Sunday, March 30, 2014

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

For your reference, those are bananas to the right. 
four and a half kilograms of KD aka literally about 10 lbs of poor choices.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Watermelon Optional

Famous saying: “when one door closes, open the fridge.”

Oh I get it folks. I get it. It’s all about delayed gratification: one of the hallmarks of maturity, perseverance, and personal growth. And I admit it: I need some. But sometimes delayed gratification and its first cousin rational thinking get hip-checked in front of a bus when there are food-truck deep-fried fish and chips on the menu.

Why must food taste so darn delicious? Why should salt be unhealthy? Who exactly was the genius fat-guy who invented nachos just to simultaneously bring joy and ruin to my life? Why can’t one amazing thing, like chocolate for example, be completely without calories? Or better yet why doesn't a ten-minute strenuous session of sitting or shampooing one’s hair burn like 1000 calories? And what if sleeping for seven or eight hours burned enough calories that we humans could just start eating again the next day? 

Oops. That is what happens isn’t it?

Well then, why isn’t that enough? Like many, I’ve been asking myself that question my entire life and I still have very few answers. On the Internet apparently Abraham Lincoln clearly states that if I just simply act happy about eating an entire pail of ice cream then my body will better metabolize those calories and I will still lose weight so if this was good enough for Lincoln, who am I to argue with that?

All I DO know about my never-ending war/dance-off with food is this: stress is evil. And the only way I have learned to cope with stress is to eat an entire watermelon and go for a walk and have a good talk with myself where mostly I try to muster some gratitude about every grand and astounding thing about my life, my ONE and only life. And sometimes I don’t even eat the watermelon.

And that folks, is all the wisdom I have on this subject.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Good Examples

For many years I was fond of offering this advice from John Mason: "you were born an original; don't die a copy."

I still believe this to be sound advice. Too many young people copy those making the most "noise" and in doing so gain attention and notoriety yet miss something glaringly conscious to the rest of us who have exited that silly phase: noise can be downright pointless.

And yet, now I think something beyond this quote too: some people are just good examples. In those cases, I say go ahead and "copy" as needed.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Things one should never outgrow:

appreciating the lesson of the gong show.

Self-doubt and discouragement aside, any artist will tell you that all those mistakes and messes are necessary to finally FINALLY produce quality work.

For creatives, failure should feel more like fuel than frost.

Fail beautifully friends, fail beautifully.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Walking back to work recently, some friends and I were about to use a clearly marked crosswalk when we spotted a driver speeding in a little red car. We had just stepped off the curb but I guess instinct kicked in and thus even before we consciously registered that this driver had absolutely no intention of stopping for us mere pedestrians, there we were, frozen, staring, mystified. And then as that red car streaked by, suddenly a wall of dirty water came at us like a tsunami. We hadn’t even noticed the giant puddle in the middle of the crosswalk. There wasn’t time. Despite the driver’s speed and carelessness AND the sheer size of the wave directed at us, we remained unharmed and dry.

This all occurred in about the time span it takes to count one-two-three.

Wow. Whoa. I looked at my friends: “did that just happen?” It was like seeing a unicorn, a blind unicorn driving a red car, a blind unicorn clearly in a state of emergency driving a red car like an ambulance.

Then one of my friends said, “I’m sure I could hear that driver yelling, wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!” And then we all laughed for about five minutes. Partly because we weren’t dead but mostly because that describes this whole fat slice of nonsense EXACTLY. I retract my previous statement. That driver wasn’t a unicorn at all; that driver was more like a toddler who just discovered the very first puddle. And “wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” is why toddlers shouldn't drive.

There’s a lesson in that 77 year old clueless toddler. Dangerous? Yes. But I must say there’s something beautifully clueless about this memorable moment too. It was like witnessing a human declaration of stupidity, an abandonment of numbing common sense, like yelling from a mountaintop, “So what if the world wants me to act a certain way! Don’t people realize there are puddles to drive through?!”

I guess what I’m saying is this: doesn’t everyone need a moment like this every once in a while? 

Sometimes all one can do is shake one's head. And chuckle. And remember that without chuckling, it's harder to happy. Plus it's much harder to notice (and/or drive through) all those awesomely big mud-luscious Spring puddles. 

Monday, March 17, 2014


I finally saw Steve McQueen's powerful film 12 Years a Slave. I keep writing about it in my head but I also keep running into a wall: what to say? Gripping? Moving? Agonizing? Devastating? Important? Art? Yes to all. A non-fiction horror film? Truly.

My apologies but in my opinion, it's not much of a spoiler to quote the last line of the film: "there's nothing to forgive." Although I haven't yet formulated an interpretation I am satisfied with, I find that very meaningful. Perhaps that's the point. Earlier in the film there's an extended scene where I thought the protagonist was attempting to make eye contact with the audience, with me, and whether that was my imagination or if indeed it was intentional, I felt a shameful surge in that moment: complicity.

Mark Twain said, "forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that crushes it." Perhaps this film is is like that act itself, both the crushing heel and the scent that survives. Either way, history's tread-marks remain. The protagonist says at one point, "I don't want to survive, I want to live." Better yet, thrive. That is what we all want and this is what we all deserve. So let us all tread softly.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

This Isn't just the Kid's Story

There once was a kid who liked his bedroom. A lot. He rarely left.

But he had to go to the bathroom. Plus he had other needs too. So he found other rooms, other places and along the way, other people. And usually it was ok. Until he came to the wall.

The wall was huge and imposing and made of crumbling bricks and faulty mortar and there were doors and windows and ladders propped against it in several places and there were holes dug underneath it; oddly it seemed someone built the whole thing on wet sand so there were all sorts of places one could pass through that vast circle of a wall around him (truth be told he could probably push through the bricks with two fingers) but regardless of all this there was one problem: the kid could not predict what was on the other side.

Oh sure, he had heard stories, he had watched the soap operas, he had read some of the books, someone had texted him a few photos, he could imagine. Through the windows it looked fine and then some, but like any window it’s impossible to see much beyond the frame let alone enjoy the breeze. Despite all this fascinating potential it was still too much unpredictability.

And so he stayed where he was. Surrounded. Free to go. Trapped. Unchanged. Safe?

And then the paper airplane came over the wall. So did the cat. Through the peephole he could see someone who seemed to belong next to the word beautiful in the dictionary. Then someone threw a coconut. A tree went timber. A variety of other things ventured over and crashed through and you can fill in the blanks here because this isn’t just the kid’s story I hope you know and then finally the book came: one very vital book. One might think that the kid opened the book and it was instant like lightning or the internet. (Ever notice that almost nothing truly worthwhile or meaningful is every instant and easy?) But no. This book, its pages few, seemed quite confusing. Eventually though, he understood something about it. It happened like the way stars appear during twilight, one at a time here and there and a person can’t help but wonder if that one might be Mars or Venus and then something like smoke coming out of the barbeque draws your attention elsewhere for a few minutes but still there’s the entire sky. One just can’t NOT look. It’s splattered with stars. And it’s staring back.   

That book? Utterly blank. Waiting to be filled with stories: comic, tragic, romantic, new characters, some shady, some not, plot points one can only dream of but ALL adventure and ALL beyond the wall.

And so he finally pushed himself through that wall, stopped, looked back, and crawled his way back home, went to the bathroom, made a sandwich, ate, contemplated some more, texted a few buds, and then returned to the wall and finally, finally before yet another sunset vanished he pushed through his comfy comfortable comfort zone, and each time it became a tad bit easier until that book of his...? Well. Eventually he had to staple in a few extra pages.

There’s a name for this kid: he’s you and he’s me. And there’s a name for what’s beyond the wall: growth. And I’m not saying it’s will be easy, but I am saying it will be worth it.

Monday, March 10, 2014

This is my hood.

Dear Canadians,
No explanation necessary, right? This little brown chunk of plastic is an essential Canadian tool invented by one clever coffee-addicted entreprenerd. I am in awe of  his idiot-geniusness.

Dear Everyone else,


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Things that deserve the stink-eye:

My Brain: what does jet-puffed even mean?
My heart: who cares? It sounds like 
a jet stream of sugar and I WANT IT.
My brain: *resignedly shakes itself*
promoting marshmallow creme as "fat free" is like saying red herrings are not actually fish. It may be true but that's not the point.

(And yet, I want this in my belly.)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Like a sneeze.

In six months both my kids will be gone.

By "gone" I mean moved out and on their own living far away continuing their education beginning a new phase in that self-sufficient independence we've been training them for since they were born.

How did this happen?

This is one of my favourite photos of our kids. On a sunny July morning, getting close to almost a decade ago now, we crossed the Confederation Bridge from Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick nearing the end of a Maritime family vacation with terrific friends and we all remember it so, so fondly.

This day especially. My daughter appeared that morning wearing that pink dress I don't recall ever seeing before and it startled me for a moment because she didn't look like such a little girl anymore and yet she moved along our walk on that red-sand beach that morning like any child would, discovering this, discovering that, laughing, playful and carefree. A little later that morning my son barfed in the parking lot of a Tim Hortons and then once more into a Tim Hortons bag while we were crossing the bridge in this photo; perhaps you should know that there is no possible way a person can pull over on the Confederation bridge. A total trooper, he didn't complain, just barfed like barfing was the equivalent of sneezing. I do think he felt a lot better although he barfed again in a Canadian Tire parking lot about an hour after this photo was taken. (Could this anecdote possibly be more Canadian?) He was ok, we figured it was just too much sun the day before because later we ate ice cream and watched the tide come in at the Bay of Fundy.

It was the perfect day.

I love change. As much as it cranks the heat up on my anxiety it also energizes me. I believe it is essential to growth, to creativity, to happiness. I know my kids must go. There have been times where I couldn't wait for them to go. I admit sometimes I have counted the days. But today, I am counting again and there just aren't enough left and for some reason lately I have these moments where it's like someone is wringing my heart like a wet cloth.

Like all memories though there's a message inside. I need to think of this like a sneeze. This ache will pass like too much sun. There are many more days to come. I will try to live for the present and with hope for the future like I always have like I hope I taught them to do too.
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