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October 2017


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Personal Motto

Monday, 18 September 2017 10:42 am
penlessej: (James Crest) you have one? What is it? What is the meaning behind it for you?

I have two:

(1) Keep Calm and Carry On: pretty much sums up my approach to life. People call me cold and calculated. But they do not know me, they just know the façade that I build up for their own safety and my own. Deep down I am a very emotional and very passionate person. I have learned to control my emotions (for the most part) and to apply reason and logic to my life. The phrase "Keep Calm and Carry On" is cliché and has earned a new sense of modern popularity after the WWII posters (that were never actually released through London) were discovered in a small bookstore a couple decades ago. For me, the phrase embodies my entire approach to controlling my passion and my emotion and apply logic. In face of being bombed, it would be a normal reaction for a passionate person to become emotional, but it is not reasonable, the reasonable person carries on and gets to safety.

(2) Per ardua - Through difficulties: this is the motto of Clan MacIntrye, the Scottish side of my family which falls along the linage of my grandmother. This is the family where the kidney disease follows, so the motto is chillingly fitting. The MacIntryres were proud people who served as hereditary pipers for the MacDonalds of Clanranald and paid regular and proper tribute to the Menzies' until rents became too unbearable in the middle of the 1800s. I have internalized this motto and I feel it is an accurate motto for the family that brings the genetic nightmare upon my family.
...I swear. And to keep you people fed in the meantime, I will admit that I very nearly almost posted the template for the 2017revival group here as a meme post. Yep, that almost just happened. But it didn't, so how much fun can you make of me really?

In other news:

- went to a Whitecaps FC game in Vancouver on Saturday all by myself. I was suppose to go with a friend I went to school with who lives in Vancouver now (and stay at her place on her couch) but she ended up getting food poisoning on Friday night and was in no shape for a game on Saturday. At first I pouted around the house and then I decided to go alone. I ate shit though, had to take the car on the ferry (both ways $72.50 a pop) and as much as I tried on Facebook, Reddit and even walking up to people who were scooping out scalpers I could not get rid of my second ticket. Oh well, more room during the game I suppose. Actually, it worked out well from my nice guy side, two young women were only able to get seats apart in the row and my spare seat was a gap between me and one of her friends, so I offered the extra seat to them.

- Sunday was moving day. I am now all moved into what is being called the cottage between me and Meganne. It was a rough day overall. Meganne was an emotional mess and became very sentimental near the end of the day. I was sad, very sad, but I had a job to do so I focused on getting it done. I also figured that my role in this emotional nightmare is to be somewhat of the anchor, so I plugged ahead and tried to make it as painless for Meganne as possible. Sleeping in new places sucks and I am finding night lights in the oddest places. It used to be an AirBnB, so that might be part of the reason why, but still, odd.

...more to come, with details and photos. I swear.

Checking In

Friday, 15 September 2017 09:00 am
penlessej: (Default)
I am still here, trust me I am still here. The round of four days of 12 hour shifts on the battle watch for the BC fires over the weekend and into Monday and Tuesday really sucked the life out of me. I also hit somewhat of a brick wall mentally this week which prompted me to reach out for support from the mental health guys here at my work.

So that is where I am right now.

This weekend I'll be heading to Vancouver for a MLS soccer game and then moving day is Sunday.

I will get more out shortly. Sorry to those friends who have I have been absent with these past few days, I just need to check out for awhile (and now I am checking in, so we're good).
I am finishing up a few online courses with the military right now for professional development. One of the courses, called Support the Institution, deals with all of the HR aspects of the military including the granting of honours and awards. Reading about the Order of Military Merit lead me down a rabbit hole of reading about entitlements when one is inducted into the OMM or the Order of Canada. Among these entitlements includes the right to add supports to your personal armorial bearing. And of course, I decided to look all of this up.

An armorial bearing is what would otherwise be known as a coat of arms or a crest. Generally, families have coat of arms, but people can have personal armorial bearings that carry elements from the familial coat of arms but also have personal touches. For example, if one is a member of the OMM, you can add supports to either side (in Canada usually stylized as caribou, deer or lions). However, one cannot simply draw up their own heraldry and call it their own-- it must be approved by the Chief Herald through the Governor General of Canada. There is an entire process here.

I told Meganne about this last night because it got me thinking and now I want my own personal armorial. It is actually something that is right up my ally to be wholly honest.

The first step is to submit a petition to the Canadian Heraldic Authority requesting a personal armorial. The Chief Herald will review the petition and make a recommendation to the Herald Chancellor that the petitioner be granted armorial bearings (coat of arms, flags, badges). A Warrant is then signed authorizing the Chief Herald to proceed in the design.

The second step is to research a concept and design proposal. This will require researching my family coat of arms and deciding on what elements I would like to incorporate into my own personal design. This process could take up to three months and involves going back and forth with the Chief Herald in order to have the design eventually be approved. Once the design is decided a written description of the proposed concept, including its elements and meaning, is drafted and sent to the petitioner for final approval.

The third step involves designing the actual bearing. An artist approved by the Canadian Heraldic Authority creates a rendering based on the written description for initial approval. Once approved, the design gets calligraphy added with the family name and motto (if desired). The calligrapher will also draft the Letters Patent which come from the Governor General and will give full force and effect to the personal armorial bearing. Both the approved design document and the draft Letters Patent are sent to the Chief Herald for registration and official approval.

Within 12 months of the bearing being approved a copy of the design and the Letters Patent is sent to the petitioner for their personal use. The Grant itself is published wholly in the Canada Gazette (the official public record of Canada) and the personal bearings are added to the Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada.

So, what would my design look like. Well, obviously pending official approval, I would like to take elements from my James family crest and the MacIntrye Scottish clan badge for a personal armorial.

The James crest is a simple blue arm that is divided by a yellow chevron bearing seashells with yellow lions filling each point (not an official heraldic description obviously). The seashells apparently mean that my family participated in the Jacobite risings (which was really original name selection on our part if that was the case). And the lions apparently indicate that my family was considered to be loyal to the Crown because the heraldry officials at the time would never permit a family in bad standing to bear a symbol of the Crown.

The MacIntrye badge is simple, a hand holding a dagger surrounding by the traditional belt found in almost any Scottish clan badge. The motto of the family is "Per Ardua" which is Latin for through difficulties. You might recall that it is the MacIntrye side of my family in which the kidney disease runs, and thus the motto is chillingly accurate. Hence the reason it will become my personal motto as well.

I do not have a photo of the design yet but what I am thinking is a blue arms with the same yellow band of sea shells (because, come on, participating in a rebellion that changed the course of UK history is pretty worthy of being marked for all time) but straight along the top. So three seashells along the top of the shield under the yellow ribbon. And simply in the middle the same arm hold up the dagger as in the MacIntrye badge and the motto Per Ardua underneath. I am not a member of the OMM so I do not get any supports. I have also seen some designs of the James crest that include a helmet above it (like the pic I used for this post), I might add that too, or rather I would like to research what is an appropriate topper for a naval officer, because there is that little fact of having a commission from the Queen that should probably be added into the design somehow.

All told the cost could range from $500 - $3000 depending on artwork costs, etc. There is a flat $300 processing fee to start the process and then everything is worked out after that on a case by case basis. It is a lot of money but again, this is something that is right up my ally.

I know that I have some history buffs and experts on my f-list here. Would any of you be interested in making some cash on the side helping me research these things? I can pay in real money.

Popping My Head Up

Tuesday, 5 September 2017 08:05 am
penlessej: (Promotion)
I am still here! Do not give up on me fellow Dreamwidthers. Last week I went camping Tues-Thurs and this weekend has been busy rental hunting around the city. The good news is that I think I have found a place and everything seems to be coming together today. The bad news is that Meganne and I are not really civil at the moment. In order to make things a little easier, she has moved down to the mainfloor of the house completely. At least this way we are not compelled to acknowledge one another in one form or another (which usually came as rather snippy) when we see each other. Kind of weird, but for the best.

I have photos from camping (which included golfing nine holes in the pouring rain) and some insights from rental hunting so there will be a meatier post soon. For now, I am playing catch up on some posts and you know that work thing.
Three weeks ago I was diagnosed with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (AD-PKD). Right now I am fine; my blood pressure is high (but under control thanks to medication) and the filtration rate of my kidneys is not ideal but functioning. At this point, it is a matter of waiting and monitoring the change in function over time to determine and prepare for end-stage kidney failure. Ranging out to the future will be about finding a live donor or going on a kidney dialysis machine and waiting for a traditional donor. But I have to stress that right now I am doing well with the bits and pieces I was given at birth with the assistance of medication.

I am not sure what the future holds in terms of my career. There is a good chance that I will never head to sea in any sort of an operational capacity but also a chance that a transplant will be successful and I can carry on. In the meantime, the RCN has been very supportive and I am very grateful for that-- I can't imagine going through this with any other employer to be honest.

So yeah this started up around the time that I thought I had a hernia. Turns out it was an infection that was related to the kidneys starting to fail. Hence my absence. I will be posting updates here as this has always been my journal for more personal things.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to ask away. I am open just not willing to share unsolicited information.

Not Dead

Thursday, 18 May 2017 09:53 am
penlessej: (Joffre Lakes One)
...I swear I am still alive. Barely however. I pulled my back out over the weekend helping Meganne set-up the new garden plot. Something about using the right shovel for the right job in the future. At any rate, I was out of work for two days and virtually our of commission entirely until yesterday. And I've been playing catch up since then.

Apologies to everyone. I'll try and get out an I'm Reading post shortly for the week and get back to PM and messages that I have yet to (how rude!) respond to.

Something Wrong

Tuesday, 9 May 2017 01:23 pm
penlessej: (Centre of Canada)
Lately, I have the feeling that I have done something terribly wrong and although that I am not sure what it is or how it came to pass, I still have the persistant feeling. Now everything I read, has this lense of "is this about me/did I offend this person." It is shitty to say the least. Well, good thing we are sea so I have work to take my mind away from wandering (because really I know that this really is the problem here). Do you ever get feelings like that?

In other news (somewhat related because it sucks too), I am pretty sure that I have developed a hernia on my left side. I would go to the base hospital but they almost always hand out unfit for sea chits for any sort of medical complication, and I can't have that right now (and neither can the ship). So I cannot sit for too long or it starts to hurt (laying down feels much better, especially with my legs elevated). I will have to get this taken care of next week once I am done sailing. I just hope it does not become more complicated because of my intentional avoidance of medical attention.
Third update for the Fitbit (and the third week of owning the device). Things are going well. This week's data gives a good baseline for fitness and activity while I am at sea. As you can see, a little bit less activity (it is hard to cover 8 km per day on a 55 m ship) and a lot less sleep. The numbers are indeed interesting. After next week, and once I have a month's worth of data including some time ashore and some time at sea, I am going to compile the data and develop a baseline of fitness and activity. From there I can set real tangible goals for myself.
Date Cals Burned Steps Dist (km) Floors Fairly Active (m) Very Active (m) Activity Cals
2017-04-23 3,313 12,971 5.69 39 67 79 1,828
2017-04-24 3,198 12,062 5.29 39 16 4 1,821
2017-04-25 2,855 8,529 3.74 27 0 0 1,424
2017-04-26 2,928 9,499 4.17 36 7 0 1,469
2017-04-27 2,938 8,416 3.69 28 0 0 1,495
2017-04-28 3,609 12,103 5.31 27 53 21 2,259
2017-04-29 3,624 16,273 7.14 33 80 76 2,248
Wk Average 3,209 11,408 5 33 32 26 1,792
Total Average 3,162 10,875 5 28 32 17 1,714

Sleep has always been a luxury at sea. I am not standing bridge watches as the Executive Officer, so these numbers are actually much better than they would be if I was a watchkeeping. That being said, the lack of sleep and the effect on performance during the day is certainly something that needs to be looked at by a professional pan-Navy. Here is what is happening in my little corner of the world.
Date Asleep (m) Awake (m) Awakenings Time in Bed
2017-04-23 707 44 4 751
2017-04-24 362 29 1 396
2017-04-25 324 16 1 341
2017-04-26 330 25 1 355
2017-04-27 208 12 1 220
2017-04-28 303 12 0 315
2017-04-29 641 36 1 678
WK Average 411 25 1 437
Total Average 398 34 3 439

How much sleep do you get in a night? Do you get as much as you need? How much sleep do you think you need each night in order to feel refreshed the next day? Do you find that if you get too much sleep that you are just as tired during the day as if you got little or no sleep?

Childhood Survey Meme

Friday, 28 April 2017 04:49 pm
penlessej: (Default)
I just got home from sea for the week (back out next week Mon-Fri). I've got Fleetwood Mac on the record deck and a cold beer in my hand, so I am happy. I will post more about my adventures at sea tomorrow, for today you get this meme courtesy of [personal profile] viciousteeth.

Childhood Survey

What was your favorite tv show or cartoon?

When I grew up in Northern Ontario, Canada we only had two television channels. One was CBC (the state funded public broadcaster) and the second was MCTV (a small local station for pretty much all of Northern Ontario, yes *that* kind of local). Coming home from school The Simpson's was on, so I grew up on Homer and Bart. When I was younger, I enjoyed Bill Nye the Science Guy and as I got older a cool show for teens on CBC was one of my favourites called Street Sense (it was all about living on your own, growing up, sex issues, etc.).

What was your favorite song?

Tubthumbing by Chumbawamba.

What was your favorite toy?

My favourite toy was not actually mine, it belonged to my brother. We had a toy Andy and Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story and while I was older I had a guilty pleasure of really enjoying those toys. I thought it was cool how the company made the toys and they were the same from the movie. As I got older I had model ships that I used to enjoy playing in the pool with (morbidly I used to sink the Titanic all of the time). 

What was your favorite game?

Monopoly and still very much is.

What was your biggest fear?

Vampires. I used to have terrible dreams of them where I would wake up very scared and sweaty. These stopped in my teens.

What was your favorite fantasy or daydream?

Becoming an astronaut.

What was your favorite food?


What did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut.

What was your favorite book?

10,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Charley and the Chocolate Factory.

What was your favorite movie?

Apollo 13 and Titanic (not for the love story, I was obsessed with the Titanic and loved the visual accuracy of the movie).

Who was your favorite author?

My first favourite author was Lemony Snicket, his books and use of the English language made my head spin in wonderful ways and it was the first time I was ever exposed to that sort of unleashed writing.

What smell instantly brings you back to your childhood?

The smell of the orange soap that my dad washed his hands with to clean the oil off when he came home. We use the same wash in the ship and instantly after someone uses it in the heads (washroom), I am brought back to home and him coming in the house and washing up before supper.

Who was your crush?

Her name was Jesse Overton. I also had a huge crush on my grade 6 health teacher.

What was your favorite subject in school?

English. I also really liked civics and history. This hasn't changed.

Who was your best friend?

Riley Brown, his parents were teachers at the school and he lived two blocks from it and we would go to his place for lunch. We were cool.

Who did you admire?

My garde 5 teacher Mr. Huchabies (we used to call him Mr. Hercules), I can still remember the day he taught about how the House of Commons work and how a bill becomes law. I trace all of my interest in history, civics and politics to this one day. I was fascinated by the idea of seats and a Speaker and the Queen. It was a pivotal moment in my life. He also used to give us sour blasters when we got answers right, which was awesome. But his breath was terrible (probably from eating too much candy now that I think about it).

What's the stupidest thing you can remember doing as a child?

My dad bought me a snow machine on my 12th birthday. That winter, my cousin and I were fooling around in a field with it and we set up a massive jump off of a hay bail. Thinking back now that was extremely dangerous and I could have really hurt myself (I remember flying off of the machine and landing hard on the ground, I could have broke my back or neck in the process).

What's the best summer break of your childhood?

My mother has kidney disease and was on a dialysis machine when I was a child (she has had a transplant now for over 14 years), so we never got to travel much as a family. Plus, we did not have a lot of money until my dad secured better employment while I was in my teens. One summer we went to Muskoka (just north of Toronto, Ontario) for a summer at a camp for people on dialysis. It was a cottage facility on the edge of a lake and it had a pool, games room with pool table, a shed full of canoes and kayaks. I had an amazing two weeks there that summer and met a girl too (we held hands in a boat one night and I was on cloud nine). I can almost remember every moment of that summer. I almost won a pool tournament that my dad put me in (I had never played before) and since then pool has become a bonding thing for me and my dad. Ironically, Meganne was one lake over (and knew of the place growing up) enjoying a similar summer at her family cottage.

Favourite Things Meme

Thursday, 27 April 2017 09:59 pm
penlessej: (Greenman)
Lifted from [personal profile] missangelique999.

Color - Black
Food - Italian, Mexican (all of the Italian and Mexican food)
Smell - BBQ, fresh cut grass, the forrest
Movie - the entire Star Trek series (include reboots), Forrest Gump, Apollo 13
Music genre - all of the music (mainly Canadian indie and classic rock)
Texture - a women's touch
Time of Day - sunset
Day of the week - Sunday
Drink - Earl Grey tea, Coke (recently switched to Coke Life for health reasons), I also enjoy port and gin
Precious Stone - saphire
Animal - elephants
Flower - sunflowers
Sound - waves on a beach
Hobby - writing, gardening (recently), following politics
Fruit - all of the berries, bananas that are mostly green
Vegetable - beans, corn on the cob
Shop - Best Buy, MEC
Boy’s name - Peter
Girl’s name - Margaret
Ice cream flavor - chocolate
Soda - (we say pop in Canada), again, Coke but gingerale is underrated as is Dr. Pepper
Season - Fall
Month - Sep/Oct
Word - fork
Compliment - not picky here, please do, haha
Eye color - colour isn't as important as depth (if you get this you get this, if not I am sorry)
Dessert - New York style cherry cheesecake
Candy - Sour Patch Kids
Restaurant - The Union Club of British Columbia
Thing about myself - I have layers like an onion