Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Bunnies Win!

Wow, yesterday I declared the jetlag was winning. Today in my cleaning efforts, I found bunnies I don't want to touch. And so they win. Bad!

I'll get them eventually. But not today.

I woke up (barely) with great intentions. This morning I attacked the stove with 7-8 months of grease buildup on it's cooking surface. It's clean now! But above it hangs the true enemy. In the vent above the stove sits a colony of grease soaked dust bunny commandos. This species of dust bunny can't be vaccuumed. It can't be wiped without smearing. And it can't be removed and soaked without certainly spoiling the nice clean stove underneath it. So that battle must wait.

Oh well, I made a call and scheduled what is essentially a second interview. Yippee! And it's in the afternoon, so my jetlag won't stop me from getting the job! :-)

For now, there's laundry to hang, vacuuming to do, and large parts of kitchen to keep attacking. Wish me luck! I hope I don't find any other terrible foes.

p.s. Yeah, I started cleaning about a week ago. This is the continuation, after a brief break for a party bender. >:-)

Monday, October 30, 2006

Jetlag is winning!

Help! I can't sleep at night or stay awake during the day!

So last night, for example, I was a good boy and was home well before 11pm. I hit the bed a little late for my midnight target, but honestly wasn't at all sleepy.

Tossing and turning were the results.

I caught bits of sleep, but mostly just started to get hungry.

At around 4am I had no choice but to eat something.

Silly me had played with the fridge temperature control earlier. So it was a new experience to wait for the frozen milk to thaw into my cereal.

Needless to say, TV was far more enticing than sleep. So it was another 90 minutes or more before I crawled back into bed.

Just in time...

To hear my roommate off to work.

And the sun was rising.

Not up, but definitely rising.

After hours of fighting over whether it's night or day, my body finally agrees it's time for sleep. Just as the world is waking up.

That's okay, I've set two alarms.

Which sounded far sooner than anything else in the night had prepared me to expect. Two buzzers buzzing. I look up at the clock and it says....

I hate jetlag.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Just blogging for the sake of it

These little monkeys have nothing at all to do with this blog. But a friend of mine is very excited about working with them soon. And hey, they're monkeys! Cool. :-)

It's been a lazy weekend. I hit this town running last week and never stopped for breath, except a bit of cleaning and a couple business appointments. Now my internal clock is highly confused! I can't sleep before 4am and tend to wake on my own late in the afternoon. Hopefully last night's switch back to GMT+1 will help a bit. I essentially woke an hour sooner than intended.

I've been back to reading and news lately too. Enjoying Canadian political humour, reading up on the latest international stupidity.

It's great to be home! The other day I was talking to an American-expat friend of mine. I looked her straight in the eyes and said," Bush is an idiot, the U.S. is screwing up world politics, and I already believe in God but don't have a religion, thank you." After 7-months away from home, in the States and Canada, I had learned to self-censor my topics and conversations. Never talk about religion or politics. And these days you can't touch other topics like foreign events, sex, education, war, oil and more without walking a slippery path to religion or politics.

My friend said," Yeah, so?" I think she's wonderful for that response!

I said," Nothing, I just haven't been able to say that to anyone for many months now." She understood.

Aren't they cute monkeys???

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I wish I had pictures

When ever I'm walking through the streets in the centre of Amsterdam I always end up wishing I had my camera with me. But even when I do have it, I feel funny about walking down the street taking pictures (or videos) so I still have nothing to post.

There are just so many photo perfect images! Every where you turn, especially at night, the place and the people blend together to form the most perfect portraits of life here.

It all goes to forming a lovely state of contentment. And life has pitched in to help! I had a job interview yesterday and have already had "good sounding" but non-commital comments from the perspective employer. They're sending me product materials to learn from and we're arranging further meetings. Woohoo!

I think I know why I don't pull the camera out. This city is about a feeling.

I know lots about F-stops, auto-focus, etc. but I don't know how use a camera to caputre a feeling like the contentment of finally being home!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Day... three?

I've been home for just over 72 hours! The apartment is half clean.

Yesterday war raged! No matter how much the vacuum sucked and strained, wave after wave of dusty-bunny soldiers stormed the nozel, clogging the bag and spewing tomorrow's dust sediment through the air. Behind every box and item of furniture they sat in wait; only to scurry around the floor the moment their hiding place was disturbed. They would immediately run towards whatever section of floor had just been cleaned. But I kept fighting!

Some bunny platoons... especially those on high shelves... released dirty bombs the moment their location was discovered. You could see the air all around slowly sinking to the floor... to regroup and attack again. But I kept fighting!

It took a bucket, squeegy, sponge, dust rags, and a vacuum. But I kept fighting!

I would like to declare that anti-dust forces have been successful in their battles against the dust-bunnies. The green zone, in the bedroom and hallway, is expected to remain clean and to ensure this, anti-dust forces will be moving into the kitchen and livingroom to reclaim terriroty (such as the spot under the couch) in the name of clean-loving peoples every where.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

I'm Home, I'm Home, I'm really Home!

I have literally drempt of this moment! But each time I had this dream I ended up waking up in a hotel.

Friday October 20 at 17:16 EST, leaving Toronto Canada

I'm on the plane! I can't believe it, because I came REALLY close to not making it, and then the race at the end almost killed me. As all good boys and girls do, I arrived at the airport (Toronto's Pearson International) three hours in advance for my flight. Perhaps too early, because the near emptiness of the entire terminal lulled me into a dangerous complacency.

When I arrived, I checked my baggage (all four), paid my overweight charges ($230) and grabbed a cigarette all in less than 10 minutes. There were no lines, no waits, and there was still nearly 3 hours left and no apparent reason to hurry. So I went for lunch. I stopped, ate, had two beers, and spent my time talking to three lovely young ladies off to England and Cuba. Perfect!

Except when I stepped out from lunch the security lines for the gates stretched farther than the eye could see. Over the horizon! I had 90 minutes before the plane was scheduled to depart, only 30 minutes until boarding was to begin, and well... security took me 87 minutes! EIGHTY SEVEN!!! They even decided to swab my baggage for explosive (I think that's what they were doing) and for the first time EVER my belt buckle set the metal detector off.

But hey, I already gave away that I made it to the plane. :-) What I didn't mention was the flat out run from one end of the terminal to the other while the public address system blared my name and claimed that my gate was closing. I was the only one not on and made it with less than 60 seconds to spare.

And that's when my asthma attack hit!

God verdomme I hate that!!! I sat in my seat and figured I'd be okay. It was mild. My lungs were building phlegm and I started coughing a bit, but I was still fine. And within minutes, we took off. Oh wow, does that ever change things. What's good on the ground isn't at all good at 8,000 feet ASL and we were there.

I swear of all the flights I've been on (this is my 29th trip across the Atlantic for example) that was the fastest a pilot has ever turned off the seat-belt sign. Amazing! I was able to jump up, grab my inhaler from the overhead, and duck off to the lavatory where my lungs eventually gained normalcy. Writing this bloc [section of] entry followed immediately.

I didn't want to wait, because I've had an amazingly crazy airport experience and wanted to type this while still feeling the shaking in my hands.

Marsha, I wish you all the best on your upcoming wedding! I hope your trip through security and onwards to England is less stressful than mine. Crazy-camera-lady, best of luck catching your flight and have a safe trip back to Winter-peg. That really did take BIG balls to jump into the security line when/where you did but it seems to have worked out for everyone involved... plus I enjoyed talking to you.

23:01 EST / 05:01 CET, 36,000 feet over England

Wow! One hour to landing! This seems to have been a really short flight. Perhaps because it took at least an hour for me to believe I was actually on it? Perhaps because I watched and enjoyed all three in-flight movies? Perhaps because all the young pretty Dutch women kept wandering throughout the cabin? Who knows, it's been good.

Perhaps I'm doing the calculation wrong? I haven't even had any nicotine gum yet!

But wait, there's the captain saying we're preparing to land in "less than one hour!"


Saturday October 21 at 17:46 CET, Amsterdam NL

*yawn* Good morning all! Wow, this time I woke up still here! I'm probably not dreaming. :-)

I've way overslept my plan. I knew if I let myself sleep after arriving this morning that this would happen. But by 8am local time I crashed into bed with the alarm set to 11:30. That somehow got interpreted by my sleeping body as 5:30pm. Oh well....

But who really cares?!?! I'm Home!!!

Friday, October 20, 2006

24 Hours til home....

Wow, what a difference a day makes. This time last night I couldn't sleep. I was too excited by the prospects of imminently being home, in Amsterdam, in my own bed, cleaning my apartment and enjoying unemployment.

Today the word is trepidation.

I'm tired and I wish all the next part of the journey would just disappear. But I also wish I could just hit pause, and stay in this moment and place longer. A lot longer.

When I first picked up and went away, far from home, it was hard. Really really hard. I remember leaving work and going to the airport with tears streaming from my eyes, wondering what insane descision I had made for myself. Today isn't nearly that bad, but all those emotions are there (here) again.

Coming home to my family on Thanksgiving was AMAZING! Children cried, people yelled to be heard, the same old turkey was served and went to waste, and I loved it. 12 days later, the shine is gone. My family still get on my nerves. I still get on their nerves. This town holds no future for me. But leaving home never (ever?) gets easier.

An adventure is closing.

During the last half year I've met Frank and Lies (whom I hope to know forever), Nate and Brian (you GEEKS!) who where awsome, got to know Joby more than I should have, met Diana and Debby and Megan (none as well as I'd like) and dozens of other people who have enriched my life. I've tried not to neglect Esther, and Adam, and Humaira, although I'm sure I've missed pivital points in their lives. And I've grown a lot (WHOLE LOT!!!) as a person myself.

Tomorrow's plane flight marks a passage from one adventure to another. I know not what is in store. And I sleep better for not knowing. It's going to be tough, and parts will suck. But when all is said and done, I simply hope I know even more wonderful people, have enriched my life and person even more, and am still up for the next adventure.


God, please give me the strength to continue what I so long ago started. And please get me home to my bed ASAP.

Morgan (I Dive At Night)

p.s. I think once home, my soul requires a few night dives to keep the whole thing rolling. :-) So I pray I'm also destined to be hooked up with a good PADI shop too!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

48 Hours to home!

I'm too excited to sleep. In less than 48 hours (46?) I'll be home in Holland!

I've spent most of the last 7 months travelling. I've been to Atlanta, NYC, and Boston for work, to Niagara Falls and Toronto a number of times to visit, to Florida and Alabama for scuba trips, and driven about 25,000kms through 18 states and 2 provinces. I've been on 7 flights and crossed the Atlantic a few times. Like the old song says," I'm tired and I wanna go home."

Although not tired enough for sleep. I've tried laying there, but just keep picturing being home soon. The place will be a mess. It'll take days just to get all the dust-bunnies but I'm looking forward to it. To caring for my stuff rather than being in a hotel. Woohoo! Let the dusting begin!

But first, I hope I get some sleep.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

If Jesus got laid, it was in Nazareth!

Unlike the Da Vinci Code, I'm not willing to go out on a limb and claim whether or not Jesus got laid, had kids, all that... but if Jesus got laid, I'm SURE it was in Nazareth!

A prophet is never welcome in his home town. But the prodigal son is welcome with open arms. The net sum... a man is more dangerous in his home town/country than ever elsewhere.

Tell people what you've achieved, and they may be impressed. Tell people what you've achieved and that you've from where they're from and... WOW... things change.

The reference to getting laid is simply a metaphor, but in terms of making friends, gaining status, achieving success, having fun, it is incredible how much the idea of the prodigal son overshadows the idea if the prophet in his home town. They're both correct, both true. But one far out-weighs the other in impact.

I once worked in a company where an engineer left and returned a director. His three or four years of outside experience far outweighed the same three years in the same place. This corporate lesson holds true throughout life. Three years overseas, in another company, doing a different job, whatever, holds more sway than three years of the same old same old.

Power to the traveller!

We don't intend it when we leave. We're looking for something new and different. And yet our experience let's us understand the universal human condition in a way that others with less experience never can.

This won't make sense to someone who hasn't done it... picked up and moved half a world, or a quarter world away. But what it boils down to is simple. If Jesus ever did got laid (in his short time on Earth) then he most likely got laid in Nazareth.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Hi Everyone! Well, it took two days of driving (and a lot of partying along the way) but I made it home to Thanksgiving. Okay, I was the last member of the family to pull in the driveway, but I made it! And I'm glad I did. Otherwise I would have missed some of the hilarious moments as all THREE generations got together.

Okay, last year we had three generations also (technically). But we didn't have any grandparents. This year, thanks to Brody the wonder-crier, we also had grandparents in the house! The first video is that new grandfather being attacked by his nephew. The second is a picture montage ending with the little cry baby himself. (Brody, not the grandpa.)


"This Better Not Get On The Internet!"

"Brody's 1st Thanksgiving"


Thursday, October 05, 2006

Real life takes centre stage

I really prefer to write about ideas over events. But today events are taking centre stage over ideas. It's a busy time. It's my second last day working my current contract, my third last day in the United States, and plans and activities are flying about in all directions.

I spent a portion of my "work day" and sent three more job applications. (Thanks for the leads Irene!) I should be terribly worried about what I'm going to do next for work, but I'm too preoccupied by the question of when I'm going to get to sleep.

Hey, if anyone needs a radio communications network built, I can do that. High-speed wireless data? I'm your guy! Need help programming your Nokia? So do I.

I'm really looking forward to being at my parents' on Sunday for Thanksgiving dinner! And strangely, wonderfully, a number of old classmates from college have just made email contact this week... just before I'll be back in town. I hope they can pull themselves away from the Lego(tm) and Teletubbies long enough to come out for a beer.

Aside: Is it wrong that my classmates all have children and I still hang out with young women who babysit?

To my friends reading this, no matter where you are, chances are I'll by passing by and seeing you in the next week or two. If all goes well then by the time I get home I'll be too partied out to party... out.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Happier Thoughts....

Don't you love it when you find a soul mate? A relatively rare thing, some times people with whom you are just particularly "in tune" enter into your life. Some times these meetings are brief. Other times these meetings start long-term friendships or even life-long romances (very rare!).

No matter what the results, there are intangible qualities to some people who touch us (our soul) in a way that others simply do not. Some sense people with good auras. Others feel compatible chakra. Other people think in terms of ch'i (qi). In western culture we think of finding a soul mate.

Regardless of how it's phrased, I find it intriguing that this phenomena is described in also every human culture. Yet in our modern western culture is has no unified terminology and is generally ignored or passed off as fantasy.

I hope most of us have had friends (or closer) where we were able to finish the other person's sentences, or ended up saying unexpected things simultaneously. Think back. Was this "skill" something that arose from spending large amounts of time with the other person, or did it appear straight away?

We're trained to dismiss these coincidences. To ignore them. To ignore the feeling of being some how mentally/telepathically linked to another human. But it doesn't have to be that way. Open your mind and accept the peaceful pleasure that comes from even the simplest interactions with one of life's greatest gifts... the soul mate.

WTF is wrong with North Americans???

Four, count 'em, four school shootings in the past week or so. Three in the U.S. and one in Canada. What is going on here people?!?! Over 225 school shooting deaths in the last 7 years.

Being a European-residing Canadian currently working in the United States I've tried hard to keep my blog a-political. Essentially non-topical. And certainly un-judgmental! But seriously, there's a problem going on here (in North America... not just the U.S.) and it scares the heck out of me.

When I first moved to Holland I thought I could easily stay until I had children of school age. But due to the extremely liberal systems in place there I thought I would want my kids to be educated in a Canadian public school or otherwise in private school. Now I'm rethinking. When even the Amish aren't safe... who is?

To those reading from the outside world, don't get me wrong. The mentality that allows a grown man to take out his frustrations by executing 6-year old girls is NOT the norm! The average person here is the same as the average person any where else. But the statistical outliers, the exceptions to the rule, are popping up here in a way that seems unique.

Michael Moore's film Bowling for Columbine was all about this very topic. And years after the problem took front stage in the general consciousness, we still don't have any solutions or any ideas as to the causes of the problem.

In 5 days I'm getting out of the U.S., and in about 12 days I'll be leaving the continent. That's a personal solution. But that doesn't work for or help out the hundreds of millions of innocent people I'm leaving behind.

In general, this world needs more love. Love yourself, love your family, love your god. It doesn't matter what. In specific, a few people clearly need to get laid more often also.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Blogspace has good people!

It's almost counter intuitive. But blogspace has some good people. On the internet we can all be whomever we wish. We can act, do, say as we please. And yet, there's still tons and tons of people who choose to be good.

Thanks for the kind words and comments lately! As a lonely traveller (soon to be homebound!) who's been on the road a LONG LONG time, it's nice to have a place to go and "meet" good people.

Just a quick thought.

I don't mean to brag, but....

I don't mean to brag, but I feel this is blog-worthy, because today I became a Professional Scuba Diver!!!

After just over 11 months of diving, 80 dives and 7 other courses I just had an instructor sign off on completion of my PADI Divemaster course. I'm now a professional recreational scuba diver. A PADI Divemaster. :-)

A year ago I took up diving, nearly 25 deparate years after first wanting to. My dad did his open water course when I was 8 years old, and by the time I was 9 I had duplicated most of the exercises he was taught, under his guidance, in my grandparents' pool. Ever since then I wanted to dive, but it was only last year that I finally got certified and did my first open water dives.

I was taught by an amazing group of people during a dedicated diving vacation to the Mediterranean island of Malta. And I instantly fell in love. In love not just with diving, but the whole culture, community, and lifestyle.

I watched what was going on around me and realized I was doing something seriously wrong in my own life! I was (am) an engineering professional who in spite of years of experience and sacrifice still didn't have job satisfaction, job security, or (critically) financial independen$e. After a short time watching my instructors cavort and talk amongst themselves I realized that they had ample job satisfaction, and limitless job security. They can travel the world at will to teach on whatever tropical paradise they desire. The only complaint... no financial independence. But who has that???

So I set as a personal goal to achieve my first professional level within a year. And in just 48 weeks I've done it.

There are multiple morals to this story. First, you can do whatever you set your mind to! Second, job satisfaction is more important than remuneration. And lastly, I haven't had to pay to go scuba diving for months now!!!

My training to be a divemaster has been an internship, meaning I've been working as a divemaster. And that means lots and lots of scuba diving at no charge. No charge for air, no charges for equipment, etc.. The next goal is go diving and come back cash ahead! Hopefully this goal will eventually lead to divemastering paying for instructor training and being an instructor paying for all life's little needs.

Dive for work, work to eat, eat to live, live to dive.