathes Michael had these few words to say:

"My only regret is that I... if only I had spent more time with the children."

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review: Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God by Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an interesting fellow.  I first took notice of him when I watched Kevin Miller's film Hellbound?.  Frank gave some really nice insight in that movie, and articulated his thoughts in ways that really resonated with me.

Since then I have followed Frank and his writing, speaking, and even browsed through some of his recent paintings.  In all of these art forms, Frank is very honest.  Honest about himself, his life, his mistakes, his triumphs, and most noticeably, his thoughts about God and how they've changed from his early days as a Christian Right leader.

Let's just say that he has many thoughts about that:)

Frank has been self-publishing his recent books, so he's reached out to his readers for help.  I reviewed his last book, And God said, "Billy!", and you can read that review here.

I enjoyed that whole experience so much that I asked for a digital copy of his most recent book Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God.  How's that for a title?!

The subtitle for the book is How to Give Love, Create Beauty, and Find Peace.  I must be honest that from the first time I heard Frank say that phrase, I have been daily repeating it over and over in my head.  I have thought about those words a lot and how I might be able to inject them into the lifeless days that I often catch myself mindlessly trying to just get through, like a grey Walker hobbling my way down the highways of Georgia.

This subtitle became my mantra, or my prayer if you don't like the word mantra.

The refreshing thing about this book is that it's all honesty.  Frank tells stories about his life, and the people that are most important to him and then wrestles with the reasons for why and how they are in his life and impact him in the way that they do.

The title makes sense the further you read.  What seems like a paradox is actually just a way of saying Frank is living in between the tensions of belief and doubt.  Show me a Christian that says he has never doubted and I will show you a bald faced liar.  Show me a doubter who has never seen beauty and wondered if maybe it just might have been put there on purpose and I will... well, you get the idea.

Things I learned from reading this book:

- God is most real in Jesus.  The Bible is where we learn about a lot of different things, but let us not worship a book.

It this way I would say that "Love others as you love yourself" is more true and important than what Leviticus has to say about cubits and cloth mixing.

- Theology is messy.  Enjoying the simple things in life is a way to bring out the bright colours.  The things that give us joy helps others see the light and salt in us.

- I don't have all of the answers and I don't need to pretend that I do in order to have a rich and full life of loving God and others.

- It could be God speaking to me through the sunset or the twinkle in my son's eyes when he looks at me, or it could be some sort of scientific phenomenon.  I'm going to choose that it's both!

I will say that I really appreciated this book.  It's not humorous, as that was not it's purpose.  What I appreciated about it was that it was honest and real.

The honesty comes  through in that it's relatable.  I see myself with my own kids, playing street hockey out front, watching my kids dream the same dreams I once did not long ago, taking it all in and concluding that these moments are gifts.

These moments are what life is all about whether you believe in God or not... or perhaps if find yourself somewhere in the middle.

In the meantime...

create beauty, give love and find peace.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The tooth

This week I accomplished a great dad moment; I pulled my sons tooth right out of his mouth!

He'd lost a few already, but this was the first one that I got to pull out for him.  He winced, then with surprise looked at what had happened.  Then, when the excitement wore off, he realized that his mouth hurt a little bit.  Not too much, just a bit.  

It was one of his top front teeth.  One of those little baby teeth that has been in there since the beginning.  I held the tiny little sliver in my hand, feeling its smooth sheen with my thumb.  

I thought about the early days when that tooth first came in.  His gummy smile morphed into the toothy grin of a real child.  The infant Miles had suddenly turned into a boy.  He could eat things now.  

Miles has always had a tiny, little mouth.  His smiles seems too big for his mouth.  His gums jump out from under his scrunched up lips when he sees something funny or, perhaps, has a funny joke to share with others.  His humor has poured out of that little mouth for so long and I always considered him to be quite advanced in language and vocabulary.

There are still days when we ask him how he is feeling to which he would reply with "I'm find."

When the topic comes up, Miles will often chime in that he had fond memories of "the folk music vegetable."

These things make me laugh as much as the ways I love to laugh around him for the witty and creative humor that he dishes out so often.  These little things remind me that my grown up boy still has more growing up to do.  

I am reminded to enjoy these things while they last.  I'll never pull another top-front tooth from that little mouth.

I had cleared the space for the adult tooth to move in.  Next door the other adult front tooth (one that fell out on its own) has already moved half way in.  I can see those big teeth shifting things inside that tiny little area.  Those big chompers will no doubt change the tiny grin into a big boy smile.  

As I often think about the past, time moves on.  So much of the future has already flown by, now behind us.  So much of it is sealed up in things like that little tooth. 

We'll tuck it away and eventually bring it out again to laugh and think about that little mouth and how it's smile changed everything forever.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Car wreaks on my mind

These are thoughts from a few months ago when we went down to the coast (or is it up?) to visit some friends and celebrate a wedding.  This is the drive back on a very cold and snowy night.

We didn't see any cars in any ditches for over 1000 km.  Not until we were about 50 km from home did we slow down in a long lineup to inch our way passed a flipped car, a smashed up truck and a couple more cars laying skewed across the right lane.  The ice was unruly.  

We turned onto the next highway and came across a truck with loose straps sitting in the right lane.  One of the giant cement pieces had broken free from the trailer and rolled off the back into the ditch.  The wind was so strong that I was fighting to stay on the road.  

Cars in the ditch.  Trucks overturned.  People stranded.  Yet, we made it home without incident.

I really took some time to think about what happened, of more accurately, what didn't happen to us that night.  

Of course, I am glad that we did not get into an accident.  Thankful?  That's a tough word to use.  Seems kind of demented to be thankful that my family, and not others, avoided suffering on the roads that night.

The common practise of Christians is that we pray for safety.  We pray that God will protect us on the roads, in the schools, in the mess of the world.  I remember reading about a man who rejoiced when he found out that a small church group in Indonesia had a premonition to go to higher ground just before the Tsunami waves rolled in.  The group lived.  Thousands died, but the group lived.  Praise God?

We go about this practise as if it's exactly how God works.  Ask him to keep you safe and he will.  Yet, I know of people (even Christians) who have died in car accidents.  Though that small Church group survived the storm in Asia, there were thousand more Christians lost to the sea.

These car wreaks I drove by.  There were families in those cars.  I don't know if anyone died.  I hope not.  I pray that no one did.

I don't know why our car made it through that mess.  We stopped at A&W in Edson.  Did that have something to do with escaping the accident?  God was watching out for us?  Divine burger intervention?

If that's true.  If God was watching out for us then we're still missing pieces to this puzzle.  Why?  Because that must mean that God was not watching out for those who got in the accident.  It means that God did not watch out for those that die in the disasters that happen all over the world.

The lesson here, it seems, is that God is not in control.  We like to say that he's in control, but "control" doesn't quite seem like the right word anymore.

If this is control, where some people die and some people don't...

If its control when it all seems so random, then what kind of rules is this Controller playing by?

It's hard to justify the use of the word "control" in a situation like this that seems so out of control.  There are storms, car accidents, cancers, murderers, and whatever else people die from.  We need to stop calling all of this "God is in control".

If it's so, that he is in control, then lets agree that God is in control and his control is random, heartbreaking, confusing, and unexplainable.  Or, aka, out of control.

But that's not all I have to say.

I'm not hopeless.

I just think we need to look at this God in a different way. 

God is beyond control.  We shouldn't be questioning whether he is in or out of control.  We might do better to say that he is beyond our understanding as to what sort of role he plays in all of this stuff happening or not happening to certain people at certain times.

Saying God is in control is an easy way for us to gloss over what kind of being that is really at work here.  It's kind of a surface answer that we give when something horrible happens but we don't want to think about it too much.

I would say that God is beyond all control.  He is further from control than you or I may be.

Oh, he's not out of control either.  Don't get me wrong.

He's just beyond it.

Why am I saying this?  Who cares what we call it?  Well, its just that I was thinking about all of these things are we drove the rest of the way home.  We had made it 1100 km back over the mountains.  We were safe.

If I believe that God took care of us then I would have to agree that God did not take care of others.  It can become a selfish little habit for us to be happy to be safe while forgetting that others are suffering.

So I tried to think of it all in a different way.

If anything, God was not preoccupied with our safety.  He was focused on caring for the ones that were suffering that night.  He was watching out for them in their time of need.  I have to believe that, in those moments where "God is in control" is proclaimed, it is in many ways true, but for very different reasons than we tend to believe.

Yet, I tend to side with God not being in control, but being beyond it.

To wrap this up let me say this.  If I rejoice when good things happen to me, it is an indirect stab at my brothers and sisters who are suffering.  It is thinking that, for reasons beyond my understanding, God chooses to favour me over others.

Some think this view is validated because they think that God loves Christians more than other people.  This is evil.  Evil is when we put ourselves above others.  Much worse is when we think God does the same thing.

Not much of a conclusion.  I think I'm still chewing on this.

I guess the short version is that people suffer in agony and I am no longer satisfied with the surfacey answer that God makes that kind of stuff happen.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Born in Isolation

I woke up 10 minutes before my phone alarm went off.  For some reason, my body anticipates what's going to happen and warns me about it.  I hate waking up to an alarm, but of course, I need to, so I set it.

I hit snooze and I doze off again only to have the alarm ringing and flashing in my face moments later.  Should have listened to my instincts.

I've been getting up early.  I want to accomplish some things.  I want to work on some personal projects.  First thing in the morning is the right time to do that, but since I have a wife and kids, I needed to bump up my "first thing in the morning" a few hours.

This week I continue the journey, a journey that began last month on a memorable morning.

So there I was, up early.  It was still dark outside and I stepped out into the silence of the stars.  It was so quiet outside that I felt that my breathing was interrupting something.  I felt like I had just walked out on something going on.

Have you ever been in a room that was so quiet that you couldn't handle it?  You needed to clear your throat or swallow or something and when you did the sound hurt your ears?  That's what it felt like that morning, only I was outside.

I was alone in the constant churning of science.  Trees, snow, and air, all turning and growing unseen.  The light had yet to peak out from the East but I could see a glow coming from the City; a city that was asleep.

The day had yet to begin, had yet to be born, and I was off to create something with my brain, hands and heart on my computer.  For a rare moment in my life, I felt like I got the jump on things.

I share an office in the main building at the camp I work at, so I wandered over there for a couple hours to work on personal projects; China stories, video projects, and blogs.  Things like that.

That morning I did some things.  I felt like I had accomplished so much all before breakfast.  My wife and kids were asleep in the next building over.  No interruptions.  The whole world was asleep for all I knew.  I could focus in the isolation.  It was quite a nice time.

I heard recently that the brain works like a muscle.  It's stronger and keener first thing in the morning.  I can testify to this.  I broke through a few "writer's blocks" in that first morning.  I was definitely encouraged that I could make time to make things.  I could find a quiet place to create.

My new schedule has a few extra hours tacked on to the beginning of a few days a week.  Now that I've seen the light, I can't go back.

This is my proclamation that within these early mornings I choose to live!  I take all of my excuses, hold them up against the wall to make them sweat, and then I choke them to death!

It will take time, like chipping away at a rock.  But I am sure that, if I just make time for myself, I can bring things to life.

May you be encouraged to shake off the rust and start living all of those things you've been meaning to breathe in to but just couldn't find the time.

The time is now!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Oilers Winter

No matter how much Kevin Lowe or Wayne Gretzky talk about the Oilers future, I can't help but think about that seen in Terminator 2 where the playground and people explode all over the place.  This team has to be close to Judgment Day.

We have moseiers, wanders, and gritty-heavies trying to earn newer and shinier contracts with this wreak.  I'm not going to name names but Ryan Jones.

We've got veterans getting traded, fading, and chasing records.  Heart and soul, but not much else.  

Most worrisomely, we've got a handful of early twenty-somethings who seem to have already lived a thousand years on careers spanning a hundred games or two.

This is really where the Edmonton Oilers have come to lay down and die.  Look into Taylor Hall's eyes and tell me you don't see an endless highway to nowhere.

This Organization needs to release everyone.  President, GM, coaches, players, Joey Moss, the Cheerleaders, the radio guys.

They need a new goal horn.  They need new jerseys.  They need new everything.

I hope they can avoid all that.  I hope these young guys can taste the playoffs sometime before my 6 year old gets married.

What I hope is that they can pick themselves up out of the muck and fight back.  Someone needs to make some easy decisions already!

Someone in the higher ups needs to see that this team has too many pedestrians getting too many free passes across the street.  

They've got endless patience for Ryan Jones but only 100 games for a #1 overall pick?!  Lunacy!

This winter has been too dang long watching half a hockey team fight for 13th.   

I bought satellite to watch the Oilers and I'm left with this junk.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Here comes the Misery!

This year, the poorly thought out slogan of the Edmonton hockey club is "Here come the Oilers!"  Here they come, alright.  And there they go, straight down.  Down, down.

Pronger kissed this city goodbye and the good times fell asleep.  We wake up every few years to believe that the dream is over, only to see that it's a trick, and the nightmare, it seems, will never, ever end.  Freddie Kruger is real and he lives under your TV.

The team began the tumble down the mountain in 2006.  It rolled down, through FA pickups and the revolving door of gritty something or others.  Joffery Lupul, Peter Sykora, and Eric Cole came and went.  Sheldon Souray was not quite "Oiler" enough.  Dany Heatley just couldn't bring himself to do it.  The list goes on and on.  Band aids on a gushing hemorrhage.

The team rolled all the way down the mountain and passed through the Valley of the Shadow of Death down a dark hole.  And it just keeps on tumbling down into the depths of what just might be H.E. double hockey sticks.

The flames are hot.  The agony seemingly never ending.

Where are we?
What happened?
Game 5.   Pisani.

It truly seems like a dream.  That team had a kid on it named Hemsky, who is now the veteran that everyone is hoping will be traded away for... anything... anything but his no heart attitude.

Kevin Lowe is now a dirty word.  I wonder what he's thinking right now.  When your job is to develop a good hockey team, what goes through your mind when you have not done your job for 7 years?

Tambellini seemed like he was purposely trying to ruin this team into top draft picks.  He took great pride when his shining moment arrived every year for 3 years in a row.  He smiled his sweaty smile and announced to the world how proud he was to select Taylor Hall.  How much of an honour it was for him to select RNH.  How special it was to select the Russian.  What an amazing feeling it was to be the worst team in hockey for almost a decade.  The laughing stock of the league.

The jokes about the Oilers continued on for years until it got boring; boring and sad.  The Oilers have been so bad that making jokes about them seems to be insensitive.  Like joking around with a child, only to have that child unexpectedly cry.  

"Oops, sorry kid.  I didn't mean to make you cry.  Things will turn around.  You've got a good bunch of young players there.  Just stop crying, will ya'?"

Jeff Petry is useless.  He plays 25 minutes a night, but he also makes mistakes, so apparently he's useless.  Lets trade him away so our top pairing can be Ference and Belov.  Now there, my friends, is a pair of #1 guys.  Let's roll with them.  Roll down into Hell.  

"Good riddance, Jeff.  We don't have any other NHL defensemen to play top minutes, so it's your fault."

The Oilers are broken and battered.  It isn't so much that they are this low.  Reality sets in when we realize that we thought "rock bottom" was 3 years ago.  We have talent now, but the results are as bad, if not worse than before.  Have we hit the bottom yet?  Maybe not.

Maybe they'll sign 32 year old Hiller in the off season and re-up the blue line for one more go at it.  If Hiller doesn't work, MacT and the boys will probably scratch their heads and try again with someone with more experience or grit... some goalie with the magical ability to make the defence in front of him play much, much better.

This team, the 2013-2014 Edmonton Oilers will toe-drag/drop pass/coast/drown their way through the rest of their 30 games.  The management might keep things mildly interesting by trading a few people for a few other people.  How many goalies can they dress this year?

This year I paid for Satellite so that I could watch the Oilers.

Even though I swore that I wouldn't give the NHL a dime for a long, long time, I bought my kid a $40 Oiler jersey because he asked for one for Christmas.  My boy is 6.  He's still too young to realize that the Oilers have been horrible his entire life.  I would like him to get into loving hockey, but what kind of messed up message does the Oiler organization serve up to a kid his age?

At his school, the teachers tell the kids to wear their Oilers stuff the day after they win.  I am waiting for the morning where I have to tell Miles that they lost again and he starts crying because he wants to wear his jersey.

It's gone generational now, Oilers.  What can be done?  What can we do with this misery?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My people.

I realized that my hair was thinning when I was in high school.  It's been a long 14 years.  At first I was worried about it.  I was in high school, which seemed too early for me to lose my hair.

At 20 I got married, tricking my wife into marrying me despite the fact that I would never have luscious hair for her to tousle.  I think that she liked me despite that fact.  Maybe it was my sense of humour.

Why do I bring all this up?  Well, I want to be clear that I am comfortable with the way that I look.  I shave what's left like Mr. Clean and go about my day.  My Grandpa was a great man.  My father is a great man.  No big deal.

Now, on with it.

Recently I was hosting at the camp/retreat centre where I work.  I was at the desk when a woman in her 30's came to the desk to ask for the Internet password.  As I double checked the password from a piece of paper behind the desk the woman decided to give me more information.  She said, "Yeah, someone thought they knew it, so they game me a password.  They said that if it didn't work I should ask you.  They said I should ask the Bald Guy."

Now I want to repeat things.  I can be annoyed about this without being upset about being bald.  The reason I am writing this is not to say that I am a sad little bald teddy bear and I want to crawl into a hole with all of the bald people and die.  No, I have a great life, a great family, and pretty great health as well.

I am writing because what's the deal with people pointing out Bald people all of the time?  I know its a very distinguishable feature, but that alone does not seem valid.  Am I supposed to chuckle at her little quip?  Is she including me in the joke?  Does she want the password or not.

Let me make my point:

"They said I should ask the bald guy."

"They said I should ask the guy with the big nose."

"They said I should ask the fat woman."

"They said I should ask the cripple with the crutches."

"They said I should ask the short girl."

"They said I should ask the chunky girl."

"They said I should ask the guy with really bad acne."

"They said I should ask the Asian."

A distinguishable feature is usually something that you shouldn't point out.  Why on Earth is it okay to distinguish bald people in this way?

Why couldn't I have just been "The guy behind the counter"?  The weekend's guest were all women.  It was a women's retreat!  They could have just said "get the password from the guy" period.

It all reminds me of this.

***Language warning***

If there's one thing you can say is that the bald community is pretty easy going when it comes to all of the hate crimes that we suffer through.  Larry and I both rant not because we are insecure with our baldness.  Rarely will we even bring it up.  We won't ask for special parking spots or tax breaks or anything.  We just find it strange that people are able to be so oblivious in situations where they are clearly carrying out such blatant hate crimes.

Thus is the cross that I carry... not being bald, but having to put up with people pointing it out to me all of the time.