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Showing posts from June, 2015

The Maple Leaf Forever

I don't think I can write a better Canada-themed essay than I did last year. I just want to say, for all its flaws, and there are many, this is a great country and I'm glad to call it home.

Instead of rehashing the tired, and quintessentially Canadian, theme of "what it means to be Canadian" (I don't see many Spaniards musing on what it means to be Spanish), I'm going to give you a musical compendium: Canadian songs that have had an impact on me.

There've been quite a few. CanCon rules came into effect the year before I was born, so I was fed a steady diet of Canadian music I wouldn't have heard otherwise. In today's globalized culture, we can debate CanCon until the maple leaves fall off the trees,  but there's no denying it was a huge step up for Canadian bands, most of which really did deserve the recognition.

First up would be a song my Mom used to play when I was four and five years old...my first exposure to sad popular music, and the be…

The Suicide Shop

NOTE TO READERS: I wrote this six months ago, when I was at an absolute nadir. It was never intended for public consumption: you'll see why when you consume it. This is me pulling myself up by my wordstraps, and should I ever sink that low again--I hope to all the gods that ever were that I don't--this life preserver ought to be preserved.
THE SUICIDE SHOP  By Ken Breadner


“It won’t work, you know.”   “What…?”   “Killing yourself. It won’t solve any of your problems.”
She didn’t know what to say to that. It took most of her energy to come down to the Suicide Shop today, and the last thing she expected when she got here was somebody telling her that the only way out wasn’t a way out at all.   “But…look, I came down here to buy some pills. Just…just give them to me, okay?”   “Sure, I can do that. But they won’t work.”
She took out her wallet and upended it over the counter. Wadded-up bills and change spilled out in a flood.  “That should be enough.”
The man took his time unfolding bills …

Am I Sex-Negative? (Yet another "coming-out...")

WARNING: This one is definitely NSFW. Some people may consider it TMI; they'll want to GTFO now.

As you can imagine, I've learned a lot in the past year. Some lessons have come easily, some much less so. Some have come as a surprise: I *do* feel jealousy, on occasion; I'm not yet the communicator I aspire to be; and apparently, I am "sex-negative".

I've had a lot of insults hurled at me in my life, but none that surprised me quite as much as that one did. "I've never been sex-negative," I thought, "unless, well, there were those periods where my life tested negative for sex."

What I always, and I mean always, have been is questioning of the place sex has in most people's lives, especially most men's lives. It is reflected in our language. The suffix -er denotes "one who": a runner is one who runs, a driver is one who drives, a hammer is one who hams, and a grocer is one who groces. A "lover" is not one who l…

La dernière classe et mon autre chemin/The Last Class and My Other Way

Tonight is my last French class. After this I will have a Certificate of Fluency from Conestoga College...which means...well, I guess we'll find out what it means. I'm not fluent in my own eyes. I can carry on a limited conversation on a number of topics, and I can read French fairly well and write it passably. But the certificate says otherwise...or does it? Who knows?

That's the thing about credentials. I had a sociology prof in first year, an old man who could get his class snoring in major triads. Word for word, spoken in a quiet, breathless and wheezy voice: "Now...Theory A and Theory B have many similarities. One could in fact say that...Theory A...and Theory B...are the same theory! Isn't this fascinating?"

No. It isn't.

Anyway, his favourite word was "credential". He used it in the singular, in the plural, as a noun, as a verb...he probably said "CREDENTIAL" when he sneezed instead of A-choo or that mouse-squeak well-bred women…

The Little Joys of Working in a Grocery Store

I know there are many people who think there can't possibly be anything enjoyable about working in a grocery store. They're forgetting that all you have to do to make something en-joy-able is to inject joy into it. If you keep that joy close, it's easy to do it with even the most mundane of tasks.

I've been doing the same basic job, with varying levels of responsibility, for almost fifteen years now. Most recently I've been knocked back to the level of pure grunt--but I refuse to act that way, which has raised some eyebrows. I've made a sustained effort to keep in touch with my counterpart on days and also the assistant manager responsible for dairy (which this place inexplicably calls 'fresh') and frozen departments...raising concerns and offering ideas for improvement. I've been dismissed out of hand a couple of times, but I expected that. There's a certain attitude, very prevalent in many managers, that anything coming from a subordinate, par…

Father's Day

I've been blessed with two fathers.

I don't see much of either of them--geography and circumstance have conspired against it--but not a day goes by that I don't think of both of them. Not a day goes by where I don't apply a lesson I learned from one or the other. And not a day goes by that I don't manifest, well, one of them. The birth one. My dad and I aren't carbon copies, exactly, but we share many traits, both positive and negative.

My mom and dad divorced when I was five. The less said about that the better--suffice it to say both of them have told me I was the only thing worth salvaging out of that relationship. Because my dad had limited access, and because he loved me, I was spoiled rotten, in the manner of children of divorce everywhere. His place very quickly assumed the characteristics of Nirvana and Shangri-La all rolled into one. To this day, "going North" has a talismanic power in my mind. He calls his homestead Rose Point. I call it San…

Rage

I simply do not understand the level of rage it takes to sustain this.

It is my considered opinion that, if you hate somebody enough to saw everything you jointly own in half, you couldn't have possibly ever loved. Her...or yourself.

Many of the commenters agreed with me, but many others found this hysterically funny, noted that "some women deserve this"...and one guy wrote "this is awesome...he's done what every guy's thought of doing at one time or another."

"Not all guys," I wrote back. "Some of us aren't children."

"Some of us aren't liars, either, Ken," he retorted.

Really?

Yes, I've had a couple of messy breakups in my younger years, when everything was messy. Yes, of course emotions ran high--which meant raised voices and tears on both sides. I don't hold with hitting people--it doesn't solve anything. And destroying property--what are you, five?

I'll admit, I've always been really sensiti…

Flaws in the Design

I can't be sure where I'm headed after death 
To heaven, hell, or beyond to that Great Vast 
But if I can I would like to meet my Maker 
There's one or two things I'd sure like to ask
--"At My Funeral", The Crash Test Dummies

Oftentimes I feel like there are a variety of ongoing cosmic jokes and that I've yet to be let in on any of them.  Many of them are fundamental design flaws.

I'm not talking about human design flaws. I'm not referring, for instance, to the kitchen that contains a heat-maker which spills money on the ceiling and a heat-loser that spills money on the floor; both of them next to each other and not connected in any way. Or the bathroom that contains a bath/shower combo which is not safe to shower in and not comfortable to bathe in (not to mention a toilet that mandates an extremely uncomfortable seating position and wastes both fertilizer and gallons of potable water with every use).
 I'm not talking about whoever designed auto…

Reflections on two months of nights with no end in sight

What I'm about to write is going to sound a hell of a lot like whining.

Okay, it is whining.

What kind of whine?  It's not sham pain, I'll say that much. Maybe you'll just think I'm bored-oh, I don't know. I'll just line up my problems in neat little rows, eh, and we'll go from there.

First world problems, right? I have a full time job: millions aren't so lucky. I make only a little over minimum wage: more in one shift than about a billion people make in a month. I like (most of) the people I work with and the fringe benefits where I work are better than those anywhere else I've worked (with the possible exception of McDonald's before they abolished free meals).

And there are lots and lots of other people on this shift. More than fifteen at my store alone (and we're short five full timers at the moment).  Some of them even have families--which would suck, at least until the children are school aged and you could sleep while they were off…

"Call Me Caitlyn"

Late to this party, but I have had a lot to sort out.

Whenever I am confronted with something completely outside my experience--and it's both exhilarating and sobering to realize how many things still are--I try to look at how other people are reacting. In high school I did this to try and follow the crowd. Much later, when I pulled my head out of my navel, I noticed the world had become polarized and no matter what the issue, there were always (at least) two crowds pulling with all their might in opposite directions. That struck me as needlessly destructive: the world needs more consensus, or, failing that, at least understanding.

And so now I figure out which crowd I'm in...and then spend some time in the other crowd(s).

This doesn't always work to temper my opinion. On marriage equality for gays and lesbians, for example, you can't move me. But even now I'm still seeking someone from the other side who can articulate their opposition to it in a more coherent, s…

For karen: a response.

For the first time in seven or maybe eight years, a comment on my last blog entry has prompted a whole new blog entry.  I LOVE when this happens; I wish it happened more often. While it's true I would write these things even without readers--hell, I think I did for about three years--what I really cherish about this here Breadbin is the exchange of ideas. It gives me a chance to refine and sometimes outright reconsider mine.

Reader karen writes:

The polyamory stuff you post is interesting. The only experience I had of such a thing before I started reading your blog was a young couple I met in our local environmental/political activist community. She was married, he was not but they were together everywhere just as her husband fell quite ill. Fairly soon they were handing out poly information at every kind of rally and meeting. Before the husband recovered she left him to do a solo pilgrimage of sorts and now the woman and the husband are divorced and she and her poly guy are in a m…

Going Moldy....

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