Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My first car accident!

I had my first ever car accident on June 23rd a few weeks ago. I was sitting on the Queensway stopped in a traffic jam, the last car in a line of of 100 or so backed up from St-Laurent. The whole roadway had been empty when I merged and got into my lane, which I thought was pretty unusual. I had looked back and saw a car a football field and a half away, but then I saw the big line up of cars sitting at a standstill 200m ahead. I braked to a nice slow stop about 2 meters from an SUV, was sitting there for 3 or 4 seconds when I heard the squeal of tires locking up.
I distinctly remember saying "Oh No" out loud and was creamed from behind at a standstill by some nice lady from Cornwall going 100km and propelled forward into an SUV and bounced back a few meters. The SUV's bumper was so high and my 2007 Honda Civic's bumper so low I ended up scooping under the truck's behind snapping it's spare tire off. No air bag went off in my car (which is probably good, I hear it's like getting punched by Mike Tyson), maybe because my front bumper was not impacted directly. The SUV's rear end did end up pushing my radiator and engine and a whole bunch of other crap inwards into the engine compartment a few feet.

When I came to a stop there was all kinds of hissing and wacky smells leaking into the cab of the car, rad fluid, air conditioner crap, windshield wiper fluid, just about everything. I shut the car off in park, popped the seat belt (which felt like it had become embedded in parts of my body), stumbled out and looked around. The lady that hit me and the lady I hit were out of their cars and no one looked hurt. I called 911 and then went over to meet the new Friends I had just made. 911 told us to move our cars off to the side of the road if they were drivable. I told them everyone seemed ok so they didn't bother to send an ambulance (oddly enough as soon as I hung up, the adrenaline wore off and my neck, leg and chest started to hurt like a sonofabitch!)

The lady that hit me said my lights came up at the last minute very fast and she had no time to brake. I nodded at this crap and didn't say anything because I had been sitting at a complete stop listening to John Frickin Mayer on my Ipod for 3 or 4 seconds before she realized that me and the other 100 cars were actually not moving at all on this particular stretch of highway. What's that following rule? 2 seconds? Whatever. No one's hurt, I'll just write out my version in the police report.

After I moved my car out of the way I stopped traffic (you take your life into your own hands when you try this, most people are morons) and some idiot in a sports car honked and tried to pass me on the shoulder where our cars were parked (there wasn't enough room). I was trying to grab the huge spare tire from the SUV which was still sitting in the middle of the road which Mr sports car was about to drive over. He yelled something at me and I hefted the tire up out of the way so he could see what I was doing (which was stupid because it hurt to lift it) and he waved a thanks and sped off to try and run over someone else on his way to work. For some reason I thought the tire may be mine and I wheeled it over to compare sizes, but it was much too big. So I looked at the SUV and the light bulb went off (maybe I should have asked for that ambulance!(grin)

There was an OPP on the scene immediately but they were not the responding officers, they were on their way to pick up some prisoner and stopped to assist. Right at this time three tow trucks swooped in out of nowhere and almost caused a 2nd accident trying to maneuver themselves in front of our smashed cars. These guys were from Gervais towing. Tow Trucking is very vulturous because they only get paid if they tow you. If two companies show up they all try to reverse into position in front of your car so they get the tow. They leap out of their frickin trucks and try to talk you into hooking your car up right away even before the cops get there (I guess they thought the cops that stopped to help had already surveyed the scene). The cop that stopped to help out went over to yell at all of the tow truck drivers for being idiots trying to reverse on a highway in the passing lane trying to get the tow and came back to advise us not to let them tow us until the assigned responding officers got there and took down the details of the scene. He also advised us to call our insurance companies to make sure they dealt with this particular towing company.

I had to ^$*& shoo the guy off of my car as he had his hook out and was on his hands and knees trying to see what was left of my car to attach it too. VULTURES!

The other cops showed up, took my report, talked a lot with the lady that hit me and charged her with something. I didn't get a copy of the report because the lead cop said "You don't need it" and poked a thumb back at the lady "She's gonna need it.".

That was good news. I didn't have to pay a $500 deductible! My insurance company was very good, they even had a car rental waiting for me next door from the body shop I towed it to(there's an Enterprise Rental place next to CARSTAR. Good thinking there). It was kind of funny that from where I got smashed up, I could clearly see this body shop across a field real close to us. I decided to go there.

So the car is a total write off. My neck and leg are kinda back to normal. I had a few seat belt bruises that impressed the kids and I also have something that makes a clicking sound in my chest sometimes when I move a certain way near the sternum that I'm gonna have looked at soon. I can't do a push up yet or lift anything with my arms held out. I'm told this is normal when you total your car.

Hey, any accident that you can walk away from is a good one! We just bought a new car this week, a 2009 Honda Civic in a better color with amazing 0.09% financing for 5 years. That's one good thing to come of this.

I'm having a few problems with the insurance company and Honda Financing as I write this, but that's another Blog posting!(grin)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Witness protection program

When I moved into my new place This year I met a few of the neighbors early on. One such time I was at the "super mailbox" (you know, those big multi-mailboxes they have on the corner so they don't have to deliver to your door anymore?) and I ran into a nice lady who introduced herself. She asked something like:

"What brings you to our lovely neighborhood?" and I said:
"Witness protection program!" as a joke. I thought it was funny because, well.. If you were IN the WPP you wouldn't go around advertising it because Tony Soprano-esque types in waste management would be looking to manage your being wasted.. , but.. I guess it wasn't obvious.

So yesterday I'm, at the grocery store, pushing a cart across the road and a car stopped at the crosswalk beeps at me. I peer into the car suspiciously. It's my neighbor! She said Hi.

I said:

"Gee I'm glad it's just you. For a second there I though 'My GOD THEY FOUND ME'! }"!!

And went on my way..

The plot thickens.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Cannington Guitar Weekend 2009 Don Ross & Thomas Leeb

This is a close-up of Thomas Leeb's Lowden guitar. He has a custom "scratch pad" stuck on to the front of the lower bout with double-sided tape that allows him to get some interesting scratch sounds and not dig massive furrowed grooves into his topwood (which seems to happen anyway).

He was the reason I went to this year's edition of the weekend, and to see why exactly, check this vid out!

We were actually talking about him at the last weekend workshop I attended and I was thrilled to hear that Don had gotten him for this one. He's yet another amazing acoustic fingerstyle guitarist doing the body percussion thing and taking it in a whole new direction by hitting the guitar body with the heel of his hand or single fingers while playing intricate fingerstyle patterns. His concert portion of the weekend with Don was one of the most amazing I'd ever seen and he even surprised us with a vocal tune at the end.

On the first day of seminars we locked ourselves out of the hall we were using (Don had left to go rent a spot light) so we set up on his front lawn and learned a fingerstyle version of "JUMP" by "Van Halen" in DADGAD tuning. I may work out a fingerstyle solo one day!

As usual there were some great players in attendance and we jammed till the wee hours both nights although I turned in a bit earlier than previous years, being like, older and all. I stayed at the wonderful "Winds of Erin" B&B again, it's comfort and quiet and shower being a big plus! The food was great. I don't have any food pictures this time around, too busy eating I guess.

Thomas is an Austrian living in California, and this was his first visit to Canada so it was great to talk about the differences between the three countries. Public nudity, guns and politics like you've never heard. I also now know several German swear words, for which I am thankful.

As I mentioned before the concert portion was a gas. Don was experimenting with his Boss floorboard effects units. He's getting into ending some of his songs with a triplet delay thingie so it goes "Gadank, gadank gadank...." He's also coming up with many great guitar faces whenever he used the wha or distortion pedal which is kinda new as well.

I had a great time but appeared to have caught some kind of bug on the last day, which made me feel a bit like death warmed over (as you can see in this photo), it got worse the next day but these things are such a hoot that it's easy to forget about being a bit under the weather. I hope I didn't infect anyone.

Unfortunately, this will probably be my last time in good old Cannington, as Don and Brooke are moving to Nova Scotia this year, which is kind of cool in and of itself. I love that province. It just means when the guitar weekends get going again, I'll have a hell of a bigger drive.

When I got back home I checked my facebook stuff and noticed that Don's wife Brooke was updating her status during the weekend. At this time I'd like to apologize for leading the jams on "Blackbird" and participating on the demolition of Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah which may have caused her to be sick to her stomach. We just didn't know! Thank god for Facebook!

P.S. I'll learn Danny Boy for next time.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

They say it's your birthday!

This is cute. It was my 40th birthday on Sunday. I was away for the weekend 450km from home near Toronto visiting freinds and taking part in a weekend guitar workshop I booked 6 months ago (here are some photos!). I knew then that it would fall on my birthday, and made it known that I was not going to be around for it, that we'd do a rain check and all that.

So at 11:50 or so Saturday, after a wicked concert and during a lull in the after party guitar playing I plunked myself down in an empty room and I was checking my email on my Itouch from the previous two days, totally oblivious to the date about to click over.

I had a happy birthday email from my wife with a link to a video of Sir Paul McCartney (my favorite Beatle, my wife likes John Lennon more). So I sat there and watched the vid and truly got a big kick out of it. You're never too far from home with all this electronic gadgetry you can pack these days.

Someone walked in just as it was ending and saw the funny look on my face and asked what was up.
"It's an email from my wife. I forgot something important" I said.
"You didn't forget your wife's birthday or something like that did you?"
"Nope.. it's mine I forgot!" Muhahahahahahaha

I love my wife!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Creepy abondoned house - a movie set in the making!

Check this creepy place out! An old abandoned farmhouse out by my brother's in-laws. He took me out to take a peek and man, was it everything I'd thought it'd be and more!

Even the surrounding trees are creepy! It lies at the end of a long bumpy lane way that you'd need a Sherman tank to navigate and as you walk up you can't help but get the feeling flying blue monkeys wearing fez caps could arrive at any second and disembowel you.

Once inside there's pentagrams everywhere, chalk body outlines, only on the wall instead of on the ground, and a huge collection of raccoon poop! (or ghost raccoon poop, this being haunted and all).

It is very much open concept now, the second floor offering quick and immediate access to the first floor if you step in the wrong place. This is definitely a fixer upper opportunity for someone with a few years on their hands.

The basement is stone walled with huge timber supports and has a few live-in birds. There's a chair or two, one's even stuffed and looks like it's providing some wee animal with shelter.

This is definitely going to be a movie set in the far future.

More photos here.

Hanging out on the roof! Gutter blockage.

I finally climbed up on my roof to see why one of my rain gutters was full of water and overflowing down the side of my new place all spring.

My roof is very steep in the back so I pulled a shoeless Joe and shimmied out to the edge barefoot to check it out. Turns out there was a blockage in the downspout. I came back armed with that most useful bastion of Canadian home repair, the "Easton aluminum Hockey Stick" and golfed the thing out of there off the second story and into my neighbors back-yard. I thought it was one of those wee little liquor bottles and that the kids of the previous owner (or the previous owner themselves) had climbed out here to have a secret sip and enjoy the view.

Turns out it is some kind of suntan lotion. So they were just catching some rays! (I'd nail the window shut now before my kids think of this but I think that's goes against some fire safety code. )

Now that it's clear I can have delusions of buying this gutter cleaning robot to clean it. Cool!!!

When 4 year olds get PO'd.

"No. You can't eat chocolate Kinder surprise eggs for breakfast..."

A conversation that has taken place on more than one occasion (replace the words "Kinder surprise egg" with any sugary, chocolaty, ADHD-enhancing substance).

This came about from a Boston Pizza advertising display that read "Life's uncertain, eat dessert first!!!" that I made the mistake of reading aloud once in the restaurant.

At least it makes for great pictures! (collage to follow one day).