Monday, June 29, 2009

The Mystery behind "the mykals report" Name

It was supposed to allow me to remain anonymous. Obviously that did not work.

Since I began blogging last October, I have been asked numerous times what "the mykals report" stood for. It is a long story that began in 1979 but I will be brief.

At the time I was in my second year in the Broadcasting program at the Doon campus of Conestoga College. I was already working part time as the evening operator (playing the music and commercials for the Announcers) at CKKW and CFCA in Kitchener (now changed to I was also the operator for Don Cameron who was the play-by-by Announcer for the Kitchener Ranger Hockey team broadcasts.

But as much as I enjoyed the job, I desperately wanted to be an on-air 'DJ'. That was the real reason I had gotten into broadcasting school.

I dreamed about being on-air. Talked about it constantly. Drove my fellow schoolmates and friends crazy.

I applied to all the radio stations within a reasonable driving distance from Kitchener...Brantford, Guelph even Hamilton. Created and endlessly updated my demo tape (yes, we used reel-to-reel tape in those days). Finally after months of 'no's, my persistence paid off. I got a call from the Program Director at CJOY in Guelph Would I like the all-night weekend shift and could I start that weekend. Yes and yes!

Dream come true. For less pay and fewer hours but I didn't care, I was going to be a DJ!

But I needed an on-air name. Everybody did it. No one went on-air with their real names. After as much deliberation I could squeeze into the couple of days before I went on-air for the first time, I settled on 'Christopher Michaels". Shortened to 'Chris Michaels'.

A star was born...

OK, it was only Guelph, midnight to 6 am Friday and Saturday nights but I was the DJ! Thank you Gord Field, the Program Director at the time for believing in me.

Back to 'the mykals report' name. I wanted to remain anonymous. "Ahhh I thought...I can resurrect my old on-air name, 'Michaels'".
The blog name, "The Michael's Report" sounded official. Unfortunately it was taken. But never one to give up, I spelled it phonetically..."my-kals". A blog was born.

For those of you who have been following the blog for a while, you know that I stepped out from behind the mask some time ago. More fun that way.

It has been quite the journey over these past few months and as I ramp-up my fund raising efforts with the Reggae Marathon, it is likely to continue evolving.

Until next time...

PS: I wrote about the drive from Kitchener to Guelph in an earlier blog. That Plymouth Valiant sure was a good car
PPS: The picture is of the 1981 Radio and Television Broadcasting Graduating Class. Yes, I am in the picture :)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Barefoot Running

Barefoot Running – Vibram Five Fingers Are Worth It

Posted using ShareThis

New shoes = Renewed inspiration

OK, it wasn't the shoes. Although the new Adidas Supernova's I picked up last week have solved the blistering problem, the run this morning with the Wasaga Beach Road Runners (logo looks great doesn't it) was truly inspiring.

Not only did we get the run in before the rain, but met a new runner and had a great chat with him. Like me, he has been running for a number of years. Around 30 he figured.

In my case, I have been running regularly for about 25 years now. Although if you deduct the 18 months it took me to get hooked, it is more like 23 years. But this is not about me. (if you must revisit that story, check it out here:

This gentleman was gracious. He paced me for much of the run. I had a feeling he was holding back. Thank you. :) I am still working up to both the pace and distance and appreciated the company.

At our first walk break I asked him when he started running. With no hesitation he casually responded, "Around age 42". Now I may not be the best at math, but it only took me a second to calculate that he was currently...72! I dam near fell down.

And I only want to finish a marathon!

"Mr X" (keeping his name confidential), you are truly an inspiration".

A final note, I have received tremendous response to my Father's Day post. Thank you all very much for your comments and direct emails. Remember to stay tuned for the announcement within a couple of weeks on where the fund raising efforts will be directed.

Until next time...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Negril vs Wasaga Beach ... You decide

OK, so it doesn't sound like a fair competition. Negril is several miles of white sand with the warm Caribbean water lapping the shores. All year. And what a perfect way to end a marathon run

Wasaga has over 10 miles of beach with the somewhat cooler water lapping gently against the shore. Not quite 12 months of the year.

Both have their qualities. December 5th I'll have to make my choice. In the meantime, vote on your favourite. Just leave a comment in the space below.
And as promised, within a couple of weeks I will be announcing the fund raising association I will be supporting. Stay tuned. For now, please join me on facebook

In the meantime, enjoy the photos. And thanks for your support.
Until next time...

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Jamdammers know how to party!

When I decided to run in the Reggae Marathon in Negril this December, I contacted the Jamdammers Club in Jamaica to discuss the event and my goals. They have been very helpful over the past months. And just to show that they do like to party as well as run, check out this link from a local paper in Jamaica

(Note: scroll down to the right side of the page).

The post race party sure is going to be fun!

THE BEACH POST: The Fog of Wasaga Beach

THE BEACH POST: The Fog of Wasaga Beach

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

This past week as Father's Day approached caused me to stop and reflect on the huge impact my Dad had and continues to have in my life.

Whew! Where to start.

Since his passing last September, my emotions have been on a roller coaster. He was my Superhero.

The biggest thing I miss is not being able to talk to him. About big issues (he loved to talk about American politics) and the more mundane day-to-day life stuff. Not so much to get answers...while he always had a ready opinion to share, he rarely told you what to do...but to hear his stories. He told and re-told them endlessly. And I must confess, I even got short with him sometimes. I miss that now and would give anything to have one of those conversations today.

This past week I decided to do something not just in memory of my father, but for all the father's who have had an impact on the lives of their children. The ones who were there to provide guidance. Who stuck with us when we did the dumb things and were always there to pick us up. The ones who loved us unconditionally. The ones who trusted us with their cars!

I am dedicating my run in the Reggae Marathon December 5 to all Dad's everywhere. Thank you Dad for listening, teaching, giving, loving.

Since I have received so much from my Dad, I also want to give back. I have also decided to use the run this December to raise funds for research.

Dad suffered from many illnesses over the past 10 years. Beginning with home dialysis for his diabetes through prostate cancer and finally the 'biggie', the triple bypass heart operation a few years ago. The procedures, medication and technology that kept him alive were all the result of leading-edge research. I want to do my part to raise money. Within the next couple of weeks once I work out the final details, I will let you know what charity I plan to support and how you will be able to contribute.

In the meantime, you can continue to follow me on facebook in the group, "Run the Reggae Marathon" members welcome

Some final thoughts: On Christmas Day, 2008 I posted a memorial to my Dad entitled, "He was supposed to live forever". If you would like to read it, you will find it at this link:

The photo above was taken at Cavendish Beach, PEI. He and Mom really enjoyed that vacation. Not sure who he was talking to but he he had a knack for showmanship didn't he :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

'New' news about 'Run the Reggae Marathon'

After lots of thought and consideration, I have finally come to the real reason for running in and finishing the Reggae Marathon December 5 in Negril. It involves a dedication to some special people in the world...and someone who had a big impact on my life. I hope you will continue to follow and forward. Stay tuned for the details in my upcoming post on Father's Day, June 21.

In the meantime, you can check out these web sites:

Run the Reggae Marathon group on Facebook

Until Sunday...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sally has been busy with floral arrangements

She doesn't appreciate her talent or her true calling, but Sally recently completed floral arrangements for her niece's bridal shower last weekend. She used all of her industry sources from the Green Giraffe Gift Studio days to design and create centrepieces for over 20 tables plus the food tables.

She not only felt satisfied that she could do this for her niece, she got complements from many of the over 200 ladies who attended.

She did individual arrangements for the tables, the Bride's head table, and for all the food buffet tables. I am biased of course, but you can judge for yourself below: (You can contact Sally directly at I will waive my usual fee :))

Road trip to Sauble Beach

There is nothing like a good road trip to clear the mind. Sally, Tia and I did that on Tuesday and had a great time.

Yesterday morning dawned with that almost perfect lazy summer day feeling. Absolutely clear blue sky, cool, no humidity and with the forecast for a sunny and warm day. We had work-related stuff to do, but we knew it could wait.

After I got back from my regular morning workout at the Y, it didn't take long to convince Sally that we should really go for a drive. And Tia of course needed no persuasion to go for a 'Road Trip'.

We packed our camera, filled up the tank of the X Trail and headed west up Highway 26 with the intention of making it to Tobermory. I hadn't been there in years and Sally had never been.

Because we dawdled along we didn't get to Owen Sound until nearly noon. Once we saw the distance to Tobermory (and realized we had to make the return drive down the same road), we changed plans. We decided instead to head to Sauble Beach. With a stop first in Southampton. Had lunch there...fresh cut fries at an outdoor picnic table.

From there, we headed up to Sauble Beach. Not much had changed in the nearly 20 years since I had been there last. The Dairy Queen was still there, the shops and restaurants were still selling bathing suits and flip flops, and of course, the beach sign still arched over the entrance to the beach. We even got to park on the beach...something that brought back memories for Sally from her childhood experience at Wasaga Beach when you could actually get close to the water.

And even though we live in Wasaga with the longest stretch of sandy beach in Ontario, we were impressed with Sauble. The water was incredibly clear and clean and the sand felt like finely ground sugar. And for a Tuesday afternoon in mid June, there were lots of people on the beach.

After a quick walk around the shops, we rolled on. And because we had no clear timeline to get back, we took a Keady!

This is why unplanned road trips are so much fun: Exploration!

We headed back from Sauble turned south from Highway 21 at Jackson to Keady. Sally wanted to visit the well known Farmer's market there. Unfortunately we got there just as it was closing. Another road trip?

And since we were feeling unfettered, we decided to head back to Wasaga using back roads. The plan was to head east and end up on highway 26 outside of Thornbury.

It began well enough on paved roads but soon deteriorated to two lane gravel then to a single lane. The road names became a blur: Sullivan-Derby Town Line, Concessions 7, 11, 12, Sideroads 6, 7. After the detour around the closed and under-construction County Road 40 North, we found ourselves on the David McNichol Parkway (heck of a name for a country road) heading down into the Beaver Valley to the town of the Blue Mountains. Back into familiar territory.

What a glorious day! Even Tia was thrilled although she was exhausted and just wanted to curl up and sleep once we got back home.

The next time we may even make it to Tobermory....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wasaga Beach Road Runners

I put my money where my mouth was last Saturday morning: I presented a cheque to founder Mike McCluskey to become a sponsor of the Wasaga Beach Road Runners club That's Mike on the left with the flashy top from the Boston Marathon...yes, he is a serious runner :).
We decided to support the club for a couple of reasons.
First, I have been a runner for well over 25 years now but have never met a group that I wanted to run with. While I have only been on a couple of the regular Sunday morning runs so far, these guys have not left me in their dust.
I have learned how to run better as well. This will prove invaluable as the training for the Reggae Marathon gets serious over the summer.
The best information so far: pacing and quicker leg turnover. Once I loose a few of the extra pounds I have packed on over the last few years, I expect even more improvement.
And I now have a new toy to aspire to: a Garmin that not only measures heart-rate, but through a satellite link-up records time/distance/pace and too many other things for me to remember. Although it has been a trusty friend, the Timex Triathlon will be retired soon.
The second reason is business-related. With Pre Paid Legal and the Identity Theft Shield , we are passionate on educating people on the dangers of identity theft. Our focus is on the at-risk consumers in the towns and cities along the southern shores of Georgian. Hey...we live in the best part of Ontario, we feel privileged to be able to work here as well.
Bringing these two parts of my life together feels like a perfect fit: we get to help Mike launch and build the club while I train with a great group of people, and we promote our business where we live.
My biggest challenge will be what logos to feature on my running shirts over the summer :)
Until next time...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10 Days in Hell...a Cautionary tale

Even now when I look back on the 10 days in September 2009, I can't believe how close we came to total disaster. It took his death to release us from the hell we were in.

Dad had not been well. He had been dealing effectively with his compounding health issues for many years. He was on home dialisys and had endured multiple surgieries over many years all in efforts to keep him alive and vital. And for the most part the cocktail of drugs and treatments worked. But we all new that one day something would happen to change things.

That day happened when he was told that due to gangrene and the serious potential of blood poisining his leg would have to be amputated. He did not take the news well. For a man who been mobile and active his entire life, this was not good news.

We did the best we could to cope with the situation. We had been through this before. Heck, we had even been through his heart surgery during the SARS episode in Toronto years ago. We figured we could deal with this.

First step in the plan: sell the house in Orangeville and move into an apartment in Mississauga closer to his primary-care hospital. We put the house up for sale and after a couple of false starts, got it sold with a firm offer and closing date of October 1. We then found a great assisted care place and signed lease in great anticipation.

The move never happened.

In early September Dad suffered a major heart attack and went into a coma. Thus began our descent into hell as we faced the reality that if he did not come out of his coma, the house deal would not close on October 1. You see, although my parents had a will, they did not have Power of Attorney documents. Dad would need to sign the legal documents. This was not going to happen.

For 10 days until September 25, 2 days after he died, we turned over every legal leaf in our efforts to find a way to close the deal. There was none: they would be sued if the deal did not close.

Since then I have been asked many times what it was like to have gone through that experience. Truthfully I have no answer. There are too many mixed emotions. I do know however that a good way to never let this happen to you is to put your financial business in order now. Get your will updated, but more importantly, get your Power of Attorney done. If you don't, you run the risk of finding our what hell really is.

PS: As you might expect, this was a tough post to write. And since I thought of it last week while running, it took another week to get up the courage to post it. Part of the healing process I guess.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why doesn't Tim Horton's have a non-dairy alternative for coffee?

That is not a trick question. Since we have moved to a gluten and dairy-free diet due to health issues, we have been forced to look very closely at ingredient lists. We do this for products we buy to prepare meals at home, and we pour over ingredient lists at the restaurants we frequent.

Imagine our surprise last week when we went into our local Tim Horton's for our regular coffee. Sally liked hers with double milk, no sugar. I took mine with double milk, and 2 artificial sweeteners (I know, I know...that will kill me. I'm too old now to change...I'll take the chance). We asked if they had a soy-based alternative. Blank stare. In fact, although we cannot use Lacteeze or similar product, they didn't have that either.

OK, I may have missed something here. The number one coffee chain in Canada doesn't offer a non-dairy alternative? I know we are not in the majority, but we are long-time customers. And loyal. We have a Tim Horton's Bunn coffee maker at home and use only Tim Horton's Fine Grind in it. And we just had a reverse osmosis filter system installed so we can have pure water to brew our morning cup.

Since that experience, we have driven to Collingwood for our coffee fix. To the Starbucks actually where they are pleased to offer both a soy and non-dairy alternative . Wow. They actually got Sally to try a Soy latte!

We are trying hard to be loyal. But unless something changes soon, we will be forced to join my sister, a die-hard Starbucks fan, in patronizing Starbucks.