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Showing posts from April, 2016

The Day The Music Died

I got some sad news last night.  Aunt Lynne sent me a link to an Ingersoll Times obituary with the caption "Ken -- is this someone from your past?" It is. She was. Claire Martineau, née Panter, was my music teacher in my OAC year at Ingersoll District Collegiate Institute. Only one year. More's the pity.
I had crushes on practically everyone in high school, but never a teacher. Until her.
Part of my crush on Miss Panter stemmed from the minuscule eight year age difference (and she seemed younger than that). Part of it came from her telling me to call her Claire when nobody else was around. And she was undoubtedly, as the obituary states, an old soul: caring and compassionate.
But the biggest reason for that crush was musical. Claire Martineau was a wonderful teacher, competent (at least) on every instrument in the band (virtuosic on clarinet), not to mention being a phenomenal guitarist and damn fine piano player. 
Musicians will understand this: there's a bond that …

"I Could Never Do That"

It's by far the most common reaction people get when they out themselves as polyamorous: so common, in fact, as to be almost universal. "I could never do that." It's sometimes followed by a quick explanation: "I'm the jealous kind", perhaps, or "I'm a one-woman man". And then that's followed, almost always, by "...but if it works for you, more power to you."
Far be it from me to contradict the almost all of you who say "I could never do that", or to imply to any one of you that your words are not sincere. Having observed this reaction dozens of times, to the point where I silently echo it as it's being spoken, perhaps it merely seems like a reflexive defence mechanism to me.  (Not when YOU say it, I repeat...but just maybe when HE does.)

Many people have suggested my polyamory posts haven't elicited a reaction because the subject is taboo, because of any number of personal feelings on polyamory (it's wei…

Food and Drink

"'Shall I tell you the saddest words I ever heard?'...
'I always wanted to go there...and do that...but I never did.'
'To go what place, Mordecai? To do what thing?'
But Mordecai said no more. He was dead.
'I am sorry, Mirza Esther.'
'So am I. So was he. Here was a man in the very last flicker of his life, lamenting something that had once piqued his curiosity, but he had neglected to go and see it or do it or have it -- and now he never could.'...
Hoping to make her feel better, I said, 'But if he had seized the chance, you might be sorrier now. I have noticed that sinful temptations abound in these lands. In all lands, I suppose. I myself once had to confess to a priest for having too freely followed where my curiosity led me --'
'Confess it if you must, but do not ever abjure it or ignore it. That is what I am trying to tell you. If a man is to have a fault, it should be a passionate one, like insatiable curiosity. It would be a pit…

Back By Rather Popular Demand


Two people privately messaged me on Facebook in the past two weeks telling me "it's a shame" I wouldn't be posting any more blogs about polyamory.
Everything I said here  is true. I have no least wish to throw my polyamory in people's faces, and there is a great deal to be said for simply living my life quietly and upending assumptions that way.

But also: I got the distinct impression I was making people uncomfortable.

I write primarily for me. But any writer would be a liar if he said he didn't crave feedback. And I've noticed over the last two years that my poly posts have attracted my highest readership numbers...but less than zero reaction.

Now, if I had self-esteem coming out the proverbial wazoo, I would tell myself those posts do such a good job at explaining things and reassuring people I'm not a ravening sex maniac out to sabotage their monogamous relationships that nobody feels the need to comment.
That's not what I tell myself.…

Assisted Suicide

Euthanasia-- from the Greek eu 'well, good' + thanatos 'death'.

I could just end this blog here and you'd fully grasp my opinion on the matter. Because I suffer from logorrhea (more Greek: logos 'word' + rhoia 'flow'), I won't.

I understand why abortion is a difficult topic: on one side you have people who believe everyone has an inalienable right to be born, without regard to the circumstances they're born into, and on the other you've got people talking about women's rights over their own bodies and completely sidestepping the developing body inside. I've staked out a middle ground on that one: personally I'm not highly keen on abortion but I would never, ever seek to make my choice (that's what pro-life is, a choice) the law of the land.

At the other end, though? I draw a blank as to why there's even debate about assisted suicide. It's very, very hard not to characterize one side of this particular debate as a …

Ken's Idea of Maxim Magazine

Parental Advisory: explicit content, etc. 
Back around the time Eva and I married in 2000, I had a subscription to MAXIM magazine. I may have been the only subscriber in their database that never looked closely at the pictures, let alone let the women in those pictures into his fantasy world. (Paper, they all taste like paper...)  MAXIM, before it declined like most print magazines as the world shifted online en masse, was a treasure trove of interesting articles, ribald jokes, and vicarious living. Even without getting the pictures all sticky, I got a lot out of each issue. 
Now, it's a pale shadow of its former self. The pictures are still there, of course: gods forbid the male of the species be deprived of his visual aids.
Why do you humans--men and women--fantasize about people you stand zero chance of ever meeting? How does that even work? Doesn't your mind short-circuit the fantasy as Kate Winslet says "ah, you must be Ken, I've been just dying to finally meet …

I hate television

I'm not sure I've ever conveyed just how much I hate television.

I watched my fair share of cartoons and Sesame Street as a small child, but after that 'family time' often meant sitting on the couch watching TV. I'm sure you can relate.

I couldn't. Not when actually, I don't know, talking to my family during the show would get me shushed until the next commercial.

That's at least one improvement: no commercials any more. Amazing that it took so long for people to realize they were paying for their television twice. Three times, actually: once to buy the device, a monthly fee to make it something other than a large brick and then the wasted time sitting through pitches for products you have less than zero interest in.

My attitude has only hardened over time. I remember working Christmas Eve at Green Gables, the variety store my mom ran for a while, two doors from my house in Ingersoll. EVERY movie was rented, the only time that ever even came close to ha…

The Truth

If you're a reader, chances are you can think of at least two or three transformational, unforgettable novels you've read at some point in your life... which nobody else has ever heard of. They may be lesser known works by authors who latter attained a level of celebrity (The Grid, by Philip Kerr,  is one such for me); they may be by relative nobodies.
James L Halperin published something in 1996 called The Truth Machine. Free, 100% legal (no lie!) download here. I remember thinking the premise looked interesting: suppose somebody invented at 100% reliable lie detector, something that (eventually) would become as ubiquitous in the novel's world as cellphones are in ours. Posit that it's utterly foolproof.

What would the world look like?

Halperin's writing is pedestrian at best (though he acknowledges this right away using a novel excuse: it's actually an "Intel 22gCP' computer crafting the prose). But the concepts...the possibilities...

I've never …


My first shift at Walmart was on April Fool's Day of last year.
I'm not going to talk about work: the bloom is very much off the rose (though there's at least one rose that works there, and a former cow-orker that has somehow turned into a great friend despite the fact we *never* orked cows  within two hundred feet of each other). Nobody wants to read about me kvetching about my job. Not when there are so many people without one to kvetch about.

As I was, last year.

I'm still on the milder of the two antidepressants I was prescribed...mostly for its heavy sedative effect, which I very much need.  I've weaned myself carefully off the strong one.

I've learned how not to be depressed.

The fact I've been able to do so confirms in my mind that my depression, as nasty as it was, was largely if not completely situational. A big part of it was being unemployed: a big part of it was coming to terms with my station in life; a third big part was learning how to stop d…