Madonna Sing-a-Long

C’mon Girls! Do you believe in love?

I’m just going to put this out there.

I enjoy listening to Madonna.

The other day, I pulled out her “Immaculate Collection” CD from my music assortment. I popped it into my car’s CD player and put it on shuffle.

You know, commuting in and out of Vancouver is much more pleasant when you sing along to music. Boy, do I love to sing along!

Sitting in my car is a crocheted BB-8 that hangs out by my cup holder. I’ll pick him up by the head and flip him around as I drive. His ass makes a great impromptu microphone. Occasionally I’ll stick it in my family’s face to try and get them to sing along as well. A lead singer needs his back up vocals!

Rocking down the highway to some classic Madonna makes me happy. I know most of the lyrics to Madonna’s songs from the 80’s and 90’s. Some of the lyrics I mumble or sing incorrectly for fun. Even though I belt them out, I still have to have her music cranked up. It drowns out my inability to sing. But I sure look like I’m having fun.

So I take a note from one of Madonna’s lyrics:

Express what I got,

oh baby ready or not

Express yourself!

Christmas Eve Close Calls

Today as I was driving to work, I almost got in a car accident. There was practically no one on the roads at the time. I was in a roundabout when another driver nearly hit me. She was clearly not paying attention. Probably distracted thinking about Christmas because she was in a real hurry.

There are certain rules of the road that people need to follow. Yielding to those in a roundabout is one of them. I wasn’t angry at the other driver, just a bit frustrated. But I’ve been on the other end as well where I’ve made a mistake driving nearly causing an accident.

Christmas Eve 1993, when I nearly got in a car accident. I was 17 at the time and my mother had asked me to go get gas and a car wash up the road from our place. My younger sister came along for the fifteen minute car ride. It was probably to get us out of the house in order for my mother to do last minute gift wrapping. It was evening time and the roads were getting frosty with patches of ice.

I was approaching a stop light and wanting to take a righthand turn. That’s when my wheels locked and I slide towards the car that was perpendicular to us. I must’ve stopped inches away from t-boning the driver’s side door. When I stopped, I quickly reversed and then proceeded to make my turn- waving apologetically to the other car.

Once I had turned into the gas station, a police car pulled up behind me with lights flashing. The officer had seen my close call but was kind enough to let me off with a warning and some friendly advice to be careful during the holidays.

I’ve always remembered that moment and taken it to heart. Even with your mind elsewhere, you need to pay attention to your immediate surroundings.

Stay safe over the holidays everyone!

Candy Cane Can’t

I was driving to get the kids from school like I usually do on a Friday afternoon. Being the cool Dad alone in the car- I was grooving to some Christmas tunes on the radio. I also decided that I was going to eat a Candy Cane. Because- Christmas of course!

So I’m driving and trying to open the wrapper with both hands- while still holding the steering wheel- safety first. Just bopping along to some tunes and smiling as I struggle with the heat shrinked wrapper. My smile is now fading as I try and use my teeth to rip into this unforgiving clear plastic of pure evil. I want to eat my sugar treat!!! Why is this so difficult???

I finally got a little tear opened on the bottom of the candy cane. So I went back to multitasking with my hands on the steering wheel and opening my treat. The nearly impossible plastic protective shield was outsmarted by this man! I was about to revel in my Christmas Sugar Rush when the unthinkable happened.

The wrapper split open from end to end to reveal a shattered candy cane.

Nay! Not reveal- but rather EXPLODE!

Candy Cane shards went everywhere. All over the floor mats, the dashboard, my cup holders, and even into my steering column. Instead of a loud cursing scream, my voice let out a cracked whimper of defeat. I was beaten by a cheap Christmas confectionary. The rest of my drive was met with a taunting Christmas jingle pumping through my stereo.

No treat.

No joy.

Just a flaccid piece of plastic wrap in my right hand with a few bits of red and white dust falling out. This is the perfect example of why I don’t like sweets.

Auto Pilot Driving

This morning I made it home on autopilot. I’ve done this numerous times. Just like an ant- I know the route home off by heart.

I caught myself twice that I had zoned out. Once was driving past a police car with someone pulled over. Next, I was suddenly at my exit off the freeway without realizing it.

It still worries me though. I don’t like the sensation of losing the time. Once in a while I’ll take a different route home from the freeway just to change it up. I usually do that if I’m really tired. But it’s that long stretch driving for twenty minutes that has my mind wandering.

I can’t think of a good way to keep myself focused. I’ve tried a variety of music, podcasts, talk radio, even hands free calling.

Who knows. Hopefully one day I don’t have to drive anymore. Then I can zone out all the time.

Driving On 9

Today I chose to drive everywhere by doing the speed limit. I know-crazy.

I’ve always been a Mr. heavy foot when it comes to driving. Over my 25 years of driving- I have had about 20 speeding tickets (3 of which were in my first two years of driving) and numerous warnings. It’s about time that I stopped handing over thousands of dollars in fines and started behaving.

This morning I decided to drive at exactly the speed limit on my way to work. It was early morning, meaning no traffic on the roads. Surprisingly, any other driver I met on the road was speeding. I just stayed in cruise control in the right lane and let them whiz passed me. It was the same on the drive home.

I also chose to follow the rules of the road a bit more closely in order to be able to showcase to our daughter that following these rules are important.

If I’m going to help teach her how to drive- I want her to have a good role model. Time to be that person.

Jacked

We insured our Honda Element today in order for our daughter to learn how to drive a 5 speed manual transmission. I thought it was a good idea at the time of deciding it. Only cost us $708 for four months insurance. OUCH. But at least it won’t cost us much more… except…

Whattheeverlovinghell?!?

Ok, not gonna lie. I knew we would need a tune up service for the car. It had been sitting for about 18 months. So no big deal. Really. I have started it up and moved the car a few times. My daughter and wife had driven it a bit today. They filled the tires and got some gas. I decided to take it out for a drive when I came home from work.

It probably wasn’t the best idea. Lots of driving for a car that has been stationary for far too long. That “Check Engine” light did not disappear. On my drive back to the house from the store, my little Element began to “Jack Rabbit” when I was in 2nd and 3rd gear. I pulled over and shut off the car for a bit before driving again. The car ran smooth for a bit, then began Jack Rabbiting once more. I made it home and have decided that I won’t drive it this weekend until after I get it looked at.

Hopefully it won’t cost a small fortune and that all it takes is simply a couple of twists and turns to tune it up right.

Hmmm now I want to watch “Pulp Fiction” again.

“In The Shape of An L On Her…”

Car!

Random did it. She turned 16 yesterday and went and got her learners permit today! She passed the test without issue.

So my oldest is now learning to drive. I raced home from work so that I could take her out for a spin. She slapped the “L” on the back of my car and we got ready to head out. Being her first “official” driving experience (she may have moved the cars a few times over the past year in our driveway, but I won’t tell) she did everything by the book!

She walked around the car- twice. She sat in the driver’s seat and adjusted her mirrors, steering wheel and seat. Her seat belt went on, she started the car and the radio got turned off. As we drove, she used signals, drove just below the speed limit, shoulder checked, and focused. Our trip up the road to the gas station was one of the most perfect by-the-book rides I have had since probably my road test 35 years ago.

Starting with the good habits is difficult. I know how I drive. I know what my car is capable of. I also know how to *ahem* bend the rules a bit. I had to put all of that behind me and talk with her about how to drive properly. She did great- and her smile afterwards was worth it all. Like back when I taught her how to ride a two wheel bike. She was so proud of herself. That was eleven years ago…

But she’s still my little girl. And I am proud of her accomplishments as well.

Driver’s Tan

The sun is out and the heat is now in full force. Driving in my car, I prefer to roll the windows down and drive with the wind blowing in. I think every car I have ever owned has had AC, but I don’t like to use it. Plus, how can everyone else enjoy my loud music if the windows are shut?

I enjoy resting my arm on the edge of the door while the window is down. It’s a casual feel and keeps me calm while I drive. The only problem is that I get a funky one sided tan that is worse than a “Farmer’s Tan“.

The dreaded “Driver’s Tan“.

At the end of my evening commute to work yesterday, I felt like Richard Dreyfuss from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. My arm was warm and the side of my face was beginning to feel it as well. The only way to balance this out is to become a passenger in the car and hope that the sun beats down on the opposite side.

But the sun is great and makes everyone a bit happier. I love that the weather is spectacular these days. For the past 25 years or so, I have survived every summer’s “Driver’s Tan“. I think I’ll survive this years as well.

The Shitty Routine

I’ve been coming to Calgary Expo for seven years now. And every year I get the same gift. A gift I don’t want. I thought this time would be different.

I had been awake since 3:30pm the day before, worked all night, then grabbed a quick nap before hitting the road by 09:00am. As much as I wanted to sleep, I had to stay alert. But throughout the drive, my co-pilot was out cold periodically. I began zoning out as I drove. It was the last leg of our journey- only about an hour and a half remained of our ten hour drive. Then it happened…

A speeding ticket.

This year it happened on my wayin to Calgary. The officer was quick to pull me over, issue the ticket and in a few short minutes- turning around his car to give out a ticket to someone else. Seems like it was a regular place to make a buck or two… Usually I get a lovely photo in the mail a few weeks after our trip. Oftentimes an image of my car the day we are leaving!

So now that The Shitty Routine is behind me for this trip, time to enjoy my weekend.

Let the Full Frontal Nerdity begin!

Just Music?

On my drive to work today, these were a collection of the songs I listened to:

Peter Gunn by The Art Of Noise

It’s music that just sounds like it’s from a 1970’s/1980’s film. Jazzy and techy. Fun to drive to.

Mama Mia by ABBA

A great disco tune. One that I know the words to. I love singing to this and bouncing around in my car.

More Human Than Human by White Zombie

This song just gets me going. It has a killer beat and drums along.

My Sunday morning drive is usually an eclectic arrangement of fun music that I enjoy. The drive home was NEWS Radio. That my usual Sunday. The rest of the week is mostly talk radio and podcasts.