51 Days Later…

Ok, so what happens exactly when one unpluggs from just about all things internet for about 51 days? Well, everything, yet nothing. See, for the past 8ish weeks, I’ve essentially been unplugged from my computer thanks to an opportunity to help a friend move, and setup, his new business.

Doing a bunch of site development and implementations as a freelancer has provided me with some great time flexibility, and when my good friend Dean (and his business partners) decided to buy an existing SCUBA diving retail store, and move it to a new location, I was in a great position to lend a hand.. some blood.. some brains.. some muscles… some 16h days.. and really, about 8 weeks of pure mayhem.

Float n\' Flag Dive Centre, Burlington, Ontario

The shop they purchased was the Float n’ Flag Dive Centre located in Burlington, Ontario. The shop has been around for over 30 years and the original owner decided it was time to retire. Dean, recognizing a great opportunity, seized the chance with two other business partners and the mayhem began.

So what happens when you buy a dive business and decide to move it? Well, just about everything. Dive shops are unlike any other retail businesses in that they combine a full retail store, a warehouse for inventory and rental equipment, offices and a classroom, a full service lab for testing and repairing equipment, as well as a gas supply factory for filling SCUBA tanks…

When we finally got the retail space finished and open for business:

Float n\' Flag Dive Centre, Burlington Ontario

the initial thought was “Great! We’re half way there!”, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The retail space has been open for just over 4 weeks now, the gas supply part has been functioning for 3 weeks, the warehouse has barely been functional for 2 weeks, the lab is 75% finished, and the drywall in the office just got it’s final sanding and priming on Thursday morning… The carpet for the office has arrived, the computers have arrived (no accounting software yet), the racking for the rental gear wash bay has arrived, the stainless steel counter-tops for the lab are being picked up tomorrow, Transport Canada is due to arrive once the hydrostatic testing system is finished being hooked up, and then it is simply a matter of getting all our tools out and finishing up the little bits like doors, trim, and well, figuring out office furniture and tool organization for the lab…. Did I mention that there is a fully operational retail store going on at the same time with an unbelievable amount of traffic?

Needless to say, it’s been one hell of a ride!

Moving two 400lb air compressors, twenty eight 100lb cylinders our of a basement, and installing a 300lb I-beam 12 feet in the air, test your physical abilities. Designing and building retail space, classroom space, office space, a lab, a warehouse, and a gas supply factory on the fly tests your mental abilities. Running on little sleep for weeks on end, dealing with customers, suppliers, and business partners definitely tests your emotional stability to say the least.

Much has been learned already, and much has yet to be learned – I can assure you of that.

The weird part in all of this is that somehow I have managed to land full-time employment in the technology sector, and I start on Wednesday… Talk about culture shock! I go from freelance web-bum, to retail construction guy, and now I’m throwing myself in to a corporate environment complete with suits, meetings, benefits packages, and limited vacation days…. Weird, I know! The plus side to this move is that I was sought out and recruited for my skills, and the job appears to be challenging, exciting, and right up my alley when it comes to technology – I can’t wait.

Am I going to miss the dive shop? You bet! The two passions in my life are: my wife, and SCUBA diving. The great thing is that I was able to help lay the foundation for a friend’s ultimate success. This is his opportunity to make his mark, use his years of experience, and apply it to something he is truly passionate about – I wish him all the success in the world.

So what does all this mean for LOGICal eMOTIONs, right? Well, with somewhat ‘normal’ hours in the very near future I will actually have time (and the mental capacity) to keep adding to this blog. I’ve felt bad that I essentially vanished from this blog for the last while and had every intention of posting a quick update – except 2am blog posts of unintelligible gibberish isn’t really good for anyone. I knew there would be an end to the intensity at some point, and I’m glad you’re still here now that I’ve found it.

To sum up: after a blurry and fuzzy 51 days – we’re back!

No, this blog isn’t dead.

Dive The Abyss

We all know that this blog isn’t known for it’s daily flood of interesting posts, and at peak posting we were only looking at perhaps a handful per week, however, for the past couple months the postings have been even less than usual. So what’s the deal, right?

Well, there have been some upheavals on the personal side, some new clients requiring more of my time, and well, I’ve been in the early stages of planning one of those journeys you get to tell your grandkids about.

Sure, there have been many things to post about in the last while, except the flavour of them were not positive and were mostly rants. Yes, some of the posts here have been rants, execpt early on in this blogs life I decided to limit the number of rants unless there could be a different perspective and/or a possible solution to the issue. If there was the possibility of a discussion worthy of our time I would post – if not, the beauty of RSS allows for gaping voids.

On the client side of things I’ve got some great projects in the works in terms of content management systems. For those who may not know, I specialize in providing feature-rich websites that are easily client-self-managed, meaning that once the site is up and running, the client is able to fully manage and update their website as they see fit. The beauty part is that it is as easy as using MS Word and it’s all done through a web browser.

Surprisingly, most of the work I’ve been doing lately has been complete site overhauls. Many businesses and individuals had websites built a number of years ago, their old web designer has long since disappeared, the sites are out of date (both in terms of content and look), and the features they would like to have on their site would have cost them a fortune back in the day. Today you’re looking at all the features you could ever want, plus the ability to update as you need to – yes, it’s that great!

On the journey side of things, well, it’s all rather exciting. A few weeks back I was re-watching Ewan McGregor’s and Charley Boorman’s “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down“. If you are not familiar with either of these, Long Way Round is their epic journey around the world on motorcycles – from London, England, to New York City by heading East, and Long Way Down is their followup journey from the Northern tip of Scotland to the Southern tip of Africa. The countries they travel through, the people they meet, and the sheer scope of the projects just leave you in awe.

When I happened to be re-watching both back a few weeks ago, all hell had broken loose in my personal life (no, no one died, and yes, Colleen and I are still togehter forever), and I think it was just the combination of hitting bottom, the right message at the right time, and a dash of inspiration, which lead me to two questions:

  1. Is it possible to do “X”?
  2. How?

The first question is the critical one simply because it directly asks you what you believe to be true. I’m pretty sure that when the idea of traveling around the world was proposed, the first question that came to mind for both Charley and Ewan was simply: is it possible? If the answer is “no”, the idea dies simply because the people requried to see it through don’t believe it is possible. When the answer is “yes”, the next question is simply: how?

Some would say that “why?” is the most powerful question, and to a certain degree I tend to agree, however, the question of “how?” actually makes the seeminly impossible, possible. By operating on the decision that something is possible, simply repeating the question of “how?” allows the brain to literally explode in creative throughts.

So what am I planning, right? Well, at this point I don’t feel that it would be appropriate to reveal that – soon, but not yet. See, I know what it is, I’m working daily on the how, I’ve got the initial who, I’ve got the when, and as for why, well, I’m not entirely sure other than the fact that every aspect of it simply feels right at a core level. Yes, that’s right, I actually said it ‘feels right‘ and have no logical explanation for it….

The research that has gone into this so far, and the research that will go into it over the next year is absolutely staggering. My brain is quite talented at coming up with a list of challenges to nearly every aspect of the journey, yet with every asking of “yeah, but how?” leads to more research. Thankfully I have employed the use of a mind mapping program to get things off the scraps of paper littering my desk, and into a format I can easily plug into randomly when thoughts, and more importantly, answers occur.

There are still quite a few big question marks yet to be addressed, however, once a bit more information has be aquired, some key discussions have been had, and well, when I actually come up with an official name for the journey, I’ll be able to share a bit more.

I think Friedrich Nietzsche put it best:

If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Detoxing On CBC Radio One’s – The Current

CBC Radio One’s “The Current” held a discussion panel about the healthy kind of detoxing. Colleen was asked to be the “hip urbanista” component of the panel, based on an article she wrote for Elle Canada last year on going through a 7 day detox program. Colleen being a huge fan of CBC Radio and The Current, I can assure you that little sleep was had last night!

Below is the audio in case you missed it:

[display_podcast]

I’m Now A Part Of Schmap!

Waterfall - IDS07, Toronto

Schmap? That was pretty much my reaction as well when I first received an email from Emma regarding the the 2008 Schmap Toronto guide…

So what is Schmap?

Schmap’s series of digital travel guides integrates dynamic maps with useful background reading, suggested tours, photos from the traveling public and reviews by local correspondents (for sights and attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars, parks, theaters, galleries, museums and more) to profile 200 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

On christmas day I received an email from Emma over at Schmap letting me know that my photo (above) had been shortlisted for inclusion in the 4th edition of their Schmap Toronto Guide, and more specifically, it would be used for the Interior Design Show section of the guide.

Yes, the photo was taken at the IDS07 and really it was one of those “saw it out of the corner of my eye, walked over, snapped the pic, and didn’t think much of it” type scenerios.

See, if we dig back a bit into the LE archives, we come across the post “The Teachings of Grout” which was written while preparing a couple high-end fireplaces for display at said design show. The show was to be the last event that Tri-Lane Distributing ever did because my parents had sold the company just weeks before the show. The killer was that we still had to blow our brains out over this show, and I still had to build an entire 20’x20′ display which contained 3 fully functioning fireplaces completely finished (oh, and we had a 4th fireplace in one of the display homes which we needed to setup as well).

What’s the kicker? Well, two solid weeks were spent building this booth, it was up for a couple days at the show, we took it down, put in in the warehouse, and a couple days later all the employees moved to the new company. Oh, the show also fell on my birthday, and I have a nice “7” scar on the back of my hand for life due to a collision between my hand and a fireplace during construction. What a way to end a company, eh?

Anyways, the only slight perk to this whole show was that I got to attend the opening night gala, and I was able to get into the show early during the press only time period. Colleen was there interviewing Brian Rosevear about the fireplaces and I was wandering around snapping various photographs in the amazing lighting the show provided.

The image itself was from a display just across the isle from Town & Country (formerly distributed in Ontario by Tri-Lane Distributing – now distributed by The Foundry) and they made in-wall waterfalls. I have no idea who the company was, however, the lighting of the waterfall with the splash of colour caught my eye, so I wandered into their booth and snapped the pic.

The reality is that it is the only picture which actually worked out because not being a good photographer, I was having significant difficulties dealing with the unique lighting situation throughout the show.

It has taken nearly a year and so far (aside from the whole grout thing) this is the only significantly positive thing to come out of whole experience. Weird how that works, isn’t it?

So, thanks goes to the keen eyes at Schmap, and a special thanks to Emma for being the bearer of great news!

Uptime & Downtime

do less, be more: Time for Yourself

Time for YourselfThere are times when you need to take time for you. Think of it like this: if you are a battery, you can give 100% of your effort. If that battery wears down to 50%, even though you are giving everything you have, you can still only give 50%. If your battery is down to 2%, even though you give every once of what’s in you, you still can only give 2%.

So what? You need to take time, alone, away from work from time to time to recharge your battery. Sometimes we need to unplug, disconnect and do what we love.

Today is the first day back in ‘the real world’ having been down in North Carolina diving on WWII shipwrecks with Chris and 4 other friends of ours from the GetWrecked.ca dive crew.

It was a fantastic 9 days away from business and the challenges of daily life and an excellent opportunity for all of us to ‘recharge’.

There were many lessons learned throughout the trip, of which I will likely expound upon in the coming weeks. Really, this is just a quick update post for anyone wondering why there was only one post last week or why I have yet to respond to any comments.

So, I had to go to North Carolina to get recharged – where are you going to go?

Chris Venn & William Tully completing a decompression stop – photo by Dean McConnachie

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