Where My Shoes Have Taken Me – Halifax Pride

As long-time readers of this blog will undoubtedly know, I’m not writing nearly as much as I used to. I think it just happens to be that when life isn’t that bad, bloggers have less and less to write about. Life is right now is good. VERY good. Things are finally coming together in a variety of ways. While I’m not writing that much, I am still taking photos on a near-daily basis and trying to appreciate everything that happens around me.

I’ve decided to do a new series of blog posts where I will try to tell a story through photos. It may work; it may not. But at the end of the day, I hope that I will be able to continue sharing my life through pictures and stories.

My shoes take me to a lot of different places. Here is the first of the series of tales about those places…

These are my new Relaxed Fit: Skech-Flex sneakers. Without a shadow of a doubt, they are the most comfortable sneakers I've ever owned. On this day, they took me to a hillside in downtown Halifax to watch the 2016 Pride parade.
These are my new Skechers: the Men’s Relaxed Fit: Blais-Telen. Without a shadow of a doubt, they are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever owned. On this day, they took me to a hillside in downtown Halifax to watch the 2016 Pride parade. We were VERY fortunate to find a near-empty hillside by the very beginning of the parade route. While thousands and thousands of people waited throughout the downtown core, there may have been maybe 100 people scattered along the hill. It was the PERFECT spot.
This was the first time my son had ever attended the Halifax Pride Parade. In fact, I'm not sure if he ever had been exposed to the LGBT community before. I tried to explain to him prior to the event what to expect, why we were going, and why there was a parade. I felt it was important for all of our kids to understand what everybody was celebrating.
This was the first time my son had ever attended the Halifax Pride Parade. In fact, I’m not sure if he ever had been exposed to the LGBT community before. I tried to explain to him prior to the event what to expect, why we were going, and why there was a parade. I felt it was important for all of our kids to understand what everybody was celebrating.

Halifax Pride 2
Halifax Pride 3
Halifax Pride 4

This was my son's favourite part of the parade. While no San Diego Comic Con, the local Hal-Con has grown in popularity over the past few years. To watch a rainbow-coloured stormtrooper walk by was really cool to him.
This was my son’s favourite part of the parade. While no San Diego Comic Con, the local Hal-Con has grown in popularity over the past few years. To watch a rainbow-coloured stormtrooper walk by was really cool to him.

Halifax Pride 6
Halifax Pride 7

The kids stood there the entire time…smiling and enjoying the entire parade. This was an experience that they weren’t soon going to forget.
As the final float went by, we dashed home for a few minutes before the second stop on our Pride Tour, the roller derby game!!
As the final float went by, we dashed home for a few minutes before the second stop on our Pride Tour, the roller derby game!!
I had never been to a live roller derby game before, but my wife had always wanted to go to one. This just seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Anchor City Rollers is the name of Halifax's flat track roller derby league. On this day, they were presenting a mixed, queer-themed scrimmage roller derby game featuring players from all over the Maritimes. It was considered an official Halifax Pride event that was made up of the UNISCORNS and the SCISSOR KICKS.
I had never been to a live roller derby game before, but my wife had always wanted to go to one. This just seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Anchor City Rollers is the name of Halifax’s flat track roller derby league. On this day, they were presenting a mixed, queer-themed scrimmage roller derby game featuring players from all over the Maritimes. It was considered an official Halifax Pride event that was made up of the UNISCORNS and the SCISSOR KICKS.


When all was said and done, the game was a blow-out. It didn't matter to the kids, though...they had a GREAT time. All of the women put on a helluva show and displayed more toughness than I could ever imagine displaying myself (I mean...I certainly wouldn't do that!!).
When all was said and done, the game was a blow-out. It didn’t matter to the kids, though…they had a GREAT time. All of the women put on a helluva show and displayed more toughness than I could ever imagine displaying myself (I mean…I certainly wouldn’t do that!!).

So this is where my shoes have taken me this time. Because I’m always wearing something on my feet, I’ll always have a way to get somewhere.

Halifax…we’re BETTER than this

I’m pissed off.

Halifax…we’re BETTER than this.

After the horrific events that took place in our nation’s capital on October 22nd, tensions across the country were at an all-time high. We lost a good person and a reservist who was simply doing his duty of guarding the tomb of the Unknown Soldier…and there’s no need for that. No justification. Thankfully, the shooter was gunned down inside of the Parliament Building. I’m glad he’s dead and the Canadian Soldier At Arms, Kevin Vickers, is a damn hero for pulling the trigger before more innocent victims died.

Yesterday morning at 8:36am, a report was phoned into Halifax Regional Police. The report was that somebody believed they saw a man walking with what appeared to be a rifle wrapped in black cloth. Police swarmed the area immediately and then social media took over.

What bothered me wasn’t so much the immediate fear and panic that this report caused, it was the fear mongering that local media proceeded to push on the people of Halifax through unconfirmed reports and hearsay.

I’m sorry, but a single, unconfirmed report of someone possibly carrying a rifle underneath a black cloth is not the same as “reports of a gunman”. This type of erroneous reporting only goes to mislead the public into thinking that there was absolutely a gunman in Downtown Halifax because it’s now substantiated with the misnomer of having more than one reported sighting. This type of sensationalistic reporting is what I expect from TMZ and CNN and the like…I don’t expect it from my local media.

The police department attempted to clarify the situation:

It got so bad at one point that local social media folk joined the police department to make sure people knew that shots were NOT fired and there had been NO ATTEMPTED SHOOTING…as people across the country began to re-tell stories around the social media campfire:

As the online community was beginning to go a little bit out of control, this is what the police department officially had to say about the situation at 9:56am:

“At 8:36 a.m., several patrol units, including members of the Emergency Response Team, responded to a report of a man walking in the area of Duke and Brunswick Streets in Halifax carrying what is believed to be a rifle. He was reported to be wearing black cargo pants and an ear piece and was concealing what is reported to be a rifle wrapped in black cloth. We are currently attempting to confirm the single report as well as locate the man. There has been no report of shots being fired or any threats.”

Scary situation? Absolutely! I would be freaking out a bit if I were in the downtown area. As it was, I was outside the downtown core by a couple of kilometers and receiving my information via Twitter and Facebook. Thankfully, I don’t rely on one or two sources of information (such as the goddamn local newspaper!!) or else I would have been freaking out that my city was under attack by a crazy gunman.

Was it stated specifically by the Chronicle Herald, JackFM, and News 94.5? No. Was it inferred by their reckless reporting of multiple reports of a gunman downtown? Absolutely! And even after the police released their clarification of the situation, the Chronicle Herald couldn’t help but continue their sensationalistic ways…

This type of frivolous reporting has got to stop. Everybody is on edge already. We all know that this can happen in our back yard; just look at what happened to my former home of Moncton, New Brunswick just a few months ago.

As a member of the media, you are supposed to INFORM the public. The information needs to be accurate. What you aren’t supposed to do is treat providing news as a race to the finish line on the last lap of the Indy 500. By doing that, you report inaccuracies and cause undue panic and fear amongst your readers. I don’t want to know what COULD be going on, I want to know what’s going on. If you don’t know, DON’T REPORT IT.

CBC television did an incredible job covering the events as they unfolded in Ottawa on Wednesday. Local reporting icon Peter Mansbridge was insightful and stressed numerous times “this is what we know for certain at the moment”. There was no jumping the gun or throwing around wild stories. He didn’t try to sensationalize the situation because, let’s face it, it was scary enough the way it was.

After a situation like what happened yesterday, I think our local news sources need to re-evaluate how they report the news to the public. In a world where typing tweets into a cellphone can result in embarrassing typos, it’s even MORE important to ensure that what you’re sending out to the world is accurate and can be backed-up by evidence.

Will they learn? Probably not…though it didn’t take too long for the Chronicle Herald to wise-up and realize that they were part of the problem yesterday morning:

Let’s just forget the police report saying that there is yet no direct correlation between the two incidents. To the media, this is a “case closed” situation and they were justified in their reporting.

I, for one, and sick of it.

**********

UPDATE – It turns out that the two cases were NOT related. 

Our “Ferris Bueller Day”

A few months ago, Sunshine came up with the idea that we take a day off of work in order to go out and just enjoy the day. Maybe even try to do a bunch of fun activities that we wouldn’t normally get the chance to do on the weekend together. We decided to have our very own “Ferris Bueller Day” where we simply forgot about work, forgot about any troubles going on in our lives, and just be on a mission to have fun together. After all…

Life moves pretty fast...

So we both took last Friday off in an effort to OWN THE DAY! Needless to say, I think we did…

We were up and had both gone out for morning runs before 7am. Once we were showered and ready, Sunshine had the PERFECT shirt for our day together.
We were up and had both gone out for morning runs before 7am. Once we were showered and ready, Sunshine had the PERFECT shirt for our day together.
At 9:15am, we were both ready to head out and do whatever the heck we wanted to.
At 9:15am, we were both ready to head out and do whatever the heck we wanted to.
Another sunny day in Halifax. Didn't bother us at all...we were ready to tackle the day, anyway!!
Another sunny day in Halifax. Didn’t bother us at all…we were ready to tackle the day, anyway!!
We started to walk our way through the streets of Halifax. As we made our way up Spring Garden Road, I found this sign. I'm all like..."LOVED you in Dumb & Dumber!"
We started to walk our way through the streets of Halifax. As we made our way up Spring Garden Road, I found this sign. I’m all like…”LOVED you in Dumb & Dumber!”
Halifax is getting a new public library. The pic on the top is an artist's rendering and the bottom two are pics of the actual structure. It's...ummm...different. It's all modern and such. It's supposed to look like a stack of books. Ummm...yeah?
Halifax is getting a new public library. The pic on the top is an artist’s rendering and the bottom two are pics of the actual structure. It’s…ummm…different. It’s all modern and such. It’s supposed to look like a stack of books. Ummm…yeah?
One of the most beautiful places in the entire city is the Halifax Public Gardens. Even on an extremely foggy day like this one, it was a fantastic walk.
One of the most beautiful places in the entire city is the Halifax Public Gardens. Even on an extremely foggy day like this one, it was a fantastic walk.
As we were making our way back towards the city center, I had to make a stop. I had never been to a Nestle's Toll House before, so today was going to be that day! I had 2 chocolate chip cookies and some chocolate milk and let me tell you something...it totally reminded me of my mom. THAT GOOD.
As we were making our way back towards the city center, I had to make a stop. I had never been to a Nestle’s Toll House before, so today was going to be that day! I had 2 chocolate chip cookies and some chocolate milk and let me tell you something…it totally reminded me of my mom. THAT GOOD.
Making our way through the downtown core, we stopped in at the Freak Lunchbox, which is the most incredible candy store I've ever been in. We picked up a few fun items and continued on our way.
Making our way through the downtown core, we stopped in at the Freak Lunchbox, which is the most incredible candy store I’ve ever been in. We picked up a few fun items and continued on our way.
Something I'd never done was spend money in Casino Nova Scotia. So Sunshine and I walked around looking for an interesting game to play. Everything even remotely interesting was already being played by a senior citizen (it was a Friday morning, after all), so I sat down next to some kind of seafood machine and popped in $5. The next few minutes were long and boring. We didn't understand what was going on and didn't find any fun in the situation. Neither one of us understand gambling in a casino, but at least we can say we did it once. Mission accomplished!!
Something I’d never done was spend money in Casino Nova Scotia. So Sunshine and I walked around looking for an interesting game to play. Everything even remotely interesting was already being played by a senior citizen (it was a Friday morning, after all), so I sat down next to some kind of seafood machine and popped in $5. The next few minutes were long and boring. We didn’t understand what was going on and didn’t find any fun in the situation. Neither one of us understand gambling in a casino, but at least we can say we did it once. Mission accomplished!!
Saw this sign while on the way out of the casino. Of course...all we could think of was "That's what SHE said".
Saw this sign while on the way out of the casino. Of course…all we could think of was “That’s what SHE said”.
It was time for lunch and we were ready to try something else new. We went to the new Susie's Shortbreads location in Purdy's Wharf. They have this new thing called a stuffed baked potato. Obviously, it's more than just a normal baked potato. In this case, we each tried the taco meat baked potato. And let me tell you...IT. WAS. AWESOME. I'm looking forward to trying a new flavour down the road (pulled pork baked potato, anyone?).
It was time for lunch and we were ready to try something else new. We went to the new Susie’s Shortbreads location in Purdy’s Wharf. They have this new thing called a stuffed baked potato. Obviously, it’s more than just a normal baked potato. In this case, we each tried the taco meat baked potato. And let me tell you…IT. WAS. AWESOME. I’m looking forward to trying a new flavour down the road (pulled pork baked potato, anyone?).
One of the most interesting parts of the entire downtown/waterfront area is Halifax Historic Properties.
One of the most interesting parts of the entire downtown/waterfront area is Halifax Historic Properties.
While visiting the Historic Properties, Sunshine made a new friend.
While visiting the Historic Properties, Sunshine made a new friend.
I love walking by Nova Scotia Crystal when they've got the doors open and they're blowing glass. It's one of the very unique things any passerby can experience if the doors are open...just check out the pics! These guys are all incredibly talented.
I love walking by Nova Scotia Crystal when they’ve got the doors open and they’re blowing glass. It’s one of the very unique things any passerby can experience if the doors are open…just check out the pics! These guys are all incredibly talented.
The sun began to come out a bit as we were walking along the Halifax waterfront.
The sun began to come out a bit as we were walking along the Halifax waterfront.
We walked into a souvenir shop on the waterfront and found this cookbook. Sorry, but I refuse to eat anything that comes from a "Dutch Oven". Nope!
We walked into a souvenir shop on the waterfront and found this cookbook. Sorry, but I refuse to eat anything that comes from a “Dutch Oven”. Nope!
We made our way to the car and drove ourselves across the bridge to Dartmouth. We found an independent candy store called Sugar Shok. Inside we found the greatest sweet I've found in a VERY long time: the white chocolate Reeses peanut butter cup. $2 for two cups...worth every penny!
We made our way to the car and drove ourselves across the bridge to Dartmouth. We found an independent candy store called Sugar Shok. Inside we found the greatest sweet I’ve found in a VERY long time: the white chocolate Reeses peanut butter cup. $2 for two cups…worth every penny!
We decided to catch a Canadian-made movie as an afternoon matinee: The Grand Seduction. This was such a good movie, when it was done and the lights were on we didn't see a single person walk out WITHOUT a smile on their faces. You gotta love a movie like that.
We decided to catch a Canadian-made movie as an afternoon matinee: The Grand Seduction. This was such a good movie, when it was done and the lights were on we didn’t see a single person walk out WITHOUT a smile on their faces. You gotta love a movie like that.
So apparently "dauntless" is 1 of 5 factions in the world of Divergent, the faction dedicated to courage & bravery. So a few questions: 1. Why do I want "brave chocolate cake"? 2. This cake is promoting a movie to be released in March...just how damn old IS this cake, anyway?? 3. You can see in the upper right hand corner that there WAS a discount sticker on this cake...but no more. WHY???
So apparently “dauntless” is 1 of 5 factions in the world of Divergent, the faction dedicated to courage & bravery. So a few questions:
1. Why do I want “brave chocolate cake”?
2. This cake is promoting a movie to be released in March…just how damn old IS this cake, anyway??
3. You can see in the upper right hand corner that there WAS a discount sticker on this cake…but no more. WHY???
"Like mother used to make?" No...I don't think so.
“Like mom used to make?” No…I don’t think so.
The end of our day came with pizza from our favourite pizzeria in the entire city. She had Tijuana chicken and I had a Gladiator meat pizza. What a great way to end the day.
The end of our day came with pizza from our favourite pizzeria in the entire city. She had Tijuana chicken and I had a Gladiator meat pizza. What a great way to end the day.

This was absolutely one of the best days I’ve ever had with my wife. From beginning to end, this was a blast. We felt like two kids and soaked up life as it was our first date all over again.

If you ever want to get some “spark” back into your relationship, take a Ferris Bueller Day!! You’ll thank yourself for it later.

Life’s A Happy Song

I’ve made a lot of decisions in my lifetime. I’ve made a lot of choices. Some good, a lot of bad. I’ve traveled up and down the highways and byways and have found myself to be living on the edge of tragedy instead of comedy most of the time (a nice little Stranger Than Fiction reference for you).

But back in February I made a decision that would alter my life forever. This decision was absolutely one that I didn’t take lightly. I made the decision to not only propose to my long-distance girlfriend of over three years but also to move to her city at some point over the next year. I had discussed the situation with my ex-wife and my son and they were both on board, so it just seemed as though the stars were aligning at just the right time. That time came in September and I moved here on September 10th.

Without a shadow of a doubt, it has been the best decision that I’ve ever made. Let me just tell you the multitude of reasons of why that’s the case…

My job is awesome. I work for a construction company as an executive assistant to the president/owner. She’s also in real estate and I’m learning that side of the business, as well. At first, I was a little hesitant about being an assistant, but in a short period of time I’ve been entrusted with the task of being “her” if anything were to ever happen to her. So if she gets hit by a bus tomorrow morning, I’m the one that’s going to keep the business running. That’s a HUGE responsibility and one I don’t take lightly at all…but it’s also a lot more than I initially signed on for, which I’m very excited about. In addition, I’m also doing social media for about 50% of my day, which is practically a dream come true for me. I mean, I never thought that I’d be getting paid to be a social media specialist at 40 years old…but that’s what’s happening. 

My future job looks awesome, too. At this point, I’m not making a ton of money…but the potential is there to substantially pad my income. The long-term future has me quite excited, too…especially considering how much my new employer believes in me and my abilities. I’m excited about the opportunities and can’t wait to see where I’m at in six months’ time…a year…five years! 

My family life is incredible. Seriously…I never in a million years thought that living with Sunshine and her girls would be nearly as fulfilling as it’s been. I wake up with a smile on my face. I get hugs from everybody when I get home from work. I get cooked meals from an amazing woman and I laugh with all three girls at the dinner table. It’s more than I ever thought was possible. Or more apt, it’s more than I ever thought I deserved…and this makes me incredibly happy.

I’m writing again. No, not just here…I’m actually now writing THREE separate and distinct blogs. I’m doing I Used To Have Hair on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays…I’m doing To Travel Or Not on Tuesdays, and What’s YOUR Guilty Pleasure on Thursdays. I just feel inspired to write again…which is pretty awesome because it was starting to feel like work for awhile. It’s exciting to have new things to write about and not be pigeon-holed by one particular genre or topic. Oh…and you can stay up-to-date on all my blog posts by “liking” me on Facebook!

I love this new city that I’m living in. I told myself for three years that I would never move here because I hated it so much. I found reason after reason to not like it, when in fact I was only trying to give myself an excuse to not move here. As it stands, it’s been two months so far and I’m loving the city life. I love the little restaurants and cafes, I love the hustle and bustle, I love walking through the downtown…I’m just finding myself finding reason after reason to love the city that I’m in.

I’m loving the opportunities being presented to me here, too. For example, I just finished having a business meeting with a photographer who does amazing work with his pictures and is becoming quite the in-demand talent around these parts. Because Sunshine and I initially bought a piece of his when he first started,  and because I followed-up with him after starting my new job, he has decided to present a business opportunity to me that others in the city would love to have. I can now say that I’ve got a friend who is an in-demand artist/photographer. This is one of my favorite pieces of his:

Chrome by Nigel Beck
Chrome by Nigel Beck

I also re-connected with a friend from high school who is now a professional musician and theatre actor. That might be lame to some, but it’s pretty cool to me…especially considering how few friends I’ve had over the past ten years outside of work. I’ve been a loner, and it’s such a crazy feeling to “spread my wings” and begin living life all over again.

And I guess that’s really how I’ve been feeling lately; as if I’m just beginning to live my life. My previous forty years on the planet have only gone to prepare me for REALLY living life as of right now. Every day since moving here has been better than the day before. Every day I’m more in love than I was the day before. Every single day I’m enjoying life more than the day before.

Am I making this clear enough? I’m just one happy dang guy right now and I never, ever thought it would be THIS good. Life, my friends, is a happy song indeed…especially when there’s somebody by my side to sing along.

There is something about a sunrise…

Slowly the sun rises and helps the night melt into day.

The earth provides just enough breeze for flags to fly against the brilliant backdrop.

As the sun rises on the horizon over Halifax, its first light burns.

To watch the dawn of a new day can be breathtaking.

The colors glow in fiery hues, reminiscent of my love for you.

******

Sigh…I’m no poet. At least I tried.

The Weekend in Pictures

We started out the weekend, as we normally do, by going to the Halifax Seaport Farmers Market. On the way there, we made a quick pit-stop at a bank machine. While Sunshine was getting some cash, I just took a moment to appreciate the beautiful downtown area of Halifax, Nova Scotia. I am not the biggest fan of the city, but I do enjoy the downtown area.
We then made our way to a new favorite weekend hangout, the "Crazy Market". We only call it that because the vendors are some of the most unique people you will see in this city. This particular market is really just a glorified flea market, but Sunshine and I always seem to enjoy making our way through the craziness. http://www.facebook.com/harbourviewmarket
When you enter the Harbourview Weekend Market, you head to the left and walk through their grocery store (fresh produce...frozen entrees...lip enhancers...) and then you find yourself staring at The Book of Joe, the resident book store/clothing boutique/fridge magnet spot. You can check out their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/thebookofjoe.
In the same corner as the book store is Nakamal Cafe, which is a small organic coffee/tea shop run by a friend of Sunshine. He is a very polite and friendly guy with one heckuva kick-ass beard.
I dunno...I am sure other people can make this cupcake (Sunshine has made them before) but it is still quite impressive to me.
I am not the biggest hockey fan in the world, but I do think this Toronto Maple Leaf rubber duckie is kinda cool. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lil-Duckie-Bath-Boutique
There was an amazing location within this market (The Monkey Paw) that had "modern antiques" and was just a VERY cool spot. I mean, they had a 1 litre bottle of Pepsi Free (Back to the Future II, anyone?) that still had the pop inside of it. Anyway, this poster...I thought...was really something. Back in the 60s, 70s, and 80s (and to a lesser extent still today), the most popular wrestlers in Mexico starred in movies. This one featured Blue Demon, who is considered one of the greatest Mexican Lucha Libre performers of all time.

In fact, they were filming a short video at the Monkey Paw for their Facebook page when Sunshine and I were there (we were standing directly behind him). Check it out (and see what we mean about “unique people”:

This was a very cool collection of old stuff (for lack of a better term) that was found at The Monkey Paw. If you look closely, you can see a bottle of OFF bug repellant...which looks to be at least 20 years old and STILL has the repellant in it!!
Ummm...how can you go wrong with having a statue of Jesus, a CHiPs action figure of Erik Estrada, and a stuffed weasel on your shelf???
For the second time in two visits, we made our way to Sams Seafood & Grill for Saturday brunch. Being totally honest, the service is very friendly but terrible...as once the food is on your table they forget you are even there. But the food is good, fast, and cheap!
I made Sunshine wait until 11am before eating. Why? Well...I just had to order The Twins!! Seriously, I do not care how poor quality the filet mignons actually are because they taste amazing and are tender and, quite frankly, taste like filet mignon!! And how can you go wrong with the price???
Seriously...does this NOT look like it is worth $8 to you??
Im not much of a drinker. In fact, Sunshine has never seen me drunk in two-and-a-half years. She tries, though. We ended up spending Saturday night drinking beer and watching Titanic (I am king of the world!!!). This picture would be of us about to enjoy some Twistee shots. I cannot say that I disliked them...at all.
I do NOT normally like anything other than beer. But after seeing these in the liquor store, Sunshine made an "impulse buy" and picked up these Twistee shots. Vanilla and butterscotch? Yeah...they work well together.
This is where Kiddo had her birthday party on Sunday. The premise is simple...you choose what you want to paint, you paint it, they cook it and make it all shiny, and then you have a nice piece of whatever that you made yourself. Seriously...the adults had more fun here than the kids did.
A view from inside the Clay Cafe in Halifax, Nova Scotia. http://www.claycafe.ca
This was a wall of painted tiles inside the party room at the http://www.ClayCafe.ca location in Halifax.
This was the wall of paints to choose from, with each tile showing you what the paint would look like with a few coats.
So here is where you can choose whatever pottery you want to paint. The prices are a bit on the high side, but really...they supply the paint and then cook & glaze them later to give them that really good dark & shiny appearance. There was definitely a lot to choose from.
Happy birthday Kiddo!!

And that was pretty much the weekend. Hope yours was a good one, too.

This weekend will be CRAZY fun as I’m heading to Halifax with Ankle Biter to spend Easter weekend with Sunshine and her two girls. Can’t wait!!!