Thursday, December 31, 2015

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Sometimes signs are wrong. Almost always there's an exit. Exit 2015. Enter 2016. Isn't the entrance strategy more important anyway?

Monday, December 28, 2015

Fave Reads 2015

Dumbledore said that he never had enough socks because people typically gave him books for Christmas. Not a bad problem to have. What were your favourite reads this year?

For creatives of any age, 
this storybook features an idea 
who wants to play. My pun is
only somewhat intentional
when I say it's quite ideological.


This refugee memoir speaks 
to the power of just a few
carefully-chosen words. 
I wonder what Canada's
newest immigrants will 
remember and write?

Another storybook, a bit dark some say.
Yet it inspires a dog and a rat to
think deeply about death and about
how to move forward. And it is sure
to open up conversations about things
we all struggle to verbalize.
Strange and sad and sick.
McCarthy's characters
are so many things at once
and never forgettable. 
Quick insights into human 
behaviour that inspire thinking 
and more importantly,
 rethinking

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Things one should never outgrow:

goodwill.

My wife peeled a pomegranate for me today. In this season of gifts, a small gift can be such a big gift. I hope you receive such gifts as I do.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

exhausting all methods to commercialize and novelty-brand pretty much anything and everything. Unnecessary. See bottled water.

And in December, it really ramps up, doesn't it? As comedian Jim Gaffigan says, "everyone has the unspoken agreement that what happens in December, stays in December."

Well said Jim. Which is why I should never have mentioned this.

Nevermind. Carry on.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Luck?

source
Driving in the early morning Northern Alberta darkness last Friday, I hit a deer.

I'd say five trotted out of the ditch all at once; there was no way to avoid it. It bounced onto the hood of my car and then slipped off to the side to remain on the highway.

Despite that initial shock, I felt oddly calm.

This happens often where I live. Everyone I know who chooses to share this big beautiful Alberta wilderness with wildlife has one or even two of these stories to tell.

One person stopped immediately; I expected a stranger but it was a friend. She listened politely as I rambled on. My car seemed relatively unscathed but it was definitely not safe to be on the side of the highway even with our flashers blinking so I urged her to go on her way. I jumped back in my car to let someone past but instead someone else stopped, also a friend. She gave me a hug. We talked briefly. After a semi-trailer blew by us like a slap in the face, I urged her to travel on to work.

I still hadn't had an opportunity to actually go look at the deer. Honestly, I was avoiding it. Before I could, another driver stopped and in that morning dark I saw him grab something from the back of his truck, a shovel. He pushed the deer off the road and then came over to my car. A stranger, I shook his hand and thanked him for that. At least the road would be safe for drivers again. He said there's only one problem: the deer was still alive.

The calm drained out of me.

I thanked him again so he left and then it was just the two of us waiting for the sun to rise on that warm December morning, one alive, one dying.

Or maybe both? Not me, this time. I called Alberta Fish & Wildlife and was told someone was already traveling in the area and that he would euthanize the animal. My calm mostly returned but there was another feeling too.

The entire incident from collision to conclusion? Fifteen minutes. Although the repair bill will be costly, my car is drive-able. I'm alive and uninjured. It could have been much worse. At least for me. I even arrived to work on time. That's why something about this whole thing feels too easy.

Brandon Mull wrote "luck has a way of evaporating when you lean on it." I've think I've been leaning on luck, and luck is something I don't much believe in. Because if I did, then I'd probably learn nothing from this lesson about strangers, about mercy, about myself, and about every other ordinary extraordinary day when everything I touched, lived.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Just so you know, the answer is no.

When you can't even can't even for one more minute, should you give up?

Okay. Maybe sometimes the answer is indeed yes. And yet...I have no idea what this toy is supposed to do. But when I noticed it stuck in the ice and gravel along the pavement the other day, it said one thing to me: determination.

Despite what it's endured since some child lost it, this plastic figure continues to do the victory pose.

Okay you little shit piece of plastic: if you can do it, so can I. (And so can you.)

Friday, December 4, 2015

Grr.

source
Everyone has a dark(ish) side. Even me. Sure, I’m a nice guy. Almost always. Someone actually gave me this advice once: “you’re too nice.” Well well. There are worse things to be accused of, so I have chosen to live with that diagnosis. Yet, as with everyone, my dark side surfaces. It lifts its furrowed head and looks around. And what does it see?

Idiots.

Let me explain. People claim that true selves emerge in trying circumstances. Like in a disaster. Like when threatened with death. Like when faced with a grizzly, or a very large snake or a massive tax-bill or especially a turkey. (Sorry. That last example is a little more science-ish than science.) According to real science, there is truth to this reactive behaviour. During calm, we typically manage our lives using the frontal lobe, the rational decision-making portion of the brain. However, during great threat, the amygdala, the small inner core of the brain, trumps all rational thinking and instead, we act based on intense emotion: fight, flight, or freeze. This is designed to save our lives but yet also ruin our lives, because well, idiots idiot things up.

So when does the amygdala transform us into idiots? Is it when our grandparents ask us to fix their computers? Is it when surveys are requested during supper? Is it when our phones are missing? All of the above. And more. Quite honestly, we’ve all lost our shit here and there and that one time at that family reunion. Ahem. But I digress.

My amygdala typically gets rage-y when I’m driving. It’s emotional. People cut you off. They don’t always remember their signal lights. They drive too slowly. So no offence but I probably called you an idiot. I’m not the only one though. See, I conducted an official math(ish) poll and it turns out that literally seven out of ten people also think you drivers are idiots. You do not want to know what the other three people called you.

Hmm. I discovered yesterday that I’ve been driving with only one headlight. I wonder what you called me?

See? Everyone does have a dark(ish) side.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Pass it on.

I will. I promise. 
There was a knock. But no one was there. Instead, this, on my doorstep.

Everyone should live in a neighbourhood like mine.

(Directions for a good life: pass it on.)
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