Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordfuse (Just frickin do it Edition)

womandate (noun): woman + mandate = an order, an edict, a directive, a command issued by a woman aka those non-negotiable things we guys just have do for the women we love and there's no point in even discussing it. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

the spring catalogue? In November?


Saturday, November 26, 2011


Sometimes, for me, hearing a new song is like a troubled dream where I'm hiking and hiking and hiking up a mountain and then finally, finally I am able to turn around and see exactly where I am.

And then suddenly here, here, all that struggling was worth it.

And everything else has melted away or it's hidden by fog. And it doesn't matter anymore. At all....

If you could choose someone to live forever, who would you choose?

Forget all the variables that would affect your decision. Don't worry about everyone else; they would still have the opportunity to live long, happy lives. Don't worry about the potential problems with living forever either. Don't worry about goodbyes. Don't worry about anything. Imagine it's your one opportunity to save that one person. The one. Forever.

Who would it be?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I miss when...

It doesn't look like much but I painted this for my son years ago one Christmas. It's him on the little snowmobile my Dad bought for him. He loves winter and all thing outdoors.

In the close-up below you might be able to discern a snowmobile and the orange helmet he wore then.

I miss when he was little and his head was little and life was just little things everyday, little moments, little challenges and little problems and Little House on the Prairie and Little Drummer Boy and little league and little Johnny jokes and The Little Engine that Could and Little Red Riding Hood and Little Tikes and little tricycles and little voices.

"When I grow up (as everyone does) what will become of the ME I was?" 
-from the book Always Wondering by poet Aileen Fisher

Monday, November 21, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:


Uh, my teen son decided to make some homemade mini-speakers. They actually work but the whole thing is a tad too sketchy for me.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Walk Between

I can't stop thinking about Terrence Malick's film The Tree of Life.

Apparently this film polarizes people. I can see why. It's probably a love it or hate it experience. No meh. I think I loved it. It's so beautiful. It's so strange too. But it immersed me, even absorbed me at times. I can't recall a film that was such an intrapersonal experience for me. The film is so...fraught.

Maybe it was timing but I couldn't stop thinking about my deceased father, my childhood, my personal struggle to be a good father. Moreover, I couldn't stop thinking about my own combination of grace and nature, the concepts on which the film seems hinged. In Mrs. O'Brien's words:

"The nuns taught us there were two ways through life--the way of nature and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you'll follow. Grace doesn't try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love smiling through all things."

There were several scenes and one recurring image that captured me. First the image: water. Water uncontained and water contained, such as early in the film when Mr. O'Brien kinks the water-hose. In one scene, a dining room chair seems to move on its own. In another scene Mr. O'Brien does repairs underneath a car so very precariously perched on a jack while his son stalks back and forth. That silent scene terrified me. So did the scene where Jack's mother ministers to the criminals. And I still wonder what was going on in the attic?

There's also a tender scene where one brother kisses his kid brother's arm seeking forgiveness for cruelty. His brother wipes his saliva away. He kisses his arm again. Again, it's wiped away.

For me, this scene represents the film's clearest meaning. Humanity. Our inhumanity. Our isolation. Our inter-connectness. And the timeless wayward sad line we all walk in life between tenderness and ruthlessness.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Press the bell.

The motivational speakers say that I am in control of my destiny. If I want to change my life, I possess the power to do that. If I want to achieve my dreams, I should write them down and then make them happen.

This is true. Mostly.

It's like pressing a doorbell. It's like knocking on a door. What exists beyond is attainable yet my initiation is required.

I am familiar with the doorbell. I know the door. Several doors. I've been invited in. I've pushed my way through. Scared, I've run my hands through my hair and waited until the courage rose from somewhere like a dandelion flower pushing it's way out of a crack in the pavement. I have also hesitated too long. I've even slinked away, ashamed. Despite my pitiful failures, I've had such success.

But that is my story.

What of the dreams I have for others? For someone who needs a dream. For someone whose potential is the umbrella needed for her rain. For someone who can't find the door. For someone blind and stubborn? For someone wandering. For someone lost?

To lead someone else to the door, to compel them to press the bell, to convince's exhausting. And futile. Or is it futile? How many times does a person try? There should be a number for that. Like 99 times. But there's no number. So when does a person stop trying? And how?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Not exactly bubblegum.
Image from here.
I remembered. It has to do with my son.

When my son was a toddler the grown ups were drinking discoursing in the other room when suddenly we heard him scream. Not the regular I'm-a-superhero-wannabe scream or even the I-rarely-ever-play-with-that-anymore-but-hey-neighbour-kid-now-that-you're-enjoying-it-I-want-to-play-with-it-again-because-IT'S-MINE scream. This was the real thing.

We ran down the hall to his room and discovered him with a mouth full of blood. Oh great, I thought, he knocked out a tooth. (We had already been through this with his older sister.) So we asked him to show us his teeth. He stopped bawling and complied. All teeth were accounted for. Hmm. My wife gently felt around his mouth but nothing seemed to be bleeding on the outside. All his teeth were intact and his lips weren't bleeding so where was all the blood coming from? And then my wife asked him to stick out his tongue.


I don't remember much after that except thinking HOSPITAL NOW HOSPITAL NOW. The image is, however, microwaved into my brain. It was like someone had unzipped his tongue and thus he had two mini-tongues, or one tongue split down the middle.

Cut to the doctor. He did not recommend stitches. He said it would heal on it's own. You're shitting me, I thought, He's ruined. What future could he possibly have now? Reality TV?

But it did. It healed. Overnight.

Whoa again.

He has a scar now. (A little Harry Potter-like but without the British accent.) No long-term damage.

But it still disturbs me. I've always felt that most tongues I've seen, in fact all tongues, are generally disturbing. Because let's face it, tongues are odd. By odd I mean ugly. Seriously ugly. Like raw meat ugly. Musician John Mayer may have crafted a memorable song with his mention of her "bubble gum tongue," but in reality, no one, NO ONE wants to look at your tongue. Okay, maybe the doctor. But likely not her either.

Now this brings me to the most disturbing thing about my aversion to tongues. As some grinputters noted in this post, DO NOT GOOGLE TONGUE INFORMATION. DO NOT. Especially this.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sometimes. Sheesh.

It's slipped my mind.
As I've mentioned before, sometimes I leave notes to myself as reminders and then forget about them.

Anyway, I cleaned my desk this weekend and found this sticky note.

Any ideas?

Monday, November 7, 2011

How do you know who you are?

Image from  here.
Not long ago, a friend and I were talking about our worst fears.

One of my worst fears is that I will run over someone. I'm sure everyone has this fear but sometimes, while driving, I have these obsessive compulsive moments when my mind wanders and I literally shiver at the thought. And when I say shiver I mean it's more like a momentary seizure.

Besides the obvious reasons, I'm curious about why this is such a strong fear for me. Fear intrigues me. I once read a terrific essay by a grown man who was terrified, I mean completely horrified, by cats. He could not go near them. He would shake. Vomit. Black out. Then one summer he returned to his childhood home to visit family and an Aunt inquired if he remembered his pet cat. Flabbergasted, he could't believe he once owned a cat. She explained that the cat loved him and followed him around constantly. Incredulous, the bile rose in his throat. His Aunt then told him that, when he was about four, he returned from playing in the yard and skipped smiling onto her veranda with the cat in his arms. His ears ringing, he waited to hear what happened next. Then his Aunt revealed that the cat had obviously been dead long enough that it was in full rigor mortis. Disgusted, she screamed and tore it out of his arms and flung it as far as she could. He had no recollection of the incident but it explained everything about his fear.

Is fear less about the cause and more about the effect?

So what's my hidden backstory? I mean I know why I'm afraid of turkeys (who isn't?) but what's the deal with my excessive fear of running over something. Especially since I have plenty of experience with this already. Things I've run over:
-tent caterpillars
-one garter snake (with the lawnmower; it was pure carnage)
-two dogs (worst experiences ever)
-one kitten (I apologize.)
-one water pipe with the lawnmower again (It killed the mower's motor but I sorta thought I got away with it until I restarted the mower and proceeded down the lawn but then noticed the mower spitting out parts of itself; it was like lawnmower cannibalism but even the lawnmower felt wrong about it.)
-other stuff I probably don't know about *shudders*

Despite these experiences, my fear probably has more to do with the time I was run over. Let's just say one of my brothers was operating a snowmobile "recklessly." Fortunately the snow was deep enough there was no physical damage.

However, I did pee my pants.

That's it isn't it? (Insert epiphany here.) My real fear is that I will pee my pants. Hmm. Could that really be it? I'm going to have to think about that for a while.

This reminds me of that saying, "I write because that's how I know who I am." So true.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

Look. Even my shoe looks confused. 
It's difficult to see but the waistband on those cotton boxers in the picture reads fruit-of-the-loom.

Before I go any further, I must say: they are not mine, they are not my son's and I am almost positive they do not belong to the bank manager next door, nor the sweet elderly couple on the other side of my house.

That said, er, why the hell were some guy's size medium underwear lying on the street on my block on my walk to work yesterday? (We know they were size medium because we poked them with a stick.)

And you know what else is weird? Isn't it curious how some everyday type objects suddenly gain this odd power when they are out of context? For example, boxers on the laundry room floor? Expected. Boxers poking out of a suitcase at the airport? No big whoop. Boxers used as wall art at house-parties in University? Typical. But huck your boxers on the road? It's just too random. It's, uber-random. They become like road kill. People are afraid to touch them. Vehicles detour around them. (Even the dogs in the neighbourhood must have avoided them because they were still there on the road when I returned from work at the end of the day.) And yup, people *coughs* even take pictures and blog about them.

These sorts of things ignite my imagination. It's like speculation overload. It's like some sort of hypothesize-a-thon. It's a writer-thing isn't it? It's like the opening for some great mishap-filled novel. Five potential novel openers:

  1. "Take them off HERE?"
  2. The first object to hit the ground was a pair of cotton boxers.
  3. "Honey? I think your underwear fell out of my purse."
  4. One might have assumed she drove into the tree in her front yard because her toddler son in the backseat had punched his now-whimpering older brother in the head yet again, but no, it was because she was distracted by the men's cotton boxers lying on the street in front of her house. She knew those boxers.
  5. My feet just took control. I pressed on the brake. Put my Jeep in park. Unzipped my pants. Struggled out of my jeans. Stripped off my boxers. Opened the window. Loaded the waistband like a sling-shot. And fired my underwear at her driveway.

Sadly, this is one novel I will likely never read. This mystery will probably remain a question mark.

And speaking of questions, did I mention that for the past few days here the temperature has rarely been above zero degrees Celsius? Not exactly a good time to shed one's gonch.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There. I said it. I'm better now. Thanks.

Image from here.
Many people I know express a real appreciation for the following famous quote: "That which does not kill us makes us stronger." ~Friedrich Nietzsche

This is perhaps my least favourite quote. Sure, there's wisdom in this statement. It reminds us to "carry on." It trumps ignoble self-pity. It steels us to face future hardship. I get it. Believe me. My own Stewart clan motto is "courage strengthens at the wound." And yet I can't help but think that Neitzsche was misquoted. Or more likely, I think he was interrupted:

That which does not kill us makes us stronger...but it also makes us older and grayer and fatter and depressed and pissed-off and bitter too.

Just sayin.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wordfuse (Celebrity Edition)

72 days? Seriously? Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries couldn't get along during the honeymoon phase?

Celebrity marriages are like diets. They sure have a lot of them over the years. And 95% of them fail.

Wait a minute? Who am I talking about again? 

Anyway, we all know marriage is not easy. But like most bickering-induced kerfuffles, soon the whole thing will only be mentioned in parentheses (Lisa Marie Presley & Michael Jackson).

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