Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Death of PC Garrett Styles

What if there was a knock at the door at 6am to wake you up?

You realize that people aren't knocking at your door at 6am unless something drastic is wrong. While scrambling to get your clothes on as the knocking at your front door continues, you peek out the window to get a glance at who is there. -It's the Police.

As a parent, husband, or wife, you would check the rooms of your kids to make sure that they are alright. After a quick check, you see that one of your kids' room is empty, and your heart starts to race. Your head is spinning with the possibilities, which are all worst-case scenarios, as you run down the stairs to answer the door.

The dreaded words of the police are uttered to you...

"Are you Chuck Bastie?" they ask

"Yes, I am. What's wrong?"

"There's been an accident, and we'd like you to come down to the hospital. We have a car waiting for you." they say

"What happened?"

The looks on the policemens' faces just turn into scowls as they look at you in judgement. -Something serious has happened.

As they take you in the car, you realize that your van is missing, and pieces of the puzzle are starting to come together. Your son is gone, and so is the family van. As it turns out, your life is about to change like you have never thought humanly possible. It turns out that your son has allegedly taken the van, and along with 4 others has been caught on the side of the road by PC Garrett Styles.

In utter panic, motivated by fear and bad judgement, a bad situation is about to be made worse, and then ultimately tragic, and this has been created by your son.

After pulling over your son, PC Garrett Styles finds out that the 15 year old boy is unlicensed and out for a joyride in the family van with his friends. It only takes one bad decision to compound a situation and catapult it into a nightmare, and that's just what happens.

In a mere matter of seconds,  PC Garrett Styles is going to find himself dragged for 300 metres by the van before the 15 year old driver loses control and crashes into a ditch, pinning Styles under the van. The unlicensed driver is seriously injured, and Styles will be fighting for his life as he radios for help.

The tragic story just gets worse as PC Garrett Styles loses his battle and succumbs to his injuries. The driver of the van has been taken to the hospital, where it is determined that he will be parlayzed for the rest of his life.

You get there just in time to see your son lying in Emergency and unconscious. Your eyes cannot believe what you are seeing. All around you people are looking at you, and you don't know what's happened yet. But the looks of the people around you tell you that your son is the culprit of a terrible act. In fact, the police then tell you that charges will be laid because it's just been determined that PC Garrett Styles is dead. -He leaves behind a wife, and 2 young children, and he was only 32 years old.

First Degree Murder.

As a parent, are you responsible for this heinous act of your son?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals


It comes down to ONE game. All the 82 games of the exhibition and regular season plus the post season come down to just one game tonight.

It simply just doesn't get better than this.

I'll keep this brief, so I can get a seat at the table to watch the game tonight. I think Vancouver wins a close one, and Tim Thomas stands on his head in a losing cause, but he still takes home the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP.

I cry as I watch Alex Burrows hold the Stanley Cup, because I truly feel that he is an oxygen thief.

I would hope that Boston proves me wrong, and comes out and steals this game and brings a championship back to Boston that would make the city the first city in North America to win Championships in all the 4 major sports in a 10 year span. It would also make Toronto the last of the Original 6 franchises to win a Cup last by a long shot.

Either way, I would love to see a great ending to a fantastic playoff season.

And then I'm going to slit my wrists so that I don't have to watch baseball highlights all summer long...

Go Bruins!!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Boston Game 3 Stanley Cup Final, 2011

There is always a moment inside of a moment in your life.

Well Monday, June 6th was one of those days.

June 6 is a hallowed day. It was the anniversary of D Day which took place in 1944. But on this day, me and 3 of my buddies were off to see Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Boston.

It started out with a bang. My buddy Warren ends up being late for the flight at Toronto Island airport (and he could probably hit it with a rock from where he lives...) and while he is checking in, so is the Stanley Cup which is flying with us to Boston. Cool moment, CHECK!

There is something great about huddling up with your boys before an event, and hugging it out to start it all off. A quick hour and 15 minutes later, and we are in Logan Airport in Boston, and off to check in across from Public Gardens at the Taj (Former Ritz)

We meet J.R. for lunch, and then head back to the hotel for some drinks, and meet up with an old friend (great to see you again Shemo!!) and off we go to meet up for drinks at historic Faneuil Hall before the game.

We go to get our tickets at Will Call and there they are. SICK SEATS!! I've done nothing good in my life to ever deserve seats like this. 7th row off the ice? Wow...

So the highlight of the night, (besides the 8-1 thumping the Bruins laid down that night) was late in the second period. The puck gets deflected out of play, and near our section. It bounces off a couple people and seats, and lands pretty close to us. My buddy Warren DIVES for the deck in his Ted Nugent shirt, and starts wrestling with a tough Boston broad on the ground. I go over and grab his cell phone and somehow hes also got a beer in his hand that wasn't his, so I grab that too. This frees Warren up to go get that puck.

And that's exactly what happened.

As if Warren doesn't have Horseshoes up his ass already in life, he gets the only puck that left the ice that game. 18,000+ people in that arena, and Warren gets this souvenir puck from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Unreal.

The tough Boston Broad isn't happy, and she punches Warren in the back of the head. Although he feels it, it doesn't even phase him. He has just pulled off the impossible by snagging this puck. In fact, I don't think Warren even felt it...

Warren throws his hand in the air with the puck, and our section goes crazy with applause. He spins once or twice before taking notice of the 7 year old boy directly in front of us. After high 5'ing all of us, Warren looks at the puck, looks at the kid, and bends down and says, "Here you go Kid."

The kid looks at the puck and doesn't really understand what has happened. The kid's father, however does, and he grabs his son, and hoists him in the air like Simba from the Lion King, and when the kid shows the crowd the puck, they threw it on the Jumbo tron, and the entire arena went crazy! It was an amazing moment, all made possible by Warren.

But that's just what kind of a guy my buddy Warren is...

Game over, Bruins win, and we hit the streets for the after party. We meet up with J.R. for drinks. After the bar is closing, we head over next door for some pizza, and they give Roenick a pizza. So we all sat in the street talking with fans about hockey and taking it all in.

What a great day. It's lasted a little more than 12 hours, but it was a whirlwind of 12 hours.

Thanks to Warren and J.R. for making that the greatest sporting event I have ever been to...

Monday, June 6, 2011

D Day 2012

I stood on the Normandy Beaches in 2007 at low tide looking out to the English Channel and imagined what it would've looked like on June 6th, 1944.

Wave after wave of the largest amphibious landing the world had ever seen, landing on the sand that stood at my feet. Here, there was probably not a spot along miles of coastline, that didn't witness absolute horror on that day.

But today, I can close my eyes and see that Normandy beach in my mind all over again. I can imagine corn fields in the French countryside that were replaced by cemeteries like Beny-sur-le-Mer, which hold the final resting places of thousands of Canadian service men that paid the ultimate price for our Freedom.

I love that cemetery. I love the beauty of the maintenance and the groundwork that make it look like the most serene park you have ever laid your eyes on. I love the fact that it is meticulously cared for by people who have the belief system that places like this need to be remembered, and more so, respected.

So today, please take a moment to remember. Remember that days like today are one of the reasons why we are proud to be Canadians.

Lest We Forget...

Juno Beach Museum in Normandy, France.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Does Spellcheck Make us Poor Spellers?

For some reason, spelling has always come fairly easy to me. When I was a kid in school, I noticed that there were kids who really, really struggled with spelling. It also seemed to me that the kids who were very poor spellers seemed to do much better in math, whereas I was horrible in math.

I saw a link there and I can see it now as an adult, but there is something that really makes me wonder about this.

I can't have a computer do math for me, like spellcheck can make you a better speller. Sure there are calculators, and quick books to make it easier, but it will never replace doing math, like spellcheck does for proofreading.

If I look at facebook posts, I am amazed at what a generation of absolutely CRAP spellers we are. In fact, I have friends who are English as a second language that spell better than my North American friends. -It's really embarrassing!!

What really astonishes me, is that nobody has seemed to grasp the concept of You're/Your, There/Their/They're, Alot vs A lot, and this is just the basic stuff.

So my question is, are we just a generation of poor spellers, or has spellcheck made us worse because we just expect it to pick up all of our mistakes?

Certainly, I would think that none of the people who are poor spellers really care about being better spellers, otherwise you would see them at least spell check what they write before they post it. It evident when people don't do this.

So do you think that we just don't care, or that we have actually declined because of spellcheck?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

It's ALL About Your Belief System

It's late at night, and I just came from watching a comedy. I was upbeat, and while I sat down smiling remembering the scenes from the movie that made me laugh, something odd happened.

That voice in my brain threw me a totally unrelated thought from happy and laughing, to deep and poignant.

My brain was thinking about this novel of mine that will never seem to be finished to my satisfaction. It has become a full time job to turn off this voice in my head that says that it's shit. -That nobody will read it, that nobody will see any value in it. And not because of the message of the novel; I know that this message is amazing. But the amateur writer who is trying to deliver that message, has simply never delivered that message before!!

Then I start to think that I've been torturing myself for 2 years writing here and there, (mostly in spurts) and it will prove to be an epic waste of time if it is not enjoyed.

But then amidst all this internal dialogue, the reason WHY I have been writing this book re-appears in the process. And it keeps me writing...

Had I not had a significant "WHY" in the process of writing this book, I would've given up on this a long time ago. For example, if I was simply just doing this to make money, or be famous, I would've allowed myself to quit. My brain would've finally justified to myself that I have never taken English Lit, writing courses, written anything significant, I'm not a novel reader, and I am too long winded. (Yes, I DO know this people... ;)

But those weren't the reasons WHY I began writing this book. And that proves to be the reason why I am still writing, even though I hate it right now.

As it turns out, the powerful reason why you do something always has to be bigger than yourself. You see, you wouldn't usually lose weight for yourself. There is usually 10 different reasons that finally motivates you to lose those extra lbs and change your lifestyle. -And those reasons are always bigger than you...

It reminds me of the story of the 3 stone masons working outside of the church that they were help building.

A passer by asked the first mason, "What are you doing?"

"I'm laying Brick, what does it look like I'm doing?" replied the first mason

Undeterred, she moved on to the second mason, and asked him the same question.

"I'm making a few extra bucks so that I can go to school next year. I make 15 bucks and hour here" he said

Moving to the final mason, she again asked the same question to him

"I'm helping build a gorgeous church that will stand long after I am gone from this earth. My kids, and their kids can come here to worship and tell everyone that I helped build this for the community. -Can you believe that they actually also pay me 15 bucks an hour for this honour?" he said

And that is the difference in life. What you choose to believe makes all the difference in what will make you soldier on when things in life don't go the way you expect them, or want them to. But your reason why, has to be powerful enough to realize that it is a project of worthiness. If you don't achieve it, chances are good that you are doing it for all the wrong reasons...

So, I soldier on in my novel, because I have the right "Why" in my quest. When I finally finish this novel, it won't matter how the writing factors, because I cannot expect myself to just pop out of nowhere and write a best seller. But I know that the message of my book will resonate with each of you who grace me with reading it.

And after that, all of these evil thoughts of mine will be a moot point. And that will have made all the difference (with apologies to Robert Frost...;)