Categories
friends life Sport

Malletball

Yesterday afternoon in the park, we helped celebrate our friend Thomas’s birthday with a potluck and games. I played some chess, had my hand injured in a slack-line tightening incident (I’m fine), didn’t come in dead last at croquet, and ate some of the best devilled eggs and broccoli salad I’ve ever had. By all accounts, it was already a great afternoon, but then something amazing happened.

Thomas pulled out a volleyball and together with five others of us armed with croquet mallets, we spontaneously created the new lawn game and soon to be sensation, “Malletball”.

It was amazing how simple and yet complex the game was from the start. We cordoned off a small section of the park, using croquet gates to mark goal posts. We felt that it would be too difficult to score if one could just block with his body, but what would be the punishment if you did block? I came up with the idea that it should be a point for the other team if the ball touches you and Thomas added then that it would be five points for a goal. So quick; so perfect.

Probably the most amazing part was that despite swinging mallets at each other nobody got hurt. As long as Matthew’s smashed thumb doesn’t count as somebody. There were a few near misses. One time I raised my mallet up over my head to stop a flying ball, the end of the mallet unscrewed and came tumbling down nearly grazing my head… resulting in the birth of the no high-sticking rule.

Some other interesting developments, Thomas invented a way to juggle the ball in the air, I created a fairly inspiring “behind the back” maneuver, not to mention the ways we learned to flip the ball up to a teammate to try and hit it at an unsuspecting opponent. (Though it is easier said than done).

The teams were very even. We decided to finish at 100 points, and the final tally was 100 – 94. I can’t wait to try it again, perhaps with hockey nets next time.

Malletball

Categories
life

Sascha

Today Andrea and I said goodbye to our lovely dog Sascha. She hasn’t been doing well and eventually the time came that the kindest thing we could do for her was to euthanize.

Young Pup Sascha

Andrea got Sascha from a women, who got her from a family, who got her from a shelter, who got her from a family. As in, Andrea became her fifth and final family, way back in 2006.

The story goes that the woman couldn’t really keep Sascha but she didn’t want to return her to the shelter because she had already been to the shelter once and, according to the woman, if Sascha went back, there was a strong possibility she would be put down.

Sascha with Andrea

When Andrea and I started dating, she explained to me that she and Sascha went for walks in the coulee everyday. They were returning from one of those walks when I happened upon them in April of 2013. So, in a way, I have Sascha to thank for meeting Andrea.

Sascha with Andrea and me

She was so lovely. She will be missed.

Categories
education life work

New Teaching Position

Last Monday I interviewed for a full-time teaching position at a Hutterite Colony. Yesterday, I found out that I got the job! I’m extremely looking forward to it.

Categories
life travel

Hooked

Last night after catching what I thought would be our dinner, the second hook on the lure accidentally pierced Andrea’s thumb during the hook removal process when the fish made a last effort to escape by wiggling and jumping.

The lure with its two hooks, one attached to the mouth of the jack fish and the other deep in the centre of Andrea’s thumb, connected every flop of the frightened fish to driving the hook deeper. I held the fish down and another fisherman nearby helped us take the lure from the fish’s mouth.

This is what it looked like after we got the hook off the fish and the line:

IMG_6768.JPG

After a moment or two of wondering exactly what we should do and a couple a failed attempts, I gritted my teeth, locked the plyers onto the hook, and ignoring my tendancy to be paralyzed with empathy for her pain — I pulled it out as straight as I could. I’m not sure how it can be the case, but Andrea insists it barely hurt at all.

After all that, the fish, however, was too small to keep so I let go.

Categories
Apple life technology

Apple Watch

I’ve had a strange affinity for all things Apple lately. Most recently, against my better fiscal judgement I decided to pre-order the famous Apple Watch. It wasn’t an easy decision, I went back and forth with myself for months after it was first announced last September. I even hesitated for a couple of days after the pre-orders started on April 10th but even when I finally convinced myself it was ok to click the buy button I was left with a feeling of uncertainty.

After much anticipation with a dash of frustration (I opted for pick-up which meant navigating the perplexity that is the light-industrial area), it finally arrived at its new home on my wrist yesterday.

My first thoughts about the new gadget are probably similar to what others have said. It’s lovely — heavier than I imagined but then again I’ve never had a real watch before, (anything more than $50 has always been out of my price range). It’s shiny and black and fun to swipe and explore. Honestly, it doesn’t do a lot relative to the amazing iPhone 6 with which it’s paired, it’s just a lot of fun to take phone calls on my wrist, to see messages as they arrive, and to know the time again (all without resorting to the savagery of pulling my phone). I love it.

As others have talked about, Siri seems smarter than ever — though after the last update there seemed an improvement on her phone version too.

Probably most important, though not the most fun, I know for a fact I have missed at least one less phone call than I would have without it. Considering my living depends on catching such phone calls, perhaps the Apple Watch will pay for itself.

In case you’re wondering, I’m no longer uncertain if the watch is right for me. I would buy it again in a second.

Categories
life

A Little Adversity Goes a Long Way

I’m happy to say that today, I approached a Phil Connors level of perfection in everything that I did. The day didn’t start out very promising with only a half day of work scheduled (out of town) and not the slightest inkling of a plan for the afternoon or evening.

As it turned out, the half day of teaching was extended to the full day, the afternoon was perfect weather for both raking and mowing the lawn, then I had time to make myself an upgraded frozen pizza (one must add red peppers, spinach, and onions in order to bring plain pepperoni freezer pizza to acceptable levels) to jam out on my new guitar, watch the daily show and even eating some chips and salsa. After cleaning up supper like someone with OCD, I roused my roommate Justin from his long afternoon nap and we went to the university climbing wall and pool. Now that I’m back and laying comfortably in my nice, warm bed, my arms are quite tired and my eyelids dropping but I feel great. Aside from the arduous trouncing by the elephant in the room, it’s amazing all the positives that can come from a little adversity.

Categories
life

A Glimpse

Student 1: Hey Mr. Milner are you still together with your girlfriend?

Me: Nope. Thanks for bringing that up though.

Student 1: Ohhhhhhh! I’m so sorry.

Student 2: Oh, that’s so sad, you were so cute.

Student 1: I thought you were going to get married.

Me: You’re not the only one.

At which point I can feel my face turning bright red.

Categories
Apple life technology

iPhone 6

This week the world was introduced to iPhone 6. Last week I had my credit card number compromised which meant I wouldn’t have to stay up all night to order a phone that won’t even ship to me until October. I did, however, get a new card in the mail yesterday and the phone which I have been anxiously holding off through three generations of iPhones (four if you count the 5c) will finally be on it’s way in just another week. The photos I’m going to take are going to be amazing… I can’t wait.

Some might argue that spending so much money on a new Apple device would actually be much better spent on buying Apple stock. The $500USD that was spent on my first ipod (the iPod Photo 40gb) would have been a better investment in Apple stock considering that same $500 would now be worth $12470. While I really loved my iPod, it wasn’t worth $12.5K.

So this time around, I decided to have my cake and eat it too. I invested in the spring and so far I’ve made enough to pay for my iPhone just out of earnings. The tough part is deciding to pull my money out now or to let it ride for the long haul. This little chart, What if I had bought Apple stock instead? would suggest I should let it ride.

Update: it has arrived!

Categories
life travel

Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure – Day 2

Day two at Disneyland. Because we hit the park hard yesterday we felt it in our legs today. That didn’t hamper our spirits though and we strolled over to the park after a couple of continental breakfast pastries. I was thinking about an early morning dip in the hotel pool but it doesn’t open until 9am pretty much guaranteeing any serious ride goer like myself won’t be taking advantage of their facilities.

Hollywoodland
Hollywoodland

Today was a chance to catch-up on rides and attractions that we missed on day one. We were not disappointed! Rides we went on today included:

  • Hollywood Tower
  • Goofy’s Flight School Rollercoaster
  • Soarin’ Over California
  • Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • The Matterhorn Bob Sleds
  • Aladdin
  • Dinner at Carthay Circle
  • The Muppets in 3D
Categories
life travel

Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure

On our third day in California, we rose bright and early to hit the road pretty much exactly when the rest of Calfornia was on their way to work. While I knew that it was going to be a driving adventure, navigating that many lanes (at times as many as 8 going our direction) was something I hadn’t totally expected. Luckily we arrived without incident.

A sign shows the lanes that will take us to Los Angeles.
Plenty of traffic.

Once in the park, the secret to getting the biggest return on investment is knowing which rides are worth waiting in line and which are better to get a Fastpass. The newish Radiator Springs Racers Cars is a very popular attraction, so first things first, we found the Fastpass station and got hooked up! The thing about Fastpasses is that you’re only supposed to be able to get one at a time, however, we raced over to the line for Fastpasses to the World of Color because I had read that it isn’t on the same system as the other Fastpasses and, just like that, we were already working the park like pros!

Grizzly River Run
Grizzly River Run
Ascending Grizzly Peak
Ascending Grizzly Peak

Having secured our afternoon and evening at Disney’s California Adventure, it was time for our first ride and since we were standing next to the 110-foot Grizzly Peak, it was an obvious choice. Our first ride would be Grizzly River Run, the white-water rafting adventure at the mountain’s base.

Being early in the day, and a bit cool still, meant that we wouldn’t be waiting in line for very long. After a mere 10 minutes we found our selves strapped into the giant rubber rafting tube, slowing ascending the rickety conveyor belt, wondering who would get soaked first.

I came away from the ride only a little wet, Andrea got it worse than me, but one of the other guys on our raft was almost completely soaked. It was a lot of fun.

The rest of the day was great too. Next we popped over to Disneyland and discovered we could hold Fastpasses for one of the attractions in this park at the same time as we held them for DCA. We made some great memories as we hit up:

  • The Jungle Cruise
  • The Pirates of the Caribbean
  • The Haunted Mansion and
  • Splash Mountain

Then it was back to DCA for our chance to race one of the cars from Cars.

Radiator Springs Cars
Cars from Radiator Springs Racers zoom by in the background.

Probably my favorite ride of the day was California Screamin. Here’s the video.

disneyland-jeff-and-andrea

The last ride of the night was Space Mountain and then it was a well deserved rest back at the hotel so we can do it all over again tomorrow.