Monday, February 26, 2007

Time for a lifestyle adjustment

I was having a great day, what with scoring the new apartment and all, when I got a phone call.

I had been to see my doctor last week for a physical, and she sent me for blood work additional to the pre-physical work, because of high cholesterol and blood sugar. She wanted to see me today, and not wait for the appointment I had booked in two weeks. It turns out I'm diabetic.

It's not a big surprise. My mom was diagnosed when she was three years younger than I am. She was insulin dependent; I am not -- at least, not yet. She lived for another 25 years, but it was ultimately the diabetes that killed her, gradually shutting down her entire system, until her heart gave out one Friday night almost five years ago, while she and my dad were sharing a joke while watching Jeopardy. It was four months after their 50th anniversary.

It's also not surprising, because there has been diabetes on all sides of our family for generations.

I had already started exercising, having just joined a gym. This is incentive to get my ass away from the computer and go work out. My doctor says exercise and keeping my weight under control are the most important. I'm also on medication, and have to test my blood sugar twice a day.

I'm not a big junk food or fast food eater, and already have the basis of healthy eating down pat. I just have to expand on it more, and not indulge in chocolate, Pepsi, and some of the other tastier, more pleasant aspects of food, or whatever you want to call what we cram down our pieholes.

I am going to control diabetes; it is not going to control me.

Moral support and encouragement are welcome.

I'm doing it: It's new apartment time

...and by new apartment, I mean in a building that's just being built. It's going to be beautiful: Two bedrooms, hardwood floors except ceramic in kitchen and bathrooms (full-size bathroom with tub enclosure, and en suite off the master bedroom with a large shower stall and a short, but deep bathtub), natural gas fireplace, huge patio with a nice view and a connection for a natural gas barbecue, 1,080 square feet, hook-up for washer and dryer (which I will buy immediately). In short, it's going to be great.

The building is intended to eventually be converted to condos, which might suit me fine when the time comes, so there are a lot of extras, including soundproofed floors, although I won't have anyone living under me. It's a nice, quiet, residential neighbourhood, and that's a big plus. While the complex I live in now isn't terribly noisy, it's really just a small notch above trailer park.

I take occupancy of the new place May 1 -- three days after returning from the Dominican -- but I might be able to start moving things in by the middle of April.

Excité? Un peu.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Dontcha love technology?

Technology has been a fickle bitch around my workplace lately. Yesterday, the automation that replaced so many people last month crashed, and we had to do our 6pm newscast the old-fashioned way: manually.
Today, everything crashed, including email and the internet, leaving us paralyzed for about an hour.
I was so frustrated and wanted to vent about my love-hate relationship with technology, but my vent -- this blog -- was inaccessible because of the crash.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hockey from a couple of different perspectives

First, a note to Milky: The Senators won 4-3 in a shootout. Snicker, snicker. 21 Jump Street, indeed.

Moving along, I just came back from watching a hockey game. No, my Gloucester Rangers weren't playing on a Wednesday morning. The first two games of the next playoff series are Saturday and Sunday nights, at times that Trainer Bob can attend! The game I just watched involved Little Bro Dan, playing with a team of paramedics from Timmins, in an emergency services tournament here in Ottawa.

It has been about seven years since I saw Dano play hockey. He's, um, larger than last time, but still looks like a pretty decent defenceman to me. As for his teammates, well, let's just say they're good sports. One of them has such a belly on him, his jersey doesn't fit over it, and his almost-fluorescent green T-shirt was sticking out. Another can hardly skate -- although probably better than I can, which ain't sayin' much -- but hey, he's out there, isn't he?

Dano's team won the game 4-3 on a last-second goal. The buzzer went as if the puck crossing the line triggered it.

When I had lunch yesterday with Dan and The Pretty One (a.k.a. Christine), he invited me to the game. I asked if the team needed a trainer. Yeah, right! A team of paramedics needs a trainer! Dan joked back that he could just picture me there with my Ziploc bags.

I always carry Ziplocs in the first aid kit. They make great disposable ice packs when filled with snow, which is always readily available around a hockey rink. I use them anywhere a player says he's hurting -- okay, almost anywhere a player says he's hurting. I think about 90% of the time it's more psychological, but hey, it works, and Ziplocs are cheap, if you get them at the dollar store.

Last night at practice, the best fixer-upper was a pack of Halls cough drops. There's a flu bug sweeping through the team. Two boys weren't even at practice, and at least three others were complaining of sore throats, coughs and other flu symptoms. Of course, I wouldn't let them have the Halls while they were on the ice, so they wouldn't choke on them. But right after practice, I was handing them out like molasses candy kisses on Halloween.

Enough hockey rambling. Have a great day.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Not so grand, after all

Doh! I just got a nice letter from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, informing me that I am NOT the winner of $1,000.
It turns out that the play area on which I thought I had won is actually three play areas, and you have to match three symbols on the same line horizontally. As the nice lady says in the letter, "there appears to be some confusion about how to play the SLOTS portion of the ticket." You bet your ass, lady. (Get it? Lottery Corporation lady, bet your ass...?)

I'm glad I didn't spend that thousand bucks.

Oh well, at least my hockey team won the first round of the playoffs.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The passing of a great man

From the newswire tonight:

Hit the mute button for a moment of silence: The co-inventor of the T-V remote has died. Robert Adler was 93. Adler and fellow engineer Eugene Polley won an Emmy for the device that made couch potatoship possible. In his six-decade career with Zenith, Adler was a prolific inventor, earning more than 180 U-S patents. He was best known for his 1956 Zenith Space Command remote control, which helped make T-V a truly sedentary pastime. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Adler and co-inventor Polley -- another Zenith engineer -- won an Emmy in 1997 for the landmark invention. He died of heart failure in a Boise, Idaho nursing home.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lost, you're losing me

Okay, Lost, I'm almost lost. So Desmond's only purpose in life, aided by his ability to see the future or experience déja vu, is to save Charlie's life. But Charlie's going to die.

No shit, Sherlock. Last time I checked, everyone's gonna die.

Yeah, Lost, you're getting too weird. I just might have to give up watching you. I'm running out of "one more time", so in my world, you might just die.

Fortunately, you've lasted longer than Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip did. It was interesting and kind of fun the first few episodes, but jumped the shark way too soon. It didn't move along, and the rat-a-tat-tat dialogue that Aaron Sorkin brought over from The West Wing got really tired, really fast.

So, Lost, I will watch next week, to see what the three answers to the three biggest mysteries are, but you had better knock my socks off, or I just might remove you from my VCR's weekly recording list.

By the way, Lost, your Yankee-ness betrayed you on this week's episode. When Desmond was outside the military recruitment office, the poster said "For Honor and Adventure". In England, the poster would say "for Honour...". It would be interesting to see how any of your British or Australian characters -- or Ethan, if he really is Canadian -- would pronounce the last letter of the alphabet.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Feeling old on Valentine's Day

Six days after my 49th birthday, and this is the oldest I've felt all week. "Why?" you ask. Read on.

A reporter in our newsroom today didn't know what The Gong Show was. She was doing a story on the snowstorm, and had a clip of a driver saying traffic was like The Gong Show. She wanted to know if it was dirty, or could she use it. I said it was okay to use, and started to explain that The Gong Show was a TV show in the 1970s. "I was only born in 1982," she interrupted.

I gotta find me some chocolate.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It has been a GRAND day... mostly

Working Sunday sucks. I love the work I do, but the fact that I have to do it weeknights and weekends when I'd rather be doing a lot of other things really tempers things.

But things at work are getting better. We almost have the new automation tamed, although it does throw some unexpected curves at us occasionally.

Another thing getting me down today was that my hockey team was playing the first game of the playoffs, and I couldn't be there. But the boys won 4-2, and apparently played a great game all around. On the up side, I can go to tomorrow's game, because Monday and Tuesday are my days off. So put two ticks on the plus side.

After work, I went to my sister's place for my birthday supper, albeit three days late. (And yes, we call it supper, not dinner. My parents and grandparents always used "dinner" in reference to the midday meal that most us now call lunch). The roast beef with mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, Yorkshire pudding and tomato sauce cake were all excellent. Another big tick on the plus side.

Here's what made it a GRAND day: Also awaiting me at my sister's house was a birthday card with some lottery scratch tickets inside, and I won a thousand dollars! A grand tick on the plus side.

When I got home, I told Little Bro Dan on MSN about winning the thousand bucks. He phoned right away, to give me his mailing address, so I would know where to send his share. Talking to him is always a tick on the plus side.

But he also phoned to tell me that a young guy who played on a hockey team I managed in the early 1990s and with whom Dan has worked a couple times, committed suicide. My heart is aching for the young guy (early 30s, I think) and his parents, who are wonderful people.

That kind of puts a damper on my grand day, while also putting life into its proper perspective. It also makes me that much happier that I can spend some time with my hockey team tomorrow night. I've really missed the boys the past couple of weeks, with my schedule and theirs not meshing. I saw them briefly last night at a pizza get-together after their practice. They all seemed genuinely happy to see me, with several of them telling me how they've missed me, a couple of them asking whether I would be at today's game, and settling for the consolation that I'll be there tomorrow. All that, too, provides proper perspective on days like today.

On MSN, under my name, the signature line or whatever it's called has a motto that I like to think I live my life by. I first saw it on a plaque that my cousin has at her beautiful cottage in the North Laurentians : "Work like you don't need the money; love like you've never been hurt; and dance like nobody's watching". Amen to that.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Happy Birthday to me

Pardon the lack of modesty, but today definitely IS all about me!
Yep, today, old Newsguy Bob is 49. As my sister pointed out in an email this morning, that's so close to 50, it's scary. Easy for her to say -- she's only 45.

I'm counting on JB to tell me what it's like to hit that apparently magic age of 50 when he does this year.

Meanwhile, I'm still very young at heart, healthy and working on being even healthier, and looking forward to what the year ahead has to offer. I figure that I came through the slight turmoil of the last half of being 48 quite well, what with the spectre of possible unemployment hanging over my head, and that prepared me for the potential uncertainty that might arise this year, with the inevitable divestiture of A-Channel Ottawa by its new owner, CTV.

And I do work with a great bunch of people at A-Channel. Several of us went out for wobbly pops after work last night. Not only did my birthday arrive at midnight, but we were saying farewell to a co-worker. Sports dude Arash Madani did his final sportscast last night. As of Monday, he's the Ottawa/Montreal correspondent for The Score. Watch for this guy, he's going places. A true talent and a great guy.

So back to me because, after all, it is MY day. Watch for a glow in the sky emanating from Ottawa, in case someone presents me with a birthday cake.

Have a great day -- MY day.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I did it! I dropped the F-bomb on a telemarketer

It was so spontaneous. Here I was, running back and forth to the laundry room, because of having to wash every towel I own, mostly due to the flood in my kitchen the other day (a topic for another post, another day) and my phone rings.

After the five-second wait and me saying "Hello... hello... hello" while my name popped up on the caller's screen, "Hello. May I speak to Mr. or Mrs. -- F*** off!" and I slammed down the receiver. I didn't even give the poor little recent immigrant a chance to mangle my last name. Then again, he might not be an immigrant at all. He might actually be calling from India, where, I understand, a lot of telemarketing jobs have gone lately.

But being the wuss that I am (both my hockey team and my crew at work have giggled on the rare occasions that I dropped the F-bomb"Heh heh, Bob dropped the F-bomb". As saucy as I can be, I just don't cuss a lot) , a few seconds later, I felt bad, and wanted to *69 or whatever it is to call the number that called you, and apologize to Apu Telemarketerapetalon.

I've discussed this here before: Telemarketers are only doing their minimum-wage jobs, trying to make a living. But Dude, if I want to buy something, I'll call you.