Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Summer Dreams, Painful Reality

It's been a long while since I was here, at least nine months. I haven't had much motivation to write, and even less material to write about. The past months have been a roller coaster of work, injury, tragedy and uncertainty, all leading to my not really giving a shit about a little-read blog. Frankly this is more for me than any readers out there, it's a journal of a journey through mid-life. Anyone reading and commenting is icing on the cake.

I'm back now because of a dear friend. Someone who has over the years encouraged me to continue writing and for some weird reason actually enjoys this post. Maybe I needed the kick in the ass she gave me last night.

Onwards.

I had grand plans this summer, mostly involving a canoe, a small lake and a bonfire in the middle of nowhere. But these plans may have been unexpectedly shelved. So my head is not exactly in a good place, and either is my rib. It's kinda broken, and that being said, I can't exactly lift a frickin' canoe. Six weeks to heal. Six weeks of intense pain and lack of sleep. Six weeks of summer postponed. Dammit. 

I fell down the stairs a few weeks back and did this to myself, nothing heroic, I wasn't rescuing puppies or saving someone, I slipped on one stair and did a perfect pirouette onto my torso, fracturing my rib and I can tell you this is simply the most pain I've ever experienced. It's just a fucking rib. Sneezing is a new definition of pain. Sleep eludes me thanks to pain meds, and if I do sleep I wake myself up. I tend to toss in my sleep, not a good idea right now.

So between that and working like a dog this summer, many plans have been put off. Even my new bike (purchased two days before the injury) hasn't seen much road time. I intended to get back into shape this summer, to prepare for portaging. Dammit.

I'm still managing to ignore the doctor's advice, and keep myself on some sort of schedule. I've been able to ride a little now, I'm still working, and I've managed to get quite a bit of my house painted (this summer's fixer upper schedule). But everyday I do something of these sorts I pay for it. I'm supposed to sit and relax and just let it heal, but who the hell can sit on their asses for six weeks? I certainly can't, and won't. As long as I don't push it to the point of re-breaking it I'll be fine.

My canoeing plans will happen, just not for a while. Not until I feel I can lift a 15 foot boat. Not to mention all my camping gear, firewood, and of course, beer. Until then I sit here, bored and unfulfilled. There's a large hole where my happiness should be and it's getting hard to fill it in. However, this weekend may help that situation, as I'm planning a day at the point with an old friend. I can't wait to walk on the beach barefoot, and dunk into the lake once or twice. Just the thought of finally getting outside is encouraging and makes me smile. The thought of doing it with someone very dear to me even more so.

Work keeps us all busy these days, and it's difficult to find time with family and friends anymore. Last week my kids took me out for Father's Day but a few days early as we all worked that day. It was nice, but that's how things work anymore, schedules don't exactly allow us the time we need or want with those in our lives. Add to that an annoying injury, lots of work around the house, and other commitments, and you realize that we're not the same now as we once were. It seems the older we get the more crazy the idea of spontaneity gets. Well, let's set that straight - I'm very spontaneous, and so are my friends. Just that we are on different clocks. Stay with me, I have a point.

Life has a way of changing your course in ways you didn't expect and in some cases don't want. Sometimes a rock tossed into a stream can change it's course. I believe that's what's happening now with me. Things I want are being changed by forces I can't control. I have a feeling though that these changes are actually positive ones, I just haven't seen the bigger picture yet. I know I need a kick in the ass. I know I've not lived up to my own expectations. Maybe the events of the past month have been the rock thrown in my stream? Who knows. And really, who cares?  I will go with the flow and try to steer myself down a river I've never swam in. My plans have not changed. I still intend to be in that canoe. Just as I intend to have a great time this weekend with an old friend at the point. 

We'll just see where life takes me next.

Cheers.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Chivalry is Dead

For the past six or seven months I've been doing a night job involving people and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. I won't say much more than that because I don't want to actually tell anyone what I'm doing, as I have a privacy agreement in place that I will not break. So how 'bout you just don't ask, kay?

Suffice it to say, it's completely legal, and quite helpful. Nuff said.

I've never worked customer service before, I never manned a drive-thru, never ran a cash register, never cleaned up aisle three. I'm green with dealing with people, and anyone who knows me well would conclude that I'd just rather not. People are inherently dumb and I would like to avoid them at all costs. Suddenly, I have to deal with an astonishing level of dumb nightly. It takes an amazing level of self-control to maintain myself sometimes and not get myself canned.

Let's just say I've seen some shit. Serious shit. Wow level shit. And I've drawn a few conclusions about this job: First, reasoning with a drunk person is like arguing with an area rug, secondly, drunk people think society is a hedonistic nudist colony, thirdly, everything must be decided by some sort of MME style smackdown. In short, drunks can be assholes. On the other side of the coin, they can be funny as fuck, which is why I'm sticking around.

Now on to why I'm telling you this.

Last night I saw what really happens to someone when you add the right amount of booze, instant asshole, just add alcohol. And it made me very sad.

A girl and her boyfriend were in my care. She was around 35, single mother of two kids, and her boyfriend was much younger. All through the time I had them, he berated her severely. I was incensed, and she was crying. I won't go into specifics of what he said to her, but he was vicious, mean and unrelenting. She quietly and meekly rebuked him and denied his accusations all while crying. There was some other incoherent drool coming from this neanderthal, and she repeatedly maintained her stance. I was turning red, and so badly wanted to step in and stop this turd from ruining this poor girl's life. I know nothing of them, and in most cases, I don't care. I've seen domestics before, and I tend to stay neutral for obvious reasons. I've never seen someone bring a girl to tears. My only thought was why is she with this douche? But again, It's not my place. Had he raised a hand to her all bets would have been off, I kept watch for that but it never happened.

When I cleared off I talked with my partner and we both were furious about the exchange. It's unbelievable that men will treat women like that, brutal tirades, and in earshot of complete strangers. As middle-aged men we both concluded that we would NEVER treat a woman like that, EVER. And we have taught our children the same thing. NEVER. This knuckle-dragger didn't get the memo.

I know women like the bad boys, the rebels, the rough guys. I don't get that, but hey, I don't fit into that category, so I don't see it. What I do see is a fucktard who treats women like complete shit for his own gain. What does he think he's getting out of this? Why is she with him? Just a pile of WTF questions arose. I was raised to treat woman like gold, to always be a gentleman. Open doors for them, give them my coat if they're chilly, defend them. Treat them above all, like human beings. Treat woman the way I'd want to be treated if I was a woman. 

So answer me this...

Why do women stay with complete asshats? Is it money? Is it sheer physical attraction? Is it the whole bad-ass rebel style? Sorry, but having not ever fallen into that category I can't understand it. I never will. All I understand is that we both wanted to pummel this overcompensating little turd into dust for treating that girl the way he did. Maybe If we had of done that we might have felt better, but of course, we couldn't get involved.

Near the end of the encounter, they walked off together. I don't know how it ended. I hope they settled their differences as most of the issue was caused by drink. I also hope she tossed his sorry ass to the curb. I hope both because I have no idea how or why any of this happened, I'm a fly on the wall with these customers, and that bothers me some days. I can't get involved, I can only hope for a happy ending.

I've seen the other side of the coin as well. I've seen men being wonderful gentlemen to their ladies, and you can see the love in their eyes. It's wonderful to see that, however it is always with the older generations, never the younger. The Millennial and Gen X customers I have treat each other vastly different from boomers every time. Maybe that's why I don't get it. Relationships and people in general are so different from 25 years ago. What's happened? Why have things changed so much in such a short time, and why with all the public information and assistance available to abused women are these people enduring so much?

I can't see it because I'm old school. And a guy. But one thing I realized last night is glaringly simple;

Chivalry is indeed dead.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Muricans and Americans - A Cultural Comparison


I have several friends either in the US or from there. And believe me I feel for them now. I thought I would offer my thoughts on the reasons behind the current shitshow that is the US elections, from an outsider perspective.

There are two factions at play here, I will endeavour to differentiate them. Please keep in mind I am discussing the people. Not the government. There is a massive difference.


Overall perceptions of Americans are of a normal, intelligent, hard-working people. Americans have dedicated themselves to their place in the world as a whole, being a leader and helping others whenever they can in terms of development, human rights, economics trade and so much more. They have much in common with the rest of the world in that they want what's best for their children, their families and the community as a whole and wish to prosper in a difficult era.



Muricans.

Muricans are a funny breed commonly located in the southern United States and as far west as Texas. They are mixed among the populations of Americans in these regions, and they can be found as far north as Alaska. Some have even been found in Hawaii. 


They are a simple common folk, normally less educated that their American counterparts, and therefore they maintain a different set of views and logic. Simply put, they don't really see education being in their best interest, and prefer instead to simply make shit up as they go, then convince everyone around them they are right.


Muricans can be identified by their overuse of the phrases FREEDOM!!! and BENGHAZI!!! And as muslims refer to the prophet with the phrase 'peace be upon him' or (PBUH) when referenced, Muricans shall be given the same respect with the title (F!B!)


Americans have the second amendment to the constitution that allows for armed militias to help protect the people from all enemies foreign and domestic. This right is honoured as millions of Americans are law abiding gun owners who follow the rules set down by the government.


Muricans (F!B!), love guns and believe the second amendment to the constitution means that the world has to love them too, for having too many guns around is simply the best problem to have. Muricans (F!B!) never have any fear of someone accidentally knocking on their doors during dinner hour and disturbing them (those that have doors) and will actually enjoy the opportunity to second amendment the intruder. They apparently have a quota on how much ammo they can have and must find reasons to expend it whenever possible. This includes shoplifters, J-Walkers, people making bad lane changes.


Muricans (F!B!) also believe the second amendment gives them the right to arm everyone, including children, carry weapons anywhere fully loaded, and basically shoot anything that moves. This notion is backed by the National Rifle Association. The NRA believes that every Murican has the right to their own flame thrower, gattling gun, and piece of artillery. Of course with the proliferation of weapons comes the natural instinct to use them at any opportunity. Gunfire in Murican areas is common, sadly with deadly consequences. More Murican are accidentally killed each year with firearms than all developed countries combined. But that's ok, because freedom.


American culture is rich in sciences, art, music, drama, and many other scholarly pursuits. Americans are the only people to have walked on the moon. Their achievements are notable through their history and no doubt will continue to do so long into the future. The influence of Americans as an economic, intellectual and entertainment powerhouse is evident in the furthest corners of the globe.


Muricans (F!B!) drop science in their last year of school, usually grade 7, or at least stop listening. They prefer instead to get this sort of information from parents while putting the added time to better pursuits such as repainting old cars and cleaning guns. The Murican art community consists largely of redecorating the double wide at the trailer park, and decorating large trucks with humongous American and Confederate flags. Drama and entertainment usually come from supermarket tabloids and variety gossip TV shows. The value Kanya and Kim are not to be understated to the common Murican. Literature is provided by Captain America comic books and websites like Breitbart.com and Rightwingnews.com. 


Americans honour their heroes of society, whether they be academic, scientific, sport, or entertainment with some of the highest accolades. Many Americans have won numerous Nobel Prizes in every category, The Academy Awards, The Kennedy Centre Honours, Medals of Freedom, and many more awards acknowledge outstanding achievements in every field giving hope to those upcoming in their fields to someday stand with their protegees. 


Muricans (F!B!) don't typically honour their heroes, except with the occasional nomination for government office. Recent honourees include Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump.


Americans are very enthusiast about sports of all kinds. From major league baseball, to football, hockey and basketball, to equestrian events, tennis, golf, track and field and many more Olympic calibre events. Sports is a major economic driving force in American culture, with billions of dollars of spin off to countless benefactors. Simply, the US economy would shrink considerably with the contribution of sport.


Muricans (F!B!) have NASCAR.


Americans have a level of diplomatic involvement that is admired around the world. The ability to sit down and negotiate problems and help parties find common ground is the stuff of legend. President Carter was the catalyst to peace between Israel and Egypt during his tenure, the only peace treaty in the middle east to have lasted this long. Level headed and driven towards human rights equality, Americans have beaten back oppression on many levels to be a world leader in terms of equality in race, gender, faith, sexual orientation and economic status.


Muricans (F!B!) are usually not as culturally adept. It's usually their way or the highway. Arguing with a Murican can be simply nauseating as they will never accept another belief, opinion or look at any factual proof to the contrary of their own inward beliefs. Don't even try. It will be like arguing with a shoe. They are closed in and frown on outsider influence on their way of life. Bigotry and racism are the norm, and this behaviour is encouraged to the new generations of Muricans. Frankly, you won't find many gay female jewish mexican rich folk among Muricans (F!B!)


Americans have always been a melting pot of faith. The original 13 colonies were settled by emigrants fleeing religious persecution. In the 400 years that followed the original settlers, millions more have landed on US shores under the promise of openly following their faiths. This has made the American society one of the most diverse religious centres on earth.


Muricans (F!B!) are Christians only. Those who practice other faiths are normally doing it underground. Religious tolerance only goes so far.


Finally, The American system of government is based on a multi-party republic system where the congress and the senate have the power to make laws, and the president has the power to veto them, approve them or in rare cases act alone (executive power). This system also works in reverse in that the president can propose a law and congress and senate have the power to approve or disapprove them. This has been mostly effective for 240 years.


Muricans (F!B!) believe that the other guy is always wrong, a crook and should be in prison or shot for treason. Then they will take the other guy's ideas and claim them for their own. Muricans have no original ideas, and rarely contribute to the continued development of the country as a whole. Instead they prefer to make laws of petty natures that have the affect of divided the populous instead of helping it.


So there you have it, a brief overview of a two people system within the United States. 


The haves, and the have no fucking clues. If anyone doubts what's happening here, watch the movie Ideocracy.


Cheers.



Thursday, 21 July 2016

The Continuing Evolution Of Me

I'm sure by now readers are tired of hearing about my hopes and dreams, my reaffirmations and stated goals. 

So here's another one.

Since Kim and I split last August my life has changed into something completely different, and sorta weird. It's a surreal sort of existence now, living in my basement apartment while my sister's family lives in the rest of my house. I'm getting used to it, however, Joanne and I are siblings, and with that brings back and flurry of childhood issues some of which remind me of the old children's standard 'get out of my room!' We get along, but at the end of the day, we will always drive each other nuts. I still love her like a big sis.

Being down here in recent months has brought up many challenges, and my mind has not always been up to the task of maintaining a healthy life. Too much time alone, too much time to think. Last week I had an epiphany. it came to me while working on some repairs outside. It came to me when I tried to stand up, and almost fell over. It came to me as I gasped for breath from working.

Holy fuck, I'm falling apart!

I came inside, soaked my head with a cold wet towel, and fell onto the couch, thankful to be there in my place of solitude and comfort. As I regained my breath and dried off, I googled 24 hour gyms and an hour later was a member of one. Just a little spontaneous, yes, but that short time between falling over with a feeling of morbid exhaustion over a simple task and sending my payment, a whirlwind of thoughts went through my head - most of which focused on my not being here if something doesn't change. So I made it change.

Years ago I was healthy, active, fit. I was an avid camper, canoeist, and general outdoorsy type. While I was never one for a football field or basketball court, I was always on my bike, walking for hours, and a host of other activities that kept me from keeling over. At one time I was taking karate and Aikkido classes regularly just to stay fit. When I went working, I kept myself together long enough to finish any task.

I was never a big guy, I always maintained a steady 160ish throughout my adult life. Being skinny was never a drawback for me as I just simply accepted the way of things, now, as I sit here writing this, my gut is actually sticking out. So now I'm a skinny, out of shape smoker with a beer belly. 

Nope. Nope. Nope.

I went to the gym for the first time a couple days ago and did a 30 minute basic cardio workout. It was fine, nothing spectacular or fancy, no personal training needed. Just a few basic machines like the treadmill, the bike, elliptical and strength trainers. After my 30 minutes were up I walked out feeling alive, albeit a bit sore. Last night I went in again. I had the place to myself as it was quite late. This time however no sense of exhilaration filled me, on the contrary it was a sense of dread. Suddenly those simple machines were all larger, darker, and were actually mocking me. They watched me as if they were alive, and I know they thought 'we're going to kill you!'

So I started my 30 minute regime. I lasted 24. The first night shocked my body, the second night, I hadn't recovered from the first and the pain was intense. As I mustered through the somewhat tedious repetitions every muscle in my body screamed at me with a sort of 'what the fuck' notion. I carried on as long as I could but I was cooked. Once I got home I felt a little better, breathing returned to normal, heart rate came down, but that glass of scotch was the heaviest it's ever been. I swear that bottle weighed 20 pounds.

A little later I went outside for a smoke, and the second epiphany of the week hit me. I CANNOT do this without quitting. Duh. Not like I didn't already know that. I was wheezing and coughing a lot last night, and again all day today. The unexpected shock of working out had jarred something loose, and I don't imagine it's very pretty. So starting tonight I am going on the patch and quitting. Fuck this, I'm done.

If I am to fix this shit, I am going to fix it properly.

Healthy lifestyle, healthy eating, working out, quitting smoking, it all sounds like one of those late night self-help TV shows that nobody watches, but it just happened. And all because I had to repair some concrete.

Cheers.


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

To Fuck With The Purple People

Fuck labels.

Liberal, conservative, democrat, NDP, Republican, LGBTQ, vegan, vegetarian, white, black, purple, Christian, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, Hindu, Shinto, Jew.  Fuck anything that identifies you with a group. It's overboard. We all have just one label - human. 

It's completely out of hand now. We as a people use labels to identify ourselves with a group for many reasons, whether it be a sense of belonging, community, faith, political stance, whatever, there are so many labels, and that is now a problem. 

Drop the labels and we'll drop the hatred.

As soon as you identify yourself anymore you invariably invite the ire of someone who hates that group. If you're a liberal, you're now a labelled a libtard by conservatives. If you're gay, you're a faggot. If you're black some racist shit is going to call you a nigger. Labels beget hatred. For every group out there that advertises it's beliefs, customs or associations there is another group actively fighting to slam them into oblivion. Each year a new label emerges, immediately followed by some asshole who hates them and begins a campaign of terror against them.

This year the fight is with what bathroom a transgender person can use in North Carolina. That sounds awfully similar to the old southern segregation rules about which bathroom blacks could use, or what store Jews could go to in Germany in 1933. Stop this shit. Everyone pees. Everyone. Just so you're aware, the bathrooms in your home are not labelled, why should any other be?

I'm very ambiguous about my affiliations to one group or another online for good reason. I don't want to be a target. I don't need to be addressed by someone who disagrees with my views. I don't need that kind of negativity in my life. While I admire the tenacity of those who fight for the rights of their personal affiliates, I see the shitstorm it causes and I don't care to be part of it. I see friends online who actively tout their labels as the 'correct' choice, and damn those who don't agree. Do you not see that you're part of the problem? 

People are getting killed all over the world because of their labels. Everyday in the news there is a story of one person somewhere who died horribly because of their beliefs, and that's not new, it's been going on since the dawn of humanity. But why are we fanning the flames here? Why after evolving to a higher life form haven't we figured out how to be simply human and do the right thing? Why are we devolving into communal groups fighting (literally) to convince everyone else they are wrong? 

That's exactly what it is now, nobody is fighting to get their view across, they're fighting to disavow the opposing view. Shut down what they don't agree with. Dispose of the other labels. It's stupid. 

I see it everyday. Trump supporters wear their red hats, and refuse to do business with those who wear blue bumper stickers. Christians wear the cross, muslims wear the hijab, PETA fanatics usually wear nothing but draw carve lines onto themselves and stand in busy intersections. Whether you intend to pass a message on or not, it doesn't matter. Most labels are innocuous, people invariably do something to themselves before going out to classify themselves. In the case of race, simply existing paints your label. Sadly, there are those who hate that label just because, well, because they're fucktards. Another label, willfully granted.

Here's my new label - I'm a separated, skinny middle aged basement dweller. Go ahead, raz me on that. I'm sure someone will find a reason to hate me for it. Simply because that's what we do now as a people, we categorize ourselves and file ourselves into the appropriate folder, never touching or associating with another label unless it's out of hatred or making the attempt to convince someone they're wrong. 

Fuck the labels. We're human beings and we should all act like it. Lately, we're acting like selfish children on the school ground and I can't see it getting any better. With that, all you purple people can fuck right off, you have no place in my existence.