Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Years Present!!!


HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!  Last day of 2011 and everything's fine! 

So Danielle Fricke released "Hello Little World", her first indie album, this morning and I've listened to it several times throughout the day.  Her music is so beautiful and vulnerable - as though each verse were spun of spiderwebs and blown glass and other fragile things like hearts - I'm IN LOVE with her songs.  The whole album is a story and each song is a chapter.  Crafting an album is practically a lost art but here we have an excellent example.

Thanks Danielle!  Even though I paid (completely voluntarily) for these songs, I consider them a gift!  Danielle has gifted us all with these tiny fragments of her heart and soul.  Like pieces of moonlight refracted off still waters, piercing and momentary, imperfect but pure.  Listening to Danielle is like stumbling across a little bit of a larger truth in a deceitful world.  I for one am in her debt because of it.  I don't find a lot of new music that really speaks to me these days, so when I do I really appreciate it!

"Hello Little World" is heartfelt and wonderful.  Go download it right now!!  Click HERE!!  And please, if you can afford it, give Ms. Fricke a couple of bucks for her effort.  She obviously deserves it and it'll encourage her to record even more!  Win win!

Happy 2012 Everybody!  Love you guys!  Here's my personal favourite song from "Hello Little World", no longer "Untitled", it's now christened "Springtime"


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

2011 Year-End Round-Up!!



Well, how about that!  In just a few days we'll have made it through yet another year!  Astounding!!

So 2011 was, for me at least, a year of great change.  A year wherein I have finally decided to wrest control of my life away from outside influences and initiate changes all by myself, instead of just waiting for change to happen.  It's been a good year and I'm feeling incredibly positive as we move into 2012.  My life is going well and things are only going to get better!!  Even failure is only training for success!  Quite a switch from my attitude of years gone by....

So last year about this time I set myself a few simple goals for the year.  New Year's resolutions, if you will.  You can see what I intially wanted HERE.  Then I held myself accountable every quarter to make sure I was staying on track.  Of course I shared all that as well - 1st Quarter, 2nd Quarter and 3rd Quarter!  It's been an interesting ride and, I believe, a great way to keep my mind on my goals and not just spin my wheels all year long.  Next week I'll have a whole NEW list of goals for 2012.  For now, however, lets see how well I REALLY did in 2011: 

1. Lose at least 10 pounds (shouldn't be hard in a whole year. I'm 185 now. What will I be at the end of 2011?) 

Here we are at the end of 2011 and I weighed myself this morning.  I weigh 146 pounds.  Earlier this month (before several days of turkey and stuffing) I clocked in at 142!  Regardless of my exact weight, I've maintained myself between 140 and 150 for over 3 months now.  I'm very satisfied with that!  As a matter of fact, I bought all new clothes that fit me as a skinny person AND I received my very first M size shirt in YEARS for Christmas!  Not only did someone think I was a medium, but she was right, the shirt FITS!  I was both flattered and pleased. 

2. Make a more significant effort to free myself of debt (minimum payments are not enough!) 

Okay overall for 2011 I was obligated to pay off $9000.00 of my debt.  I decided that this was not enough and set a personal goal to pay them $15,400 dollars over the course of the year.  Unfortunately, I had a few unforeseen expenses (who doesn't!) and couldn't make that number.  I did, however, pay a total of $13,450.00 over 2011!  That's not too shabby!  As a matter of fact, I now owe less money than I paid out in 2011, putting me that much closer to being completely debt free! 

3. Write more (at least get 2 blogs a month in) 

Well, I've maintained at least one blog a week here at Stryder's Dementia (for a total of 58!) and I've also contributed to over 25 articles over at Fruitless Pursuits.  Beyond that I have been developing a few longer fiction pieces in my brain and the several notebooks that are lying around my apartment. Oh and a few songs are being written and arranged just to keep things interesting.  I'm still not happy with the volume of material that I am writing but I think it's getting far closer to what I'd like it to be.  My main problem is a combination of motivation and time management.  In other words, I'm lazy.  Regardless, I'd say that overall I nailed this goal!  I've found one of the biggest secrets to accomplishing my goals is to write them down.  It makes you feel good if you then actually do it and bad if you don't..... 

4. Learn some more difficult songs on guitar (sometimes 3 chords is NOT enough!) 

Yeah, I practiced my guitar a lot this year and learned some more difficult songs and whatnot.  It's been fun!  I don't, however, think that I put NEARLY the time or effort into this that I would have liked to.  It's a shame that it took me and the boys till nearly the end of summer to realize that we could just wander downstairs and jam in the park!   Still, I feel more confident as a guitarist then I did at the beginning of 2011 so for that I am grateful! 

5. Be more adventurous. (I'm going to NYC this September. With or without company.) 

Well, as you know if you read the last round-up, I never did get to New York City.  I did some stuff though.  There was travel and there was a lot more getting out of the apartment this year.  Maybe not as much as I would have liked, but a definite improvement over 2010.  My main problem here is that I keep waiting for someone to go withI'm not brave enough to do these things on my own right now.  That's gotta change in the upcoming year I think.  More about that NEXT week.....

I guess getting my hair cut and whatnot counts as being adventurous.  Really all I mean by "be more adventurous" is to leave the apartment fairly regularly and to leave the city occasionally.   Be more courageous, attempt to meet and have conversations with new people, and just stop making excuses to stay home and sit on the couch all the time!  I still don't know WHERE to go to do this on a regular basis but I'm trying.  It's hard to learn.  Social behaviour is often still the hardest for me...if any of you have any advice, please feel free to share!  I did get a few offers before Christmas to go out and do some stuff that I've put on the back burner while I am on crazy holiday work schedule.  Maybe those offers can come out in the new year to start!  

Well, that's about it for 4th quarter and thus 2011!  Oh, of course the most notable, not-on-the-list thing:  I still haven't had a cigarette since Labour Day!!!  I know 4 months is nothing when it comes to the demon nicotine but it's still a good start!  I don't have any desire to go back to it - if I do you can all mock me mercilessly!  

Thanks for reading all year!  I've broken all my own Internet records for hits and whatnot!  It's been great!  Stay tuned next week to learn what I'm planning for 2012 and we can all do it all over again for a whole new year!!!  Although I may run out of exclamation points before then!!!!!!  See ya! 

!!!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Casual Christmas...


Well, Christmas is just a couple of days away and I have almost nothing to say about it!  Work has been playing the "let's see how early we can make Mike get up" game so I haven't had my eyes open wide enough to write any rough notes for a blog this week and yet suddenly I find myself with a deadline!  What's a geek to do?

It's ironic because I already know the next two week's worth of blogs.  Next week of course will be my "year end wrap up" and the week after that can start it all over again in 2012 with a whole new list of goals and ideas to keep forging my world.  Sadly, that's all in the future.  What CAN I talk about this week???

Anyway, then it finally came to me.  I don't really NEED to say much about anything this week.  It's Christmas week, everyone's sort of calling stuff in and the year's winding down.  Today's the Winter Solstice and we've got 3 months now to watch the world doze...what more can really be said?

Oh I know....

Merry Christmas everybody!  Or you know, happy whatever you celebrate...it's all the same to me.  Just take it easy for all us sinners out here...


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Change


 So this past Friday I cut my hair.  Not a little trim or a mildly shorter cut, but a massive, crazily image-changing hair cut.  Shaved, too.  My hairstyle went from Jesus to Clark Kent in one afternoon!

Some like it, others not so much.  I like it, although I liked the way I looked before too.  In either case it'll definitely take some time getting used to.  What everyone wants to know is why?  What made me decide to make such a drastic change??

To answer that question one simply needs to think over the last year in my life.  2011 has been my year for change!  This year I've examined my life from all sorts of angles...the things I do, the people I associate with, the habits I keep....and simply asked myself over and over again "Why?"

Why do I do the things I do?  Is it beneficial to me?  If it is shall I do it some more?  If it is NOT, why don't I just cut it out?  Do I enjoy doing it?

In this simple way,  I've managed to re-invent my lifestyle, at least to some extent.  To become a happier and more well-adjusted person.  More productive and less self-destructive!  Even when my plans and feelings get thrown for a loop, as they were this past November, I have managed to hold on to what I've learned this past year and deal with things in a healthy, normal way until the situation gets back on track somewhat.  Sure, I still get depressed and of course I'll always be a strange, strange man to some.  There are many things that will NEVER change.  However, I've accomplished enough positive things that I feel that I've gained a level in personal growth or something.  Must be all those experience points I've been racking up!

Anyway, I'm entering my 35h year in a few weeks, a happier and better man than I was at this time last year.  Perhaps than I have ever been.  And so I though that an outward symbol of all this interior house-cleaning was needed. 

And so, I present - The Haircut:


Everyone has things in their life that upset them and make them sad.  Think about yours for a minute.  You have the power, right now, today, to change it for the better.  We all have the power to make change in our own lives!!  Results don't appear overnight but keep at it and you will find that things can and will get better.  It's all up to you! Beefcake!  BEEFCAAAAKKEE!!!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Want, want, want...


If you live in the 21st century, you may have noticed that everyone has an agenda.  Everybody who can be bothered talking to you wants something from you, whether they know it or not.  Mostly these things are simple...directions, product inquiries, general, likely "work-related" things.  You certainly want these same things from others!  It's all good.  However, come Christmastime, the people that want stuff from you seem to multiply.  The usual demands one experiences are still there, but then there's always a huge rush of holiday people who want things as well.  Not just consumers, either!  Friends, family, people on the street, they all want at least your attention (and probably also your money) for longer than usual.  Then of course there are the businesses.  Every one striving oh-so hard to get you to come inside and give them all your cash.  Each one like a vampire sucking away your time and earnings for whatever must-have garbage is available right now.  If you fail to co-operate you get labelled "Scrooge" or worse (let's say probably worse these days, but I'll keep it polite here). 

Anyway, again, it's no big deal.  I don't begrudge these things at all, normally.  It's the human condition and "everyone" includes you and I, so who are we to judge?  We all want things from our fellow man, whether they be material, ethereal or otherwise (IS there an otherwise?).  Likewise we all have things to give!  I guess (and I realize I run the risk of sounding selfish and whiny.  A risk I run every week while writing, I suppose) lately I just feel like people are far more focused on what they can get than what they can give.  I generally feel, particularly at this time of year, as though everyone demands something from me but very few step back and wonder what I need or what they could do for me.  Not that I want or need very much of anything at all.  I just wonder if maybe we've all gotten a little too selfish lately? 

Actually, it's probably just me.  I'm not Christmas-y enough this year.  I am usually happy to give anything and enjoy being needed or useful or generous.  This year I just feel tapped out.  Not financially, but with my energy levels and my general ability to care.  It's like I cared too much for a while and now I've burnt out the circuitry that gives a crap.  All the normal, usual demands that people make on my time feel strangely like impositions, all the stuff that I'd normally be happy to do seems like a huge lot of work and effort for little gain.  Just answering a phone call seems like too much work suddenly.  I don't know.  I guess maybe I just need some time to recharge.  There are more demands than usual on me currently and there is less time to recover every day than I am used to.  These things take a toll. 

Well, I'll just have to buck up, I guess.  There is light at the end of the tunnel!  Christmas only comes once a year.  Is it strange that my first thought when I hear that is "Thank God!"?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Telepathy and A Nice Bottle of Wine...


Every once in a while I post something here that seems to really resonate with people.  Last week was one of those posts.  I got a ton of feedback.  It's nice, you know.  Reminds me that I'm not as alone as I'd sometimes like to believe.  There are people in the world who understand all too well exactly what I'm going through and empathize in ways I'll probably never even know about, much less fully understand.

It makes me wonder just how much we really know about the people around us.  Even our closest friends and lovers must just be a treasure trove of, not secret, but unshared thoughts.  I know I am.  Some people know how to be super-zen and turn off their minds for a while - zone out if you will.  Not me.  My mind is constantly going from the moment my eyes pop open in the morning to the moment I have that little death of a system crash every night...I can't stop it, no matter how hard I try.  To write, I don't even have to think about anything in particular, I just have to listen to what's already playing in my brain and try to type it as fast as I can think it. 

Anyway, all this is to say that despite me writing things down nearly constantly and sharing my thoughts and feelings with whoever happens to be in the room with me as well, I still only really share about 0.5% of all the stuff that goes through my mind in a day (percentage completely arbitrary and made up on the spot).  I suspect that most people are like that.  Really it makes me wonder, just how much can anyone really know anyone else?  However it is comforting in that you know if everyone is similar to this than there are lots of people who probably think the same as you and you just never knew.  I happen to know it's true because, like I say, every once in a while I post something that resonates.....

So the relationship I was most jealous of as a teenager, and one that I still miss today, was the relationship between Scott "Cyclops" Summers and Jean "Phoenix" Grey of the X-Men.  Not because of the individuals (I've always disliked Scott and thought Jean should be with Logan!) but because due to Jean's telepathy, these two shared a mental bond that allowed each full access to the others thoughts and feelings.  I suppose a Vulcan relationship would be the same - I've always been fascinated with the mind-meld.  I would prefer a little more passion in my relationships though...I'm all too human.  Just imagine, being with another person who could never misunderstand you, who would know you as they knew themselves, who would FEEL what you feel and would STILL want to be around you!  Seems pretty unlikely, doesn't it?  Maybe that's just me.  Still, it's what my ideal relationship would be like and what I try to emulate in the real world by being as open an honest and trusting as I possibly can with the ones I love, despite my sometimes jaded and cynical nature.  Of course, so far relationship-wise this has only resulted in me being used, abused, lied to, cheated on and then left, broken hearted to laugh at myself and the idiocy of it all.  Strangely, I still believe in the idea though.  If you can't give as much of yourself as is possible to a relationship, why bother having it at all? 

Perhaps this explains why I am still single.  I'm waiting for someone "mind-meld" trustworthy.  I had lost hope that it was possible, but hey....turns out a lot more people identify with me than I suspected.  I may have to conclude that if that is true, than anything truly IS possible.

Oh hey, PS - It's snowing in Toronto as I write this!  First time!!!  As the Starks are wont to say, Winter is Coming!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Reaching Out...


First, an excerpt of what happens when I begin to hate.  I wrote this little bit last week when humanity had sickened me in a variety of ways in only a few hours.... 

Sometimes I feel as though I've spent half my life trying to move out of earshot of these ridiculous fools and the intrepid, moronic bile that spews from their bloated, greasy lips. 

When I was a child, other children literally thought that I was an alien being because of how very, very different I was from them.  How I wish that this was the truth.  I would delight in the knowledge that I was not a member of this dark and demented species. 

This is how I felt, at least for one night last week.  However, it's not how I want to feel about people.  I've lived in this city for most of my life.  I was born here, My first words were here, I had my first kiss, my first love, my first apartment and my first heartbreak within these borders.  All day every day I make a living moving the people of Toronto from place to place, interacting with the multitudes.  I don't want to hate these people and I don't want to stop caring about Toronto or what happens here.

Despite this, lately I've had a few close friends independently mention to me that I've gotten pretty dark.  Too negative and too cynical.  I can blame some of that on my current situation in life, but not all, I think.  It scares me cause the weather's still nice and the sun's still shining on me.  If I'm already this bad, what will February bring??  What has caused me to grow so cold in the last couple of months?  What can I do to stop it?

I came to the conclusion that, as much as I like to brag about my independence, and as much as I truly feel that I am both self-sufficient and in many ways better off alone, my main problem is loneliness.  Not that I am without companions!  I feel well loved and have many great friends that care about me!  Rather, I feel like I am missing out on that one truly intimate connection that everyone wants and a few lucky people have.  I feel isolated even in the midst of millions of people, many of whom are friends!  This isolation is leading to bitterness and negativity.  A common complaint for a writer, I suppose, but one that is slowly and steadily making me less and less inclined to enjoy my fellow humans.

Well, I can't do anything about wanting to establish a (for lack of a more realistic term) soulmate.  If it's gonna happen, it will.  I have my doubts.  What I can do something about is feeling isolated in the midst of crowds.  I just have to meet these people and make them my friends!  Get to know them, their interests and cares!  Once I know a person, I can forgive all manner of faults and fallacies!

Simple right?  Not in one of the largest cities in North America.  It's too much.  I don't know where to start.  So I've decided to leave it to random chance.  I've started leaving little "calling-cards" inconspicuously around the city of Toronto.  I got the idea from a girl who gave me one of her own (for her tumblr blog ).  Mine are little folded pieces of paper, hand-written.  Each one has a peace sign and my eclipsed moon symbols, as well as some questions marks on it.  Folded inside is a random obscure quote, the words "Stryder's Dementia" and my twitter address (@StryderWolfe).  In this way I will reach out to the city in a tiny way.  If anyone finds one of these, I hope they check out the site and message me!  If they find and keep one to return to me, I'll buy them a drink!  Uh...19+ of course.  Come on, Toronto!  Prove to me that you are worth caring about!!!  Don't let me fall down a dark hole of my own imagining.  You can do it!!!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Just take a deep breath...


I've not really been myself lately.  The last few weeks, as October inevitably gave way to November, have been both rewarding and educational.  I haven't really even begun to process all the interesting little things I'm learning about the people in my life and yes, about myself as well.  However, these weeks have also been incredibly stressful for me.  My tranquil little life, so carefully built over this last year, is being shattered daily.  I've both lost and found my "zen-like" edge.  Peace of mind is a funny thing, slippery when wet.

In any case, in one more week I will at least be back on a more normal schedule.  Normal for *me* anyway.  I'll have had another seven days to evaluate my own feelings and desires and just to watch the wheel turn.  It's always turning, even if it only matters to those of us on the edge. Heard that somewhere...

I'm reminded today why I've held on to the name, the identity of "Stryder Wolfe" long past it's expiry date...I grew out of the name's original meaning years and years ago.  I keep it now simply to remind me, no matter what happens, no matter how dark (or how light - let us admit the possibility of light!) things get, no matter how I'm feeling, I need to take everything in stride.

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  "Nothing very very good and nothing very very bad lasts for very very long."  The highs and lows may be intense and occasionally quite fun, but it is what you do, what you feel and who you associate with in the middle realms of life that define who you are and whether you have a good and happy life overall.  If such a thing is possible.  Let's say instead that these factors, rather than the dramatic outbursts of life, are what contribute to a life of fulfillment and perhaps even contentment.  The quiet moments are what make you essentially you.

At this point in time I feel good about my life.  It's not perfect and never will be, but it's mine.  I'm constantly trying to make improvements to myself and to my situation in life and I'm a very patient man when it comes to realizing my goals.  Even when it's a hard, hard thing to be.  I realize that I've been neurotic lately, but it's just because I've been focusing on the drama and not looking at the bigger picture.  Today that has changed.  Today I'm just taking it all in stride.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Day and Night, Night and Day...


4:26 p.m.

The sunlight falls
on my face and in my eyes
and makes me cry

Something inside me breaks
Just a little more
every day

I am starting to find it funny 

4:26 a.m.

I realized tonight just how alike we really are. 

You're just as dark as I am
You're just a little better at hiding it. 

I'm sorry.

I thought I could trick you into thinking that

the world

was a nice place
and then maybe
for you 

It could be.

I can't.
It's not.

I'm sorry.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Devestation Emancipation


Halloween night and I walk alone through the electric dark in the company of my own private ghosts, more frightening by far than any ghouls, real or imagined, that I may have encountered in so-called "real" life.  Haunted thoughts and ghosts of ancient pains, what have you taught me?  Only that if I still had a heart, I would want it to be like yours.

Suddenly I am reminded of a time long, long ago.  First grade recess and the first stunned contemplation of my own emerging consciousness and thus of my own mortality.  An awakening!  Aside from the extra large coffee and iPod earbuds, I realize that my current mental playground neatly mirrors the thoughts and feelings of my little 5-year old self, standing alone at recess on a cool Autumn morn.  The day that I awoke to the knowledge that everything is always changing.  When I awoke to find that I was both devestated by and in awe of the Earth, people, life...everything!

It makes me wonder if my recent quest for detachment and sobriety and always truth, truth, truth...if my recent reduction both physically and emotionally might be spurned by some subconscious desire to go back to that state of mind I left behind me at 5 years old.  Be a simpler kind of man.  Perhaps turn back the clock and be like all the other little kids.  Take back the Pariah in me....

So yes, whenever I walk alone on Halloween or anytime in the Fall, I feel haunted.  Not by any ghosts but those of my own design.

For the record, I don't believe that I *am* trying to regress, or even have a real desire to do so, except perhaps as one step on a path of progression...If I need to find and recreate all that I once was in order to evolve into whatever I've yet to become, so be it.  It is an occasionally painful and frightening process, but one that is not without it's own rewards.

I don't want to be like the others.  I just need to be more and more like myself.  If I can someday know what that is.  It shouldn't be too hard.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Street View


So just this last weekend, a friend of mine had her birthday and graciously invited me to the party, to be held at a club downtown.  Since I almost never have Saturday/Sunday off days, I haven't really GONE downtown on a Saturday night in years, so of course, I accepted!  In some ways, as an experiment of sorts. 

So the club we went to (a place called Crocodile Rock) is, I guess, geared towards my age group of 30-somethings. This was nice since I didn't feel like I was abnormally old or out of place as soon as I walked in (which DID happen the last time I went clubbing and realized I was probably at least 5 years older than anyone else there).  However, the place confused me somewhat because I didn't really see the point of it.  I understand in theory you are supposed to go to these places to meet women or get laid or something, but it doesn't work that way for me.  ESPECIALLY at my age I am certainly going to want to have a few conversations before proceeding to the bedroom.  Clubbing seems to work against that, as you can't hear a word anyone is saying and are encouraged to move about as much as possible.  It seemed like everyone there was enjoying themselves but I just don't get it.  It was flattering that several women um...made eyes at me?  I guess.  One even winked!  It was cute.  Still, I began to feel pretty alienated if truth be told - always seem most alone in a big crowd.  I sometime wonder if I am missing some personality element that allows a person to engage in socialization in this manner.

In a lot of ways, it actually reminded me of going to church.  It's similar in that they are both places that I go where everyone I see seems super-engaged in what is happening and enthusiastic while I feel nothing like what they are obviously feeling.  I just don't receive the same message or stimuli or whatever it is that everyone else feels. Doesn't mean I don't like it or get anything out of it, just that what I perceive is not what everyone else seems to.

Anyway this is not to say that I didn't have any fun.  I'm really glad I went!  It was a good time and very interesting to me for a variety of reasons.  I treat these situation where I don't fit in as if I am an alien life form and am just investigating this culture to further the knowledge of my own race.  "I'm a stranger here, on this place called Earth..." Like that.  Once I'd learned all I could from my outsider point-of-view, I took off for a bit and went for a walk downtown.  Lots of energy in the streets downtown on a Saturday night post-midnight.  Made me wish that I lived nearer that area so I could do that walk more often without a long subway ride first.  Of course there's likely several catches that I haven't really considered yet. 

On my walk I went to a pub and had a pint, helped out a few lost people and then met a girl who was sitting on a doorstep playing a ukulele.  She didn't want money or anything, she was just hanging out doing her thing.  Her name was Mary and she let me try her ukulele for a bit and then played me "Hello, I Love You" by the Doors.  I sang along and we nearly got all the words right.  It was a great moment for me.  So thanks Mary the ukulele girl - you win Saturday Night!

Friday, 21 October 2011

It's All Related


Little Miss may be coming home soon.  
Got the text last night and told her she can stay 
As long as she needs.  
What else could I do?

It's all related.

Too stressed out.  
I wanted a cigarette soooo badly last night.  

It's all related.

Almost cried several times today.  
choked back sobs, A single tear.

It's all related.

I learned to play Sullivan Street on guitar today.

It's all related.

I'm on day two of a three day system purge.  
Totally straight-edge and barely any food.

It's all related.

Last Tuesday would have been 
My eighth wedding anniversary.

It's all related.

I keep trying to remember

It's all related.

I forced myself to eat lunch today and I am 
almost positive that I'm about to vomit it back up.

It's all related.

I just almost cried again while writing this
Maybe this is getting too personal, even for me.

It's all related.

Occasionally at work I weep openly.
Tears silently stream down my cheeks.
Sometimes people notice but no-one ever says anything.

It's all related.

When I was a child, I fell in a river.
I only held on by a little tuft of grass.
If no-one had come, I would have drowned, but
I never cried out for help.

It's all related.

I do feel better for writing it all down.
It's almost everything I need.

Yeah.  It's all related.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Subconscious Malfeasance - Outta Control!


Some days, for no reason whatsoever, I just wake up sad.  Perhaps it's due to a half-remembered dream, perhaps some chemical imbalance, or perhaps it's just a reaction to waking up yet again under the same old sky, but sometimes the world is a pretty bleak place first thing in the morning.  I guess this is a very common human condition.  We have lots of ways to describe it.  Woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  Got a case of the doldrums.  Not a morning person.  In fact, I imagine that at least half the population is more likely to sigh than smile when they first open their eyes on a new day.  Can this really be the human condition?  Why am I bummed out that I have to go live my life?  I like my life, don't I?

I find myself wondering a lot lately about how much things have changed in the recent past.  It seems like there's so much stuff ALL-NEW every day in our modern world, and I wonder sometimes if there are as many new moods and feelings in the world as there are new technologies and ways of life?  Did people two hundred years ago worry that they may be abnormal for being grumpy when they first woke up?  Or were they just happy that none of their teeth fell out overnight?  I really wish that there was a way to look back into the past in a verifiable fashion and see these things for ourselves.  Not necessarily time travel, but a way to look back in time without interfering in the events that transpired and to really understand the human story.  I read a lot, but history is written by the victors and it's just not the same as seeing the truth from an unbiased perspective.  If we understood how we got to this place, perhaps we could see where we are meant to go?  That's one thing I really appreciate about the modern world and one reason I really appreciate this ability to blog.  In the future, 100 years from now or whenever, people will be able to look back and see in great, fine detail exactly what people all around the world were both doing and thinking about in the early 21st century.  In a way, every word that we type into blogs, twitter posts, facebook updates, etc...will define us to future generations.  That doesn't even count the millions and millions of online videos.  I'm not alone in using the internet in the same way that hunter-gatherers used cave walls.  To stand up proudly and exclaim "I WAS HERE!"

Could that be all that is necessary?  I may never have the answers I seek and may never know why I wake up in a bad mood most days, but at least by recording that it happens someone someday might figure it all out.  Maybe the internet is just one big subconscious for an as-yet unborn life form, and my blog posts will haunt it's dreams and cause it to wake up grumpy, too.  Justification at last!!


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Third Quarter Round-Up



It's that time once again!  The future keeps creeping into the past and another quarter has come and gone and we're three-fourths of the way through 2011!  Sure seemed to go by quickly.  It seems like just yesterday that the year was only half-way done.  So how's our progress with 2011 going?  Let's take a look.

Oh first of all why not check out the milestones of 2011 here and here. 

Now then on to quarter 3... 

1. Lose at least 10 pounds (shouldn't be hard in a whole year. I'm 185 now. What will I be at the end of 2011?

Well as of today I am 149 pounds.  36 pounds less than what I started with but only 7 pounds less than I was 3 months ago.  The lowest I've been this quarter was 147 pounds and that was when I quit smoking.  Then I shot right back up to 155 and have been slowly dropping that back off for the last few weeks.  Anything around 150 is pretty good though.  I still think 140 would be better.  Want to lose the last little love handles and whatnot, but my belly IS pretty flat now.  I suppose I should start worrying about tone....naaaah.

2. Make a more significant effort to free myself of debt (minimum payments are not enough!)

I paid off another $3850 this quarter.  I'm still $1000 less than I wanted to be by this time, but I've paid off $10,550 so far this year.  Considering my original payment plan called for only $6750 to be paid by this time, I'd say I'm doing quite well!  I have unfortunately dropped my bank account a little further than I wanted to doing this however. I have to watch my impulsive spending just a little more.  I suppose not buying cigarettes will help out with this immensely.

3. Write more (at least get 2 blogs a month in) 

Not only have I written at LEAST one blog a week here at Stryder's Dementia, I also have been writing articles over at Fruitless Pursuits for a while now!  If anything I think I may be overexposed but I like it!  You can, of course, see a list of ALL my Fruitless Pursuits articles right HERE 

4. Learn some more difficult songs on guitar (sometimes 3 chords is NOT enough!) 

Yesterday I was trying to figure out a good way to play "Amy Hit the Atmosphere" on an acoustic guitar.  It's originally a piano waltz so it's a little strange.  Does that count?  I could ALWAYS be doing better in this category but it's hard to find a time when I'm motivated and when I won't get in trouble for making a lot of noise.  Excuses, excuses.  At least I'm trying! 

5. Be more adventurous. (I'm going to NYC this September. With or without company.) 

Obviously I never went to NYC in September.   This makes me sad, but I think it was for the best this year with my lack of extra cash and whatnot.  Maybe next year.  As far as general adventurousness goes...hmmm.  Nope, not even a little bit.  I mostly hide in my apartment every day.  If I'm not working odds are AMAZINGLY good that I am here in my little box in the sky.  Perhaps I should do more about this.  Sigh.

Sadly there's not much else to report for summer of 2011.  It seems like it swirled by in a vortex of video games and train driving for the most part.  I blinked and missed most of it.  Well, now we're on to fall, my favourite and moodiest time of year.  Just in the last week I've thought that everything in life was perfect at least a half dozen times and I've also felt like I'd be better off dead at least half a dozen times.  Like I said, moody!  I love the melodrama of the Autumn months....

Oh and seeing as it seems like tradition now, I have included a girl both pretty and famous at the top of this post!  Enjoy!  Next stop, 2012!!!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Ideology?


I feel as though I am in an unfortunate position in life in that I am smart enough to see that the way that we live as a species from day to day and conduct our affairs, the way that we treat each other and ourselves is foolish and wrong.  However, I'm not smart or powerful enough to change or even make a large number of people aware of this condition.  Not that I suspect that awareness is a major concern.  I think that each of us who have well-meaning souls and hearts that care also have eyes to see and know deep down that much of what we do and believe is wrong.  However, most of us on this planet have been living with this feeling of wrongness for our whole lives.  We are unable to envision a different way of life or incapable of enacting an alternative even if we are clever or lucky enough to imagine a viable one.  As the noose of our increasingly global culture of consumerism and tech-worship grows ever tighter, we are losing some essential element of humanity.  A sense of wonder or connection to divinity or sense of...I don't know what.  Just that something is missing from nearly everyone's life, most people are well aware of it but no-one wants to discuss it or even acknowledge it and that no-one really knows what to do about it. 

We need a new hero, someone much smarter than I, to show us how to take another step in the right direction towards balance and enlightenment.  Or we need thousands, even millions of people just like me who are willing to all acknowledge the problem and work together to break the old, tired ways and find the next step together.  At some point in my life, years ago, I stopped believing in the future.  I stopped really believing that the future existed or that it was a place I would want to see.  I gave up on the future and lost all hope for humanity.  I lost that hope and I think that in many ways my life has suffered for it.  Now I'm hoping to hope again.  This age of humanity is all but over.  I want to hope for the new age!  Break down walls and obliterate ancient and cruel beliefs.  Have new ideas.  Find and embrace new truths.  Start trying to evolve into what's to come!  We must do this or die.  It is our choice.  Our hope.  Our lives and our world to save if we can!  The future begins now if we want it, and really, what have we got to lose?

Friday, 23 September 2011

Welcome to the Post-Intimate World


A few days ago I was (well, let's be honest), whining to a friend of mine about the lack of intimacy in my life and how lately I am starting to miss it.  I'm not talking about sex here (although yes, also lacking and also missed, thank-you-very-much) but more about that state you get into in a relationship where you can pretty much do or say any stupid, inconsequential thing that passes through your brain without worrying about it and you hear every little thought your significant other has in her (or his) head.  It's the time in a relationship, usually after you've been dating and living with each other for a while, where you can basically do anything you would do alone, but there's another person there too.  As much as I've been happy alone I'm starting to miss that level of intimacy with another human being.

To me, this level of intimacy is really the ideal state of being, but also one which is so rare and impossible that I wonder if most people EVER experience it for real.  I'm talking that John & Yoko level of inseparability in a relationship, where your names just seem to go together naturally.  When people see one of you they automatically look for the other and are confused if you both aren't present. 

Thinking about it, I'm not really sure if I've ever really experienced what I am describing here.  I've certainly come very close at least once.  I've also failed miserably at it on a few occasions, despite the forced closeness of shared living arrangements and whatnot.  It makes me wonder if the sort of relationship I want even truly exists in real life, or if it's just a myth perpetuated by media and popular culture.  Perhaps I've had to sit through too many rom-coms in my day and I'm just buying into crap.  I guess in my experience all I can say for sure is that the level of intimacy I want in my life can possibly exist, but is unsustainable over long periods of time.  Of course, this means that it isn't truly that level at all, so perhaps it doesn't actually exist.

Anyway, I've been very happy being single and solitary and haven't made a single serious attempt to change that situation in well over a year now.  I also have no plans to change that behaviour in the near future.  I AM, however,  starting to be concerned that I've lost faith in the possibility of EVER changing this situation.  I don't even know if that's a bad thing, but it does feel a little like another step down cynical lane.  One more brick in the metaphorical wall.  I honestly don't care too much about that, either, but since I've been trying so hard to be more self-analytical and aware of my own feelings on a larger scale, I thought I better address it.  So what have I decided?

At the end of the day I have stopped believing in the idea that I will ever be able to sustain a relationship with the level of intimacy that I desire and I am also unwilling to settle for anything less. A while back I got indignant when a friend implied that I'd still be single a year from now.  However thinking about it now, he was probably right.  Well, I'm okay with that.  I've come close to what I want once or twice and that's more chances than most people get.  I have to assume that the fault lies with me.  I am likely too strange and intolerable for any sort of sustainable relationship of ANY quality.  Although I guess I hope I am wrong.  Maybe I've just yet to meet the right girl.  All I can say is, if that IS the case than she better hurry up.  No one's getting any younger 'round here.



Friday, 16 September 2011

Now in HD! Tell your friends and neighbours...


Well it's been kind of a nothing week and this'll be kind of a nothing post.  The week seemed to pretty much just fly by, with me getting used to my schedule and trying desperately not to think too hard about smoking.  I've gone 11 days so far!  Nowadays I don't have the constant desire to smoke but when I DO get a craving, it's much stronger.  Fortunately such moments pass quickly.

Oh in case you haven't seen it yet, check out my thoughts about epic Kevin Smith film RED STATE over at Fruitless Pursuits.  I almost posted the review here since it's more serious than what I'd usually post on that web site but I figured I'd split the difference.  It's more topical for over there but has those religious and psychological implications I'd prefer to discuss here.  I guess I could have double posted but whatever.

In other news, I went ahead and bought that Blu-Ray player I was talking about.  I got the Counting Crows disc as well, although I had to wait a few days to find it.  Great disc.  I've watched the concert twice now, and the sound and video quality are superb.  Next best thing to being there!  If you're a fan, I definitely recommend it.

I also purchased the following Blu-Ray's as there was a big sale on when I went to get my player.  What do you suppose these titles say about me?

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
Serenity
Memento
The Big Lebowski
Shaun of the Dead
Across the Universe

Three of these movies I previously owned on DVD and still couldn't refuse!  Oh and be careful watching the Big Lebowski.  It may inspire you to drink White Russians, which although tasty contain a LOT of booze and may leave you very unexpectedly hungover the next day.  I'm just sayin'.

Oh and of course, today is the day that Star Wars - The Complete Saga is released!  You may wonder why I am still sitting here typing this blog when I could be on my way to the store?  That is an excelllent point.  See you next week!



Friday, 9 September 2011

Smoking Cessation - Day 3.


Thurs 9:40 am.  Welcome to day 3 of quitting smoking!  The last day I'm going to blog about, thank goodness!  So far, I've successfully managed 2 days without a cigarette and am fully intent on continuing this trend.  Things are all right.  I slept okay last night and woke up in a decent mood this morning.  I am not absolutely dying to smoke, although I do have a tension headache all ready.  Still, I suspect that today will be better than yesterday, as yesterday was better than the day before.  Today I have actual stuff to do as well, so perhaps it will help to have something else to focus on.  I`m off to the chiropractor and then the comic books store!

Thurs 10:31 am.  OK so I haven`t left for the chiro yet or anything.  My appointment isn`t until 11:30.  I just had a shower and stuff and it took FORevER.  I am still feeling slow and slightly incompetent today.  Again, MUCH better than yesterday though.  I was mad too cause I weighed myself and I`ve gained like, 7 pounds over the last few days.  Blech.  Oh well it`ll go away when I`m back on a routine next week.  However in honour of feeling fat now, I will walk to the chiro and then comic book store instead of driving like a sucker!  Take that!

Thurs 1:55 pm.  Ok well that was a long walk!  Three and a half hours later I`m back from the chiro and comic book store, very successfully I may add.  Picked up Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" as well as a few of the new DC relaunch titles, which I doubt will be as good as Miller's work.  Haven't been dying for a smoke the whole time, unlike yesterday....I have cravings about once every 10 or 15 minutes that just cross my mind and then wander out again.  Not nearly as hard to focus on other things today. Hey, I'm actually motivated to do stuff!  So that's good.  This whole quitting thing isn't so impossible after all.  At least so far....

Thurs 4:34 pm.  Just won game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  Leafs vs Flames.  Still playing NHL 10.  Think I'll switch to Lego Batman next.  Who needs cigarettes when Xbox exists?

Fri 12:16 am.  I see I have forgotten all about this blog.  Oh well I'll post now.  Didn't smoke yet!  Have a good night...

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Smoking Cessation - Day 2


Wed - 9:52 am.  Good day and welcome to day 2 of quitting smoking.  Day one, of course, can be found here.  So far day two is going rather well.  I've been up for about an hour.  I slept in a LOT cause why not.  At this stage, ever hour counts.  I'm still jonesing for a cigarette pretty badly but don't feel like utter crap or anything.  More than anything I'm just a little dizzy and easily distracted.  Also feel short of breath all the time.  Odd, as you'd think it would be the opposite and that not inhaling smoke would help me breath more easily.  Anyhow, we'll see how it goes throughout the day.

Wed - 11:55 am.  Well in about 5 minutes I'll be half-way through my 3 days.  3 days is important to quitting smoking because that is how long it takes for the actual physical withdrawal symptoms to run their course (on average of course).  Psychological addiction  may NEVER fully abate, but does tone down.  However the actual physical symptoms are what make the initial 3 days something of a living hell.  Although right at the moment I can't complain too much.  I may be suffering somewhat, but no one's came over to put a hot red poker in my eye or anything.  I think I'll live, is what I'm getting at.  My main problem right at the moment is severe lack of focus.  Laundry has become a massive chore as I just stare at things willing my brain to remember what I was supposed to be doing with them.  (You know, detergent, laundry room key.  Not rocket science!)  Ah well, half-way is here.  I am fairly confident now that I'll make it straight through. 

Wed - 12:55 pm.  Laundry is taking forever and I just had to re-write two reviews for Fruitless Pursuits that were randomly deleted the first time.  Stupid Yahoo.  Actually it's my own fault since I've left the window open all morning and kept coming back to it time and again instead of just sitting and doing it all at once like a normal person.  Lack of nicotine = lack of focus!!!  Maybe I need some Ritalin to see me through!

Wed 4:13 pm.  Still so far so good.  Lazy and uninspired day but at least I'm not smoking.  Not suffering too much either although I feel like I could manage my time a little better.  Got some serious couch-lock going on.  Oh well what can ya do.

Wed 6:17 pm.  Well once again I've come to the end of another day without smoking.  I don't know how much more there is to say about it than I already have.  Hopefully tomorrow will be nicer.  Today felt like a big unmotivated waste.  I guess long-term it's worthwhile.  Gotta keep the big picture in view.  See you tomorrow!



Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Smoking Cessation - Day 1.


Tues - 11:26 am.  So far it's been about 12 hours since I last had a cigarette.  I figure I'll blog the first 3 days since they're the hardest.  I'll just keep quick notes such as this throughout the day and then post it in the evening sometime or tomorrow morning at latest.  So far, so good.  Went through my morning and to the grocery store without losing my mind or harming any innocent pedestrians.  I consider this a success.  Now to distract myself for the remainder of the day...

Tues - 12:58 pm.  Geesh it sucks not smoking after lunch.  You get this hollow feeling in the middle of your brain and a pain right between the shoulder blades.  Also a stiff neck.  Oh well, it passes after a bit if you ignore it long enough.  Scott Pilgrim on Blu-Ray with pop-up video-like feature turned on is my major distraction so far. 

Tues - 2:52 pm.  I am suddenly very aware of my teeth, as if I have too many for the inside of my mouth.  I realize that I've been clenching them for several hours now.  Oops!  Otherwise not too bad.

Tues -  4:32 pm.  Right after I posted the above I got an e-mail from Brain telling me that the HMV downtown has the Counting Crows Blu-ray that I am looking for in stock.  Naturally I went down to pick it up.  It was a great distraction but now that I'm home I want to smoke more than ever.  All that doing stuff had about a million "good time to smoke now" cues.  Luckily I've managed to resist although it feels like someone's hand is inside my skull crushing my brains like so much used up play-doh.

Tues - 6:36 pm.  Still hanging in there.  Watching Counting Crows.  Ate dinner, which may have been a mistake since now I want to smoke more than ever.  However I know it will pass.  In any case I'm tired of updating this for the day so we'll see if I held out all night tomorrow!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

August and Everything After...


Hey September 1st!  Happy Birthday to my buddy Brian, pictured here with an Artoo unit, who's making me feel less old by joining me in being 34 today!

34.  It seems sort of officially adult doesn't it?  Well, it's been a good year for me.  One of self-examination and, I feel, enlightenment.  Some may say self-absorption.  It's all good.  

So this is the first blog I've done in a while with absolutely NO game plan. I thought I'd do an old-style stream of consciousness blog for once, instead of a more thought-out essay as has been my style of late.  Hey, why not, right?

So today marks my last week of work before another week's vacation.  Kind of bummed that I have nothing to do over Labour day...the traditional "go up north or go down south" plans have all fallen through.  I was of course initially planning on visiting NYC for the first time but instead I gave all my money to pay more of my debts off.  I feel like I spent too much money all ready this year and I should do something more responsible than fun.

Which isn't to say that it's all boring.  I am super excited because I found out that my favourite band, Counting Crows, released a blu-ray concert of them performing their entire first album, "August and Everything After".  Appropriately released in the last week of August!  So next week I plan to buy both a blu-ray player and this coveted disc.  Counting Crows became my favourite band on the strength of their awesome live recordings rather than their studio albums, and this seems like the live recording to end all live recordings.  I don't know what else I need on blu-ray but I am somewhat addicted to HD format since buying my new TV back in May and this release finally gives me a chance for my final upgrade.  You know, at least till I decide 5.1 sound isn't enough and go for 6.1....

Oh the above pic is from this year`s Fan Expo, which we attended last weekend!  It was fun.  I posted pics and thoughts over at Fruitless Pursuits so check them out here if you haven`t yet!  I suspect that next week I'll also have a review of the aforementioned blu-ray disc to post as well.

So I am re-reading the novel "Microserfs" by Douglas Coupland.  I didn't buy enough books last time I was at the book store so I'm stuck on re-runs.  This one is very entertaining though.  It's interesting reading a book with so much tech/computer content that was published in 1995.  Nostalgia!  I should have taken the book's advice and bought Apple stocks back then, but oh yeah...I had no money.  Oh well.  Anyway here's an interesting quote relating to a theme I've had on my mind this whole year.  Guess it's been in my subconscious for 15 years or more...

"I realized that I envied Karla's way of just talking about whatever was on her mind.  She's fearless, exploring her theories and neuroses with the conviction that self-knowledge will bring the solutions.  The more I notice this, the more I admire this."

HEY!  That's just what I'm trying to do here!  Sweet.

Actually "Microserfs" has several quote-worthy passages and hidden gems of wisdom that must have stuck with me over the years.  It's a great book.  If you haven't read it give it a shot...one of the main reasons that Coupland's been about my favourite author ever since I first picked up "Generation X" all those years ago.   

Well for a post about nothing this one is getting long.  Any other must have blu-ray's people can recommend then let me know!  Happy September everybody!  One more weekend and it's the unofficial start of my favourite time of year!  Autumn, how I've missed you

Oh P.S. I've been cutting down on my smoking for the last month.  Next Tuesday is my quit day.  So for the next 2 or 3 weeks, if I come across as a complete and total jackass, please forgive me.  It'll be the lack of nicotine talking.  Assuming I succeed for long.  I'll keep you updated.  If cold turkey won't work next week, then it's off to the doctor for all the help modern medicine can provide.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

John Irving & the Worst-Case Scenario


John Irving has, over the last couple of years, worked his way up the heap to become one of my all-time favourite authors.  What started with a casual interest in reading "Cider House Rules" after seeing the movie has bloomed into a quest to read all of Irving's novels.  I want to devour every last word the man has written.

However, one has to be careful about over-exposure when perusing the works of Mr. Irving.  Although brilliant, he tends to write some very bleak, heart-rending literature.  Don't get me wrong, he's wickedly funny at times, but what sticks with me the longest after reading one of his novels is the overwhelming tragedy that stalks his characters throughout.   For that reason, I only tend to choose John Irving for every fourth or fifth book that I read.    If I read too much all at once I get, shall we say, moody....

I recently finished Irving's latest novel, "Last Night in Twisted River".  (Incidentally, you can peruse a micro-review along with reviews of some other novels at Fruitless Pursuits, HERE).  At the end of this novel, both within the plot and through an afterword, Mr. Irving reveals some of his writing process.  Two things really captured my imagination.  First, Irving writes his novels backwards!  He writes the last sentence first and works his way backwards to the first sentence. This fascinated me as it would never occur to me to write this way.  Now that it's been suggested though, I kind of want to try it.  Maybe one day...

Secondly, and more importantly for our purposes, Irving thinks about his characters' situations and comes up with the worst-case scenario for those characters that still allows them to fulfill their role in the plot.  Since he's writing backwards, he already knows the final destinies of his characters and what they need to accomplish.  All he needs to do now is make them suffer for it.

Well, this interests me because I relate to it.  Both in my writing and in my actual life.  I frequently picture the worst-case scenario for any situation.  That's not to say that these scenarios come to pass or that I pessimistically expect them to.  Quite the contrary, I've been described in my life as "stupidly optimistic," believing things will work out even when confronted with a real life worst-case scenario.  I generally imagine what horrible things could happen, or even are likely to happen, but then do whatever it is I have planned anyway, regardless of any potential consequences.   

So why do I bother even imagining the worst-case scenario if it isn't going to alter my behaviour?  John Irving says that he does it to sort of ward off these terrible things in real life.  Here's a brief quote from the novel's afterword:

"What I did not give Danny was my life, which has been largely happy and very lucky.  I gave Daniel Baciagalupo the unluckiest life I could imagine.  I gave Danny the life I am afraid of having - the life I hope I never have.  Maybe that's autobiographical, too - in a deeper, more meaningful, certainly more psychological way.  (When you write about what you fear, about what you hope never happens to you - or to anyone you love - surely that's a little autobiographical.)"

I don't know if I imagine my own worst-case scenarios for the same reasons, although his reasons certainly strike a chord with me.  In the end, I guess I think of these things for the same reason I write in the first place -  because I can't help myself.  My mind, when left idle, just starts pumping out a lot of potential "what-ifs."  A lot of them are incredibly dark.  Why?  I do not know.  I guess it's just the way I am.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Freedom?

There are too many people in this world who will tell you what you should or should not be.  Don't be this, don't do that, don't say those things or use that language.  You must act a certain way...behave yourself!  Why can't you be more like __________?!?

Parents, family, schools, churches, workplaces, spouses, government, even complete strangers off the street all have an opinion on who you should be and how you should act...even thinking they should have a say in how you choose to think.  Everyone wants to control you.
I call bullshit.

As I've gotten older and gained a little more experience with life, I've seen the toll that it takes on a person's soul to act in a way that attempts to please others at the cost of oneself.  No true happiness or understanding can occur when you relinquish your thoughts, feelings or ideas for the sake of another, be they person, organization or whatever.

If I could go back and teach myself one lesson in life it would be this:  Just be who you are and give no thought to what anyone else thinks about it.

Only now in my thirties have I finally begun to truly manage this task.  We as humans are so conditioned to behave a certain way, from such a young age,  that even now so many of us are scared to be ourselves.  Intimidated to speak our own minds.  Frightened to show our true feelings or passions, in case we may be embarrassed or rejected. 

This is pointless and ridiculous.  Of course, we all have to play the game sometimes...I get up in the morning, don my uniform and become Mr. Train Driver...it's not who I really am.  We all have to follow society's rules to some extent or be threatened with joblessness, homelessness, even the fires of Hell!  We humans love our foolish games...

Sadly, this means that none of us are truly free, excepting perhaps the very rich and the very poor.  It's a shame and I believe an obstacle to human evolution as a civilization.  However, we can at least claim a sort of part-time freedom.  When we don't absolutely have to conform, why should we?  As long as we live up to our responsibilities and refrain from hurting each other, why not be ourselves?  unashamed, uncowed and unapologetic!  You are the author of your own being.  Let none take that away.  Be exactly who you want to be whenever possible.  I assure you, although you may initially alienate certain people, you will eventually find like-minded company.  None of us are as alone as we sometimes feel.  Just figure out who you are, be that person, and be free.  At least during evenings and weekends...

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Fruitless Pursuits (is there any other kind??)

 
If you're anything like me, you're well aware that there's an infinity of content on the Internet to peruse at your leisure.  You probably also tend to visit the same 4 or 5 websites daily, even hourly, despite this fact.  It's the curse and the comfort of routine.  Good news everyone!!  Today I've found another site to add to this daily routine!

There's a new mega-geek pop culture website in town.  If you have any interest in ANYthing made of plastic or ever put on film or in writing, visit Fruitless Pursuits.  Chock full o' witty, knowledgeable, creative people who also happen to be total geeks.  They asked me to contribute.  How could I say no?  If the mothership calls you home, you can't ask them to come back next week!

Not to worry, I'll still be posting here as well....I'm just going to have to come up with 2 things (or more) a week to discuss!  Time to get my geek on!




Wednesday, 10 August 2011

And Speaking of Transformers...

At TFCon last week the Hasbro rep mentioned a new line they are releasing of Transformer-themed, Lego-like building blocks called Kre-o.  When I saw some at Toys R Us the other day I figured I'd give them a shot, so I picked up Starscream.  

Tremble before the might of STARSCREAM!!!!
The blocks themselves are nearly indistinguishable from standard Lego blocks and obviously would work well with them.  They aren't doing anything too fancy.  Of course, robot hands and heads are not too standard, but otherwise there are no big surprises here.

Actually, there was ONE big surprise.  I had assumed that once I built  Starscream he would be transformable from jet to robot.  This was not the case.  As a matter of fact, you have to COMPLETELY disassemble one mode to build the other, and both modes leave left-over pieces.  A little disappointing, however I can understand that the two modes are actually better this way, since they don't have to incorporate a transformation. 

Jet mode with the left-over pieces
So Starscream's jet mode is actually pretty cool.  He looks fairly F-15 like, I suppose.  I'm not a jet enthusiast but he looks "Starscreamy" enough for me.  Best part of the jet mode is that the landing gear folds up into the jet in a clever way that pleases me.  Worst part is trying not to lose the nosecone piece, which only barely stays attached.
More jet mode pics


Starscream rides himself!  Sounds dangerous...
Robot mode Starscream....hmmmm.  Well, he was a lot of fun to build but the final product is sadly lacking.  The arms barely make sense and the torso suffers from not tapering to a natural waist.  I tried to reinvent both arms and torso using the leftover pieces since robot mode leaves a lot of pieces behind, however, I couldn't satisfactorily make much with the blocks at my disposal.  Perhaps someone with a bigger Lego collection could.  On the plus side he has ball-joint articulation for his head, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees and ankles and he has wrist swivels and posable wings and engine block, so there's lots to do with him.
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He's definitely BIG

Fist Bump!
Die, Autobot!!!!
All the pieces you need for the jet but not the robot...
The best thing about this set is that it includes two minifigs, what Hasbro are calling "Kreons".  The pilot figure is not much to look at, but the included Starscream "Kreon" is adorable.  Mine came with a little paint scratch on his chest but I still think he's awesome.
Someday I, Starscream, will be the adorable leader of the Decepticons!!!

Overall, I don't expect I'll buy more of these.  The toy was MUCH cheaper than Lego but at the end of the day the only thing I see myself keeping around is the Kreon Starscream.  If Hasbro decides to release just these tiny figures, maybe in blind packaging, I'll be hooked.  I'd also be interested in base (Ark Playset, maybe?) or vehicle playsets for the little guys.  Or forget Transformers and start making G.I. Joe Kre-o.  Vehicle with a little dude.  I'd be much more interested in something like that.  Still, it was a fun afternoon of building for a fairly reasonable price, so I can't complain.  Too much.  I mildly recommend these to Transformers fans, unless you're a Lego junkie as well and then I'll just flat-out recommend them.  Have fun!