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Spectres of Yore | Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Like most other people, I sometimes catch myself thinking about what life - mine and others - would be like if I had made different decisions. I don't do so with regret or disappointment, but with genuine curiosity. There exists a theory that there are infinite other universes, and that new ones are created every instant with every possible outcome or decision branching out into a new universe or dimension of existence. This intrigues me, because somewhere out there could be multiple versions of me that never decided to get on that plane, never took that class, or never got that job. I would like to meet those alternate "me"s, talk to them, see how they are doing. I wonder whether future versions of myself would want to thank me, yell at me, or warn me. And what would I have to say to past versions of myself? What advice or warnings could I possibly give them without knowing what all the alternatives could be? This, of course, all boils down to the same armchair-philosopher question, the "Would you have done anything differently?" motivational posters that office workers hang in their cubicles. However, it remains a difficult question to answer.

The concept of regret is one I continuously try to distance myself from, as it is arguably the most useless emotion bestowed upon us by whichever cosmic entity you choose to believe - or not - in. Unlike fear, anger or greed, it doesn't motivate us. It doesn't provide the comfort and warmth that love or friendship do, nor can we learn from it the way we learn from pain or pleasure. All that regret can teach us is that we want to avoid it, because the emotional drain it can cause us is amplified by the fact that we cannot change the thing we are regretting - it's in the past. Until time ceases to be linear for us humans, that means that we are stuck regretting something that we can never change. That's an awfully unappealing prospect to most folks, but it's difficult to just flip a switch and decide to stop regretting something, at least it is for me. We use tired expressions like "Hindsight is 20/20" to make up for decisions which, in retrospect, may not have always been in our best interests or that of others. "It was the best I could do with the information I had at the time", we try telling ourselves. We conveniently forget that we are looking at our past selves through rose-colored glasses, and that we could indeed have maybe done things differently. We never call our hindsight 20/20 except when we think we've made a mistake. It's never something we say about the good choices we've made in life.


Bike for sale | Monday, April 15th, 2013

(I hereby promise that this will be the last automotive/motorcycle-related post for a while)... 

So, I'm selling my wicked touring bike. This is the motorcycle I rode on my 12000+KM trip through Canada and the U.S. last fall; a 2005 Victory Kingpin.

Details copy-pasted from my Kijiji ad after the jump.


Really home | Thursday, February 7th, 2013

"Hey, Chris, isn't that your dog?" asked the scruffy-looking guy to his even scruffier-looking friend.
His friends' gaze turned away from his grilling chicken breasts and towards me and Ryu. "No, wait... well, one second now... hey hold up man, where'd you get that dog? Is that my dog?"
"Nah man," I replied, gripping Ryu's leash tighter as I sensed him sensing my apprehension, "this ain't your dog."
"Chris, I think that's your dog, man." The less-scruffy dude started to approach us.
"Listen, guys, I can assure you that this is not your dog," I replied, my tone growing deeper. "He will be more than happy to convince you himself if you get any closer." That, of course, was an outright lie. Ryu would sooner roll over onto his back and offer up his tummy for rubs than defend me from brigands.
"Nah nah, that's not my dog, let'em go Bryce." He turned to me as I continued to walk away; "Sorry man, it's just that I've got a dog just like that."

Of course you do. Two mean looking brothers dressed in parkas and running shoes, grilling their dinner at 8pm in the parking lot of the Extended Stay Hotel here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, have a dog that looks exactly like mine. I was tired after a good 10 hours of winter driving from Steven's Point, Wisconsin - 8 hours of meandering around the Great Lakes, through Chicago Traffic, and getting hoplessly lost in Fort Wayne in that Hemi Dodge Charger with nothing but quick pit-stops. I was exhausted, impatient, and my tolerance for bullshit was near its all-time low - and I was certainly not going to get jumped, scammed or mugged.


Hello again, old friend. | Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Well, that certainly took a while.

The update to Drupal 7 was quite the pain, but seems to be mostly working now. The theme is still busted and most other things are not working, but hopefully I can be back up and running within a week or two. In the meantime, I post tidbits to a Google+ account. We'll see how long that lasts.


Cabane à Sucre - Pied de Cochon | Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Several weeks ago, three friends and I had the opportunity to visit the Cabane a Sucre Au Pied de Cochon. To read the comments on Internet forums you'd think it more likely to come across a spotted unicorn in your dining room than to score reservations to the Cabane. In reality, though, all you need to do is call well in advance. And by well in advance, we're talking about 6 months. So, if you want a table for next year, you'd better be getting your dialing finger ready sometime in the next few months.

And – unlike most things that are hyped up to be something they're not – in this case, it's well worth the wait.


The planets were so well aligned, in fact, that our reservation coincided exactly with my buddy Vahe's birthday, making for an easy, inexpensive and delicious birthday gift. We got into my lemon of a car, and drove the 30 minutes northwest of Laval, past the suburbia of St-Eustache, to the idyllic rural setting of St-Benoit-de-Mirabel. Unlike most “traditional” Cabanes, this one was much more lounge-like, smaller, intimate, and clean – make no mistake; this is a restaurant much more than it is a typical Cabane A Sucre. That doesn't bother me, but for the non-Quebeckers who come from out of town to get a “taste of Quebec”, it needs to be said that this is far from the traditional Cabane A Sucre experience.

Once inside, the hostess looked up our reservation and promptly assigned us to a table; actually, a double-table shared with a group of friendly seniors. The waitress came to our table and explained that there would be three courses, each with several plates of food to share between us. We also had a limitless supply of maple syrup and some of the best crepes I've ever had. We ordered beer – not a wimpy pint, but something larger that a pint, something... precious – and waited not-so-patiently for our food to arrive.

Lo and behold, arrive it did.


JR's Dog Training | Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

This is the first in a many-part series on businesses with whom I've recently had either extremely positive or extremely negative experiences. For the sake of courtesy, I'm kicking it off with a positive one.

JR's Dog Training

Montreal-Area: 514-631-7478
North America: 1-877-631-7478

info@jrdogtraining.com

Many of you already know that I've recently adopted a 10 month-old mutt. His name is Ryu, and he looks like a hyena reject from a Japanese anime movie. He's a cross of a multitude of breeds; best guesses approximate something like 50% Lab (temperament), 25% Grey or Sighthound (body and energy level), 25% Pitbull (jawline), and 125% submissive pushover. He is probably the most gentle dog I have ever met. He adores women and follows them around everywhere they go - though I'm not yet sure if this is simply part of his personality or if it's something he's already picked up on from hanging out with me too much.

My new 10-month old Hyena Puppy.

Note: Not really a Hyena.

Also like his alpha, he can be clumsy, awkward, stubborn, and often confused as to what's expected of him. He and I was in dire need of some training. The rescue I adopted him from (Eleven Eleven - highly recommended as well) suggested I get in touch with Joe Rosen (of, you guessed it, JR's Dog Training in Montreal) to get started on lessons right away. I mostly wanted to make sure he was clean in the house and heeled well with me when we go jogging, but halfway through the training I realized that JR was in fact giving me all the tools and information I needed to raise what was becoming, in essence, the perfect dog.

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