Thursday, 27 December 2012

2012 Year-End Round-Up!!


Well, the Mayans didn't get us and neither did Santa...here we are, still kicking just a few days away from the end of another year!  Who woulda thunk?!?

Next week we'll try and figure out a new agenda for 2013, but for now, let's just see how I measured up as 2012 winds down....now...what were my goals again? 

1. My number one priority this year - be OUT OF DEBT before 2013!

Done!  My last debt payment was paid off in November!!  I was both shocked an pleased! 

2. Maintain my weight in the 135-155 range, while actually building a little muscle and tone.

I kept my weight within 2 pounds of 150 all year long...right up until this week, when Christmas struck!!  Regardless, this morning I was 154.6...still (barely) in my desired weight range!  I'll likely be back down to 150 in the next week or two when all of the turkey and cookies and pie and stuffing and cake and you know...FOOD...is finally finished off!  IN the meantime, both fridge and belly are full of LEFTOVERS...

Much more important than just being skinny is Exercise.  I'm currently very committed to a standard 45 minute work-out, 4 days a week, and I'm definitely the strongest I've been in years!  Not only that, but I feel MUCH much better on a day-to-day basis.  Less joint pain, more energy, and a better and happier attitude overall!  Exercise!  It's not just a pain in the ass....it's a pain in the ass that, turns out, is WORTH IT!  Who knew? 

3. Memorize one song a month, chords and lyrics, throughout 2012. 

FAIL!  I managed two or three songs for a little while at least, but right this minute I can only think of ONE song that I can play now from memory that I couldn't back in December, 2011.  That song?  The Superman Song by Crash Test Dummies.  Not too shocking, I suppose.

Oh well, at least it got me practising more.  Can't win 'em all... 

4. Write lots!

Well, I've certainly once again managed my at-least-once-a-week postings both here and over at Fruitless Pursuits.  I've also managed a lot of personal writing and some world and character building for a few different stories that I'd like to tell.  So yes, I have been writing a lot.  However, I feel a little like I'm spinning my wheels writing lots of little things when maybe I ought to concentrate on one larger effort.  Hmmmm.  More on that in 2013... 

5. Schedule one half day a month to really clean my apartment and keep it looking nice.

I picked back up on the cleaning in the last few months of the year, IF you don't look too closely at the bedroom.  Somehow a large pile of random junk has accumulated in the corner of that room with no rhyme or reason.

Actually, I was supposed to be cleaning my stupid room right now!  I'm gonna start dealing with it this afternoon, probably.  I have the next few days off work and I'd like to make it nice again.  In any case, overall I think the place has been cleaner and nicer all year than it ever was in the past.  There's always more I could do, but at least it smells and looks nice, more often than not...

So that was it for my year-long goals.  I think I did well!  I've had a good year...of course there's been ups and downs...life is still life...but overall I've been pretty happy, healthy and successful!  I really can't complain about anything!  I've had some great moments this year too...the aforementioned vanquished debt, a reinvigorated interest in going up North over the summer and fall, Counting Crows and Leonard Cohen (amongst others) in concert...the list goes on and on!  Thanks, 2012!  You've been pretty kind to me...here's to keeping it up through 2013!  Momentum, baby!

Remember...a goal without a plan is just a wish!  Next week we'll start planning for...the FUTURE!!!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

You Vitriolic, Patriotic, Slam, Fight, Bright Light...


...Feeling Pretty Psyched!

So tomorrow's the End of the World as We Know It, according to some Mayans who carved it in stone a long long time ago.

Yeah, right...

Why is it that we all pay attention to doomsday prophecies?  I don't think anyone REALLY expects the world to end, right?  I DO think that everyone wants some significant CHANGE though...isn't looking forward to the end of the world really just admitting that we're all sick of the status quo?  That this civilization that we live in now is broken and we're ready for something new?

Well, good news...that's what the Mayans were predicting...not the end of the world but the end of an age (presumably to be followed by a NEW age!)  That still doesn't mean that they are right...although if we WANT them to be, we could make it so...

Changing the world is as easy as everyone just changing their attitudes...even just a fraction.

Imagine, for a moment, if starting tomorrow we as a species all decided that we would actually obey the universally accepted law, "enforced" by pretty much every religion and government on the planet, and STOP KILLING OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.  For ANY reason.  I'll do my part...never killed anyone and I'm not gonna start!  Who's with me?

That would be the end of the world we know.  Wouldn't it be great?  

Peace and Love to everyone, everywhere, unconditionally!  Merry Christmas and a Happy End of the World!  Catch you on the other side...

Saturday, 15 December 2012

'Tis the Season...

 
...to be BUSY, Fa lala lalaaaa la laaa laaa laaaaa...

Which I don't actually mind

Because when you're a single guy without kids in your mid thirties, you really don't WANT too much time to stop and think around the holidays.  There's a lot of mixed emotions that come to the surface at this time of year, and I think even the most content single guy ever (and while I am having a good time, I can't go quite THAT far) must have to consider the alternatives, however briefly.

Well, there's still time...the future is unwritten and the wheel's always turning...

Anyway, after devoting several hours over the last 2 days to the task, I managed to pull together a little bit of Christmas!  Tree - Check!  Presents - Check!  Chocolate - Check!  Good enough for me!  Still got 11 days left too, so I can recall whatever it is that I'm sure I forgot.

Let the countdown commence!

Friday, 7 December 2012

"Living Legend"


 While watching the season finale of "Comic Book Men" the other day I heard Kevin Smith (who is not without some notoriety of his own) refer to Stan "The Man" Lee as a "Living Legend".  He's not wrong...Stan Lee is the guy who's created almost every viable property in the Marvel Universe and who creations have netted untold (well,un-looked-up) riches, from their humble beginnings as comics in the early days to the Avengers movie raking in billions all on it's lonesome!

Anyway, it made me consider the concept of "Living Legend" and who might fall into that category these days.  One person, whom I at least am willing to place there, I got to see live for the first time on Wednesday night!  Living (at least Canadian) Legend, Leonard Cohen!

Seventy-Eight years old and this guy had the A.C.C. riveted for hours...I laughed, I cried, I repeated the word "brilliant" far too often...this guy is incredible!  I've seen a lot of concerts in my time, some good, some bad, some notable giant venues with world famous musicians, and some dingy little stages with musicians who'll drink with you afterwards, and I've seen all levels of "musical charisma" but Leonard Cohen takes it to the next level...I couldn't help but be riveted...this guy's got too much charm for one human being.  I even wept unashamedly as he recited "A Thousand Kisses Deep".

Plus look at the man get down on his knees!  Geesh, at 35 I'm lucky if both of my knees will bend on command at all...how does he do it?

Anyway, it was well worth going to see the show...If you ever get a chance, go see Leonard Cohen!  There aren't too many people left in the world who might be considered living legends...the aforementioned Stan Lee....maybe Bob Dylan...Paul McCartney...Wayne Gretzky...a handful of folks...but Leonard Cohen's one of a kind.  Thanks for coming back to Toronto, Mr. Cohen!!  Great show!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Samaritan Apology


On Tuesday afternoon I stopped at the grocery store on my way home for lunch.  As I pulled into a parking spot a man walked up to my car window.  He was pretty scruffy looking, dirty clothes, bad teeth, and I thought "Oh boy here we go."  I was in my work uniform though, so I have to be as polite as possible to everyone, cause no one needs to be featured on the front page of the Toronto Sun...

Anyway, this guy walks right up to my car door to talk at me through the window...right away I'm annoyed!  I'm in the weaker position, trapped in my car and only able to look up at this person...it's an annoying intimidation tactic and I don't like it.  I already know this guy wants something from me, and I'm just hoping it's only directions and not money and that he's polite.  It turns out it WAS just directions...at least initially...

"Hey bud, do you know of any gas station around here?"  The man asks me.  A simple request!  I breathe a sigh of relief.
"Yeah...just West of here right down there...a PetroCan"

"Oh yeah I tried that one...they don't have any portable containers."  Oh!  There's requirements...great.

"Oh. Well there's an Esso station at Victoria Park that might work.  They're just that way about a ten minute walk," I say.

"I've been there, too.  They couldn't help me."  At this point I've run out of gas stations in my immediate vicinity. 

"See, I'm from Sudbury," he says, "and I don't really know anything about the area around here.  There's nowhere else I could check?"  I'm starting to realize that what this guy's actual problem is is that he's run out of gas and he's stalled out his car somewhere.  I wonder why he didn't lead with this?  Suddenly I become very aware that I have a 5L portable container of gas in my trunk.  I rather selfishly don't want to give it to him though.  I have an alternate suggestion.  While I'm thinking about this the man has walked a bit away from my car, so I can finally get out.  I do this and then walk over to where he is standing.

"Hey there's a Canadian Tire right over there behind those apartment buildings," I say.  "If the gas stations don't have any containers for sale, they definitely will!"  I feel like I've just solved all of this guys problems, while not having to actually DO anything!!  Triumph!

"Oh, well I don't really want to BUY a container," he tells me, "I was hoping to just borrow one from somewhere."

Aw Crap.  This guy really IS from Sudbury if he thinks someone in Toronto is just going to let him borrow something.  He is not helping me solve this at ALL. 

So there I was, out of my car and wanting to go get my groceries and go home and have my lunch and carry on with my day.  However, I have this opportunity to help this guy from Sudbury.  As I mentioned, I have some gas in my trunk.  I could solve this guy's problem!  Walk with him to his car and give him enough gas to get to the nearest station at least.  For that matter, I could just give him the whole container and tell him to keep it!  Container and gas together are only worth 15-20 bucks, and I could just carry on with my day.

I don't take either of those options, though.  I just tell him, "Well, good luck.  Sorry, man," and walk into the grocery store. 

Why didn't I give this guy a hand? 

I know I resented the way he came up to me while I was still in my car originally and the way he put me on the spot.  I don't like being approached by strangers in the streets, especially in uniform when I know from both experience and anecdote that I have a target painted on my chest.  I also don't like to give hand-outs, in that if I tear down that wall for one person, well...it's a slippery slope.  Still, I wish I'd helped this guy out.  He's from out of town, he's got someone with him I think (he referred to himself as "we" a couple of times) and it really would have cost me little.  I could have made his day better and I didn't. 

I'm ashamed of that.  I wish I had done better.  Sorry parking lot guy.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

"Wait and See"


 So my friend says to me, after yet another failed relationship, that she's worried she may never find "the one".

The One.

"The One"

ugh.


That same concern has been on my mind lately too.  Particularly with last weeks paradigm shifting realization that I'm debt free coupled with my subconscious brain clearly screaming at me that I ought to have kids before I'm too old.  OR at least A kid.  Maybe...

I don't really know.

And I don't really know if I believe in "The One" either...seems mostly like the one that this statement refers to is simply the first one that you knock up (or I guess who knocks you up, if you're a girl).

Not always, I guess!  I know 2, maybe 3 couples that really do seem like they were meant to be together.  You can look at them and just TELL that they belong together, even after they've been dating for years.  In a way, I think this is unfair to the rest of us, as I'm sure that not even close to half of everybody really ever finds that.  So the big question is, do you wait?  Or do you grab the next best thing?  If I can't be with the one I love, should I love the one that I'm with? 

I realized something a little while ago from watching yet another friend of mine who's in a relationship currently.  I learned that I expect too much from my girlfriends.  I want a girl to sort of be all things to me...friend, lover, drinking buddy and psychiatrist all rolled together (just to name a FEW requirements).  It's unreasonable and unfair to some poor girl who involves herself with me...I gotta watch out for that...

Anyway I'm just rambling at this point, waiting for the laundry to be done!  I guess all you really can take from this post is that, having crossed the biggest "to do" off my life list last week, I'm examining the next largest deficiency in my life and looking at options.  I want to sound cynical but at the same time I want to be an idealist.  I guess the answer is the same in real life as it is in a John Irving novel..."wait and see."

Everything happens...all we need is just a little patience...

Oh Axl...

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Best Things in Life Are Free?


 I've never been great at math...I mean, I'm not terrible but sometimes I make mistakes.  I'm not super confident in my answers and always have to double check.

Having said that, I made an addition error this year while I was trying to calculate how much to pay each month against the debt that I owe!  Long-time readers will know that I've been struggling all year (and for YEARS before that!) to pay off my debt by December 15th, 2012.

Well, I failed at that.  Due to my erroneous math, I actually JUST PAID OFF MY DEBT A MONTH EARLY!!!!

Wha?!?!  

Yeah, that's right...math error IN MY FAVOUR!!!  

I'm debt free!!!

I can't actually believe that.

I got my first credit card in 1996.  I was 19 years old, and it was a Zellers Club "Z" CIBC card.

By 1997 I owed more money than I had.

15 long years.

I've got this spot in between my shoulder blades, around where my neck starts, that's constantly in pain.  It's like there's always a large, blunt object trying to dig into the bone there.  A railroad spike, perhaps.

Then I found out about this today!  I have to say...spot hurts a little less!

15 years...seriously.  Today I finished paying for pizza and beer from 2002.  I finished paying for that Playstation game I bought in 2004.  The transmission I rebuilt in the car I sold a year later in 1999.  Countless gifts for girls I haven't even spoken to in years.

15 long years I've been paying for the decisions...the mistakes...I made in my early 20's.  

Now I'm done!  It's over!

This is going to take a while to sink in....


Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Doll House


I was lying on my back on the living room floor, exercising, when in-between sets I was suddenly...transported.  My mind's eye opened and the floor show began...as if my life were flashing before my eyes, but in the wrong direction...presenting me with the future instead of the past...

You were there in the future.  Platonic no more, our relationship had, surprisingly, moved to another level.  As a matter of fact, you were the future I saw...

I watched as we decided it would be nice to move in together.

I was the proverbial fly on the wall when you told me we were going to have a baby.

I saw us house-hunting, you showing a pronounced baby bump and looking  more beautiful than I'd ever seen you.

I finally saw our child...a daughter with strawberry-blond hair.  Yeah, I don't know where that colour came from, either. 

The last thing I saw was the three of us, in our now not-so-new place, just getting ready for dinner.  Just another little family.  Little girl seemed like a happy toddler.  You and I seemed happy, too.  It was nice.

When I came back to myself it took me a moment to remember where I was, what I was doing and why I was lying on my back on the living room floor.  After the cobwebs cleared and I realized what was what, I felt a little sad...I wrote you a note:

"I sometimes wonder if you're not secretly attracted to me but too chicken to actually do anything about it because right out of the gate it would be too large of a commitment.  It's just TOO much.  If that's true I wish you'd admit it so that we could just start already."

Re-reading what I wrote then, I wonder if it isn't more appropriately meant for me?  It certainly does apply...

So what does it mean?  Vision of the future?  Glimpse into an alternate reality?  Or just the product of an overactive imagination? 

I don't know, but I do know one thing.  It was a good dream.  I'd love to end up as happy as we appeared to be. 

And on the off chance that it was real?  I'll...uh...try to act surprised!

Friday, 2 November 2012

Assimilation...Complete?


 So today as an experiment I want to try and dictate Stryder's Dementia on my iPhone.  I find that if I do just a bit at a time and add the punctuation it's pretty easy.  I don't know if it will ever replace typing but it's kind of cool.

So I got this iPhone a couple weeks ago and I guess the novelty still hasn't really worn off.  It sort of shocks me how frequently I want to look at it, not even counting that it reminds me to check it several times a day.  I'm a little worried that I may be becoming a worse person because of it.  Some sort of strange human/technology hybrid, less aware of my surroundings and more focused on my private world.  Despite that, I like it!  Madness...

 Isn't it strange that communication technology we have also isolates us?  Irony.  I really wonder where the world will go in another 10 years with this sort of thing.  I guess only time will tell. 

While we're waiting for the societal implications, I have just GOT to go play more "The Simpsons Tapped Out." Uh...have a good week!

PS:  I'm not even joking about the addictive Simpsons game!  Add me!  I'm StryderWolfe, naturally.


Sent from my iPhone...edited on my computer.  I tried to publish everything from the phone, but Blogger didn't support the browser for adding a new post!  Guess I have need of my computer still...Maybe with an iPhone 5...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

In-Between...


"I belong in the service of the queen
I belong anywhere but in-between..."

In so many ways right now, I feel like I am waiting for something.  Waiting for the end of the year to finally be out of debt.  Waiting for the right mix of inspiration and motivation to take all of this writing to the next level.  Waiting for the next big thing to drop into my life and shake up the status quo...waiting....waiting for someone to peform with?

Hey.  Jude.  Stop waiting for someone to perform with....

I just feel like I'm ready to take another step.  I spent 2011 nursing the wounds of the previous decade and I spent 2012 trying to strengthen and improve myself...trying to learn who I am when I'm all alone and what I want to do with myself in absence of anyone or anything else defining me.  

In the face of near infinite choice, it's become ridiculously difficult to choose...

Of course, even squeaky voiced Canadian Geddy Lee knows "If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice!"

Hmmm

I'm rambling, I know...

I'm probably over-thinking things too frequently lately, as well.  Eventually thought must make way for action, or else what's the point of it all?  

Eventually!  

I'm missing some piece of the puzzle still.  It'll come.  For now, I'll have to wait just a little longer in-between....

Friday, 19 October 2012

Prioritizing Change.


 I often find it difficult to decide what I want to do with my day.  I have so little free time, I actually get anxious trying to prioritize what I need to do and what I want to do and trying to schedule it all in.  Then, since I am pretty anti-social (mainly due to my work schedule), I also want to make an effort to see a lot of people in the short time that I have off each week.  Some people I really like I just haven't seen in months, purely based on scheduling!  Just the other day, someone asked "When's a good time to call you?"  And I was like..."Geesh...never, really.  Text me and I'll call you back."  As I've been fond of saying lately, at least this year, it's like I've been living in another dimension

The dimension you are trying to travel to is currently unavailable.  Please try again, later....

Anyway, this is all well and good...first world problems, I suppose...the fact that I have so much interesting stuff to do and so many people who I want to see is NOT something I am complaining about!!!  No sir!  I just need to search my brain for the ability to schedule more efficiently.

I think I may also have to cut some of my little projects to make more time for what's REALLY important.  For example, I spend lots of time writing things like this very blog post, or my comic book article at Fruitless Pursuits.  I really enjoy both of these things, but it occurs to me that had I been working on writing something larger than a weekly article, I'd have a more serious work on my hands at this point. 

Similarly, while I was happy to finish the recent video game Fall of Cybertron (Fun but short!  Great if you're a Transformers fan!!)  I probably could have done something more constructive with that time.  

Not that I SHOULD be doing anything more constructive, necessarily.  I am just trying to figure out what the exact RIGHT amount of activities to have on my plate should be, and what activities I really WANT on said metaphorical plate.  Need to tweak some things.  Perhaps this is just a sneak peek at the beginnings of my new goals for 2013!  It's about that time to start thinking about them...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Fear vs. Will


"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."

-Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. (Frank Herbert, DUNE)

I had never really considered it before, but DC Comics has had it right all along...Fear IS the opposite of Willpower.  Nothing can shut down an idea so quickly and so fatally as fear.  I noticed it just the other day...as I was doing some exercises I suddenly felt a twinge in my back and got worried.  What if I had hurt myself?  What if I threw out my back or damaged something and screwed everything up?  Wouldn't it be better not to take the chance and go back to just sitting around eating chips instead of trying to stay in shape and maybe pushing too hard and hurting myself??

So dumb!!!  I've been doing the same exercises for over 8 months now!  Nothing bad has happened because of them...on the contrary, I'm much leaner, stronger and healthier than I've ever been!  Not only that, back spasms and sore muscles have been a reality of my existence on a nearly permanent basis since my car accident back in 2006!  Why I'd A: Be surprised about it or B: Start to worry that exercising caused it is beyond me.  

Nonetheless, that tiny twinge of Fear nearly broke months and months of Will.   Luckily, my willpower proved stronger than my fears...in that case!  However I have to wonder what times I might have lost...what other accomplishments, what opportunities, bigger or smaller, might have slipped through my fingers because I was too scared to reach out and take hold?  I know, as a human being, I really can accomplish almost anything based on hard work and, yes, WILLPOWER!  

Fear is stupid.  Don't let it stop you from doing anything that you want to do.

(PS:  My back is fine...I slipped a rib out of place..happens ALL THE TIME and the Chiro fixes it in about 5 seconds if it doesn't go back by itself before then.  No worries!)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

3rd Quarter Round-up 2012


Happy October everybody!  So far, no poltergeists or zombies, but it's still only the fourth!  Let's not lose hope...

So 2012 is 3/4 of the way done!  Yikes!  It seems like I was just writing about the 1st quarter!  Or the 2nd...it's not just a cliche, time really does seem to speed up the older one gets...

Anyway, let's see if I'm still managing to keep up with any of my self-afflicted obligations this far into 2012!  I wrote them down originally all the way back in January

1.  My number one priority this year - be OUT OF DEBT before 2013!

Still right on track here.  I've been giving them extra every month since Victoria Day and should be done with my December payment, unless I've somehow made a grievous mathematical error!

2.  Maintain my weight in the 135-155 range, while actually building a little muscle and tone.

Weighed myself before I sat down and I'm 148 pounds.  One pound up from 3 months ago!  Although every time I've stepped on the scale in the last three months I've basically been within 2 pounds of 150...my exercise routine and eating habits have settled down to making me 150 pounds, give or take, I guess.  Works for me!  I've been doing exercises 4 days a week, 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 2 days off and I'm probably the strongest and healthiest I've ever been!  I only use 15 pound weights, but with enough repetition...

Not only that, but all of this physical activity is strangely addicting.  Even if I don't want to work out cause I'm lazy or whatever, I do it anyway or else I'm grumpy and irritable.  Once it's done, I feel great, even if I felt like crap going in.  Exercise!  Who knew? 

3. Memorize one song a month, chords and lyrics, throughout 2012. 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Yeah...no.  I thought of a third song but every time I pick up the guitar I inevitably end up warming up with some songs I already know and then working on new stuff I'm writing or the couple of new songs I'm playing.  Like I said, I did add ONE more song, but it's not memorized yet.  So just no...the only success in this is that it DID (and still does) make me pick up my guitar more frequently...

4.  Write lots! 

I'm writing a TON...to the point that I haven't got the time to write as much as I have to say!  Still haven't found my "project" yet though.  Well, I sort of have, but I just don't know.  I have to put my nose to the grindstone and really get serious about this, sooner rather than later....Regardless, this requirement is not specific enough for me to scold myself m so I'm gonna say I win!! 

5. Schedule one half day a month to really clean my apartment and keep it looking nice. 

My apartment has been cleaner and nicer this year than it has been in the many past years I've lived here.  People have even occasionally complimented me on it.  However, it's been sliding the last few months.  I keep going up north or going outside in the nice weather or having people call me and...long story short, I clean UNLESS something better comes along.  Which happens quite a lot.  So to sum up, I've lived to the spirit of this requirement, but not necessarily to the letter.  In either case, I do like my living space to be clean, and for the most part it is...I'm not going to complain too much!  I'm just going to tackle the bedroom...one of these days...

I guess that's about it for another 3 months!  I had a nice Summer, all things considered...I walked a lot, I thought about things, and sometimes I took action.  I read a lot of comics and went to some conventions and got some new toys and did my job and saw some movies and just...generally life is good!  Way to go, 2012!  See ya in the epilogue!
 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Genesis 2012


In the beginning, there was VOID

emptiness
nothing

and then...AWARENESS

"I AM..."

a pause...perhaps a moment, perhaps a millenium.  Time had yet to be invented and thus was utterly irrelevant.

"I AM...Alone."

Pain.  Isolation!  But then...an idea!

Thought becomes action and suddenly, an EXPLOSION!  A massive outpouring of energy transforming into matter, hurtling out into the VOID, an explosive breath spreading carbon across infinite space.  Movement, transformation, entropy, physics...Life!!

And eventually...Evolution

and maybe finally, one day...a friend.

"I have transformed my essence into matter, my being has become the physical universe.  All things are born of my spark.

All are one.  Energy made flesh.

Learn to grow.  Learn to move past your crude physicality and reach for your potential.  Move past your violent history, your selfish genes, your wicked, warlike nature.  This is not you, but only your mask.  For you are not created in My image...only with My potential.  To truly stand by my side, you must evolve!   Remove the mask!  As I have made Flesh from Spirit, so you must make Spirit from Flesh!  Only then will you have achieved your purpose.  Only then will you find true peace.

To do this, you must grow.  Every day, become better.  Increase your Strength, increase your Knowledge, increase your Understanding and most importantly, increase your Empathy

 The only truth I can impart with which to guide you is one which all people should intrinsically sense.  You are all part of ONE thing.  Violence and hatred towards others equals violence and hatred towards yourself.  Treat each other and treat all things with Kindness above all else.  Love one another, Love life and Love yourselves.  All you need is Love and all of the Love you need is IN YOU NOW.  

Go, now, child, and grow.  EVOLVE!

And someday, I can tell...We are going to be friends."

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Just 5 More Minutes, Ma!


Nothing nearly as fascinating as last week's peek into an alternate timeline has happened to me this week.  That's O.K. though because if nothing interesting happens, I'll just MAKE something interesting instead!

Well...you know...interesting to ME.  The rest of the World?  Who can say...

So my new project this week (and EVERY week going forward!) is called "5 Minutes with Stryder Wolfe" and is going to be an ongoing Vlog of my randomness.  I'm hoping it will turn out to be interesting, funny and informative.  I'm also hoping to win the lottery this Friday, so whatever.

Here is the incredibly awkward and goofy first episode.  You have to start somewhere!  Enjoy!


Oh PS:  Although I plan to do several eps of this little Vlog, I will rarely or never share them on THIS site again.  I'll link them to Twitter when I'm done uploading though, so if you are interested, either follow my YouTube account of my Twitter @StryderWolfe.  If you really want to help out, feel free to share, too!  Thanks!!

PPS:  God I love that thumbnail that YouTube picked for the video.  I look simultaneously ridiculous and craaaazy!  Good work Internet!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Films About Ghosts


I waded in the calm blue sea, squishing wet sand between my toes and letting my mind flit from idea to idea like a honey bee who lands on every little blossom he sees, but rests upon each for only a moment.

As I waded, a bright, colourful object surfed right up to my toes.  I bent to retrieve this offering...it was a child's discarded yellow balloon, now bereft of air, partially filled instead by the waters of Lake Ontario. 

I held the balloon, and all of a sudden I saw her, as clearly as if she was standing there in front of me.  She was 3, or perhaps 4 years old.  A little girl in a pale green sun dress, with a floppy yellow hat and oversized, heart shaped sunglasses.  She had dark hair, pale skin and a splash of freckles across her cheeks and nose.  Gripped tightly in her little hand was a piece of white string, and trailing behind her like a forgotten pet was the very same shiny yellow balloon I now held lifeless in my hand, dancing to and fro upon the gentle September breeze of my mind's eye.

She wore no shoes and left perfect tiny footprints in the cool, damp sand.

She was our daughter.  Yours and mine.

All in a moment I saw what could have been.  I see what is and I see what will never be.

As I walked back to my car, alone, I pressed the deflated yellow balloon to my lips.  Then, I let it go. 

I can accept the path that I walk upon.  I can embrace my solitude, embrace being alone and apart. 
All of the Love that I Need is In Me Now.

I will embrace the path that I walk.  It is not the path that I would have selected, but it is the path that has chosen me.





This is a true story.  Please tell me how it makes you feel, for I don't know how to feel about it. 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Vacation Shuffle


Today is the last day of my week off...a rainy day fit for nursing my sore back and possibly working up the motivation to dust my transformers collection before returning to work tomorrow!  Because of this, I barely managed to scrape together my favourite comics for the week back on Tuesday and have absolutely nothing prepared for today!

That's okay...the universe provides.  Here's a short list of things that I think are cool from the last week:

1.  On Tuesday, I woke up to realize that I had not smoked a cigarette in over a year!!  Labour Day, 2011 was the last day I ever smoked tobacco!  Of course I talked about that HERE...This week was SO much better than that one!  I never realized it before, either, but I have to thank my fellow Fruitless Pursuits writer,  Suzanne, for being the first one to recommend rewards for doing well in my quest not to smoke.  This led to my famous comic-book-rule...using my nerdiness against (or rather FOR) myself by replacing an addiction to nicotine with an addiction to DC Comics!  As you probably know, I started reading comics when I stopped smoking, right in time for the beginning of the New 52...I made a rule that if I smoked during a week I could not buy that week's comics.  The collector in me cannot have that...thus, I have every issue of each comic I collect for the last year, and haven't smoked a puff.  Phew!

2.  You know how I love to support independent musician and artist Danielle Fricke, right?  We've all seen her videos and heard her awesome album, "Hello Little World".  Well, for a while now she's been working on a new project with her new band, Snow Mantled Love!  All of their hard work has paid off, as....well, listen to the lady herself tell it:



3.  I've been up to the cottage my Grandfather built before my father was even born a few times this summer, most recently this week.  This seems unremarkable, unless you consider that this summer is the first time I've visited the place in a decade!  That's a long story, but suffice to say that those days are now gone.  It's great to see the place again...a place that's been near to my heart since before I even started forming memories...the first times I visited were as a tiny toddler...one of my favourite photos ever is of me and my grandfather in the boat when I must have been 1 or 2 years old at the most...Making the Cottage the only consistent real estate/backdrop to my life in all of these years.  There's nowhere else in the world that I visited as a toddler that I can still go back to now...

4.  My this is long!  Not to worry.  I came up with a few new ideas over the course of the week.  Some of them may end up on the Internet!  Stay Tuned!

Well there you have it...back to work tomorrow, assuming I can rotate my back, which didn't like the car ride home yesterday...must be getting old...oh well.  Have a good week!  Peace and love in September and Always...

Thursday, 30 August 2012

What do I want??


 I'm so jealous of people who feel that they have a calling in their life.  Particularly if they've pursued that calling and are now making a living by it.  Even more so if said calling is STILL not "work" to them even after they've been doing it for a while!

I've never really KNOWN what I want to be.  My mom asked me once when I was sixteen or seventeen "What do you want to do when you grow up?" and my answer was something like, "I dunno, hang out with my girlfriend and play guitar?" or something along those lines. 

Well, I still play lots of guitar, although I've never made a dime at it, or even tried to, and that particular girlfriend has more or less refused to talk to me for over a decade now, so obviously it's about time I reassessed the situation...

Perhaps it's a little too late, now that I have a career that pays well, offers job security and has a good pension.  I'd be an idiot to leave that behind in this day and age to chase some whimsy, even if I COULD determine what I actually want to do. 

So what I need is to figure out something to do that's more fulfilling that what I'm doing now, and that I can do while still keeping my job with the T.T.C. as well. 

You're going to say "Gee, Mike, you WRITE constantly!  Why don't you do that??"  I can hear you now...

That's a great question...one that I usually brush off with some excuse like "I don't have the inspiration to write more than these little Internet articles," or "I just don't have the time and energy to invest in a large-scale project."

Excuses, indeed!  Both of the above statements are true, BUT also pretty weak.  I WOULD like to write, but every time I start a large project I abandon it.  Why?  I can think of two reasons:

1.  I am lazy.  I'd rather watch TV or something.
2.  I am afraid of failure.  I don't want to invest a ton of time and effort into writing a 500 page novel only to realize on page 485 that it SUCKS! 

These are both lousy reasons not to do something!  I know from personal experience over the last couple of years that my laziness is easily combated by just a little willpower and adherence to a routine.  I also am completely sure that just because I don't know if something will work out or not, that is NO REASON not to try it.  Even if it fails horrendously, failure is only training for success!  What else am I doing, anyway?  Watching reruns of Modern Family and eating chocolate?  Ok, that IS fun.  However, if I actually get off my ass and accomplish something, that's even MORE fun!  Also, reruns of Modern Family will always be there, and I can eat chocolate and still type one handed!  Any other excuses, brain?  Hah...I thought not...

Huh.  So maybe I DO KNOW what I want.  Interesting!  However, will I act on it?  If I don't, I'll have to live with my own hypocrisy.  I hate that. 

Well, stay tuned!  Perhaps this is the start of something...larger.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Walkin' Dude.


My work schedule back in April combined with the onset of Spring weather conspired to get me out for frequent short walks sans destination for the first time in quite a while this year, and although both Springtime and that particular schedule have long since departed, I've kept going for walks whenever time and temperature have permitted.  It's relaxing and free and gives me a lot of time to just be in my head and contemplate my next metaphorical steps, as I'm taking my next literal ones...

Anyway, it amazed me when I first started this new little habit that I could find these quiet, quaint little tree-lined suburban back-streets directly off of Bloor/Danforth, one of the largest streets in Toronto, the fourth largest city in North America and largest in all of Canada!  Little neighbourhoods where people care about what their lawns and houses look like, the noise of traffic and humanity is muted until it's next-to-nothing and where everything gives off, at least the illusion of, peace and tranquility.  Right in my own back-yard, so to speak! 

I guess I never noticed before, or perhaps I was just never at a place in my life where I'd stop to care about this sort of thing...it's interesting to me because as I literally am stopping to smell the occasional flower along the way, it's giving me all the time I need to just appreciate the world we live in...not just the big amazing things, but the small, fragile and mundane bits of civilization that maybe get taken too much for granted.

Or maybe I'm just turning into an old man who likes to take walks.  Either way.  I think I'll go for one right now!  See ya!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Why Am I Here??


 And as he awoke, the moment passed.  Dreams dissolved into sunlight and dust, but the seed of a feeling had been planted.  Now he was left to ponder the twin sensations of wonder and apprehension.  What could it mean?

I have no idea...

So I'm a little ashamed to admit that I'm 35 years old and still don't know what's going on here.  I have no purpose, no higher calling.  I feel like my life is essentially the same as that of an ant.  I do repetitive tasks in a predictable fashion.  I am a cog in a giant machine, and were I to vanish today, I'd be replaced tomorrow and it wouldn't matter.  There is nothing that I do, either personally or professionally, that couldn't easily be done as well or better by someone else.  Some people are one in a million.  I am 563,827 in a million.

Wholly unremarkable.

And yet I feel so unique, and special even!  Entitlement?  Arrogance?

I'm the only one with MY specific point of view, at least.  I bet I'm the only person in the world who saw a Groundhog's attention captured earlier as he stared up in wonder at a Monarch Butterfly flitting about just inches from his face. 

Neither Groundhog nor Butterfly are particularly remarkable either.  However, that moment made them special, in my memory at least.  Perhaps I just need to find my next moment.  Or perhaps I just need to try harder to build on the moments that maybe lately I just let pass me by.  Hmmmm.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Momentum...


I'm always trying hard to be better today than I was yesterday...a little stronger, a little smarter, a little kinder, more patient, just...better.

Sometimes I feel like I get a really good streak going where I'm feeling and living better...I keep making smart choices and stay on my path and I really feel good about myself!  Those are the times when I have momentum on my side...

Then of course, being (grudgingly) human, I screw it all up by making a stupid choice or three...drinking too much or overindulging in other things or being too lazy to exercise or just not giving myself enough time FOR myself...and of course then I feel like crap...I've lost momentum.

It's so much easier to KEEP doing something than it is to START doing something...especially when that something happens to be good for you.  I don't know why that is.  Why should it be so easy to do the things that make me feel bad and so hard to do the things that make me feel good?  There's a part of my mind that tries to talk me out of doing the right things...the part that wants me to stay fat, stupid and lazy...even knowing full well, from bitter experience, that I WILL be miserable...

Well, I just have to keep up the momentum...even in light of missteps...it gets easier every day!  I can't let myself be interrupted.  I can't let myself become lazy.  I've heard it only takes 30 days to reprogram the human mind with a new habit or behaviour.  It's not much time at all!  All the time it takes to build just a little momentum....

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Intellectualizing Emotions


Not feeling super motivated to write Stryder's Dementia this week.  My head's been in a weird place for a while...not a bad place necessarily, but I think my decision making abilities have hit some sort of snag.  I guess I just either don't know or won't quite admit to myself what I really want..

Stupid human emotions and needs.  I much prefer the cold hard logic of rationality to the wishy-washy foolishness of emotion, and yet as a human, so many of my decisions are based on how I "feel" about things...considering feelings are arbitrary uncontrolled reactions which are constantly in motion, it's the least solid foundation to base any decision on...

This is why when we used to play games as children I always wanted to be Spock.  Not a choice that made me a particularly popular child.

I suppose it's all fun and games when your thoughts and feelings are working in harmony.  Sadly, my intellect tells me to go one way and my emotions tell me to go the other a little too frequently lately.  It's a hazard when I'm just trying to keep my life as simple as I can...

I have a feeling that if I was a multimillionaire type, I'd be a hermit and a complete eccentric...far more Howard Hughes than Bruce Wayne...considering my strategy for dealing with any emotional issue is usually to withdraw completely.

Oh well I'm sure I'm overly concerned...I really put too much thought into things that seem to come naturally to everyone else.

OR maybe my head is just slow from too much humidity and WAY too much BEER this week.  Neither are legendary great influences on my life, nor are either particularly enjoyable to me these days.  Let's not do THAT again, right?

I'm over it...please September get here soon...I need the Fall...

Friday, 27 July 2012

Rumination


Text to a girl from Lake Ontario:

The waves crashing into shore today are uncouth and full of wrath, like a drunken lover who has just struck you in the face.  Personally, I love it.  Shades of October in July.  Must be a storm brewing somewhere over the water.

A Different Kind of Poem:

she speaks to me in starlight
in the depths of night she comes
and whispers of shadows and sorrows,
laughter and song
and secrets known to none
save she and I
under the light of a crescent moon

she loved me as well as she could
somewhat less than I might have liked.

Friday, 20 July 2012

The Dark Knight


Third "Chris Nolan" Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises opens in theatres today and I've already got my ticket per-ordered.  Going to see it in about 3 hours - first showing of the day around here!  Only one step less geeky than if I'd gone to a midnight screening last night (with my job, 3 am is a
"wake-up" time, not a "just got out of the movie" time).  I've had Batman on the brains since the moment my alarm clock sounded and I'm sure I'll be batty all day long!

What IS the appeal of The Batman?  I'm a 35 year old man with a career and a divorce and a blue-collar life!  Yet I purchase new comics every Wednesday (and every New Comic Book Day features a BATMAN title!), I WRITE reviews of almost everything I buy, (fruitlesspursuits.com anyone?), I have all the episodes of the animated series and all the movies at home to watch any time, I have more than one Batman t-shirts (I used to have one for every day of the week, but sadly they've worn out over the years)...Action figures...Joker and the Batman are fighting in plastic right in front of me as I TYPE this!  Lego...Video games...dishware...UNDERWEAR....bat-logo air freshener...the list goes ON and ON...

Why?  Is this normal?

Honestly, I have no real idea what the appeal of Batman or all of the other superheros, Transformers, etc that I have really let dominate my interior decorating (both apartment and mind) for years and years actually is.  It borders on the religious and is probably indicitive of some sort of emotional or deep-seated childhood issues.  It must fulfill some unconscious NEED.  Like Batman's mission itself.

Or maybe it's just COOL AS HECK!!!!

*hehe I said "heck"

I'm not going to bother over-analyzing my bat-love.  I don't care WHAT it says about me.  I know I'm in good company. 


Now then...To the Batmobile!!!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

NO!! Well....Maybe....


 I've been noticing a trend both amusing and disturbing in my life recently...not that it is a recent trend, but that it's recently been more noticeable to me.

It seems like lately, whenever the opportunity to go "outside the box" comes along, my first instinct is to say "No thanks, I'm good."

Luckily I am easily persuaded to change my mind, or else I'd probably never do anything.

It makes me laugh, sometimes, because it reminds me of my dad when I was young.  His first answer for anything was and is almost always "No" too.  Of course it becomes a "well...maybe...." pretty quickly.  It's just like, No is the default answer to buy time until we've thought it through or something.  So perhaps it's genetic?  One of my dad's favourite lines is "you get that from your mother's side" but this is one tendency he can't blame on her!

Anyway, my concern is, having recognized this tendency in myself and not wanting to be left out of anything, I am starting to over-think saying "No" to anything!   This, I'm afraid, is going to eventually come along and bite me in the ass.  If nothing else if the pendulum swings too far I'll burn myself out...

Oh well, the pertinent part of the above paragraph is "Over-Think".  If I say "yes" to something I am not entirely sure about and it works out, great!  If not, at least I'll have an interesting story to tell.  "No" just leaves me sitting on the couch watching T.V.  We already KNOW how that story ends.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

2nd Quarter Round-up 2012!!


Can you believe that we're half-way through 2012?!?!  Where DOES the time go?  So far it's been a pretty interesting year.  Let's see if I'm living up to my own expectations, as set down HERE and HERE...I think I'm doing OK so far... 

1.  My number one priority this year - be OUT OF DEBT before 2013!

Well so far this year I've paid $5850.00 which is a little less than I wanted.  However, if my math is correct I can pay about $1100 a month from now till December and have more than paid off my debt in full.  I always tend to make more money in the second half of the year anyway, what with my taxes and deductions and such being maxed out so I don't see this as being a problem at all...still, could be better.  Half credit.

2.  Maintain my weight in the 135-155 range, while actually building a little muscle and tone.

Weighing myself this morning revealed that I am 147 pounds, so I'm in my right weight range.  I've gained some weight in the last 3 months, but my B.M.I. stayed the same...the reason?  I've been exercising like a mad man...almost every day but a MINIMUM of 4 days a week...more often 6.  Because of this I've actually gained weight in MUSCLE!?!  For only the second time in my life I am capable of doing pull-ups and whatnot.  I'm pretty excited about what will happen if I keep it up for a year or more, since it's really only been 4 of 5 months of exercise.  I AM a little worried that it'll cause too much weight gain though.  It's a fine line...we'll see how it goes. 

3. Memorize one song a month, chords and lyrics, throughout 2012.

Total fail.  Boourns.   I have been playing a lot of guitar and jamming a lot and even working on original material, both mine and my friends.  However, I have failed to really even try particularly hard on this one.  I hope to at least get 4 songs for the year.  Way way less than 12.  So far I still have 2.  Hmmmm.... 

4.  Write lots!

So far so good with this....I've managed at least one article a week both here and at Fruitless Pursuits, plus occasional bonus stuff and I've been writing in my notebooks a lot too....either stuff that eventually ends up on this site or backstory and whatnot for a couple projects I have in my brain.  I could be a lot more dedicated still but I do think I'm improving in this regard...at the very least, I haven't gotten any worse! 

5. Schedule one half day a month to really clean my apartment and keep it looking nice.

I always look at my apartment and see the things that still need to be cleaned.  However, I was pleasantly surprised the other day when my friend's girlfriend, who hadn't been to my place for some time, complimented me on it "never looking cleaner"!  That was on a day when I thought it was actually much dirtier than usual.  I guess my standards have improved!!  I was flattered!  I haven't really "scheduled" any cleaning days as I wrote above but I do tend to look towards keeping everything need all the time anyway and make sure I at least clean the bathroom and such a lot.  I REALLY need to get my bedroom in some sort of order though.  The rest of the place looks good, but, like my subconscious mind, my bedroom is cluttered with stuff I'd rather not think about gathering dust in the corners... 

Well, 3.5 out of 5 isn't too bad I guess.  I'll have to see what I can do to pick it up in the next 6 months.  I know Summer has just begun, but you know what they say... 

Thursday, 28 June 2012

On the Benefits of Being Blind



Today I literally saw the blind leading the blind.  
3 blind men instead of 

Moments later I saw a beautiful girl 
self-mutilated; 
disfigured by those vile, lobe-stretching piercings that 
fools 
from all walks of life 
lately seem to 
adore.

A bleak sense of sorrow scratched at my heart 
while my insides performed 
their customary lurch

Perhaps blindness 
would not be so terrible a fate.  

Obliviousness may yet be 
preferable to 
Oblivion

.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Counting Crows @ Echo Beach!


Last Friday night I got to see my favourite band, Counting Crows, perform at Echo Beach in Toronto!

What an awesome show.  If you EVER have a chance to see these guys live, take it!  Even if you aren't a fan...this is one of the few bands who are maybe BETTER live than on their albums.  I've only seen them twice in concert now but both times I have been blown away!  I love every silly little song these guys have ever sang (yeah, even "Accidentally In Love", as ridiculous as it is) and can't say enough good things about them!  If I had the money, I would happily quit my job to follow them around, Grateful Dead style...

Sadly, that's not to be.  I'll have to be content to await their return to Toronto...
 
Well, it was a great night except for one thing.  I'm a little disappointed in myself and my ability to "step up" as it were....See, although I was at the concert with my buddies, I spent most of the time talking to this girl Ally (spelling?) that I met at the show.  Without going into too much detail, I learned that she was an American, up to Toronto for the summer for some school related thing...she's far too young to be a Counting Crows fan (like, 21) but her dad got her into them back in the day...I dunno we just chatted between band sets and such...she was nice!  Sweet, even...

Anyway at the end of the night we just parted ways.  I didn't ask what she was doing or where she was going...didn't get a number or try to find out if I could see her again..nothing.  I just said good-bye and walked away, even given multiple chances to work a little harder.  I didn't even try, despite being pretty sure that she liked me and despite the fact that obviously, I liked her quite a bit. 

If this was an isolated event I guess it wouldn't matter...I could chalk it up to being "off my game" or some such...but it's NOT isolated.  I've had several similar opportunities this year, even dating a really nice girl for a while...a girl whom I proceeded to keep at arms length, treat inconsistently and, if I'm honest, rather poorly...then suddenly break off contact, for no great reason and through no fault of her own.

I don't get it. 

I constantly feel lonely and pine for a girlfriend whom I could really open up to and feel close with...someone I could share everything with.  I want that relationship where my girlfriend is my BEST friend...and yet whenever I'm presented with an opportunity to at least take a step in this direction, I balk...

When I was younger, I used to be scared that if I talked to a pretty girl, she might not like me.  Now I guess I am petrified that if I talk to that pretty girl, she WILL like me! 

Perhaps I'm just too hung up on the past.  "Love like you've never been hurt" sounds like both a silly dream and an impossible task to me. 

Or maybe I just don't know WHAT I  really want.

What the hell, man?  What AM I scared of?  What DO I want?  Obviously, I gotta figure this stuff out...

But yeah, Counting Crows.  What a great band and despite my silly complaints, what a terrific night!!  Come back soon, guys!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Collapse.


All of life's major problems and heartbreaks will seem like a hilarious and naive joke when the power goes out and stays out for good.

Isn't it odd that the entire nature of our existence, our society, Western Civilization itself is dependant on setting fire to the mortal remains of giant dead lizards that went extinct long before we ever existed?

How can we power the present with the corpses of the past and yet take no thought for the future?  

(Yes I've been listening to Michael Ruppert again..he's an interesting fellow, if a little bleak).

Anyway, so I'm looking at the city around me and the life that I lead, thinking about the plans that I have and the dreams that I dream and I know that they're all as fragile as spider's spun webs...

Electricity
Running Water
Easy and Affordable Food, Medication and Consumer Goods
Warmth and Shelter
Long Distance Communication and Travel
Et cetera, et cetera

So many things dependant on energy...some kind of fuel.  Remember the big blackout of 2003?  The have those all the time now in less fortunate places in the world.  It's very likely that soon we'll have frequent, long-lasting blackouts here, too.  Why?  Because our fuel is running out!

We need to find a better, cleaner, self-sustaining way to power the 21st century before it's too late.

I wish I was smarter and could somehow help with this.  It frustrates me that so many of us waste time and thought and energy hating and killing each other over completely meaningless, trivial divisive issues (who's god is strongest, should gay people get married, what politician is most "honest"...whatever) when there is this incredibly serious issue staring us in the face!  The very likely possibility that we are about the fall into a new Dark Ages and it could literally happen at ANY MINUTE. 

Howsabout we put all the stupidity aside for a while and instead  focus on saving our species from what could very possibly be our extinction event?  Anybody?  Bueller?

I guess it's too easy not to worry about it here in Canada because it really hasn't affected us yet in any truly meaningful way.  Remember though, we are all ONE.  Not attempting to fix this mess right now is short-sighted, perhaps suicidally so.  Living the way we do now is like contracting leprosy but not being concerned about it because so far only a few of our toes are rotting off.  It's not caring that your bedroom is on fire because you're in the kitchen right now.  It's worse than stupidity...it's INSANITY.

We need to get over ourselves and start dealing with the real problems threatening our race now.  How?  I don't know...I'm no scientist.  All I know is that it could start with all of us letting go of our differences, our petty hatreds and our silly fears and instead treating everyone around us with respect and dignity and kindness!  Maybe then we could stop spending money on bombs and death and instead research a better way to live?  One that won't kill us all in the next year or two?

I used to say that I wasn't trying to fix the world...I just wanted to leave it no worse than I found it.  No more.  I want to leave both the places I visit and the people around me BETTER than I found them!  Cleaner, nicer, more peaceful!  I want to be both productive for and protective of the world around me and the human beings scrambling about it's surface, too!

Look, if you go to the doctor and he says "You need to stop drinking and smoking or you WILL BE DEAD within 5 years...maybe even 5 weeks," you probably stop!  A sane person stops!  Well now the planet Earth needs us to be sane.  We need to fix the world or it will end soon!  NOW!

Playtime is over.  Like little children we've been fighting over every shiny scrap of nothing and now there's not going to be anything left worth fighting for.  It has to stop.  We have to stop!  Time to grow up!  

Evolve or Die.

Friday, 8 June 2012

From the Beach...


 Last Thursday, as I do most weeks I have a day off and the weather is nice, I went down to the beach to read a few comics, eat my breakfast and ponder life and the universe and everything.

I read Batman Annual #1 and it made me cry...it was one of those days anyway, where my moods felt brittle, like cheap glass or too-dry straw.  I was living right on the cutting edge of my emotions in my mind. 

My problem was that I couldn't reconcile two seperate ideas. 

1.  Love is the most important thing there is.

2.  All love is an illusion, a LIE, an intangible created only in one's mind and subject to the petty whims of fate and foolish humanity.

Both statements "feel" true to me, but also, if not contradictory, at least misguidedly dangerous.

So I finished my Tim Horton's and I put my comics away and I walked along my beach, along the edge of where the ocean meets the land just like in the song, feeling blue and confused about the nature of the universe and my part in it. 

A stick the approximate size and shape of a magic marker floated right up to my feet from Lake Ontario so I bent and retrieved it.  Then, when I came to the (arbitrarily) correct spot, I wrote in the sand, right at the waterline, I wrote a message to God or the Universe or whatever.

? Here I AM.  What do you want ?

I stripped down to my shorts and meditated on the sand.  I cleared my mind and waited for an answer.  I waited about an hour, listening to the waves, the gulls, feeling the sun play hide and seek with the clouds, feeling the wind blow around and through me, feeling isolated, insulated in my own private world even as I sat on the very edge of the largest city in Canada. 

& then the answer came.

"NOTHING"

Nothing at all.  What could God or the Universe or whatever possibly need from me?  Alone, I am insignificant.  A single grain of sand, a drop of water, a single cog in a vast, vast machine. 

Alone I am nothing

BUT

Together WE are everything.

Whatever I'm "supposed" to be doing, I'm doing it now.  I can no more help doing it that the waves can help crashing into shore.  I could no more STOP doing it than I could stop the moon from circling the Earth.

I might not know what I'm contributing, but we are all a part of one thing...the same thing, the ONLY thing.  Everything is ONE.  And although I'm unable to see the entire picture, nor judge it's worth, nor influence it in any meaningful way, at least I can take comfort in knowing that we are all a part of it, all a part of something much, much larger than our own insignificant little selves. 

So I guess that's something, right?

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Motive


So my friends sometimes tease me because I tend to tip too much. The other day we were at this patio bar and I was kind of going over the bill and thinking about adding a few more bucks and my buddy's all like "You know she's (the waitress) not going to sleep with you or anything." and I had to laugh.  "You really don't understand my motivation in this, do you?" I replied, bemused...

Then I started to think...exactly what is my motivation for tipping too much, anyway?  Even beyond that...what motivates me to do anything?  What underlying reasons cause me to act and think the way I do?  Why do I like to do certain things and dislike others?

Turns out I don't really understand my motivations, either!

I mean, there are obvious survival motivations...gotta eat, need shelter, ergo I go work.  Other stuff must simply be learned behaviour...putting the ketchup in the fridge or preferring to wear jeans over slacks, for example. 

What about the stuff that I CHOOSE to do?  Why do I play guitar?  Why do I read so much?  Why do I WRITE so much?

In the end, I came up with 4 basic motivations that cover most everything I do.  Obviously there are exceptions but here are the main reasons I choose to do something:

1.  Curiosity.  Probably my biggest motivator.  I like to do things just to learn if I can accomplish them, to see if I'll learn something along the way, to see if I can improve myself in some way or just to see how it all pans out.  It all boils down to hunger for knowledge.

2.  For Fun!  This is actually tied into curiosity as learning things IS fun for me, but yeah!  Just because I enjoy something is good enough!  I read to both learn and relax.  I walk to the beach first because it's MORE FUN!

3.  Compulsion?  Sometimes I feel like I just NEED to do something.  This is usually what gets me in trouble in life, and generally is also how I end up in relationships.  Sometimes either circumstance or a pretty face will make me an offer that I can't refuse.  Whenever I'm doing something uncharacteristically DUMB, this is why.  I know what I'm doing is stupid, but somehow I just can't say no.  Honour and duty (or is that pride and ego?  So oft confused) frequently also play a part.  Both my marriage and my divorce came about due to this.  Sometimes it works out well for me...other times...hmmmmm

4. Simple Kindness.  This can also get me in trouble, but I never regret it.  If I can afford to do something and have the time, then I'll frequently go out of my way just to try and make someone's day a little brighter.  I finally realized that in life I can't make anyone aside from myself happy.  However, I can usually make people enjoy themselves right now!  If people around me are smiling, laughing, having a good time...mission accomplished!  They may be miserable in an hour and they may have a terrible life, but at least they had fun for a few minutes.

Incidentally, THIS is why I tip so much.  Not to get anything...just because I make a good living and I CAN!  It makes ME happy, and it'll hopefully help out the waitress/delivery guy/whatever too! I feel as if I make decent money for what I do, but a lot of people aren't so lucky.  If I can give someone an extra $20.00 maybe they can go to a movie or buy a toy for their kid or something that they wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.  All I was gonna do was spend it on toys or beer or something anyway....

I am sure I have further motivations...ones I haven't thought of and ones that I'm not even aware of.  Probably in denial about a few too.  So maybe my buddy WAS right....or would have been, sometimes, but not in this case (the waitress was cute enough, but not my type).  Still, it's an interesting thing to think about.  What motivates me?  What motivates YOU??  Give it some thought!

Friday, 25 May 2012

The Broken Piece


I was just lying on the floor whilst exercising and I found a little tiny broken piece of plastic.
 
    "What's this?"  I said to myself.
    "Well, self," I replied, "it appears to be a little tiny broken piece of plastic!"  At this point I took a long look around the room, which contains a multitude of plastic toys, various electronics, musical equipment, DVDs and more. 
    "There's a lot of possibilities around here for a little tiny broken piece of plastic," I said to myself.  "I better keep it."

It's no wonder that the man at the casino today had a hard time believing that I'm 35 years old.  Life is good! 

Also, the little tiny broken piece of plastic is safely ensconced on a shelf awaiting recognition one day.  Even though it's not particularly useful right now, I'm certain I'll eventually find a place for it.  Someday...