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Showing posts from August, 2014

Kick the (ice) bucket?

My thoughts on the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge"  that has been sweeping social media...they've veered all over the place, but have mostly been negative.
At first, it was because of my usual perplexity with these things. Why are they necessary? If you want to give to ALS or anything else, must you dump a bucket of ice water over your head? What exactly does ice water have to do with ALS, anyway? (Hint: about as much as moustaches have to do with prostate cancer, which is to say, nothing at all.)
It gets exasperating, and if this goes on we're going to be tasked with all sorts of weird associations. Let your toenails grow in March for Muscular Dystrophy! Skinny-dip in August for cancer! Shoot friends with paintballs for diabetes! Where does it end?  It's not quite as banal as the breast cancer awareness game, but it's pretty stupid.

And seeing people get all wet, well, you can imagine how little interest that has for me at the best of times. I don't care abou…

Flying

I'm going to be on a plane, soon. Oh joy, oh bliss.

Flying is, as Mike Warnke notes, an unnatural act. You're getting in a hollow metal tube and you're letting a complete stranger take you to 35.000 feet and travel in excess of five hundred miles an hour.

"If there should be an emergency, please fasten your seat belt."
"What emergency?"
"Well, we could fall out of the sky."
"Oh, yeah, then it'll be a real help to be strapped to the wreckage."

It seems like every comedian has an airplane routine. There's a reason for that: flying is frightening, and comedy is, like so much else, rooted in insecurity.
Personally, my problem is takeoffs. Actually, I'm not sure what my problem is, anymore, since I seem to have developed vertigo in the last five years or so. But takeoffs are just brutal. They wouldn't bother me so much if they didn't always happen at 110-degree angles.  (A few weeks ago I had a dream that I was blastin…

"Just Checkin' In, Thinkin' About You"

A friend of mine shared this on Facebook today and brought me up short, almost gasping for air.

The number of times I have written these exact words...either "'thinkin' about you" (complete with apostrophe, even!), or "just checkin' in"...it's almost daily, I'd say. Couple that with the neediness I've been dissecting (and trying to do away with) over the past two months and it's enough to make me take a few steps back and question myself.

There are three people on Facebook with whom I have daily, or close to it, contact. I don't have to hesitate for an instant to say I love all three of them. A lot. These are people I would move heaven and earth to help if the need arose (and I hope they know that). The thing about Facebook friends is that...I don't see any of these people often enough due to geographical, schedule and other issues. That's where Facebook has been a godsend for me: maintaining the connection, which I do find …

Trust

I'm a trusting person, until I'm given a reason not to be.

I find that makes interacting with other people much easier than the alternative, distrusting everyone on sight and forcing them to jump through hoops to earn trust. Because people tend to live up or down to the level of trust you place in them.

I've worked in retail for most of my life. Places that had strict policies indicative of a lack of trust in their employees also had a major problem with employee theft. It's easy to say the random bag searches and the distrustful attitude is a result of the theft problem. It's also a cause. People will find a way to steal. Particularly if they're being treated like thieves already.

You should go here and read about how Norway treats its convicted criminals. Even murderers are treated with compassion and offered every opportunity to improve themselves. Contrast the prevailing attitude in our part of the world, that criminals are scum and once they've committ…

"Sorry"

If countries had national words, I think Canada's would be "sorry".

Not "eh", which is the stereotypical Canadianism. As is usual with stereotypes, "eh" is considerably less common in real life than it is in people's perceptions. "Sorry", however, is everywhere. It has given rise to another stereotype: that Canadians are exceedingly polite.

We are not. Well, not all of us. In Toronto, I can tell you politeness, let alone actual warmth from people, is in short supply. But even there, whenever any two people bump into each other, both will say "sorry", sometimes several times. It's comical...especially if you know both of them are thinking you #%^&ing $#$%%^^, get the @$^*( out of my way!ˆ

I get downvoted on Reddit every time I say this, but I have found that men and women say "sorry" differently, in general. Eva and I refer to it as "girl-sorry" and "boy-sorry". Boy-sorry is "I'm s…

Hardened

It has been a week and a day since I got my tattoos.

I'm so glad I did. I'm not sure I can stress that enough. I also can't believe the effect they have had on me. It's hard to overstate that, as well.

Please pardon this distasteful bit coming up. It needs to be said.

Since mid-July I had been suffering some of the blackest depression I've ever known. (If you can't tell your diary, and this is my diary...who can you tell?) I tried very hard not to burden friends with it, because who needs that? Didn't always succeed.

It felt like an ocean in storm. I'd sputter-crawl through one wave, suddenly find myself lifted high into the air and light as a feather, only to crash again the next day. Or hour. Sometimes I'd lift myself free. More often I'd be lifted by the words or actions of someone close to me. Each time I'd look down on the ocean around me and think I can beat this. I know how. I have all the tools. I'm going to beat this. And I'…

No Hope for the Leafs

Damnit, Toronto, this is why you can't have nice things.

Longtime readers, or anyone acquainted with a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, will wearily recognize the kind of stubborn, pointless hope the fan base exudes every fall like clockwork. Every year, we Leaf fanatics don blue-and-white glasses, examine the team, and proclaim all sorts of Unassailable Reasons Why This Will Be Our Year. Not the year we win a Cup--even the most delusional of us won't trot that out without a brewery full of beer in us--but the Year We Make The Playoffs And Then, You Know, ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

It occurs to me that my personality is oddly suited to being a Laffs fan. For way too long I've aspired to mediocrity, and I've got that exaggerated hope/crashing despair thing down to a fine art. The team has managed to outdo me these last two seasons, though. First, two years ago, there was an unexpected playoff appearance (PLAYOFFS OMGWTFBBQ) and they actually pushed tbe eventual Stanley Cup fi…

I Like Big...Whats?

...and I can not lie: I've never understood the fascination with fundaments.

I mean, by now everybody knows exactly how little bodies in general mean to me, right? I know that's strange, but(t)...if you have to be attracted to the outermost layer of a person, why on earth would you focus on that specific part?
Both genders do it, so there's got to be some evolutionary reason why asses are where it's at. Me, I look at an ass, and I think that's the part the shit tumbles out of. Hence I don't look at them very often. I'm nobody's coprophiliac.

Name another body part that seems to garner more than its fair share of attention. On women, it's breasts. And while I've yet to meet anyone who doesn't like boobs, as a man it has been drilled into me, over and over and over again, that I better not be caught looking at them because that's tantamount to rape. Now, I disagree with this notion quite strongly, but disagreeing with notions like this wi…

Black and White

BLACK-AND-WHITE:
1. (of a situation or debate) involving clearly defined opposing principles or issues. "there is nothing black and white about these matters"

2. (Informal) a police car.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

I have made a point of defending police officers online against mindless tides of derision and worse over the years. There are many "good cops" in my family, and I love them all and respect the often thankless job they do. My father (now thankfully long retired) tops my list. Here's a cop who never fired his service weapon on duty though his entire career (he received a commendation for that). He's known far and wide as a person who serves his community, who genuinely cares. And on any given shift, his job could turn from routine to deadly in an instant. I will never forget riding along with him when he pulled a speeder over. "Now if anything happens, Macaw", he said, "press this button. It'll put you in touch with North Bay […

Inked and Holed

I woke up this morning at least as depressed as I've been over these past two months. Over the same shit, too. It's human contact, I'm not getting enough of it, I'm craving it, and my attempts to procure some of it have been roundly, if silently, rebuffed at every turn. I had officially reached the point of being depressed that I was depressed. Once that takes hold, it's an endless feedback loop that leads ever downward to places I've never been and have no wish to go.

And today was a special day. No day is fit for emotions like those; this day less than most. Today was tattoo and piercing day. This was to be the day I symbolically changed. It wouldn't do to walk into it feeling like I didn't deserve to change.

I got angry with myself. Quit yer whining, I admonished, or I'll have to call you a wahmbulance.

That didn't work. That just added anger to loneliness. Corrosive combination.

So let's try positivity. Let's cast back to grade 13, R…

Canoe Envy

Friends of mine embark tomorrow on a week long canoe adventure in The Massassauga Provincial Park. (The definite article is presumably there to differentiate this one from the hundreds of other Massassauga Provincial Parks in Ontario...)
The Park stretches from Parry Sound to the Moon River and encompasses 131 km2. I'm told their campsite is four hours by canoe from the park entrance, and a map and compass are needed to get there.

Heaven. Not their first time there, and I doubt it will be their last, either.

I've only been canoeing once in my life. It was in that general area, actually, but it was so many years ago now that I can't remember what lakes we covered. I remember it was a camp; that my cousin Terri was a counsellor or guide or whatever she was called ("boss lady" seems to fit); that, being as I was in a group of kids my own age, bullying surrounded me like a cloud of mosquitoes; that Terri kept most of it at bay without twigging everyone in on the fact…

Won't You Be My Neighbour?

Macleans has a very interesting article this month entitled "The End Of Neighbours".

Do you know your neighbours? I don't. Now, granted, for me on both sides those neighbours change every four months with the school term. But the only time I ever think of them is on those rare occasions when the concrete wall that separates our side of the semi from theirs isn't enough to muffle their party. (Why do people turn music up so loud they have to shout over it to be heard? Never understood that.)
I've lived in upwards of twenty different places--whenever I try to count them all, I can't help but think I've missed one or two, but they're a different one or two each time. And I'd have to go back all the way to the first home I ever had to find neighbours we were on close terms with...and then, only on one side. Martha Culver babysat me for a few years and I spent enough time with that family that I still remember...wow, all of them.  John and Lilian, Mark…

Delete Facebook?

I'm 31, I'm 34. pretty soon I'm 42
Loggin' in and zonin' out, isn't what I'd hoped to do...
The Paperboys, "After the First Time (paraphrased)

I've been entertaining thoughts of deleting my Facebook account.

I probably won't. I'm too much of a coward. Also, it seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that isn't Facebook's fault, but mine.

If you tell me I've spent way too much time logged in there over the past two months, I won't argue. It's been a great way to keep in touch with people I no longer see in real life, and also people I do see. How many of those friends are artificial, though? Studies have shown that we talk to somewhere between six and ten percent of our Facebook friends, and even fewer are close friends offline.  I have no real wish to personally test that hypothesis. It's so much easier to live in pretend-friend world.

The other problem with Facebook, of course, is that it's a self-validatio…

Going Moldy....

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