My dream of a tiny house

I have a dream. That dream is to live in a house on wheels that is 200-300 square feet. Put that house on the water somewhere in an area where it’s close to a decent sized town or city. Without having the hustle and bustle of city life. Have it powered by solar panels, and use a composting toilet. Getting out of the rat race and just having a seasonal job. Maybe even working for myself. Having a small bed and breakfast or writing part-time. Seems pretty simple. Except it’s not. The Ontario government makes it extremely difficult to make such a simple dream come true.

The government doesn’t want this. Not paying into them on a consistent basis. They want you to be in debt every single year. Working until you are 67 years old. The average person twenty years ago put 20% of their pay cheque into some type of savings. Whether it was stocks, RRSP’s, or just a general savings account. Now, it’s under 2%. How do people save money now? They purchase a home. Hoping to sell it for a huge profit in the future. People are buying houses while making $15.00 an hour. They are being approved for $300,000 houses. Unstable jobs, sometimes having to take on a second job to pay off this mortgage that they maxed out. Having to go home to their house as entertainment; because they can’t afford to do anything else.

The newest trend now is to purchase houses, and rent out part of the household to basically pay the mortgage. It’s actually an extremely smart move. Especially in a booming market. While looking for our apartment this time out we noticed a huge increase in this. This might again become a watered down area to try to get ahead of the system. It hasn’t yet, but we are seeing an increase in incentives to move in. One thing that I am noticing in Ontario is that it’s difficult to exit the matrix. Anything that the government can do to reduce ones independence they will do. The reason that people can’t have a tiny house in Ontario is the danger of having squatters? Squatters?

Now you can have a tiny house in a trailer park in Ontario. The regulation on that is that you need to vacate that tiny house for at least 2 months every year. And the trailer parks charge you anywhere from $400-500 a month to just park it there. You are still not much better off than renting an apartment. We are at the mercy of the Ontario government. Just pumping money into the system. One thing that may become more popular is shared households. Having a beautiful common area and then each person that lives there has their own bedroom. That could become a big thing in the future. People are sick of living pay cheque to pay cheque, and having to worry about job security constantly. We just want a cheaper way to live. Inflation has taken its toll on the majority of the population. Getting paid the same or less, and being charged more.

I have kept a keen eye on the tiny house movement. It seems to be gaining momentum. We are not the only ones out there that are thinking this way. Most of the people that I know in their 20’s seem to striving for life experiences over houses and cars. You look at the baby boomers and see that a whole generation at some point in the next twenty years will start to be moving into retirement homes and selling their houses. You then look at the younger generation that is supposed to be buying up these homes, and where their heads are at as far as how they want to live; you see that there is a disconnect between the two.

The housing market bubble is going to burst. You will always have your high value areas such as Toronto and the areas around Toronto. Everybody wants to live in the mecca of a province, but the other areas further away are going to be a tough sell. The days of over paying for homes and land should come to an end. We want nothing to do with any of these issues. All that we want is a tiny house on a body of water in an area that we can get our groceries. Why is this so difficult to achieve?

Blue Jays playing small ball to win

Bottom of the ninth, runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. 0-2 count, Colabello has looked lost at the plate, and in the field the whole day. The runners take off, the pitch is in the dirt, blocked by Conger. No play at either base. This isn’t the Jays that I am use to. The well-executed double steal on a 0-2 pitch that you know Gregerson was going to bury to try to get Colabello to strike out. What happens after this? What does this create? Sacrifice fly or wild pitch ties the game, and a single or better wins it. Knowing that Gregerson isn’t a dominating closer by any means, Gibbons played the odds, and won. If I was watching this game a month ago it would have gone like this. Colabello strikes out on a pitch in the dirt. Reyes and Bautista are still at first and second.

This isn’t the John Gibbons that I am usually writing about. The guy that I am usually watching is the laid-back manager that is waiting for the long ball to get the win. In the Astros series I witnessed a change in these Jays. Sacrifice bunts, steals, and hit and runs were key to a lot of the victories over the weekend. Sweeping a first place Houston club out of Toronto. It was exciting baseball to watch. The fans were engaged, and so were the players.

Toronto was able to overcome a key error by Donaldson, and multiple walks in key situations by the pitching staff yesterday. This is rare to say about the Jays, but they are learning how to win. Sometimes you need to go after runs. You need to press the defense of the opposing team. Keep on manufacturing runs, and do not stop until the game is over. It’s complacency that has gotten the Jays into trouble before. They know they have a great offense with an abundance of power. It was the record that was just being put on over and over again by Gibbons. Things will turn around. These players will get hot. This weekend showed that they are not going to wait around anymore. Bautista is red-hot. Other than him we have players doing what they have always done. What’s the difference than? Timely hitting, decent pitching, and smart managing. During the games over the last two days there have been multiple times that I have said to myself. “Smart move or gutsy call.” All of Gibbons moves have produced, catching teams off-guard.

It’s nice to see the Jays playing this way. At the start of last year you were seeing a team that couldn’t maintain what they were doing. They were hitting home-runs at an outrageous pace, and Beurhle was looking like a Cy Young candidate. Everybody was playing at the top of their game. You just knew that the bottom was going to fall out once a few players cooled down, and injuries would happen to key pieces. This team is still a few games under .500, but you can see the tide turning.

It’s easy to go back to bad habits. If they get thrown out a couple of times in key areas, or hit into outs while trying to start a hit and run. They could just go back to what we are accustomed to watching. Big swings in key areas, when all they need is a single. Hopefully they realize that this isn’t a fluke. This is an exciting team when things are in motion. I have to give credit to Gibbons. He has made all the right moves recently. Maybe we are seeing an enlightened man that is managing to the style that is required to win? Or maybe we are seeing a man managing for his job? Either way, it looks like this team has been woken out of its slumber. Let’s see if they can continue this streak against a couple of very beatable teams in the Marlins and Mets. Is this a new Jays team? Doing whatever it takes to get the win. Let’s hope so. If this is the new brand of baseball in Toronto, I am completely on-board.

The Growth of Aaron Sanchez

This is the Aaron Sanchez that as a Jays fan I thought was getting.  The most important starter currently in the Blue Jays rotation. He is also the biggest wild card.  He has grown leaps and bounds in just a handful of starts.  Realizing that he doesn’t need to clock it up to 97 every time that he wants to get somebody out.  Whether it’s been Russell Martin, Pete Walker, or maturation, it really doesn’t matter.  Sanchez is learning how to pitch.

Sanchez is the one guy in this starting 5 that can match up with another ace and go toe to toe in a must win game.  Hutchison is going to be a dependable starter, but is not a true ace.  And you can’t roll out Dickey or Beurhle in a winner take all game.  So it will fall onto the shoulders of a 22 year old starter.  It was a beautifully executed game against the first-place Astros yesterday.  Knowing that this is an all or nothing team.  If you can throw strikes, and not give up the long ball they will struggle.  The Jays had a perfect game plan put in place, and it was executed flawlessly.  Sanchez was constantly getting ahead in the count.  Keeping the Astros off balance.  Not trying to over power them; giving them nothing that they could knock out of the park.

Even against the Nats the starting pitching was out in full force.  Dickey was a hard luck loser against Jordan Zimmerman, but he pitched well enough to win that game.   Beurhle has thrown complete games in three of the past four starts. The rotation is beginning to come around.  Estrada and Hutchison have been consistently throwing 6-7 innings each start.  This game becomes easy when you have a rotation that continually gives you quality starts.  Slowly, this team is starting to gain confidence that they don’t need to win every game 10-8.  Knowing that any pitcher that takes the mound can throw up some zeroes after they have put up a few runs on the board makes a world of difference.  The walks have been cut down, which stops the big innings from happening.  It can be a beautiful game when you throw strike one.

As bad as the pitching has been prior to the past two weeks, they actually measure up against each starting rotation in the division fairly well.

New York Yankees:  CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and Adam Warren

Baltimore Orioles:  Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, and Mike Wright

Tampa Bay Rays:  Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi, Erasmo Ramirez, Nate Karns, and Alex Colome

Boston Red Sox:  Clay Buchholz, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Joe Kelly, and Eduardo Rodriguez

Toronto Blue Jays:  R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison, Mark Beurhle, Aaron Sanchez, and Marco Estrada

When you compare all of these starting rotations you don’t see much difference talent wise.  You see a couple of aces on the Yankees in Pineda and Tanaka, and another ace in Archer in Tampa, and that’s about it.  The Jays and the Red Sox have far and away the best two offenses in the AL East.  If these quality starts continue by the starting 5, the Jays could be right there in September.

There isn’t much waiting in the wings as far as pitching goes. Daniel Norris is pitching fairly well in Buffalo, and would be the call-up in case of injury. But it pretty much ends there.   It would be really nice to see J.A. Happ in a Jays uniform right now.  This is the rotation that will need to get the Jays there.  Will it be enough to get them into a wild card game, or a division win?  I have about as much confidence in that as I do in Ricky Romero to throw a strike.

Why my musical taste is the best

This year in music so far has been entertaining. As an older, and I believe wiser man, I can now say that I don’t need to listen to what’s popular. Because what’s popular is awful. They are calculated songs that make certain sounds at certain times based on what songs were big just before that. The mix between funk and pop has become popular again. So when we hear lawsuits being filed against major musical superstars are we all that surprised? It’s difficult not to get frustrated at what people listen to. To want them to go inside of your brain and understand why you love certain albums the way that you do.

All too often I am looking for something that is real. Real emotions, something distinct. Something from the heart. Music is one of the few ways that you can still produce this. Fortunately creating music has never been easier. Unfortunately, making a living off of your craft has never been more difficult. Musicians have Kickstarter campaigns. They plead for you to buy their music. Go see their live shows. It’s a tough area to be in as a consumer. You want to support your favourite bands. But it’s very difficult to throw down $10.00 for an album on Itunes knowing that only pennies get to the artist that you love.

Also, it feels as though you are wasting your money. Everybody else is downloading music for free. Why would you ever waste money on something that you can get for free? This is the slippery slope that we walk. I have made it my mission that I will download the album, and if it’s worthy, I will purchase it on vinyl. I will also make an effort to see their live show. Attempting to be an ambassador for their album through all social media. Everything pop is crap. It’s like eating McDonald’s every single day of your life. It taste so good going down. There is no substance to it. Its calculated sounds that your brain distinguishes as pleasant to hear. Similar to being at the casino.

It has taken me years to perfect my ways of retrieving new music. Finding out who to trust when it comes to musical recommendations. What websites to turn to. It’s a part-time job. When nobody likes the same music as you do, you begin to question whether what you like is actually superior. It’s a lot to take in being a musical connoisseur. Then you will begin to find people that are into the same genres of music that you are into. You will have an instant bond with them. Knowing that their love for the Beta Band coincides with your love. You will lose fellow music junkies to different styles of music that don’t suit your taste. Whispering “you’ve changed man. What is this Nintendo music that you are listening to?” Instantly you have lost respect for them. Maybe you can’t even trust their opinion in other things now. If they are wrong about this, what else have they been wrong about?

Country fans are by far the worst. They don’t want any emotion in their music. Just going to party’s to drink and socialize. Every lyric is about drinking, trucks, and having a good time. What kind of shit is this? Don’t you know music is supposed to make you think? Not just make you feel good all of the time. The metal heads have zero time for anything else. They show their respect for your great taste in music by smashing into you and pushing you around. The bigger the beating, the more respect that you have. Electronic dance music can only be understood on drugs. “This beat has been played 78 consecutive times. Are you not sick of jumping up and down yet? Don’t put the coloured pant on my face. Why are you telling me how beautiful I am?”

Indie rock is the only true form of music. My musical collection is the only one that should be heard. I will allow you to have an opinion. It won’t be right, but I will allow you to speak. I may change my mind about certain genres of music. It’s allowed, and cannot be disputed. If my circle of music somehow allows any of your circle of music into its vicinity you should feel blessed. My knowledge of music has been consumed and studied. Now, why isn’t everybody listening to what I listen to?

Kraft Dinner and the reasons Gwyneth Paltrow loves it.

“Am I right, or am I right?” is the worst thing that you have to respond to after something that was offensive was said. Any response that you give is going to be terrible. I usually pretend that I didn’t hear them correctly and say a soft “what?” Then depending on the person they will either repeat the awful thing louder, or they will realize that they are an idiot.

Golf in the early morning is the most difficult time to judge whether its shorts weather or pants weather. These are the things that you have to worry about as a retired man.

Unfortunately we are going to see a crisis in the craft beer market. There are too many breweries being opened up for the amount of population that we have in Southern Ontario. The increase of sales will not continue at quite this pace forever. This could be a tough market in about 5 years.

There is a gentlemen in downtown Kitchener that has a shopping cart. He likes to put cardboard signs with things written on it all around the shopping cart. These things don’t make any sense to me. There is something written about “Dogter MacTavish and Tom Thumb.” Sara and I would like to know what any of these things mean, but it might be a conversation that can never be unheard again.

The Stanley Cup Finals begun last night. Everybody put up their hands that think Jonathan Toews is the best leader in the NHL over the past 25 years.

This past Game of Thrones episode was the epitome of a show flexing its muscles. “Oh, you think I’ve been going along a little too slowly. Take a good look brother. And let the throne run all over you.” My mouth was wide open for nearly the whole hour.

I think I told somebody recently that I missed the show Gossip Girl. Things that should not be repeated by anybody. Unless you are from the upper east side of course.

You have to be an extremely cheap person if you watch a cam version of Mad Max. You are the same person that probably watched the snowed version of The Movie Network on Friday nights at about midnight 20 years ago.

Every time that I see a snow queen type role in any Disney movie; I always think that the role would be perfect for Gwyneth Paltrow. Currently at an 87% clip of seeing her on TV I mutter “she sucks.”

Pasta with red tomato sauce is the beginners cooking recipe. There are people that even screw this up. They might even get the one that has garlic in there if they are feeling adventurous.

Mosh pits are frightening to me. Being pushed around a circle seems to have very little enjoyment. I think I am more in the getting in the middle of a circle and busting out the cookie bake-off type crew.

Once again I witnessed the bat flip from a player when his team was down 6-0 and he made it 6-2. Junior Lake of all guys flipped his bat like he was Albert Pujols. You should get one chance to throw at his crotch with a fastball in his next at bat. He has to stand directly facing the pitcher with his hands behind his head.

Watched a news story about a bus driver that was about to be fired for making a child get off of the bus after causing some problems. Another student had filmed the bus driver forcing the child off of the bus. Parents were calling for his dismissal, furious at him for being so awful. The bus driver had installed a camera at the front of the bus the day before to show the type of abuse that he takes. He took multiple shots off of the side of the head of the kids back pack. After seeing this video the school and parents backed down from their call for firing. The fact that the bus driver had to put a camera up to protect himself from prosecution is pathetic. Another instance of calling for blood before knowing both sides of the story.

There was nothing more frightening for a non-athletic person to monkey hit a ball in front of the class. The boo-birds would come out fast and furious if you missed the tennis ball more than twice in a row. Pressure would mount. The third one better be cranked to the outfield. After 5 terrible at bats you were done.

Kraft Dinner was on sale for $0.65 recently. You have many emotions when you see this price for Kraft Dinner. Fear that you will eat it every day for lunch over the next week. Sadness that you might not buy enough boxes and will have to pay regular price. And then regret after eating it in your boxers on a sunny Wednesday morning.

Overrating NHL Goaltenders

With tonight being game one of the Stanley Cup Finals I thought I would write about the overrating of number one goaltenders in the NHL.

Things have changed over the years in hockey. In years past you could always count on your number one goaltender to steal game after game. Goaltenders such as Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Carey Price, and Henrik Lundqvist were staples needed to win a cup. Detroit seemed to be one of the first teams to debunk this myth. They rode a hot Mike Vernon and a mediocre Chris Osgood to Stanley Cup victories. Now you are seeing the same thing with Corey Crawford. His numbers are good. But would you consider Corey Crawford to be an elite goaltender?

It’s all about the system that is played in front of the team. If you have a team that plays a very good puck possession and defensive game you can nearly put anybody back in net and they will look like a star. If you take the Los Angeles Kings for example. Even when Jon Quick isn’t in net, the backups have very similar numbers. Could Ben Scrivens have won a cup if he was the starter? I am not sure that we can go that far, but it’s a debate that you could have. How did Ilya Bryzgalov fair when he was removed from the Phoenix Coyotes trap system? He can answer that after he is finished counting his cash from his buyout.

There isn’t a huge difference between a star net-minder and a decent one. There are multiple coaches that seem to ride the hot hand. Just look at what Chicago did in these current playoffs. They had no problem with starting Scott Darling for a couple of games just to see what he could do. This is what happens when you have a fantastic team in front of you. The one goaltender in the NHL currently that can win a series by himself seems to be Carey Price. I believe that you can replace every other goaltender in the NHL. Have you ever noticed that European goaltenders will come out of nowhere and steal the show? Antti Niemi, Pekka Rinne, and Frederik Andersson to name a few. There is such a slim margin between net-minders in the NHL now.

The days of the 7-8 million dollar contracts over 7 or 8 years for goaltenders is probably over. Sometimes you witness the burden of the contract to great for the player. Jimmy Howard is somewhat going through that now. Roberto Luongo just went through that in Vancouver. It doesn’t matter how great your stats are in the regular season. The team that is paying you big money, and expects you to carry them throughout the playoffs as well. How many years did we witness a Vancouver Canucks team that couldn’t score, and were eliminated from the playoffs early? Luongo would take the blame.

The best NHL teams now have a system in place that all is required from the goaltender is a few key saves. Just don’t let in the big goal. They don’t need to be spectacular. Just good enough for the team to stay in the game. We are seeing this year after year. And we will probably continue to see it even more in the years to come. Coming from a Philadelphia Flyers fan this is going to sound weird, but goaltenders are expendable.

Transforming the Simpsons into what plants crave

Walking into a couple of breweries that are legendary in my eyes. Side Launch and Collingwood brewery. Side Launch offers one of the best wheat beers that I have tasted. Collingwood has a classic pale ale called downhill pale ale. Unfortunately, I just came across as a fan boy while at these breweries. “Oh, I just love your summertime wheat beer.” Is that the best you can do Daryl?

Sara and I stayed at a cabin in the nearby Glen Huron. It was minutes away from the Bruce Trail. There was a lot of love put into this log cabin. Hardwood flooring with more amenities then we have at home. Everything other than olive oil. I cannot live without this ingredient apparently.

Do More With Less (PCT Documentary) – 8.8/10

This is a visually stunning documentary about the people that hiked on the PCT this past year. It also has some music from Caribou which helps its rating.

Kung Fury is a half hour movie that is available on YouTube. It was brought to my attention by a fellow movie lover. I think this is the movie that happens in your brain if you don’t sleep for 137 straight hours. It’s a chaotic plaster of everything ‘80s mashed up into a ball of mayhem.

When is the last time that you purchased a puzzle? Well I can now say that it was this past Sunday. We thought to ourselves. “Well, we are pretty smart, we will get the 1000 piece puzzle.” After opening it up in the car to seeing the size of the pieces we knew right then and there that we made a huge mistake. Being intimidated by a puzzle doesn’t happen often, but it happened this past Sunday. We didn’t even manage to start it.

“Young lad” is something that I am not called very often anymore. That is until I go out golfing at Brookfield Golf and Country Club at 8am on a Wednesday morning.

I do enjoy going downtown for a walk. It’s nice to end up at the local Coffee Culture to have a latte or coffee. I find that reading a book in their comfortable chairs is superb. The only thing that would make it any better is if the drink came in a cup that was manageable with one hand. You are playing with fire every time that this giant cup comes up to your mouth over the Kitchener Library book. Maybe the mug that they use could weigh less than 10 lbs.

What is it about something that says Danger! High Voltage! That makes me want to do two things. Sing the Electric Six song, and climb in there to see what they are talking about. Best case scenario I am a super-hero. Worst case, I am dead. After weighing the options. I decide against it, and continue to walk.

Are you a Facebook user? Do you have a picture of a car as your profile picture? If so, change it.

Do you think that somebody has ever left a winery in Niagara on the Lake, and squealed their tires on the way out of the parking lot? I bet you the over/under is 10.5 times happening in the past year.

As the old adage goes. Is it better to burn out or fade away? In the Simpsons case. It’s fade away. Then re-burn the ashes. Then replant the burnt twice ashes and water them with Brawndo the Thirst Mutilator. It’s what plants crave.

Somebody handed in an Apple One computer to a local recycling place recently. Apparently it’s worth 200k. Now everybody that has that parent that threw out their old hockey cards, video game systems, or comic books has a bad taste in their mouth right now.

Sonic the Hedgehog was fascinating. I was astonished by how quick the screen would move. It was always intense when you or your buddy was going that quickly. You knew that eventually you would hit something and all the rings would fly in slow-mo into the air. But until then… You were the best video gamer of all-time.

Having a dog is cool. Picking up poop is not. This is why visiting dogs is so much more enjoyable.

Sara and I actually came home with more beer than we left with. And 18 year old Daryl said it could never be done.

The Evolution of the MLB Superstar

Thinking back a few years ago, and watching Bryce Harper struggle; he was a 21 year old slugger. There were whispers that he could never fulfill the prophecy that was stowed upon him. Murmurs of a bust. This is a 21 year old player. How did we get to this point to expect so much out of such a young man?

It’s a mixture of the media and fantasy sports. Over hype, expecting the player to become the franchise’s savior. Years back it was common for an early draft pick to play in the minors for the first five or six years of his pro career. Gain his stripes and come up seasoned. Ready to produce at the pro level. The ages and expectations have become ridiculous.

Baseball is the rare sport where you generally can’t come straight out of your draft year and begin to produce. The NBA has draft picks that have the ability to carry a team to a playoff position. The NHL have instant producers. We don’t generally see first round picks carry the team, but we do see them produce from day one. In the NFL they throw the 1st round picks directly into the fire. I am positive that the NFL has wrecked multiple quarterback’s by just dropping them off of a cliff and seeing if they could fly. Teams are so desperate to find the next Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, or Russell Wilson.

MLB hasn’t quite become the same as the previous three, but you do see the odd player come straight to the major leagues without any seasoning. Mike Leake didn’t play one minor league ball game. Was Bryce Harper ready 3 years ago when he came up? I don’t think he was. He was arrogant and cocky, and was getting thrown out of ball games when things didn’t go his way. Harper not only had the pressure that he put on himself, but had the pressure of the entire city. The media and fans made him out to be the chosen one. The one that would bring championships to Washington. This could have wrecked him. Harper seems to be thriving now, but you see many superstars come into situations and fail to produce. They just can’t handle the pressure. They are not ready for that type of burden. They are only 20 years old.

I relate a lot of this to the movie Bull Durham. Arrogant and cocky pitcher is sent down to the minors to be taught by the veteran catcher to play the right way. Ends up coming back up into the pro level and thrives. I am not sure how much this happens now. So much money is wrapped up in this player that they need him producing right away. There is no question that a lot of players are ready to contribute much sooner than in years past. But how good would Harper have been if he had some time to grow up a bit? You play with fire when you put a world of pressure onto a kid of that age. Generally they are pretty well equipped to handle it. Being brought up from a young age knowing that they were going to be a star. You do see it backfire from time to time. Brett Lawrie came into Toronto as a fire cracker. Canadian boy that had a world of talent. His face was all over Toronto. Injuries and the constant pressure got to him. He was dealt to Oakland in the Josh Donaldson trade, and is still trying to figure things out. Jason Heyward was the next big thing for Atlanta. Brought up to the majors at the age of 19. He has scuffled, and was dealt in the Shelby Miller deal. Heyward is now struggling at the bottom of the order in St. Louis. Some players will thrive in this type of atmosphere and some will be buried. Why not see what you have for a few years? Allow them to develop in every way. They will generally produce straight out of the gate. Not having those years that they are doubting themselves. This is the way that it’s always been done. Impatience can cost you. Just ask all of those former first round QB’s that are just thrown into the recycle bin.