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Aaron Greengrass

I wasn't going to post this

6 min read

I've been avoiding writing this post here.  I wrote something on facebook that was short and succinct - I felt like that would serve, and yet here I am, and I'm going to write this anyway.  Less people will see this, which is in itself appropriate.  I'm whispering this into the void, instead of shouting it into a crowded room.

Last week Ben Kuz killed himself.  He would've been 42 this year.

It seems like his whole life was spent waiting for that next thing to happen. That next, great, important thing which would change everything.  A new job, a relationship with that girl he'd been eyeing, a sudden monetary windfall. A change in the seasons.

His hope for the future in no way offset his bitterness.

When I was young, he was my first real friend in Prince Rupert.  As a bitter youth, like attracted like.  We were fast friends and helped prop each other up.  I respected his ability to work his way into a conversation, his wit and the way he could find the words.  I often felt like I was standing behind and to the right of him, in a patch of slightly darker space.  I was jealous, I'll admit it.  I wanted so much to be .. well, more.  More confident, more outgoing, more successful.  I just didn't see how that could happen, or even where I'd start such a process.

We were friends again when I returned to Rupert a few years after moving to Smithers.  We'd somewhat kept in touch, and we were still good friends.  He was making progress, he'd found work a few times, and life seemed to be going reasonably well.

I however was coming back a mess.  Head was all messed up, scars on my wrists were still healing, and a sense of abandonment sent me back to familiar places, and my first apartment.  My first experiences with truly going hungry.  Time alone with the inside of my head, and all the scary things that lived there.  He was managing to keep slightly ahead -- only slightly, but that close to the bottom it could've been a million miles.

Still, we were friends.

Flash forward a few more years, I'd met my first wife, and we'd survived a year in Rupert, most of a year in Smithers, 3 horrifying months in Fort McMurray, another year in smithers, and had established ourselves in Nelson.

I saw life going well enough there, I was working and making a solid wage.  Life was good, I was somewhat ahead.  I invited him down, to try and offer him a boost.  This reminded me of a long forgotten lesson - don't live with friends. Especially not when you have a partner to also try to keep happy.

Just don't.

We lasted a fair period before we parted ways, and he moved from one rough living condition to another, eventually abandoning all of his hard earned possessions and returning north.  We were still somewhat friends, but the whole series of events had put a real crimp on our relationship.  I felt guity as well.  Guilty that I'd chosen my own happiness over helping him.  Guilty that his life hadn't improved.  Guilty that he'd come out of this with less than he went into it with.

Flash forward another 4 years.  My first marriage was in shambles.  She'd left, and left me in a real pinch, emotionally and financially. I'd made the move to Vancouver island, and got myself more or less sorted out. I found out Ben was in Parksville, and I made a road trip up to see him.

We were still .. friendly.  I felt awkward however.  His life was .. well, a bit better than it had been, but he didn't seem to be as far along as I'd expected.  He'd had a bit of a headstart, while I was off trying to find my sanity, and again dealing with my marriage collapsing.

We didn't really keep in touch.  He came down once to visit, and our interactions were extremely uncomfortable.  I didn't want to feel that way again, so I made no efforts to keep communications open, and there was only silence from his side.

Only once did he ask a favor, a place to stay after he got lasik done.  I didn't say yes.

That was the last time we spoke.  God, was that 2009?  It could have been.

I haven't really thought about him much since that point, and of course I didn't have a phone number for him.  More importantly, I had no reason to call.  By this point we.. weren't friends.  Not even acquaintances.

I let him go, and got back to my own life, and my own situations.

When I heard about his death, I was shocked.  I couldn't believe it.  I kept looking for the lie.

It didn't hurt though.  I knew it should.  He was my best friend damnit.  What the hell's wrong with me?  Am I some kind of monster?  I was angry with him.  All I could think is "What a fucking waste".  Hardly the kind words you want to tell his grieving sister. Not the things his mother deserved to witness.  I bit my tongue.

I said the kind (and honest) things you should say when people are hurting. I told those other folks who'd also grown up/older with him the news, and we swapped some stories. 

It's still in the back of my head though.  It did affect me.  It does bother me.  I do wonder if there's something I could have or should have done for him.  I'm angry not only because he chose what he did, but because somehow I always assumed there'd be another moment we'd meet.  Perhaps as strangers, perhaps again as friends.

I could have made an effort, and kept the lines of communication open. I could have done more.

I didn't.

He didn't either.

Aaron Greengrass

You really feel the quiet moments.

2 min read

For quite a while I've been posting status updates to facebook.  Posts to this blog are ad-hoc at best, and usually a secondary consideration.

I've been spending most of my time avoiding facebook recently, other than for work related tasks.  It's a real switch... where do I go to unburden my head (my wife's already heard them by this point).

So, here I am.. is that wonderful? Apparently the thoughts have to go somewhere to be considered 'dealt with'.

Built myself a new 3d printer over the last weel.  It's based on a unit by Tech2c, who has a quite entertaining youtube channel.  It's taken good shape, though not without a few setbacks.. Rails supposed to be delivered that are still missing in action.  A series of bad thermistors.  Some wiring (both mine and purchased) that wasn't up to snuff.  A dual extruder system that .. disappointed.

Final bit of fun was a hotend mount that simply wouldn't accept it's fan.  No matter how i tweaked it, it was wrong.  I finally printed a calibration cube, saw the sizes were actually all right... and took a hand file to the part until everything fit.

Still, that's a few hours I'd like back!

Regardless, I'm in the final hours of setting this up, baring some further unexpected complications.  It's a beautiful unit, and I'm much happier with it than the unit I'd canibalized for parts.

Of course, now that it finally works.. it's late, and I'm tired!

Aaron Greengrass

A momentary lapse of reason

1 min read

I had a moment of mortality this morning. More than a moment really, let's call it five minutes. Waking up in the shower, I started thinking about the future, and how the road ahead is most certainly shorter than the road behind.
For a few short minutes, I could hear the monkey brain raging in it's cage, and the fear that comes with the eventuality of death and dissolution. The end of all things, or as near as I'll know.
Real fear, searching for any vague lifeline -- I had a flash then that *this* is part of what drives people to believe things they can't prove. This, the fear of the end.
I don't believe. I've spent years considering that decision, and even in the face of fear, I can not believe without proof.
A few minutes later, the fear drained away. I probably won't be ready when the end comes, but I'll do my best to face it head on. I won't latch on to whispers or fantasy, I can live a lifetime and be satisfied.
I'll have to, this one's all I've got.

Aaron Greengrass

It's almost October, and coincidentally almost payday. The latter is of course much more exciting than the former.

In just over a week it'll be time to pack my bags for a flight down to SF... I'll be there a week, working in the south office. It's been just over 2 years since I had to fly anywhere. I've managed to tentatively fill almost every evening with a visit with friends.. I haven't even had a chance to reach out to most of the folks I know, and I'm almost out of days!

I'll miss home, but it's only a week, and then life will return to normal.

Aaron Greengrass

After ordering a second laser chiller to replace the DOA one I received, I am close to seeing a refund for the first one.. at pennies on the dollar. More than I expected to be honest, a lot of dispute resolution requires a reasonable seller, and mine was nothing like that at all.

So Patricia and Stacey came to visit this past weekend. I've known Patricia since I was .. 16? Stacey I didn't know at all. It's been at least 13 years since I saw Patricia last, and when I did catch up with her, she was married to a guy named Garnet.

So, a few little changes then. I have to admit, I worried it'd be awkward -- and by that, I mean I worried I would be a poor host, or insensitive.. or something. I'm not really sure what I was concerned about, but I invited them none the less, and I was determined to be a good host.

Unsurprisingly, it was a great visit. They are of course lovely people. Their relationship is simple and matter of fact, which suits me just fine.

In case you haven't gathered, I'm not homophobic. I'm in a permanent relationship, so who anyone else sleeps with is none of my business, NOR SHOULD IT BE. That being said, I'm a big fan of positive relationships and happy couples, and they certainly fit the bill. I was amazed at how quickly the time passed, before i knew it they had to go to their next destination.

It was nice to see that there's another friend from my childhood I can still consider as a friend -- that I met a new friend as well is something to not dismiss. They offered their hospitality next time, I think we'll make the effort and visit, if not this year then certainly next.

I bought a trampoline.

Yeah. Really.

Why not? I'm not getting any younger, and I've always wanted one (Christina's never been on one even). A few years ago I'd assumed one would be in the works eventually, back when we thought we'd be having kids. That time came and went without producing much other than grief, but that is not the end - not of our lives, nor our ambitions to seize our youthful impulses while they still remain with us.

We assembled it today, and it promptly rained. Christina still had a chance to bounce on it briefly, so it wasn't a total waste. Now I'll be watching for sunny periods I think.

I think I'm going to start to get busy soon, but I'm going to try to remember to keep writing here. I write a bit into some of the 3D printer and laser groups I'm in, but I do not tend to write much in depth on Facebook, primarily because it brings what I've written to the attention of people who otherwise wouldn't look for it, probably do not care, and might even spend time being offended.

This is better for me. You, dear reader actually had to come find this. Well done.

There's quite a bit more I could write about, but it's all observed toxicity, and none of it affects me directly. Moreover, none of it can be affected by me. No point in cluttering up the one place I can write about my life with things that don't have anything to do with it.

Aaron Greengrass


2 min read

The laser arrived at the end of april.  Getting it through cuatoms was hair raising, but in the end not especially difficult. I had never imported something this way, so I was tense mostly because I did not know what is normal, and what is actually a problem. 

When it arrived the box was absolutely massive!  I was quite concerned as they were taking it off the truck, I had an image of a bad youtube video where the lift jack operator goes flying and the package crumbles.  Thankfully they rolled it off without any issues, and even brought it right into the garage.  After they left i was glad, it was HEAVY!

The box was reinforced with steel tubes, even so one of the upper tubes was crushed.  I was pretty concerned, but after getting the top and sides off, the only visible dmage was a crack in the top window.

Next problem promptly arose... The pallet this was on was almost a foot tall.  The unit itself weighs about 300kg.  How to get it down without a disaster? 

We had some spare garden ties, and i salvaged some plywood and built a ramp.  It has wheels, which wasn't clear in the pictures when i ordered, but it was essential. Two of us carefully guiding it, we maneuvered it to the ground and into its final position.

The first few days were spent just trying to figure out what went where, and what some of the mystery parts were... the unit came with no actual instructions. 

The supplier is great though, and responded to my questions with a combination of answers and videos. Turns out all the machine didn't some with was water.

First pulse test went well, then it was time to walk away for a bit and figure out the software.

Aaron Greengrass

Laser has been ordered, and will be here at the end of april.

Aaron Greengrass

Making an anti-hero (Part 1)

2 min read

We know for example, that he came from a small village in the west.  We know he served in several militia as a foot soldier.  We know the armed force he served with was ambushed during their final battle, and slaughtered almost to the man.  We know he escaped, wounded but alive.

We don't know what happened to him after that, and until he made his reappearance several years later.

People were passing stories around about him as far back as 5 years ago.  We know this.  Appearing suddenly on the scene of bandit attacks and clutching a large black sword, he made a name for himself protecting the weak. Eventually his travels led here, to the heart of the kingdom and the home of the princess.  Led to an oath of service to the crown, and new stories of heroic deeds.

Led to the end of the legend of the hero, and the creation of something new.. an anti-hero.


What is an anti-hero?  If you had asked me 2 years ago, I would have replied 'Oh, a villain of course, what else could it be?'  A year ago even, I would have said the same thing, if with a bit more hesitation.

A villain does evil with intent.  Focused on his own wants and needs to the exclusion of all others, he pilots his life with a broken moral compass.

A hero performs acts of good, also with intent.  Focused on doing the the *right* things, he serves the people while adhering strictly to the pull of his compass.

So what then is an anti-hero?  If a villain is the polar opposite of a hero, where then does the anti hero fit into this scale?

The truth is more complicated.


An anti-hero isn't born, he's made.

There is still a little time before the fires reach this part of the city.  I have taken precautions against the smoke, and I have ensured that this room will survive this conflagration.  I have nothing left to do now but to wait, and to recount this story.

I leave this for you.

Aaron Greengrass

Story concept. 'Making the anti-hero'. Details to follow.

Aaron Greengrass

I have printed the parts for that I need, and ordered the rest. Soon I'll start the great conversion.