Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ugly Pillowcases

hello comrades! i believe i am overdue for a post, i am sorry to have kept you waiting for so long. im sure you were all very sad and upset. actually, i think at this point my sister has even stopped checking in with me here but im not sure. perhaps i will post a loud picture so that she sees there is a difference in her little thumbnail thing of this page on her homepage.
alright, now that that is done, i guess i can write about something else. the reason i havent been around lately is because i have just been way to stressed out to write about anything positive or even really string together a coherent thought. this is due to a variety of things that i am not going to elaborate on here but lets just all agree that i deserve your pity in the form of cash. as you all know, i like to keep things upbeat around here, or at the very least morally outraged, so that is my lame excuse for my silence.
anyway, to those of you who might have stuck it out this long (or to those of you who didnt even notice my lack of posting because you havent been, either- im looking at YOU all of my fellow 20sbers-) and are still reading this idiotic post allow me to share with you some happy news. after three or four years of collecting cat hair and dust, i finally opened up my grandmothers sewing machine that i received after she died and had my dear friend chandra come over and teach me how to use it. so i am going to dedicate the rest of this post to chandra and her awesomeness.
chandra is one of the most original and unique people i have ever met. she is very uninhibited and free spirited and seems to know how to do just about everything except cut up vegetables. she is a gifted artist and a kind friend, a receptive listener and an honest and fascinating story teller. she is one of the only people i can think of or imagine who never lies. really. she doesnt. its actually kind of shocking. she also has impressive diction and good taste in footwear. anyway, i have always admired her and i am grateful for all of the things she has brought into my life. the most recent being the ability to make ugly pillowcases, which i am going to go and do right now.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Safe Spaces

hello and happy monday, comrades! we are finally FINALLY seeing some sunshine here in steeltown, and it is supposed to last all damn week. i try not to be a weather complainer (actually, i try not to be a complainer at all, really) but i must admit even i was not immune to the bleak drearyness that happened last month. but thats not what i wanted to write about.
i recently discovered through the magic of facebook that one of my old friends from high school is a lesbian. i am also fairly certain that one of my other high school friends is also lesbian but isnt saying so on facebook. anyway, the reason i mention it here is, neither of these two were out in high school. meanwhile, my very nearest and dearest, the beloved and famous TREVOR did come out in high school, which had its pros and cons, and i was there for all of it. all of this got me thinking. i started wondering about these two girls and however many untold friends or acquaintances i made over the years who might have been struggling with their sexuality. high school is confusing for everyone, and i think gay teens really have a tough time with things. it sucks because it seems like its a lose-lose situation. often they are harassed or bullied or ostracised if they do come out of the closet, but just as often they struggle with emotional and psychological problems if they dont. throw a heavy dose of puberty and hormones into the mix and is it any wonder many of these kids have mental health issues and get involved with drugs and alcohol???
that being said, i hope that my closeted or confused friends in high school knew they could always confide in me and i wouldnt have judged them. im not saying i wish they had told me or i feel hurt that they didnt (frankly, i think that would be a little self centred) im just saying i hope they knew i was there for them. i guess i feel a little guilty because it never even occurred to me that my friends might be struggling with their sexuality. i know that isnt my fault, but i suppose its something of an assumption on my part. i think i just always take people at face value and dont look for more than they are offering.
anyway, to all of you friends of mine who i have been in and out of touch with over the years, i hope you know that i care about all of you and like you just the way you are. whatever your struggles and trials in this life, you have a friend in me.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

One Good Turn Deserves Another

well comrades, the canadian federal election is over, and even though the robot harper (who i have heard called the harperbot, which i also like) got his much desired majority governement, there have been a number of fantastical things that happened to be this week which take the sting out, and i shall enumerate them here:
1) the super cool, super excellent jack layton of the NDP is the official leader of the opposition. this is a historical first (the ndp being the opposition) and is super exciting because jack is the man.
2) saturday: i got a new knapsack from mountain equipment co-op which i am totally in love with. the co-op is officially my new favourite store.... it might even squeeze out the aquatics store and the tea store, but not by much. its not every day you walk out of a store with the EXACT product you had in mind. and with the money i saved on the bag (it was half the price of what i was prepared to spend) i was able to get a platypus hydration system to use with it, which is something i have wanted for years. all in all, good news day on saturday.
3) tuesday: despite having a completely miserable, freezing headwinded, rain-drenched one hour bike ride to work tuesday morning, i turned that frown upside down. i was on my way to a client's whose mother can be a little difficult with support staff sometimes. she is also fanatically anal retentive and her house is like a museum. i enjoy secretly spiting her by doing things i know would irritate her when shes not around, like putting my soaking wet bike clothes in her dryer. anyway, when i arrived drenched and freezing but with a change of pants at least, i had every intention of doing just that when she left, when lo and behold she OFFERED TO WASH AND DRY my soaking wet clothes for me! i realise that most normal humans would have offered to do this and you are probably wondering why this is a big deal, but it is. she is not usually helpful like that with support staff, and it was a small gesture that spoke big volumes. im not going to get into the whole thing, it would take too long, but believe me, it made my day.
4) wednesday: not only is anne's progress with not using her wheelchair going way better than i could have hoped, but i finally took my orthotics in to be repaired. i have been suffering from pretty severe pains in my thighs from my running training and i was beginning to believe that my ancient, dissolving, too-small-for-my-shoes orthotics were exacerbating if not causing the problem. anyway, because i had put off doing this for the last two years, i assumed that ship had sailed and the woman at the orthotics place was going to tell me i needed a brand new $400 pair. since i do not have health benefits i would have had to make this purchase out of pocket, and although i did not want to do this, i was prepared to because i thought it was for the best. i went to the orthotics office with a heavy heart, ready to part with almost all of my savings. i explained the situation to her and half an hour later, she returned with my repaired orthotics, and they are BETTER THAN NEW. when i asked what i owed her she said NOTHING, because she didnt build new orthotics, she just "adjusted" the old ones. i knew that "adjustments" were free, but i also knew that my orthotics are two years past their guarantee, so i was really surprised and elated. my legs are feeling better already. also, i finally got my odometer for my bike, which my bike guy had been holding on to for who knows how long because he "lost my number and knew i would come to the shop eventually." money well spent, my friends. my ride is pimpin.
so that has been my excellent week so far. i dont know what today and tomrorow hold, but this weekend i think dave and i are going out to celebrate our anniversary, so that should be fun too. until next time!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Never Grow Up, Never Grow Old

when i was just a little gaffer, i had a paper route. impressively, i delivered those bitches every saturday for four. fucking. years. it was brutal. not the deliveries, so much, but the rag i was charged with hoisting around the block every weekend is actually a free publication that is really a delivery mechanism for a stack of flyers and coupons. people who "subscribe" to this paper actually have no interest in the poorly written and uninteresting content, they just want their flyers. and when i was a kid (and i believe their system has not changed at all), i had to stuff the papers with the flyers before i delivered them. this sounds like it isnt a big deal, but there were anywhere from 5 to 10 different flyers that had to be stuffed, and they didnt come in prearranged piles. so, you had to take out the flyers and line them all up and then collate them by hand and THEN stuff them in the papers. then i had to load them into my red wagon and start my deliveries. this horrible process basically ruined my saturday every week for four years. if memory serves me, i think i also had deliveries on wednesday nights, but there werent as many flyers on wednesdays so it wasnt as big of a deal. anyway, the reason i am telling you all this is because all of this had a great impact on my life. not only did it incite a great hatred of child labour in me, it has also affected the way that i think about and approach life's little challenges.
you see, when i was delivering the papers (all 26 of them, which seemed at the time like a lot) i would motivate myself by setting small goals. i would think, 'ok, i just need to get to the next telephone pole,' and then i would get there and think, 'ok now i just have to get to the house beside the telephone pole,' and then i would say, 'now i just need to get to that bush' or the end of the sidewalk or the trunk of the tree or whatever, whatever, whatever. the point is, that instead of getting overwhelmed by the daunting size of my whole entire paper route and how long it would take me to do it, (keep in mind, my only company was my cat, who would follow me 3/4 of the way and then go back home when we were at the house behind our house) i would just look ahead to the nearest possible check point and just focus on getting to that. most of these little stops along the way were only like, 5m apart from one another, but thats what got me through all of those winters and rainfalls and boring afternoons.
i have applied this same approach to many other things in my life, most recently to my running training, which generally sucks big ones. instead of thinking about the total distance or time that i am trying to do in a given workout, i just think 'i just have to get to the end of this song' or 'i just have to go for thirty more seconds' or 10% of a mile, or whatever, whatever, whatever. and these small distractions are enough to get me through this and all of lifes little obstacles, and i came up with that strategy when i was eight. years. old.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Strong and Free

well comrades, now that we've all had a laugh looking at my mother's ass allow me a moment to talk about the upcoming election. no im not going to rant like i usually do about these things. quite the opposite, actually. despite the flaws in our society, i have to say that at the very least i am proud of my friends and acquaintances.
the media loves to play endless statistics and interviews indicating that most canadians dont vote. this is true. what is so irritating is that the media also loves to make it sound like most of the non-voters are young people. the implication simmering under the surface of such reports is that young people dont give a shit about politics and are too self absorbed to bother with voting. i would even read into it a little further and say they also imply that our whole country is doomed because eventually all of the people who do vote are going to die and then only us non-voting, self-absorbed once young people and our equally self-absorbed non-voting children will be here to not vote and the whole country will descend into anarchy. perhaps there is some truth to this, but i doubt it. and this is where my sense of pride comes in.
this fine afternoon when i opened up my facebook, i discovered that the vast majority of my friends had watched the debate last night and many of their friends had commented on their admissions of having done so, indicating that they too, had watched the debate. i doubt very much that people who will take the time to watch the debate are not planning on voting in the election. and so i say: young people do vote and we dont have to give up hope just yet. and to my friends who may be reading this: i never doubted you. now lets get that robot out of office once and for all.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Monday, April 04, 2011

Wheel of Morality

do any of you remember the animaniacs????? i sure do. if you dont, allow me to recap: the animaniacs were a warner brothers cartoon not unlike the looney tunes that were on tv on saturday mornings. it was an awesome show. my best halloween costume ever was a three-man bit where we dressed up as the animaniacs, which, incidentally was the last year i went trick or treating. anyway, at the end of each episode the animaniacs would spin the "wheel of morality" which would randomly assign a moral to the show. they also said this poem: "wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn, tell us the lesson that we should learn." and it would always be something inane like "dont leave the house without your pants on unless its dark out."
sometimes i think the writers of some childrens stories used approximately the same logic to come up with the messages for what are now ubiquitous childhood standbys. i think the reason these stories last is because no one really questions them but let us take a moment to ponder what i shall hereby refer to as CHILDHOOD LITERARY WEIRDNESS:
1) goldilocks and the three bears: i cant help but wonder if the success of this story is at least in part related to the popularity of little blond girls in picture books. im not sure WHY this motif is so popular: genetically, the occurence of blonde hair is much less frequent than that of dark hair and you would think children of the world would relate better to characters that look like themselves. but i digress. as far as i can tell, the moral of this story is "if you do a B and E, make sure you leave the scene of the crime before the family returns home." it also doesnt do much for the bears of the world, it makes them look like they are smart enough to make clothes and stoves and homes and cook oatmeal, but not smart enough to use sentences longer than five words.
2) rapunzel: although i must admit i was very impressed with disney's take on this classic (and believe me, that is HIGH PRAISE, i usually hate those assholes) the point of this story escapes me. for those who may have forgotten the original version, the story ends with the prince being blinded by a thorny bush and wandering the forest for years and the girl having her locks chopped off and being abandoned in the forest. they do ultimately find each other but it seems to me that the moral here is "love is crippling and will cost you everything else" which is as cynical as it is dark. we all know how much i love the dark and cynical but im not sure we need to be filling the heads of four year olds with such things, they will get there on their own around the time puberty hits. when i was a kid this story always made me fixate on the strangely evocative lettuce that the mother craved that got her into so much trouble in the first place. maybe the real moral is "dont eat salad."
3) little red riding hood: although i admit i do UNDERSTAND this story, i find its themes a little too mature for its intended audience. also, i get the impression that most adults DONT understand it, so they dont really explain the intended moral to their children. most adults, ive noticed, tell children that the moral of this story is something along the lines of being cautious and observant to avoid being fooled by someone who looks harmless but wants to hurt you. i suppose thats part of it, but the imagery of the red hood and the independent walk through the woods suggests that little red riding hood is actually a coming of age tale. some have argued that the wolf represents bad men/sexuality and the lumberjack represents good men/being married/if you arent married then your father. i will buy that, but i think at its root its more about growing up and learning things the hard way. i mean, she gets eaten, people.
4) the three little pigs: i think the moral of this story is supposed to either be about not taking short cuts in your work or it wont stand up to the test of time or its an allegory for having strong faith (but then it would a total rip off of the bible's foolish man building his house upon the sand) but i think that message gets lost on most of us and just comes across as "bricks are the best thing to build houses with." also im not sure how or where someone came up with the idea of a wolf BLOWING DOWN A HOUSE which is just too bizarre for words.

im sure there are more examples but these are the ones i was thinking about today. and this is why animaniacs was such a great show. by not pretending to be meaningful or about anything, it actually pointed and laughed at all the stuffy, pompus, figurative morals of most art aimed at children. which perhaps makes it among the most educational of all.