Tears And Laughter

These are indeed interesting times.

On occasion when I actually have contact with people, which is quite seldom these days, they will say some version of “how are you doing”. My normal response is “I’m still above ground, I guess that’s a good sign”. They will laugh and we move on to something else.

Actually though, it is often hard for me to describe how I’m doing, even to myself. I go through various ups and downs, both mentally and physically.

I tend to spend considerable time online, knowing that there are a number of things I want to achieve, one being my Wee Internet Empire, and another building my Ancestry information. For both I try to do a good amount of research in a number of areas. As well, often I spend time on YouTube or Vimeo watching videos to learn stuff, or to be entertained. A number of these videos watched for entertainment produce emotional reactions which, in past times, I would not have had.

For instance, I have become a viewer of The Voice, from around the world, particularly the blind auditions. In The Blinds, as they are referred to, not only are the singers good (usually), but they often have quite interesting back stories as well. I have found there are many occasions when I have seriously teared up when watching.

This is just one description of when I find myself crying, there are certainly others, and they have become more frequent in recent years. I’m not sure if the increased isolation of the last couple of years has added substantially to it or not, although perhaps it has made me more aware. As well, I would imagine the aspect of aging and experiencing reduced ability to do certain things, and awaiting hip surgery, are factors also.

Of course, life is not all bad, and earlier today I came across a video which reminded me there are good things to enjoy as well. Today I caught a video clip called Best Carol Burnett Show Bloopers, which I share with you now. The Carol Burnett Show was regularly watched in our house as I was growing up, and remains a good memory for me. As well, the actors, particularly Tim Conway, will forever be enjoyed.

Coming across the Carol Burnett video today prompted me to create this blog post. I’m quite aware that my experience is not unique, and that there are many people with similar experiences in all parts of the world. Perhaps my sharing will do me some good, and perhaps others will know they are not alone with the feelings they may have.

For all, please be safe. Stay healthy. And happiness heals.

Is It Really Worth It?

What to write, what to do, how to proceed, these are the questions I’m dealing with at this time. The blog post title says it all.

I had this grand vision to share my thoughts, words, photos, videos and experiences, and, to have fun doing it, by creating what I called my “Wee Internet Empire”.

I started out fine, was excited, and began putting things together. My blog, this blog, had been in place sporadically for a good many years, with this being the 68th blog post. I have posted about half a dozen stories on this blog as well.

My YouTube, Vimeo and Flickr were in place for a number of years, however were not connected to each other nor was there any inclination of a theme.

My Facebook originated about fifteen years ago, as did my Twitter. I don’t use my Twitter all that much these days, one reason being the platform content has changed so much. As for Facebook, the constantly changing Facebook Algorithm really causes a kerfuffle there. Imagine Frank Sinatra trying to “start spreading the news” on Facebook today.

I have been on LinkedIn for a very long time, using it to maintain contact with a great number of people, even though I am now retired.

In August, after talking with our son, and my friend Rob, I figured I would enter the podcast arena and have twelve podcasts published up to this point. Rob and my sister have provided some suggestions for the podcast moving forward.

I had been on, and off, Snapchat a number of times and have started a new account recently, however this time I am trying to use it as part of my entire program.

It seems that half the world is on Tik Tok. I joined Tik Tok primarily so that I could support our son who uses it to promote his business. One of our daughters is also on Tik Tok, however just for the cat videos. I have had a bit of fun posting so am still going to continue with it.

I got a Discord account so that I would have another avenue to communicate with a youth group I’m an advisor for. Then I thought, I could maybe do something here as well, so I created my own Discord server, which now has other members.

My latest addition was a newsletter. I came across a newsletter on Substack from a friend and saw that there was a good possibility I could use my own newsletter to tie everything together for my “Wee Internet Empire”.

So now we get to the crux of the issue. Is it really worth it?

I don’t have any expectations of going viral, becoming world famous, having thousands of subscribers. That, of course, is totally unrealistic.

Currently I am retired, staying at home for the most part as I am a bit mobility challenged awaiting hip replacement surgery and being very careful going out anywhere due to the potential risk of Covid.

As a result my primary daily focus is this “Wee Internet Empire” thing, and feeding Otis the cat.

That all being said, there are times, more often recently, when I find myself in a vacuum. Some of you may have heard some version of the expression “my get up and go has got up and went”, although there are times I feel my get up and go decided not to visit me in the first place.

I have long been able to successfully support and motivate others when they had times of disappointment, frustration, or were feeling down, however am very unsuccessful at doing the same for myself. As many of us are aware, there is nobody who can beat us up more effectively than ourselves.

While I am typing this all out, I am talking to you, my readers. At the same time, I am also talking to myself, something that is medically proven to be a good thing (Talking To Myself).

Even so, something I feel is lacking a bit, is feedback from others. It is for this reason that I always ask people to take a moment and visit one or more of the platforms that I use. Visit my website, read my blog, listen to the podcast, look at some photos, watch a video, read the newsletter, whatever. And then, perhaps take a moment, like it , maybe make a comment, share it with a friend, and best of all, recommend it to a friend.

I have been thinking through, working on, Googling thoughts, for this blog, for a couple of hours now. Then reviewing, checking for typos, or other errors. As I do so, I am feeling a little better, being active always has that effect, so my target is to be as active with this as possible. I really hope my get up and go will visit more often.

Once again, thank you for reading this blog post. I invite you to check out my “Wee Internet Empire” by visiting my website, LeSueur.ca. Any comments, recommendations or criticisms that you may have are always welcome.

Melaka Morning Memory

Today I am trying something just a bit different as I experiment more during the building of my wee Internet Empire. I am using this blog to show you a couple of videos and using the audio from them on my podcast. Both will be referenced in my newsletter. We’ll see how it goes.

Three years ago I traveled to our place in Melaka, Malaysia, this time for a three month stay. This morning, up popped one of my memories of awakening on my first day there. I had taken a couple of videos during my early morning coffee, and they were quite poignant considering how the world has been the last couple of years.

Of course, not being able to travel to Malaysia and spend time with our daughters, grandchildren and friends, due to Covid, provides the type of unhappiness that millions of people around the globe are feeling.

As well, another aspect of being at our place in Melaka is that I miss the mornings, having my coffee, watching the sun rise, and listening to the sounds.

That is the memory which I am highlighting today.

This first video is taken about 5:50am, it is still dark and you can hear the frogs, crickets and the praying at the local mosque. As a country boy at heart, I really enjoy these sounds.

Melaka Apartment Pre-Dawn

The second video is taken just after 7:30am, the sun is just above the horizon and you can hear the birds as their activities increase.

Melaka Apartment – Sun Rise

Thank you for allowing me to share these memories with you today. It is my hope that soon we will all be able to once again actually experience these types of moments instead of simply reviewing memories of them.

Want to follow me on my journey as I develop my wee Internet Empire? You can do so by subscribing to my newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks, and be notified of new posts and updated on what’s happening. You will find the link to today’s podcast there.

Your comments are always welcome. Please have a safe and healthy day.

Internet Empire – The Back Story

Firstly, for clarification, I am using the term “Internet Empire” in a fun way.

As I have indicated in a previous post, I have been doing things on the world wide web for well over 40 years. I have been doing blogs, in various forms, as well as Facebook and Twitter, since 2008, for work, volunteer organizations, and myself.

As we all are quite aware, life has changed, some would say drastically, over the past couple of years. For me, it goes a bit further back.

I retired from my final job at the end of 2018 with the plan that I would spend some of my winter time in Malaysia and my summer time enjoying my motorcycle here in sunny Alberta. That worked to a degree for a couple of years, but, as often happens, life got in the way.

The pain I had been experiencing in my hip got worse and was eventually diagnosed as arthritis, to be remedied at some time by a hip replacement. This impacted a number of things, one being my overall mobility, and another my motorcycle riding. It’s hard to ride when one cannot swing one’s leg over the bike. For a biker, not being able to ride creates an unhappy place to be. Over the course of the next two summers I went through two more motorcycles, eventually coming to the one I have now. It is a trike that I am able to mount properly and now I don’t have to worry about my leg strength for stability.

Then, along came COVID-19 (followed by how many variants we have yet to find out). Now traveling to Malaysia is out, for who knows how long. It has also put a severe crimp on social and family gatherings, motorcycle events, volunteer group activities and activities with my local veterans group. As well, it has created another factor into the potential scheduling of my hip replacement surgery.

As a result, I’m literally sitting like a bump on a log at home, retired, mobility challenged, Covid restricted, and in the middle of a -30C (at times) Alberta winter.

Quite honestly, it was depressing, and I found myself imitating Jerry Seinfeld and doing nothing, although it seemed to work way better for him than for me.

I would like to say, then came an epiphany, however that was not the case. It was more like a gradual thought process. It started with the thought that, as an amateur photographer for many years, I might have some photos or even some videos that folks might like to see. Obviously, they are not doing much good just stored on my computer or in a trunk in the garage. Then came the thought that I like to write, and I do have some good stories to tell from the last 70+ years. After working with different youth groups over the last 15-20 years I have become familiar with various smartphone apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Telegram, SnapChat and so on, so that I could stay in touch with them. They were impressed that the Old Guy could actually do that.

After pondering these thoughts for a while, I figured, maybe I can put all these things together (and perhaps some others as well), give myself something to do, and have fun doing it. Maybe even provide a commodity others may find interesting as well.

Hence came into being, the concept of an Internet Empire. It may not be grand in scope, however it is meaningful to me, and in the end, maybe that’s the most important thing.

This Internet Empire is moving along. I now have a website, LeSueur.ca, with links to my various internet platforms. Just recently I have have created a newsletter, Old Guy, New Tricks, where I can notify folks when I update any of my platforms (like this blog) or share other information. I invite you to subscribe.

As this process has moved forward, I find I am contacting with more people from all over. Now I subscribe to a good number of blogs (as you can see off to the right), quite a few YouTube channels, Flickr sites, and such. In addition to being very interesting, I have been able to learn many new online techniques as well.

So, this is a bit of the back story for my Internet Empire. You are welcome to have a look around, comment on things and share with your friends. All are welcome.

My Internet Empire – Yeah Right!

I have been active online in some fashion for many years, beginning in the mid ’80s with an IBM PC (Intel 8088 @ 4.77mhz, 16KB memory, 5MB hard drive) and a 1200 baud modem. Pretty impressive at the time but Stone Age when compared to today.

Now, being a Old Fart, it seems I have experienced numerous different events, and taken a large number of photos as well as quite a few videos.

The result is many stories, in my head, and photos/videos, on my computer, that I could share with anyone who may be interested. If they remain in my head, or on the computer, they are not doing much for anyone.

So… it occurred to me to create an Internet Empire, a vehicle to share with all who may see, read or listen as I post on a number of different platforms. Now, to be clear, I have no expectations of having a large following, however I would be quite pleased if I have folks who enjoy what I produce and share.

Now I have a blog, a podcast, accounts with Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo, in addition to my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Just recently I have added Tik Tok and SnapChat, just for fun. They are all tied together by my website and LinkTree.

Some of these things have been in place for many years, Facebook and Twitter since 2007, blog since 2009, while others have been more recent. As many of you may have found with your own internet activity, some things tend to be a bit sporadic, often with various gaps in activity, some quite large.

As I am trying to build my Internet Empire, reducing these gaps is something that I feel I need to accomplish. Which leads me to my latest podcast.

Last evening, for the first time in well over a month, I put together a podcast, the title of which was “Nothing”. I talk about doing nothing, not by deliberate choice, but rather by lack of action. To listen, just click the graphic to the right.

With all of this in mind, my plan of action is to involve, if possible, you, my audience, in the process by sharing my empire building progress. My thought is, that by doing this, I will also press myself to help avoid these doing nothing times.

To this end, I welcome any feedback you would care to pass along. The only way that I can know if you like something, or you don’t, is if you tell me. I may be an Old Fart, but I have still been able to learn new tricks.

Thank you. May you all have a safe, healthy and happy Christmas, followed by a hopefully much better 2022.

Pain – A Personal Perspective

Today, I thought that I would write about pain. Not in a technical, medical or scientific fashion. Rather in personal thoughts, opinions, experiences and observations.

To me, pain manifests itself physically, mentally and emotionally, at times all three simultaneously. A prime example of this would be Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Being a member of a military veterans group, I have a number of friends who suffer from varying amounts of PTSD, which they are usually able to deal with it in a number of different ways. They may use some combination of a cautious and guarded lifestyle, or utilize medicines and cannabis products, or have supporting service animals. One thing all have is a cadre of brothers and sisters who make themselves available when needed.

Personally I am fortunate suffering only slightly from PTSD as a consequence of a couple events in my past.

So what prompted me to decide to write about pain today.

Well, partially because I suffer from pain myself, and some of my observations of others in pain, much of which is complicated by our current Covid-19 pandemic.

My personal aspect is that I have severely arthritic hip and am on the list for a total hip replacement. Due to the Covid Delta variant filling hospital ICUs basically all scheduled elective surgeries in Alberta have been cancelled or seriously delayed. My brother recently asked about my hip and I told him I was lucky that my surgery had not been postponed or cancelled, however that was most likely because it wasn’t scheduled yet.

So, because of my hip, I have pretty much daily pain. How much varies with my activities, the weather, and quite possibly, the whim of the pain gods. I am like any number of folks with a similar ailment, and do the same as most must do, which is just put up with it as best I can. I know there are many people awaiting various surgeries whose circumstances are much more difficult than mine.

At times, the physical pain is not the primary issue. The mental/emotional pain is. The frustration of not being able to do any number of routine tasks is.

I was unable to ride my motorcycle as the pain would not allow to mount the machine. So, eventually the remedy was to replace my cruiser with a trike, which I was then able to ride. However, as my hip changes, even riding the trike is difficult. Now it is put away for the winter so who knows what spring’s arrival will hold.

Fortunately I am still able to walk, with a cane, but stairs definitely slow me down. I am still able to drive my car, but getting in and out is definitely not a speedy operation. The bathroom is now fitted with mobility assist devices. Getting dressed meant developing new techniques, particularly putting on socks. There is a specific procedure for sitting down and standing up, and not all chairs are suitable.

I don’t say these things to complain. They are part of the process. They are, however, indications of the frustrations I have experienced. Now add to this, the aspect of the Covid pandemic, which has curtailed physical contact with friends and colleagues, and almost eliminated many of the volunteer activities I was used to doing with both my local Kiwanis club and my veterans group. Even with my hip pain I was able to do some of these things as well as travel with my wife to visit our children and grandchildren in Malaysia. Now all on hold.

I would be lying if these situations didn’t lead to some degree of mental/emotional pain. I like to be involved in things and have found that when I do nothing, then I do nothing, almost like withdrawing. Unfortunately my wife, God love her, is the one who has to deal with me. Honestly, I would be in much worse shape if not for her.

With her kicking my ass, in a manner of speaking, I am making an effort to be more active, hence an increased blog post activity, beginning a podcast and a few other things. As well, I have a friend in Nova Scotia, his name is Rob, who has been stirring up some of my creative juices as well, so we’ll see how things go. There will be more about both these two in future blogs and podcasts.

Most people know that pain is a challenge. A challenge which, with support, although we may not be able to overcome it, we can adjust to deal with it to a large degree.

Thank you for reading. As always, your comments are welcome.

Put Down Your #&%#$ Phone!

The Blinky Thing

Whilst on the World Wide Web today I came across this image. I shared it as a bit of humour on a Canada veterans group to which I belong, applying the remark “This could really work if more drivers got their face out of their phones.”

I had typed that remark because many of my fellow veterans are, like myself, motorcycle riders, and vehicle driver phone use is a sore point with us. Not only us actually, but all bikers. As I posted the photo my mind said, “Hmm, there could be a blog post about this”, and sure enough, here we are.

Like many bikers, I started riding long before cellphones were a thing. In the ’40s and ’50s, what was perhaps the cell phone’s predecessor, existed for many of us in the form of Dick Tracy’s wrist radio.

As a person who rides a motorcycle, there are few things that upset me more than those who use their cellphones in anything other than hands-free mode. They are doing something that seriously takes their attention away from their driving and becomes a major danger to other vehicles on the road, particularly motorcycles as many drivers don’t notice us all that well at the best of times.

Unfortunately, I, like many in the motorcycle community, know fellow riders who have been killed or seriously injured as a result of improper cellphone use. These events cut very close to home, and I have narrowly avoided a very bad situation a couple of times myself.

If a text, or any other cellphone related activity, is so important to risk a person’s life, then bloody well pull off to the side of the road, stop, and stay there until you are done. Otherwise, as the title of this blog says, “Put Down Your #&%#$ Phone!”

Please don’t use your phone. The possible tragedy which can result is something that you will have to live with the rest of your life. Unfortunately we may not.

As always, comments and feedback are always welcome.

Let’s Talk About Dolichovespula Arenaria

For the vast majority of my readers the title of this blog post may well get a “say what?” type of reaction.

Today I will talk about the Dolichovespula Arenaria, or for those who don’t know Latin, the Common Aerial Yellowjacket Wasp, found throughout Alberta and beyond.

Recently, my wife and I were out for a motorcycle ride, and had a wee stop for a light snack. There we were joined by a few wasps, as they seem to have food radar.

Now most of us think of wasps as disliked pests, or, on occasion, as something to be even despised and eliminated at every opportunity.

It is true that wasps seem to have that type of reputation, however, they do play an important role in the entire circle of life. Wasps actually do way more good than harm. They capture, and consume, various insects such as flies, caterpillars and beetle larvae, hence playing a role in the protection of farm crops and gardens by helping to control the pest populations. As well, similar to bees, they are recognized as valuable pollinators, as they transfer pollen when drinking nectar from flowers.

Today’s subject, the Common Aerial Yellowjacket, are like a cleaning service, when they are out scavenging dead insects to feed their offspring. Often the problem comes when their scavenging habits are combined with their love of sugar, putting them in close proximity of us, humans with food. These situations usually end badly, primarily for the wasps.

For my wife and I, we actually had very interesting time with our lunch companions on this occasion, due to a small piece of candy which fell off an ice cream dessert we had acquired.

We were not only able to observe the wasp, but were able to video it as well. Those videos are shared with you in this blog post. I was most impressed with how they turned out and find them to be quite interesting. I hope you will as well.

I have included four videos for your viewing enjoyment. You will note from the final video that this particular wasp was not into sharing with his companion.

As always, I welcome any comments or feedback you may have. Thanks for reading.

Finds a nice piece of candy.

Sorry about the language of a man walking by with his wife and young daughter.

He really seems to be enjoying this.

Not into sharing it seems.