Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Bathroom Battlefield

Not the wrong way, an alternate way!

I just posted a reply to a friend’s Facebook page regarding the “correct” way to load a roll of toilet paper in our favourite reading room aka the bathroom. Well, it seems it triggered a whole other wave of things that women are almost ready to go to war over and that is the seat should be down, the cover too, and the bathroom door should be closed at all times (the latter was in response to my comment regarding if you had pets, there is a better way to load a roll of toilet paper, so I feel there is no “correct” way to load it. Just make it easy to find and forget the folded dart for visitors. 

Have you ever seen a cat jump up and spin a doorknob to open a door? My brother had a cat like that. He could also open windows by pushing them up with his shoulders. The cat, not my brother.)

The basic problem regarding the household bathroom is it is designed by women for women and men are allowed to use it if they follow their rules. I honestly think the bathroom generally is poorly designed based on functionality which I think is more of a masculine wish than the “make it look pretty” feminine approach to many things. 

My design would include a toilet (for women mostly and men when the business requires that you sit down), bidet (men, it is not a drinking fountain), shower (to get clean), bathtub (for women to soak in to get away from their daily troubles—often the man in the household) and a urinal designed by men with a self-cleaning/closing device to keep it out of sight and smell of the visitors. The room itself would have compartments with separate doors to let more than one person use it at a time since it is probably the most needed room in the house after the kitchen.

And it would have all those display only things that women do for visitors like the soaps in trays and little towels that no one who lives in the house is allowed to use EVER except maybe if needed for first aid assistance for an accidental event that results in bleeding. Just make sure that individual is close to death, otherwise use the toilet paper if you can figure out if it was loaded “correctly”.

Ultimately, the best solution is really only available to those families that have an over-sized ego box for a home so they could do what all restaurants and businesses do already and that is separate rooms for men and women to do their biological business. But we know that will never happen because women insist on constantly redesigning the home that they pretty much made all the buying decisions on selecting the one of her choice. Mostly the man is only concerned about the fridge, garage, backyard and TV viewing room so the rest of the house is not a high priority for him.

But of course, this discussion never happens in any house between a husband and wife because the smart husband knows this is in the category of “Does this dress make me look fat”. The moral here is there is no way you can win in this discussion, so you find ways to get out of getting involved in that discussion.

Yes, I am single. It is easier on my blood pressure and doesn’t trigger anxiety attacks. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

If Computer Game Programmers Ran All Business

What a mess it would be! You see their minds are tuned into math tables and simple logic only. There is no grey area to them, not much based on emotional responses and they are not very open to others’ ideas as a result of this thinking.

I am talking about the new generation of game programming that goes on in the Internet now where the game is constantly under development. They no longer call it under beta since it is always facing beta changes where the development team tries to fund the game on the fly and the head of the team is undoubtedly another programmer. There are server costs and certainly employee costs which are primarily code writers directed by the development team. I very much doubt that they spend any money on marketing personnel since they would constantly be at odds with each other since they do not think alike.

Let me try to give an example of how the two minds work in a business model. Let’s look at a bakery that just makes bread for now. The game programmers get out their math table and figure out what price maybe one percent of the market might pay and they figure white bread should sell for $30 a loaf to meet their immediate cost (computer, personnel and materials) and profit needs (Ferrari Fund, since they think they have a no fail plan). And when that doesn’t work so well, they layoff a bunch of the personnel that they got to write the code and try to sell French bread now for $40 a loaf with a new group of personnel that they work even harder and for less money if they can get away with it.

Now the marketing driven mind recognizes that $30 a loaf is way out of line compared to other food products (other computer games and entertainment offerings) and sets its price more around $3 a loaf of white bread and maybe $3.50 for the French bread. Every once in a while they offer one of the two products on sale for $2 and $2.50 but not at the same time. And every once in a while the marketing mind features something different like pastries, pies, tarts or donuts at a premium price sometimes and on sale. It all depends on how well the overall company performance is going (the Ferrari Fund).

Now if the sales department had their way, everything would be on sale all of the time. “Let’s get everyone to buy our bread”. And that is why the sales department and the IT (information technology) department never get along. They just do not understand each groups approach to business.

So the reason why the new approach exists for now in online computer games is because the programmers are creating the product without the help of marketing minds because they honestly think their approach works. It does for a time until the customers get fed up and go to another bakery. Instead of trying the marketing approach they push for bread at $50 a loaf and beyond to try and meet their cost and profit goals.

And soon they go out of business wondering what they did wrong. Simple, they tried to do something in isolation of the real world business market where the basic rules of economy apply and the consumer will always go to what they see as a reasonably priced product for what they want or need and computer games are just a diversion and not a necessity like food.

So why do they think that $50 dollars for a bunch of game tokens/gems/diamonds/coins that only give maybe $5 of value compared to other entertainment products? It is simply because they think their product is better than everyone else’s offering because they developed it and they need more money to keep it going. The consumer market will tell them soon enough if it is worth anything.

Don’t order your Ferrari’s anytime soon boys.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Is Western Society Devolving?

First of all devolve is not truly the opposite of evolve. A more appropriate word would be degenerate as a verb denoting losing stature from the previous ranking, or other form of measurement, and as a noun, where the person has lost values like morality, quality of life, and skill sets.

One of the major reasons why western society is degenerating (in my opinion) is the lack of teaching/learning of the 3 R’s (Reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic—Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic) and, one can argue, the 4th R, which is Respect. It seems to me that along with the first three, western society has lost a lot of respect for its own culture. It could also be argued that this is a worldwide problem in that values have now degenerated below the levels that our parents and grandparents once held in such high esteem.

Text messaging is a major contributor to the degeneration of communication between individuals. Nothing gets more confusing as all those short forms that people use to speed through the communication process, simply because the tool is just not that well suited for the job. You can also argue that it is a sign of lack of respect for the other person since the individual is too lazy to take the time to communicate what is really being said.

I fear for today’s youth and what they will face in the future trying to cope with everyday life. I believe they are not properly armed with the tools to deal with all things in life. Yes I am older and hang on to values and teachings that were passed on to me by not just teachers but members of the community that actually cared and knew each other more than just to wave at each other in the driveway. That was the respect they all had for each other, even if at times they got upset with what they might be doing. Maybe everyone needs that white picket fence between each yard and take the time to share a cup of coffee or a brown pop and some basic respectful conversation like I saw in my neighbourhood growing up.

So what’s the solution to this problem? It is quite easy to just spout what is wrong with the world today because you see and hear it every day in this “show me drama in the news” world. I think it involves a return to the everyday practice of the 4 R’s all over the world. That also means we should respect our heritage, our own country first, those that help protect our daily lives and look inwards first before we go and try to “save” the other countries and minority groups out there. The fact of the matter is they really don’t want interference in their lives and we actually disrespect that wish by sticking our nose into their business. Let them work out their own problems and let’s focus on our own internal problems, before we make devolve a standard word in our limited vocabulary.

Easy speak is a language that only results in degenerated communication. Say what you mean by taking the time to convey the true feeling of the content of your thoughts. W’ats Up! doesn’t cut it in my opinion.

…how did the 3 r’s degenerate into a symbol for recycling (reduce, reuse, recycling). Yep it is an important issue but by paying to attention to the original ones plus respect, the recycling issue is a no-brainer!
…how’s that for a good example of devolution in today’s world?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Yep, I’m Old Enough to Remember…

…why I write this stuff.

Better be more around here!
It certainly isn’t for the money! There is no better way to be poor than to write for someone else for what they consider reasonable amounts of money—especially on the Internet. A penny for your thoughts comes to mind because they like to pay about that or less per word.

I write because I enjoy it most of the time when life hasn’t dealt some not so nice blows. It reminds me of what is important in life like friendship, kindness, health and bum wipe. Making people laugh is a form of an act of kindness and lots of folks need that today with all that goes on now. So not all that I write is humorous because sometimes too I have had my own bummer experiences.

Oh yeah, you are on your own on the bum wipe. The Internet is mostly paperless now (if you do it properly) and besides the exercise of going to the store is good for your health. I got your back but not down there. You are on your own.

Have a great day. BTW stuff has many synonyms.

…my mom hanging the clothes to dry on a clothesline (in winter!!).

Improvised wind brake for the clothesline
The clothes dryer was not a common appliance in our neighbourhood when I was a tyke. My mom also did the wash in one of the ringer type machines that squeezed out the excess water when she fed them through the powered ringers prior to them being put in the laundry basket for the trip to the backyard.

And sometimes it was cold in the winter so the clothes froze and got kind of stiff but there were two advantages to that happening. Firstly, they had this really fresh smell and secondly, the clothes were board-like stiff so they made for great kitchen wars with my brothers. We would take the stiffened clothes and whack away until the inside heat kind of softened them up or Mom got us to stop but we all still had a good laugh doing it (including Mom).

The neighbours also hung their clothes out to dry on their lines as well. Mrs. B down the road a bit (like 3 backyards) was a little different. She hung their clothes out on the line while smoking a cigar and when she got to Mr. B’s combination underwear well it created quite a few chuckles. Seems Mrs. B was not into the use of bleach and the white long johns were more of a kind of grey shade with cigar colour stains down in the bum wipe area. Mr. B was kind of full of hot air but I guess he let some go every once in a while.

I don’t ever remember being inside their house. I think there were a few good reasons.

…bread and milk being delivered to the house and the delivery guy got off a horse drawn wagon.

Living in the city, you really lose out on being close to a lot of animals like country folks do every day so when we heard the clop-clop of hooves of the majestic beast pulling that cart, we ran out from everywhere to just go up and pet that visitor to our neighbourhood. No not the delivery guy, the horse you bozo.

The horse was very content because it mostly would have a feed bag of oats or something strapped on and it would even know when to stop to make a delivery. The driver would put out the “anchor” that I guess would just help slow down the horse due to extra weight if it bolted for some reason (in the picture above without the tether). Mostly it just chomped away on the oats since it also had blinders on to screen motion from the left or right some. And since it was eating, it needed to make room for the new oats in its gut and would drop a road apple or two. Well that would attract some of the mothers in the neighbourhood who were raised in farm country and they would go running for the garden spade to get the warm road apples for purposes of fertilizing something in the household garden.

Seems Mrs. B never took part in that neighbourhood game. I’m thinking she didn’t come from farm country. It would have been quite the picture though of her running to get a garden spade with a stogie hanging from her mouth. Maybe that is how Mr. B got those marks down around the bum wipe area of his combination underwear. Nah, he didn’t need help. It was pretty obvious he was full of it.

I’m Old Enough to Remember…

…when colas were brown.

It seems to me that all of today’s “bottled” colas, root beers, iced teas, etc. are almost black in colour and that has much to do with the current process of caramelization used to produce the colorant in these liquid products. I don’t think the green bottle had anything to do with the colour being more of a darker brown tone. 

The fact that the process produces a cheaper ingredient than the old one should be of no surprise since it fits with the “bean counter” approach to all businesses now. Apparently it also makes for no calories and most likely because it has no food value at all. I also understand that the process uses a form of “rat poison” to make the darker additive. The MSDS sheet for that modifier says it is quite nasty. Some believe that the colouring can cause cancer but that is a little difficult to prove.

I don’t drink colas anymore after giving up on rum and cokes because they made me feel not so good after consuming a bunch and it was not the rum that did it since drinking just rum on ice or even with soda did not provide the same level of discomfort. So you can have your colas, I am much happier drinking juices instead now and even get some food value in some of them (the ones that provide Vitamin C and other vitamins). The new colas don’t taste anywhere the way I remember the colas of my youth so once again big business, you messed up a good thing in search of greater profits, well for me anyway, not that I can break your bank. By the way, I make my own iced tea at home now as well.

…trough urinals at sporting events.

Specifically, they were most definitely in the men’s’ washrooms in Maple Leaf Gardens, I believe in the Grandstand at CNE Stadium and I think also at Maple Leaf Stadium (all sports venues with historical routes in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada). Back in the day, you couldn’t buy alcoholic beverages at these venues (I was way too young anyway, drinking age was 21 then), but they did serve very bad soft drinks made with syrup, carbonated water and lots of ice and it was inevitable you had to relieve yourself sooner or later. Generally, that was a break in a game or event (period, inning, quarter, between stock car races, etc.) and you only had so much time to use these ugly long porcelain troughs ( I remember some were more like 50 feet long not the 6-8 feet like in the picture).

So a whole bunch of guys made their way up to these ice-less wonders (seems some pictures showed where someone actually dumped a bunch of ice in them, not at these venues!) and commenced to “draining the snipe”, “doing God’s work”, “taking a leak”, etc. and, lo and behold, the river flowed by as you tried to get this unpleasantness over as quickly as possible. I don’t remember how I actually reached the level of some of these troughs when I was smaller (like 8 or 9), and maybe there were step up stools under the trough but would you reach under that for one. I don’t think so.

And to wash your hands there was this big circular trough thing with soap dispensers set back too far for us little guys and the water was released by you stepping on a foot rail but to get at the water you had to lean over and you got off the foot rail so you had to wait for someone bigger to do that for you. I don’t miss either of these poorly conceived contraptions in a men’s washroom but they were sort of efficient for a larger crowds as long as you didn’t breathe deeply.

…when milk came in a glass jug.

Yes originally it was available in various quart bottles but I am talking about the first attempts to sell it in larger sizes since a quart didn’t go very far in any household with any number of kids or pets. Many argue that milk tastes better in glass bottles or jugs than in cartons or today’s plastic bags.

The inherent problem with the glass jug is that it was hard to handle or pour especially in the hands of young tykes like us and occasionally the plastic handle would just decide to break and you ended up with a milk lake in the kitchen complete with many shards of broken glass. It would immediately seek its way under the stove and refrigerator and hide in various other places. Soured milk does not smell very nice! And like glass soft drink bottles, you had to return them to a store for the deposit, usually to get another jug and they were quite heavy for little tykes to carry and get home in one piece.

There was a time that it was sold in plastic jugs but I think it was very difficult to sterilize those containers properly so they were replaced by today’s bag-o-milk approach which seems to work well enough as long as one of the bags don’t decide to spring a leak or get poked open accidentally. Then you just get a slower version of the milk lake but no shards of glass, thankfully. Those buggers were difficult to find in the lake of milk on the floor. Also the bag-o-milk takes away the return for deposit problem but creates another environmental problem of its own.

Well I’m not going to solve the problem of how milk should be packaged but rest assured that I will continue to buy milk because what would you drink with cookies, if there was no milk—cookies and water? I suppose you would suggest I eat Cheerio’s with some form of juice drink (most of them are just sugar and water with some colouring. Read the label if you don’t believe that one).

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fly High Sweet Girl


You sat on the porch
While we talked on the phone
So many miles
But it still felt like home

I so liked to talk to you
Given the choice
Music to my ears
Was the sound of your voice

We shared all our dreams
And even some pain
Oh I how just wish
To do it over again

But now you are gone
To a place far away
I know that you thought
You’d be better that way

Fly high sweet girl
Some memories just fade
But some will hang on
Like the good ones we made

Fly high sweet girl
We miss you so much
Lucky are the few
That got to know your touch

Fly high sweet girl
Yes I miss you so much
And what would I do
Just to feel that touch

So fly high sweet girl
Yes memories will fade
But some still hang on
Like the good ones we made


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

As We Get Older, Is Our Memory Fading?

Lots of folks complain that this is happening and they actually feel that it is deteriorating as the years add up. Is it really fading away or is there a more reasonable answer as to what is truly happening? I think (like my boss back in the 80’s told me) that it is just simply a function of all the data we get thrown at us on a daily basis and that the pea we have for a brain can only hold so much so less important information gets moved to less used areas or just plain flushed. I will share an exercise I use to help bring back some of those memories later in the article.

The most important way to improve your memory is to know where to find the information you are seeking and often that is a simple google search nowadays. You get instant access to lots of related information and you get to decide which one is correct for your search. In fact, one piece I found is that we get five times more information thrown at us on a daily basis as we did back in the day when my boss pointed out that the brain has a limited capacity.

In fact, the neuroscientists are kind of at odds about the capacity of the brain but we will use the concept that it can hold 2.5 petabytes (approx. 2500 terabytes) or about 500-1000 of the currently available external hard drives you can buy at your local electronics store or more likely, online now. So at the cost of about $50/terabyte that would mean you could have storage available in house for the cost of $125,000 plus taxes plus shipping of course. I found all of this pretty useless information via google just for those that think it might be important.

You can waste your time trying to figure out the overall size of that information pool if you like, but I think it would be wise just to go look for things you might really need on the Internet than trying to put your head around that concept. Some folks actually waste their time trying to figure out all these numbers. They need to spend more time swimming in a different kind of pool and drinking some tropical refreshments and enjoying all of the ambience present in that kind of an environment.

So the real point is that you get swamped with junk on a daily basis and you can’t possibly retain it all so get used to not remembering stuff. I sometimes play a game with myself to try to remember say the last name of a gal I met over 30 years ago in one of those tropical environments that I used to visit. I would start with just the knowledge of her first name and go through the alphabet and rule out the ones that didn’t fit and eventually her actual last name and spelling would pop out. (Usually this type of exercise takes place about 4 in the morning and I can’t get back to sleep until I get the answer.) Needless to say, this type of information is not likely to be found via google searches.

Another one I play is something like this; name the police show that starred Daniel J. Travanti and Veronica Hamel back in another time. Yeah I will play with the alphabet game thing for like 15 seconds and then start using google to find all the answers much more quickly. I think this is why older folks should not go on Jeopardy (yes the ones who are the same age as Alex). He is nowhere near as smart as the show makes him look to be. Next time you see him in public through 10 quick questions at him and do a quick “nahhhhh” for each wrong or no answer he gets. He isn’t that dumb really, it is more likely that he just suffers from so much information overload and that show spends lots of time making it even more confusing than necessary.

You aren’t losing your memory. It is being overloaded so learn how to flush what is not important right now and enjoy life.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

So if there is a Heaven, How Big is it?

And for that matter, is the other place bigger, slightly bigger, a whole lot bigger or possibly even smaller?

You see the experts figure that so far the overall population of the earth has exceeded 100 billion folks since man first appeared on earth so a good portion of those folks are already there. The current population of this planet is around 7.5 billion and always getting bigger. Since it can be crowded to absolutely underpopulated on this Earth (depending upon where you live), is Heaven crowded like New York or Tokyo-style or are there places like Alaska, the Sahara Desert or Antarctica where there is a lot more room to move around before you bump into your neighbour? OK maybe the Sahara Desert is more likely for the other place.

Do you need to use the bathroom in Heaven? Well, if you do, the line-ups could be rather long don’t you think? I had a friend that said in her beliefs that Heaven is a place where you would never feel pain or want for anything. So I would think that in her Heaven you would not need to go to the bathroom since it can be painful sometimes and you certainly wouldn't want to wait in any line-up which would just add to the pain. Who would get the job of cleaning up those bathrooms??

Do you have to sleep in Heaven, or are you always awake and aware of what is going on around you, and maybe even aware of the current happenings on the planet you just left which brings up another question. Are there people from other planets in Heaven? Do they speak the same language as you and do all the other folks from other countries speak the same language so you can all understand each other?

Do they play sports in Heaven? And what kind of games would you possibly play? Her phrase “you would never feel pain or want for anything” kind of makes you wonder about sports because my experience with sports involved pain and someone has to lose so it makes it harder to want for that one since the other guy or gal feels the pain of losing.

So realistically, Heaven is a personal thing for each and every person around you. It is what each one believes it to be for them, and there is not much point in you trying to figure it all out. You already have enough confusion in your life to try and figure that one out. It is either going to be there or it isn't and you won’t know whether you go there or to the other place until you pass on. So hopefully you are in no hurry to find out the answer and can enjoy your time here on Earth. We are all going to be dead for a very long time, so maybe it is better not to rush the process but that is my personal belief. It is up to you with what you do with your life and we should just learn to respect that for what it is.

Maybe we do all end up meeting each other in Heaven. How do you explain some of those folks to your Mom? Do they serve hors d’oeuvres and refreshments all the time or pizza and beer or cabbage rolls and whiskey or cake and ice cream? This stuff is all way beyond my little pea brain and I can wait for the answers to those questions.

Heaven Can Wait and yes that was a really good movie too. Or there was more than one? Do they show movies in heaven? They better because she loves movies.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

When the Good Memories Rise to the Top

She posted this on her page

Losing someone special starts with the rage of how horrible that news is, especially since the loss of an individual who has earned that honour is so rare. A true friend really asks nothing of you other than to be their friend and when that person shares the pain they keep hidden inside, it can sometimes leave you without any response at all.

So you find ways to go forward and try to make sense out of how others near to them can ignore the calls for help and see them as just everyday complaining and excessive drama. The anxiety attacks are seen as overreaction and simply get brushed aside and the depression that person faces is mostly taken on alone. We are not trained in how to deal with that type of pain, especially in our earlier years. Many doctors continually prescribe medications for mental pain the same way they do for physical pain like fibromyalgia and migraines.

Personally, I believe most doctors are mostly just trained to give out prescriptions to keep feeding the pharmaceutical industry and it is purely a business for them. Compassion, caring and understanding are seldom ever found in a doctor’s office. The amount of time those in need wait in the “waiting room” is a prime of example of the lack of those characteristics in the medical profession. No doubt, it has a lot to do with the time and training that is required to get a license to practice medicine. It can dull your sense of consideration. Just once, I would like to meet a doctor that does more than just practice on its patients and actually get into the medical game with a full commitment. I guess those few are tied up with folks who have a lot of money.

But I have digressed once more, which seems to be quite common in my writing style. It’s time to honour the important folks I have lost over the years and you can do the same in your own way. One of the positive strengths of the human personality is its ability to find good out of bad. In order to deal with the negative parts, we look back on what made that person so exceptional—the good memories begin rising to the top.

So you find the joy you brought to each other in your times together, like the sound of someone’s laugh that comes from the toes and is like no other you have ever heard before. You remember the pleasure it gave you changing sadness into happiness by making someone laugh that hard.  You remember simple sounds or a short phrase that brought a smile to your face, like the tone my computer made when I received a chat request from her that often just said “Call me, please”. How could you ever refuse such a simple request? I never did.

Meeting someone you can truly talk to about just almost anything is so rare in today’s I-Me-Mine world and that is something I will miss the most. I truly really did not care what she wanted to talk about because we almost always enjoyed our talks together. It went from helping her with the technical side of games we played together online to what our dreams were to spiritual beliefs to all manner of life experiences. Simply stated, we were just sharing with each other. We were trying to get to really know each other like no one else I have ever known before.

But sadly, real life situations in her local surroundings started to feed the depression and I felt like someone trying to pump up an inner tube she was floating on called life, but situations, medical conditions and others were all poking small holes into that tube. Eventually, it is more than one person can do to keep the tube inflated and that truly beautiful person can tread water no more. 

And so you are left with just memories and what she would have wanted is that the good ones will always float to the top. Each day they do, but the sadness is still there for her. I can only hope that she has found the peace that she so richly deserves for what I will remember most is how a small statured person like her (5 foot one and a half inches tall) could have a heart so big with all that happened in her life. I told her several times that she must have an invisible tractor trailer to carry the rest of her heart because her body was just not big enough for all that caring.

I think tears are just the body’s way of releasing pain in a controlled manner while some would argue that they have cried uncontrollably. I think that is just a measure of releasing a lot of pain. I leave you with the first two lines of Go Rest High on that Mountain by Vince Gill. (Music has always been a strong part of my makeup even if I don’t perform it that well but it really helped during this sad period).

I know your life on earth was troubled,
Only you could know the pain

And I wish that you will Go Rest High on that Mountain, girl. I have been blessed having known you and so have so many others that you may not think have felt that way. You filled up the room on your entrance and that is what I remember most about our first meeting. I had to get to know you and it was so worth it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Tribute to Bandit

Well you told me I should write more, but frankly, I was tied up for the last few months trying to do something much more important and that was to help you Bandito, someone who went through life under-appreciated by those that were near to you (Your Mother being an exception and restricted by her own health issues).

And I’m not really worried about who reads this since most people don’t read much anymore and I only write about what is important to me and you are most definitely in that category, little one. I will direct the post to a few that might like to read it though and you know who those are. I am really long-winded about things that are important to me so that will stop most everyone from reading to the end.

I met you online just 5 months ago (yes it was only five months) and I will most definitely remember our first phone conversation in fondness, not the content, because I truly did not understand a single word you said. Your drawl on that day was like a 12 on a scale of 1 to 10 for me!! But I am thankful we persevered and worked it out (and my own drawl was getting to about a 7 or 8 I think). And finding out later that you gave me your number by mistake (since you thought I was someone else in the game we played together online) was just as it should be.

And even funnier was your laughter (in like the 3rd call) when I admitted that I thought “What the heck am I getting myself into”. You have a laugh like no other I have ever heard and it was wonderful to hear you do that even though it was that pleasant painful type. I cannot explain the laugh. You can’t really put that combination into words and do it justice.

And thus began a series of conversations where you shared your life experiences with me in your most honest and direct fashion, a quality that I truly respected in you and I did my best to return that honesty in all our conversations, be they on the phone or in the various chat windows we used online. Sometimes they did need translation or clarification since we really did speak somewhat different languages even though they both are called English.

And I was just so amazed at how someone could go through so many hardships in life and still bring joy to the room, always trying to help others and looking for the positive in everything. I made a commitment to try to make you happy and it was working for a time. I sensed the joy when you would try to embarrass me in the game by calling me Stuffy Wuffy in front of other game friends. It did embarrass me to a point but it made me smile since it was sort of a badge of honour you were bestowing on me and no other, like all the times you called me friend in such a meaningful manner.

I joked about how that beep in Facebook you get when someone pops up in chat there would haunt me in my grave, but the truth it was something I looked forward to hearing. We made each other’s day better and it was doing so very well. We both were running out of tail feathers with all the laughter we provided for each other (lmtfo = laugh my tail feathers off) which was your unique way of showing your joy.

And then something changed. You got more physical pain than normal and with it came more emotional pain as well. All those medications you had prescribed to you by your doctors weren’t working as they should and others around you were making it worse. It started with a battle with a former friend of yours and I experienced what you went through in a panic attack and I helped you through it as best I could.

And then came your birthday, US Thanksgiving and Christmas. All did not provide what you wanted with the exception of what I sent you as a gift for your birthday. Thankfully you called me from your Mom’s house then because you disappeared from our contacts for several days and had me really worried. It pleased me to hear you telling your Mother that I am talking to my Canook friend, not my sister, do you think I would be this happy talking to her? But is also saddened me that your family did not show appreciation and your son and Mother didn’t understand the gifts I sent until you explained the meaning behind them. They were just symbols of the person you are and who you wanted to become. I took pride in the fact that they were digital creations done by me and transformed into photographic art of sorts, just for you. And you were so happy in that time on Thanksgiving; the little girl excitement was in your voice again.

And then you returned back to the house where you resided and it changed when you got the phone call from your other son who was now 17 and you had not seen since he was 6. Losing that custody battle was so unfair for you and did irreparable damage. And when you asked him to come to his Grandmother’s and Grandfather’s house for Christmas to see them and see his brother again, he was non-committal and you became suspicious that his father (your ex) was up to something as he was so many times with you before.

And so you did not go to your Mother’s house for Christmas and were by yourself and we talked very little through that and New Years and it affected me as well. I was not my usual supportive self with you and was disappointed that I could do nothing to really help. The conversations got more one-sided and I was listening to all the things that were hurting you now and it was draining me and I did not know what to do to make it better so the conversations were not as good as they were before.

And then they stopped. I thought it was like Thanksgiving and you would appear when you were ready. I checked your posts for activity and then I saw a big red rose and a post saying that you had passed away and you were no longer with us. I was crushed. I had failed you. I had to piece together what happened by reading the obituary and all the posts that people made sharing their sadness for your loss. I know I will never truly know what was going through your mind that night but I know your heart was broken and your depression took you down your final road.

I can take some comfort in knowing you believed that you went to a place where you would want for nothing and never feel pain again because you endured more than any one person should ever had in one lifetime. If you measure beauty on more than just outward appearance (and the older photographs of you show you were that for sure) you will go down as the most beautiful woman I have had the pleasure of knowing in my lifetime. And I hope that the Internet connection in heaven is a good one and not like the one at your Mom’s house and you get to read this.

I know I was not there for you in your final hours on Earth as I should have been for I too was suffering some from the post-holiday crappers and I will be forever sad that I could not do something to help you. It was out of my power now. I ran out of band aids to fix all the wounds you had.

And so on the day of your funeral I wore out my computer and piano playing Go Rest High on That Mountain which you shared with me months ago as your wish to have it played at your funeral. I do hope the people who were at your actual funeral got the message as to why you were no longer with us. People need to be loved and need to know that they are appreciated for who they are and what they did for you.

I will change the words that Vince Gill wrote (so very well) as I sing them to you.

I know your life on earth was troubled
Only you could know the pain
You weren’t afraid to face the devil
You were no stranger to the pain

Go Rest High on that Mountain
Girl your work on earth is done
Go to Heaven a shoutin’
Love for the father and the son

And every January 6th (the day you left us), I will continue to do that on what I will now call “Appreciation Day” to honour your memory. The many heartfelt condolences that I got to read on your Facebook page and in the game, are all testaments to the impact you had on others. You were appreciated more from afar than you were from near and that is just so wrong.

I would urge anyone reading this to maybe take that day and do something that you think is appropriate and show someone that you truly appreciate who they are and what they do for you.

Go rest high on that mountain, girl. I will miss you always. My biggest regret is never to have met you in person or to touch or hug you. But it was all worth it.