F*ck Father’s Day

NOTE: The following post is probably NSFW due to course language. You have been warned.

As the father to an 8 year old girl, and an almost 10 year old boy, I appreciated the little gifts my kids gave me for Father’s Day. I loved being told I was a great dad. I also loved the fact that my wife bought me a BBQ and soon I’ll be cooking on the grill out back. All of those things are a great thing to experience on Father’s Day.

But opening up Facebook and seeing a sea of “thanks dad!” “love you dad” “My dad is awesome” blah blah blah did nothing but piss me off all day. It reminded me that I need to steer clear of Facebook on daddy day.

My parents split up before I was 10. In 1985, at around 11.5 years old, my mom moved me from Edmonton to Moncton. It wasn’t until April of 1994 that I would see my dad again. In those 9 years, I got a handful of phone calls, and about 2 or 3 letters from him. After I graduated high school, I heard from him even less. For a stretch of about 3-5 years, I didn’t even know where he lived, or if he was even alive. Somewhere near 2002/2003, I went to visit him again and saw him a few times in the years that passed. In May of 2010, I got word that he had passed away in his sleep.

The reality is, my dad was not a dad to me. He was a guy I remember as a kid living with my mom and then really barely ever heard from him again as I got older. I never had the sex talk with him. He never taught me to shave, to play hockey or baseball, or even play catch with me in my front yard. He was a man who had some strange ideas about the world and although he was my biological father, I felt more affection for my step-father than my real dad. 

So when I see a day like today come along and all I read is constant affections for people’s fathers, it’s something I have no concept of. He didn’t give a shit about me and never did anything for me but cause me endless amounts of grief so why the hell would I want to even think of him on a day like this? It makes me angry actually. Not angry at people who praise their dads on Facebook. Angry at my own dad that he never did anything like that for me. Was there something wrong with me that you couldn’t be bothered to try and find out how I was doing once in awhile?

It’s because of my own “daddy issues” I’ve gone the other way with my own kids. I do anything and everything I can for them because I know what it’s like to grow up with no father figure in my life. I leaned heavily on my mom, and my friends as I needed to. My step-father wasn’t the most affectionate, nor communicative man either but he did anything he could for me and it was just sort of left unsaid. So for him, I am grateful, but for my own dad, fuck him.

I don’t ever think this feeling I have will go away. But I do know that it drives me to be a better father to my kids so at least in that regard, it’s a positive thing.

Categories: Friends & Family, Rants | Leave a comment

I’m on vacation

I took a few days of vacation prior to my actually “work” I had in Orlando. After my work week there, I came home to a full week off work where right now, I am doing as little as I can.

As an added bonus, the wife has been gone all week and the kids are in school so I have had the house to myself. Not that I don’t love them or anything, but it is nice to have the whole house to myself for periods of time. 

I haven’t accomplished a whole lot this week but that was sort of the point. I didn’t want to have to do much as it’s been a weird year for me and I needed the time to be able to just kick back, and not worry about much of anything. Aside from a few dishes and a bit of laundry, I’ve done almost nothing all week. How nice is that?

I’ve been on a re-watch of Agents of Shield the last few months and last night I finished season 4 which brings me up to the latest. After watching this, I find myself yet again in a strange position inside my head. 

Ever wish your life was a bit more like something you watch on TV or in the movies? I find myself all to often wishing my life was a bit bigger than it already is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite content with the life I have. It just seems like sometimes I wish my life was a bit more exciting or a bit more over the top than others. 

But then I’ll sit back and realize that for many others looking at what I do, it might seem like my life is a bit over the top. Within the span of a month or so, I was in India and then Orlando and now home doing nothing. That’s a hell of a lot of travel for most people. Whereas now, for me it feels like more of the same.

I also got mentioned in a blog article about blogs in our area. Pickle Planet Moncton mentioned Bob’s Room and I found it kind of entertaining. Given that I don’t post on here anywhere near as much as I did at one time, I forget how long this place has been around.


Categories: MOTD, Rants, Television/Movies, Work | Leave a comment

Researching Stripper Names

Since March of last year, I have slowly been writing down a bunch of tales about some of the travel I have done over the years. It’s been a project that I pick at from time to time and I have no idea if I will ever try and get it published, but I’ve really felt compelled to write about it.

So tonite, I was finishing off a chapter about Las Vegas and I found myself getting a good laugh at my own history.

When I think of the person I am now, I tend to think of myself as a geeky, quirky kind of a guy with a weird sense of humor, but an all-around pretty normal and average guy. The “nice” guy. People who know me and some of my history know that archetype very well and know that I fit it to a tee. But as I am writing about some of the stuff I have seen and done, I find myself laughing at certain things I’m doing because in many ways, it seems so out of character.

Tonite was another example of it. As I am writing about Las Vegas, I’m recalling all of the various experiences I have had while in that particular city. As I am perusing through my own mind looking for things to write about, I recall one very memorable experience during a visit to the city. I start racking my brain trying to remember a name and no matter what I do, the name keeps escaping me. 

I turn to Google and I look up “stripper names” and go through the lists only to discover that none of those names are ringing a bell. Then I looked up “girl names” and after looking at a couple of pages, I finally hit the name Madison and the light goes off in my head. “That was her name” I said to myself.

Sitting at my desk in my office, I then start to chuckle realizing that I just spend 15 minutes trying to remember the name of a stripper who gave me my first lap dance. For a moment, it seems a bit surreal because I’m thinking to myself, “Is that really me? Did I really go get a lap dance from a stripper in Vegas?”. I chuckle again as the memories of sitting behind that curtain start to come back and I smile. Yup, that really did happen.

Most days I’m the mellow geek who builds LEGO with his son, wears tiara’s while playing with his daughter, and sits at the kitchen table and talks to my wife. I’m about as normal and as run-of-the-mill as it gets. That tends to be what I see myself as these days as it pretty much is what fills my life and I’m pretty happy and content with that.

But every now and then I am reminded of the parts of my life that are not wrapped up in picking up after my kids, or making supper for my family. Those moments, which can be big departures from day to day life, surface and because that side of you doesn’t come out very often, it almost seems unreal. It’s as if you see or remember things you’ve experienced and have a hard time believing that they happened to you versus someone else because it’s such a contrast from the person you normally are.

It makes me smile and reminds me that no matter how routine life gets, it’s always good to get out of your own skin once in awhile.

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My Shopping List

Sometime quite awhile ago, Tamara bought me the book The Secret. I ended up buying the movie on iTunes and watching it. It really came across as being somewhat “new age”-ish but at the same time, it also fell in line with a few things I had been thinking about already.

Sitting in a hotel room tonite, I finished another episode of Bones (I’m on a re-watch lately before the series finale) and decided to watch the movie again. I had tried some of the techniques described in this movie and surprisingly enough, they actually did work. Now whether that’s the work of the LOA or not, who’s to say. But it doesn’t really hurt.

LOA refers to the Law of Attraction which is what the “secret” is. One of the things they tell you to do is to make a list of the things you want, and then envision them to yourself, and experience the emotion of having them already. This sends out signals to the universe that then draws those things to you in some way.

Ya, it does sound kind of weird, but the idea of positive thought producing positive results is not some new age thing. Positivity has proven itself to be a powerful tool for helping oneself so even if the “magic” of things being brought to you by thought isn’t really real, it can’t hurt to think positively.

I’m going to make my list, try some positive thinking, and see what starts to happen.

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Wanting it to be more than just…

Update: January 3rd, 2017

I found myself laying in the tub the other night (yes I have baths. It’s relaxing and helps me think) and after I dropped one of the bath balms into the water, I watched as it fizzed and began to dissolve. In a way, I started thinking about that ball of chemicals and comparing it to my own life.

I saw myself in that silly bath balm. Starting out as one whole person but over time, parts of you dissolving into the world around you. Much like how you tell one person a story and they might repeat it for someone else. Or your children telling their children about you. By the time the balm dissolved, or I die, the only thing left of me is what was dissolved into the water. Still there, sort of, but not really having much substance. Yet when I looked at the water, it had gone from clear to a sort of pinkish color.

When my balm dissolves, will I have changed the color of the world around me, or will it be the same as it always was.

43. I just turned 43 a few days ago. And I’ll be honest, my birthday sucked.

At this very moment, I can’t even tell you why it sucked but I can tell you that it did. I can also tell you that I told Tamara I may be done with having birthdays. It is just another day and whether you celebrate it or not, life goes on.

I sat in the living room telling Tamara that although I am not unhappy in my life, I do not feel like it has a lot of meaning. That might sound a little contradictory but I assure you it is not.

I have a great life. My wife is awesome. My kids are great. I have a great job that I love to do. I get to travel the world and see all kinds of cool stuff. I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences in my life. But with all of that, I still feel like my life is not really complete.

When I turn 86 and the piano falls out of the sky and lands on me, people will laugh (because hell, that’s funny) and then they’ll be sad I died. People will mourn me and remember the quirky things I did. My kids will tell stories about me and so will my grandchildren. But beyond my immediate family, once I am gone and the mourning has passed, all of the things I have accomplished, and the things I have seen and done, will all disappear in the blink of an eye. I’ll have made no real mark or change in the world and that’s what bothers me.

There are literally millions of people who die one way or another every year and a year later, no one remembers them, or knows anything about what they did because really, they didn’t do anything that ever made a big difference around them. Sure, many people’s actions have big influences on those around them, but once those people are gone, what’s left of you?

I find myself every year wondering if the same thing will happen to me. Will I be one of those people whose friends and family loved but just got swept away like all of the others.

How do we find a way to make our mark on the world so that when time passes, you won’t be forgotten?

Categories: MOTD, Weird Things | Leave a comment

I wasn’t really a “hacker” per ce

My friend Paul asked me if I could help him rip some CDs he’s had laying around. He didn’t have a CD drive as those are hard to come by these days. Having an old laptop laying around, I offered to do the ripping for him. So here I am, in my kitchen at the table, with a stack of CDs sitting here and going through them one at a time.

One thing I had forgotten about CD ripping, since it has been awhile, was how some CDs rip faster than others. Some are blowing through in no time flat while others seem to take forever. But in the process of ripping these CDs, I was reminded of when I first really started my ripping. Back in college.

In 1997 I was at EBCI here in Moncton. The college, as well as the building are long gone now. The internet was just starting to bubble up and MP3’s had just been introduced into colleges and people were ripping CDs like mad. I joined in on it during my IT classes back in those days.

I was studying to become a Network Engineer. It was a fancy class name for what was meant to be a Network Administrator job. But the real fun came when we learned about putting servers up and things we could do with them.

As a pet project me and Chris, a friend outside of college, opted to try and teach ourselves Linux. We had heard the best hacking tools were in Linux and had already been exposed to it via some web development work we tried to do as well. We spun up a copy of Slackware Linux and named the machine “dragonfly”.

Dragonfly would come to be a machine that would stand for some of the most interesting experiments of how young kids get access to tools maybe they shouldn’t have.

In those days, and to some extent still today, many of the better hacking or DDOS tools exist for the Linux platform. These tools usually involved sending specially formatted packet data from one system to a source. If the source doesn’t process the packet correctly, the end machine suffers. Like a basic reboot or blue screen of death or sometimes just the machine locking up completely.

Through a series of websites, research, and conversations with people we met online, we acquired a series of cool tools known for crashing computer systems or causing network havoc. They all had interesting names but here’s the ones I can remember: ssPring, WinNuke, boink, bonk, fraggle, land, nestea, teardrop, tear, newtear, syndrop, tentacle, smurf and sniffit. Many of these tools wouldn’t work today if compiled but if you dig hard enough on the web, you’ll find references to them.

ssPing was probably the first one of these that we ever really used to test what we could do. We’d have a user send us an email, or communicate with us for IRC chat. In those days, firewalls were few and far between and rarely used by home users. ssPing would send a large malformed packet of data and when the OS read the packet, it crashed. By crashing I mean the entire OS would just lock up. No ability to reboot. Just turn it off and start again. Blue screens of death were also common. When the system generated a BSOD, the computer would run but their access to the network would be dead until they rebooted.

Many of those other tools were variations of ssPing’s original concept just changed slightly for different ports, packet types, or in some cases changed to perform the same task after they fixed the patches.

None of the tools we ever used were capable of frying or wiping a computer remotely. 

In those days, the main online place for people to hang out was on IRC channels. #Moncton was a channel a lot of us hung out on. We had built up a small little community of people who hung out there. And like all communities, you had the people who annoyed you the most. Me and Chris got to the point where we wrote a script called ding.tcl which would detect the annoying individuals entering the channel and then fire off one of our tools to lock their machines up. We also had access to IRC botnets which with a “.flood” command would cause hundreds if not thousands of IRC users to just flood a specific user with junk data. When this happened, the user got kicked off the network. 

Outside of IRC, Infodog was quite big those days and it became a running joke to use the tools on Infodog and break their web servers every day. IIS on Windows NT4 was notoriously unstable and pretty much any Linux tool could crash that system.

But the height of our so called “hacker” days can be broken into two specific incidents I recall. We had one tool which we had been given called “smurf”. This tool was meant to take down networks, not just computers. If you smurfed a computer, it would reflect against every PC on that network and cause all of them to repeat the same attack against its self. By accident, I killed the entire manufacturing plant of Norampac by accidentally using smurf through their systems (I was an intern at the time) to cause what we used to call and IRC split. Worked really well but shut down a bit of production in the plant for a few hours. 

The second, and probably the most proof of how hard we insisted on respect came to a guy in a rival class. The “tech” vs “network” class rivalry was one that was pretty common at the school so we wanted to insure they had “respect” for us in the network class. He had also spun up a Linux box. We had made accounts for people in my class on dragonfly so they could explore. One person went exploring and found out where we kept all our goodies and gave his information to our rival class. Our rival logged into our system and found our scripts and attack code and made copies for himself.

At the time, we’d been told by a “real” hacker that there’s a sort of code they follow. Guys share code from time to time to help each other out. But there’s also an underlying respect in that if someone gives you something and says not to use it or distribute it, you do as was asked of you. By doing this, you earn the respect of the hacker community and it can open doors into other larger tools you would not have seen prior. At the same time, if a lesser hacker obtains something they shouldn’t have and the senior hacker tells you to destroy what you took, you do as your told or pay the consequences. If it sounds a bit mobster-ish, it’s because that’s kind of how it was. If the guy above you tells you to do something and you don’t, you get knocked down a peg or two.

We were by no means “real” hackers but certainly more so than a guy in the tech class who built a Linux box and copied some files. He had then given his root password out to a bunch of people in his own class as well as my class. He also told them about the tools he had got from my system and made sure everyone could make use of them on their own. It wasn’t long before a handful of others were crashing Windows PCs for something to do during class.

Chris came into the school one day and both of us approached Shane, the guy from the rival class. In an almost mobster like fashion, we “asked” that he remove the tools from his machine he had stolen from us. He said we left our stuff open and that it was our fault for not securing them better. We told him those didn’t belong to him and that he needed to remove them or there would be consequences. He shook his head and said there was nothing we could do and walked away.

Later that afternoon I was in class and spotted the guy next to me about to connect to the other Linux box. I quickly fired up my own connection and launched a packet sniffer. The packet sniffer allows you to see the raw data that is being transmitted across a network. In those days, the way networks were designed allowed for the transmission of anyone’s network traffic to be read by anyone else on the same segment. I was sitting right beside him so I was as close as I was going to get. And just my luck he happened to open a connection to the Linux machine in the tech lab and log in as root. I now had the root password and could teach Shane his lesson.

After logging in as root on Shane’s box, I immediately ran commands that wiped the drive completely clean. There was nothing left of his Linux box, including the tools he had copied from me. We had also secured our own box so no one but me and Chris could get to our tools again.

We never said anything to Shane about what happened but the next day it went through the school that “mysteriously” his Linux box had been wiped. He never did replace it.  I saw him in the halls later that day and he didn’t say anything to me. I guess his lesson was learned.

Good times 🙂


Categories: Flashbacks, MOTD | Leave a comment

Looking at pure airline stats

So again I have seen a few people on Facebook bitching about Air Canada and their “horrible” service. Every time I see one of these people I wonder what happened. I’ve been flying with AC for years and have had very few issues with them.

I decided to do some digging of my own and as it turns out, Stats Canada has some really cool information on airlines.

This link provides you stats on both AC and WJ. This gave me the exact information I wanted so I could try and prove and emphasize a point.

According to those stats, if you add up all of the passengers flown by AC between February 2015 and January 2016, you get 28,489,000 (approximately). For WJ, it’s 20,401,000 (approximately). 28.5 million people flew on AC and 20.5 flew on WJ. Those huge amounts of numbers when it comes to air travel.

Let’s look at that number again. 28 and a half million people flew on Air Canada during that time period. 

Let’s now assume that 2%, a relatively small number of people, of those travels had a horrible experience. That translates into 569,780 people. That’s a hell of a lot of people who are pissed off at AC. I wouldn’t want to be in a room with all of them together.

But, let’s not forget the people who did fly with AC and had no issues. That’s a much larger number: 27,919,220. Just shy of 28 million people flew without a problem.

Of those two groups of people, who do you think you’ll hear from more often? That’s right, the people who are mad and pissed at the airline saying “they suck”. You don’t hear good things because most of the time people don’t share their good experiences with airlines. It’s always the bad.

Now, maybe 2% is too low. Let’s jump that number up higher and assume that 1 out of every 10 passengers during that time period got screwed. That’s a big leap but let’s use it as an example. That means that this time, 2,848,900 passengers think AC sucks. That also means 25,640,100 passengers don’t think that bad of AC.

Again 2.8 million vs 25 million. Who will be the more vocal?

The exact same logic can be applied to Westjet. If you apply these exact same numbers against WJ, it would still mean that by far and large, most WJ customers are happy. You just don’t hear from them. We only hear from people who bitch and whine about how they got screwed because the airline sucks.

I know this won’t change people’s minds and it won’t magically make people stop complaining about airlines. But I do hope that you can see that it’s purely a numbers game and sometimes they work for us, and sometimes they screw us. That’s just life. Learn to live with it.

Categories: Rants | Leave a comment

My Own Suicide Story

Be aware, this is a VERY long and VERY personal story about my own suicide attempt experience. If you want to understand more about what it’s like to be at the edge, I suggest you read this entire story despite it’s length. It really does tell a unique point of view about suicide.

I also feel compelled to mention that this is my perspective and my perspective only. Everything that I wrote here is how I felt and how I perceived things to be at the time. I would never proclaim to know how others feel or what they were thinking. I can only tell the story from how I saw it.

Over the last few days, I have seen a few people posting these status updates on Facebook with the hashtag #SuicideAwareness. Every so often these suicide prevention or awareness memes goes around and when it does, most of the time I see a lot of people who I believe genuinely want to help people who are feeling like that, but don’t really understand what it is like to be there. Maybe some do, but I don’t think most people really understand.

I do.

On December 15th, 2002, I swallowed an entire bottle of prescription medication, laid down in my bed, and waited.

Now obviously I didn’t die. But unlike many of you, I know what it is like to be at the bottom of that well and I can tell you, at least for me, it’s not anything like what most people think. I’d like to tell you exactly how it felt and exactly how I came to the decision to do what I did.

To understand my reasoning and where I was that year, I’m going to tell a story I have never written about before. My wife and a few close friends know this story (and in a lot more detail than I’m going to write here) but it’s not something I have ever shared publicly. I’ve left out certain names, and kept some of the details somewhat vague as it’s not necessary to go into excessive detail for you to understand. But it is necessary for me to explain the type of situation I was in so you can understand what led me to my attempted suicide.

I got married to my first wife in 1999. In retrospect, it was a horrible decision. In those days, I felt very much alone, and this woman was someone who I knew, who I got along with, and who I had a lot of fun with. At the time I thought I should marry her because maybe I would never find “the one” and I had spent too much time already alone in my life. I didn’t want to be alone anymore. 

But, I was young, and so was she, and we were, and still are, very different people. In 1999, I got a new job, moved to Poughkeepsie, NY, and got married. New job. New home. New city.  New country. New wife. Sure, let’s throw all of this together and I am sure it will work out just fine.

Three years later, I had given up a dream job at IBM, moved back to Moncton and began teaching at my old college, and had alienated my best friend (Chris) because my then-wife hated him. Add to that the fact that when we moved home, an entire part of her personality emerged that I had never experienced before. On a daily basis, I was subjected to constant criticism of my actions which resulted in me taking that criticism and steering it in an unhealthy direction.

What direction was that?? It made me angry. I got mad at her almost every day. We fought constantly. If you’ve known me long enough you know that I have struggled with a bad temper my whole life. When we were married, she brought out the worst temper I ever had. I once picked up a coffee table and threw it at her because she made me so angry. I once jumped onto the hood of her moving car when I lost it during a fight. I was never physically abusive to her but I sure did a lot of yelling. I am sure from her perspective, it probably seemed like she was married to The Hulk because I got mad so often. There were reasons behind the anger but that didn’t change the end result. Since then I have found much healthier ways to channel my anger so it doesn’t ever get to that point. But at the time, it came out through daily shouting matches with her.

Cut to summer of 2002, an incident involving my then-wife and her choice of actions while out clubbing one night with her girlfriends, resulted in her coming home at 6am to tell me that “we need to talk”. A huge fight followed and by the next day, we had decided to unofficially “separate”. 

This is where the downward slope that would eventually result in my pill popping began. See, when we separated, in my mind, this was not us splitting up. I truly felt like we were simply taking a step back, re-evaluating ourselves, and that we would find a way to make it work. The entire time we were separated, I kept remembering those wedding vows where you say “for better or worse” and that this was just a bump in the road.

The reality was, the marriage was already over. It had been over for months. If she had truly been happy with our marriage, then she wouldn’t have made some of the choices she made that resulted in our split. But I didn’t see that. I saw it as two people who got married and were having troubles and needed to figure out how to fix it.

I moved out and within a month or two, she told me she didn’t want to try and make it work, and that I should file for an official separation. She was already involved with another man and didn’t want to reconcile with me. I walked out of the duplex that afternoon, drove my car around the block, parked it, and proceeded to ball my eyes out. My marriage was truly over.

At this point, I was feeling pretty miserable. I didn’t have a lot of friends at the time. I had no romantic prospects for myself, and any friends I did have, just didn’t understand what I was going through. Me and my ex were trying to be friends, but she didn’t exactly make it easy. Anything and everything she said to me felt like she was flaunting her happiness while I was miserable. I also know that a lot of that perception was skewed by my own misery. Sure, she had her moments where she was a total bitch to me, but there were just as many times where I would take something innocent and twist it into something that was so far from the truth only I would see it. I was hurt and I wasn’t going to see it any other way.

Plus, the reality was, it really hurt that she was more happy with someone else, than with me. I was watching a woman that I had married be far more happy and jovial with another man, than she was with me. It made it feel like she was flaunting it in front of me and trying to shove her happiness in my face. Maybe part of her was, but the truth is she was finally able to be with someone who actually made her happy. I didn’t see that side of it until me and Tamara had a conversation one night in our kitchen. She told me a story from her perspective and when she explained it to me, a light bulb went off in my head and I saw that entire scenario in a completely different light. But in the moment, at the time, when my marriage had failed that’s not how I saw it at all.

When you’re feeling like you have failed because your marriage just ended, do you have any idea how soul-crushing it is to see the person you married be more happy with another person instead of you? It’s one of the most awful feelings you can ever have. If you happen to already have someone in your life, it wouldn’t be anywhere near as bad. But if you feel like you are alone, and that your life is a failure, every time you see the two of them together, it just sinks you even further into that pit. Your mind runs trying to figure out what it is you did wrong and why you failed at your marriage.

Throw into the mix the fact that I was expecting to hear from my dad on my birthday and he never called, and the fact that I hated my job, December of that year was about as bad as it could get.

On December 15th, 2002, I went into Walmart to buy some Christmas gifts and as I was looking at stuff in an aisle, I spotted my ex-wife with her new boyfriend. That was it. I could not take how I felt any more.

I shook my head, bolted for the door and went home. I took out my bottle of thyroid medication, put every pill in a long line on my desk. I got a glass of water, and scooped some of the pills up, swallowed them with the water, and repeated this until they were all gone.

Why? Why did I feel the need to do this?

I’m not a stupid person. I am not unintelligent. But I am an emotional person. I am someone who feels and who feels deeply. And when I hurt, I hurt deeply. 

The whole time I was driving back to my house, my mind raced with all of the miserable things I was feeling from that year. I had given up my dream job. I had failed at a marriage. I pushed my closest friend away because of my spouse. I isolated myself from other people because of how I felt in my marriage. I felt alone. I felt miserable. And I felt angry all at the same time.

I was at the bottom of the well looking up, and all I wanted was all of that misery to be gone. I didn’t want to feel alone anymore. I didn’t want to feel sad anymore.  I didn’t want to feel like a failure anymore. I just wanted to feel the same way I had felt before I got married. I wanted to be the crazy guy who did silly things just to be silly. I wanted to go back to being spontaneous and fun. But it felt like that guy was long gone and all I really wanted was to stop feeling so awful.

I didn’t want to die. I had no interest in actually dying. I just didn’t want to feel so horrible and miserable anymore. I just needed the anguish to go away and there was nothing else that I could think of in that moment that could make the pain disappear.

Why didn’t I call someone or talk to someone?

I felt alone and I felt like no one around me would understand how horrible I was feeling. But I also knew that the moment I picked up the phone and called someone, they would feed me the “it gets better” speech which to me was the last thing I wanted to hear.

Yes, we’ve all seen the commercials, and after school specials that tell us it’s never worth taking your own life. It will get better. Time heals all wounds. Blah blah blah. If I’m at the point where I want to die to make my misery end, do you really think telling me that at some mysterious point in the future everything will be fine is somehow going to make me feel better?

How the hell does that help someone when they are at the bottom of the well looking up and feeling helpless? 

“It’s not so bad. A year from now things will be so much better.”

Great. I only have to wait a whole year before my life doesn’t suck anymore. What do I do until then?

This is why I didn’t call anyone or try to reach out. I didn’t want to hear that things get better later. I wanted to stop feeling so awful right now. I needed to have that pain and misery taken away from me and I didn’t want to have to suffer anymore. I just wanted to stop feeling so awful. So, I swallowed a bottle of pills and hoped that would magically make everything better.

I got up from my desk, laid in my bed, stared at the ceiling and wondered what would happen next. But as it turns out, my journey was not meant to end with my mom coming home and finding me dead in my own bed. I don’t know how long I laid there, but at some point something inside me just switched. Next thing I know, I was in my car driving myself to the hospital. Checked into the ER, told them what I had done, and then had to face the consequences of my actions.

I called my mom and a friend from the hospital and had to tell both of them what had happened when they arrived. I stayed in the hospital a couple of days and then was released. But things were different. I was now a person who had attempted to take his own life. That action stays with you for your entire life and alters your perception about the world around you.

14 years later, I can be even more honest about what happened that day. A big part of it was wanting to get rid of the misery. But I also think there was a part of me that knew taking a bottle of pills wasn’t going to kill me. I think on some level I knew that if I took the pills, I wouldn’t die, but I would have to force myself to go through the repercussions of a suicide attempt and try to work my life out. Regardless, I ended up in a place where I was so miserable that suicide felt like the only way I could cure the misery.

So now when I see people talk about suicide prevention and doing everything they can to help, I often wonder if they actually know what it’s like to be in that place. Do they really know how a person feels when they reach that point? Do they really understand that for at least some of us, it isn’t about wanting to die, but simply wanting these feelings of despair to be over.

Now, I get the feeling that if you’ve come this far in my story, you’re probably wondering what someone like me, who’s gone through this experience, would suggest to others who do feel like they are in that same well. Or if you know someone who is pushing towards ending their life, what would I suggest you do to help.

The truth is, no one around me had any idea how sad I was. When you hear the stories about these people who take their own life and it comes as a huge shock to those around them, that is how I think it would have been for me. Despite how awful I felt, I did my best to put on a nice smile, pretend to be happy, and no one really knew how horrible I felt at the time. But people did know what I was going through. People did know that me and my ex had split up. They did know she was with someone else and I wasn’t. They were aware of the situation but because I seemed “fine”, no one thought to take it any further.

My advice to those of you out there who wonder what you should do, or what you can do, is to be aware and be sensitive to the things going on with your friends and family. Most people are not going to come out and tell you “I’m so miserable I want to kill myself”. But for those in your life that you care about, you should take the time to be aware of what they are going through. If you care about them, and they are important to you, you should be in the know about their lives and what’s going on.

By being “present” and “aware” of what’s going on in the lives of the people you love the most, you can take the time and effort to be there for them. When big emotional things happen to people, it doesn’t matter what the person says, they are not fine. No one goes through a breakup, a death, a tragic accident, assault, excessive bullying, or any other large emotional situation without being affected in some way. They may not even know they are being affected by it, but they are. We all want to think we are “fine”, but the reality is, we all have to deal with the shitty things that happen in life, and sometimes when one bad thing keeps happening after another, we lie to ourselves and others to say things are ok, but it really isn’t. It’s on both the person who is miserable and their loved ones, be it friends or family, to do what they can do pull them out of that well.

A true friend is someone who knows you are going through something awful, and despite the fact you keep telling them you are fine, they get you to talk or do something with you to help you, even when you don’t want them to. Those true friends are the ones who are paying attention to what’s going on in your life enough to know that when something bad happens, they need to be there with you whether you think you need them or not.

And to the person who is miserable, you cannot hold it inside. You cannot lie to the world. You cannot hope that your friends or family are going to come to you to help. You have to do your part and reach out. Whether that means you call someone, you write about what’s bothering you, you record a video on YouTube about how awful you feel, or you just go out for a walk and talk to yourself to get it out of your system. It’s hard as hell to do, and I know exactly how it feels, but if I had just called someone, even if I hadn’t been talking to them much lately, and told them I’m in a bad place, that would have been it. They would have been there in a flash and I would have told them how I felt. I’d still feel miserable and awful, but I would not have felt alone. Even if I didn’t have anyone in my life, I could have called 911 and said I think I want to kill myself and someone on the other end of the phone would have helped me.

It is scary to ask for help. We all think we can do it alone, but we don’t. No one ever does it alone. Whether it’s a spouse, a partner, or a friend, we all get through the worst of times together so don’t ever think for a single second that you are alone and have no one. There’s always someone, even a stranger, who can help.

And if by some strange chance a random stranger is reading this and feels like they are at the bottom of the pit, and need someone, then email me. matt@bobsroom.ca. I know exactly how you feel and would be glad to talk to you to help you out of that well of despair.

So that’s my own suicide story. I hope that if you read this whole thing, my story has given you a bit of a different perspective on what it’s like to be in that pit. It’s a scary place to be, so if you can do anything to help someone who might be near the edge and thinking about jumping, maybe some of my words can help you help them.

 – Matt

P.S. I said in my story here that I didn’t want to hear the “it gets better” spiel from anyone because it wouldn’t help me in the moment. But ironically, I am going to say that “it gets better”. 

In the summer of 2003, less than a year after my attempt, I began a romantic relationship with Tamara. In the spring of 2004, we bought a house and the following year we got married. Since we got together, my life has seen a 180 degree turnaround and it’s because of her. She has been the most amazing person I have ever had in my life. We have two kids and a life that I could not have ever fathomed I would have. I am so blessed and grateful for having her in my life that I cannot imagine how I ever existed without her. I went from settling for someone because I didn’t think I would ever find “the one” to actually finding “the one”. It was a hard journey to get where I am now, but here I am, and it’s better than ever.

So ya, it does get better and I know in the moment it may not feel that way. But all those stories people tell about it getting better over time, as lame as they may sound, are all true. Somehow find the strength to keep fighting and it will get better.

Categories: Flashbacks, Friends & Family, Rants | 5 Comments

Uber to the Rescue

I have literally been around the world and have found my way to and from where I was going without much difficulty. But today I experienced a bit of panic as I found myself in the middle of a very busy city, in a foreign country, with no way to get back to my hotel.

I’m in Bangalore, India this week doing a training class at our office here. I arrived here on Friday night (it is now Monday night) into Delhi, and made my way here to Bangalore yesterday. As part of the travel arrangements, I booked car service for pickup and dropoff as needed. By booking the car service, I didn’t have to worry about taxis or getting to and from the office because the service is supposed to take care of all that. Well, today they had a massive fail.

Today was the third and final strike against this car service. Strike one was at the airport in Delhi when the driver was nowhere to be found. After calling and looking repeatedly, I finally found him about 30-40 minutes after I was supposed to be picked up. Apparently he opted not to go inside the airport and figured somehow I would “just know” where I was supposed to go and get picked up. No, none of the emails or other communication told me what to do. My colleague who had been here the week before praised the car service and said they were at the airport with a sign with his name on it waiting for him. Not the case for me in Delhi.

Strike two was yesterday in Delhi as I waited at the hotel for my car. 11:00am passed and no car. 11:15 came and still no car. As it got closer to 11:30, one of the guys working at the hotel asked if he could call the driver for me. Sure enough, the driver said he wasn’t coming because he had a pickup at 1pm and that I just had to deal with it. The hotel got me a drive to the airport.

I had my confirmation for a pickup today at my office for 4:30pm. I had the drivers phone number, car model, and license plate information. 4:45 came and no car. 5pm came and no car and I finally tried to call him. I had been told that the car service had “good English speaking drivers”. This guy couldn’t understand much of what I was saying and proceeded to say something about being at “the gate”.

The office is a secured area so cars have to pass through a gate. I thought maybe he meant he was there and couldn’t get through. I walked up there but no sign of his car. Tuk tuk’s were everywhere, along with many other cars, people walking, cows wandering the streets, stray dogs walking around looking for food and humping each other (that part was at least funny) and just massive congestion of anything and everything.

I went back into the office and asked one receptionist about where car services are supposed to pick us up and she had no idea. I asked another person if she could call the guy on the phone and she did. Guess what? He was on the other side of town. Thought our office was somewhere else so there was no way this guy was going to pick me up.

At this point, it’s pushing 5:15pm and I’m starting to wonder exactly how I am getting back to the hotel.

The hotel… They have car services. I called the hotel and the woman on the phone was very helpful. She said she’d call me back with information on car availability. I took a deep breath and felt better.

The sound of “Take A Picture” by Filter came on my phone and sure enough the hotel had called back. No cars available until 8pm. Uh oh.

Ok, now I’m getting a little freaked out. It’s pushing towards 5:30 and I know I can’t walk back because it’s a good hours walk, and it’s in the middle of a city I don’t know, with massive chaos on the streets. No taxis in sight and only a small, limited amount of cash on me, I go back out to the gates and look around and then it hits me, “WTF am I going to do?”

There’s no one in the office I know. I don’t speak the language. I don’t know the area at all. There’s cars and livestock wandering everywhere with a 100 horns blasting each other trying to drive through what seems to be the most chaotic system of roads I’ve ever seen.

I started to get really freaked out. As I am sure some of you know, when your mind starts to panic, rational thought goes right out the window. Yes, I probably could have gotten in one of those tuk tuk’s and found my way back to the hotel. I could have probably went back inside the office and see if they could call a taxi for me. It’s easy to think of these things now after I’m back in a comfortable room feeling a lot more calm about the situation. But at the time, I’m looking around me and all I am seeing is just chaos everywhere and no way to get out of it. I can feel my heart beating a bit faster and I know it could get worse.

I was really starting to get freaked  out.

But as I looked down at my phone a light went off in my head. What about Uber?

I quickly opened the app and sure enough, there’s a ton of Uber options here. I pick my destination, say I want a ride, and 5 minutes later, I was sitting in a car on my way to the hotel. He didn’t speak much English either but he had Google Maps on his phone with my hotel dialed in. I breathed a sigh of a relief and watched the madness around me continue. He pulled up to the hotel and I thanked him feeling a huge sigh of relief.

I got out of the car, came into the hotel, and it hit me. The raw wave of emotional panic that was bundled up inside of me burst out of me as I started walking down the hall towards my room. I was just a spaghetti bowl of nerves and emotions that just erupted all over the place and it took me a good 20 minutes to calm down.

Thankfully, a very nice employee saw how distressed I was that he helped me to my room and even put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door for me. 5 minutes later, the assistant manager shows up and wants to know if I am ok, and if there is anything he or the hotel can do for me.

I’ve spent hundreds of nights in hotel rooms but I have never had a hotel seem this genuinely concerned for my welfare before. I am absolutely blown away at how gracious they are here. It’s amazing.

My nerves have finally calmed down, and after a quick chat with my wife, and a rearrangement of my car services, I’m feeling a whole lot better now. I was never in any danger. I never felt like I was unsafe. But I certainly did feel like I was stuck somewhere and had no idea what to do. In this case, it seems like Uber was the saving grace for me.

It also serves as a reminder that when things start to seem like they are spiraling out of control, you need to take a beat, and just remain calm. The “panic” of it all really didn’t hot me until I got back to the hotel and realized how spooked I was by the whole thing. It could have been far worse. I’m glad to be feeling better now.

It’s only Monday. What’s the rest of the week going to be like?

Categories: Travel | 3 Comments

An Awesome Early Christmas Gift


Tamara decided that since she got an early Christmas gift from me, she’d return the favour. She gave me this a few days ago and man, it is awesome.

As you may recall, in August of last year, I went to see Faith No More in Toronto. I chronicled the concert here where I told the story of how I finally got to meet all 5 members of the band, and they signed my 7″ LP. Well, at the same show, I also purchased a signed poster-art piece that was done specifically for that show. When I finally got home, I had said to Tamara that I should take the poster, the autographed 7″ and a few other things related to that concert and get them framed and hang it in my office.

Well, looks like she did it for me.

As you can see from the image, the poster for that gig is on the left, and on the right I have a Faith No More “patch” (which came with the CD/LP set I ordered when their new album came out), the concert ticket from the show I went to, the autographed 7″ picture disc all the guys signed, and their Sol Invictus CD for which they were touring on. All of this in one really nice frame and a cool blue matte to go with it.

It’s a one of a kind item and will be going up in my office as soon as I can pick a good spot for it.

HUGE thanks to my wife Tamara who is just pure awesome.

Categories: Concerts, Friends & Family, House, MOTD | 1 Comment