Sunday, 31 March 2013

Meanwhile in the first world. . .

Okay, so . . .time to be a horrible, horrible person. More horrible than usual. Here is a list of things I would miss most if we restricted water use in north america to the non-frivolous.

1.) The bath

Anyone who knows me, or who has lived with me knows I have an unhealthy need to have a bath at the end of the day, otherwise I'm just all out of sorts for the week. It doesn't have to be elaborate. It doesn't have to be deeper than the width of my palm. I just need to lay down. Think. Let my muscles soak and generally get all the uck da fuck out. This lady understands. A shower won't do it for me. Getting sprayed in the face by icy cold or steamy hot water at high velocities is not relaxing. I don't get it. 

That being said, a bath is a near-completely frivolous waste of water. Yes, it gets you clean. But the power washer--I mean, shower-- will do that too. 

2.) Playing with garden hoses

No, I don't like standing in the shower and being sprayed. Outside on a hot hot day, though? Oh yes! I don't care how old you are; chasing someone around with a garden hose or running through a sprinkler when you're fighting off the madness of heatstroke is about as fun as it gets. 

3.) Swimming!

Not a huge fan of the swimming pool, but I know if that were no longer an option, I would miss it. Where else would I go on a hot summer day to stand in water with a bunch of other overheated people packed in like sardines in a can? Where else could I get splashed in the face by small children or kicked in the teeth by someone foolishly trying to swim underwater in an overfull space? 
. . .maybe I'll stick to the sprinkler.

4.) Water parks!

Stealing the West Edmonton Mall's cheesy advertisement here. But yes! Water parks! I didn't think I would like them, but then I did. They're like regular theme parks, but you get to swim up to the bar. And drink mojitos. In your swimsuit. In the sun. In the water. Best. Thing. Ever.
(the way to sell me on something may or may not be alcohol)

5.) Decorative ponds/water landscaping

If you wouldn't miss these little works of landscaping art, you have no soul. That is all. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Pride and Prejudice

Okay, gonna attempt to write a writey post naow, but words no good have today, so sound garbled maybe.

I think most of us who know how to read, write, think, and chew gum at the same time would agree that we dislike prejudice. What comes to our minds when we think of prejudice is this:

Or this: 

But what a lot of us have trouble realizing is that we all have prejudices. Those of us who claim to be the least prejudiced may have the harshest prejudice against those we view as "prejudiced". Which might seem like justice at the time, but is actually pretty illogical. 

So, given that everyone has some sort of prejudice, what makes some prejudices worse than others? I'm going to throw out the notion (absolutely debatable) that it is less the content of the prejudice that makes it "bad" , then what is done with it. 

Characteristics of a "bad" prejudice:

1.) It is used to maintain authority over another group.

2.) It is used as a tool of power-through-fear, against the group the prejudice is inflicted upon, or (surprisingly often) directed at the prejudiced themselves (who get stuck in a cycle of fear, which validates their prejudice, which generates more fear, etc. etc.) 

3.) It is acted upon  . . .actively. Burning crosses in people's yards, folks. Not cool. 

4.) It is acted upon passively. For example, school is hard enough without your teacher marking you down because she doesn't like your hair color or something. 

5.) It is passed on to children. I'm sorry. I know we, as adults, have all developed our own prejudices through the course of our lives, but if you are actively trying to pass that prejudice on to your kids, seriously, you can burn in hell and a happy Satan assfuck to you (and there's my prejudice, ladies and gentlemen). The very, very, very least you owe your children is the right to develop their own prejudices in their own good time, rather than having some half baked ideal shoved down their throat at an age when they are too helpless to say "no, daddy, I don't like half-baked ideals. Please don't feed me any more of them." 

I'm sure there are more characteristics of a "bad" prejudice, and I know that all prejudices, no matter how they are expressed are "bad". But, they are an inescapable part of how we function in the world, and maybe if we can understand some of the ways in which your regular human prejudice can morph into something awful and inhuman, we can learn to prevent just that from happening.

And yeah, that was definitely too big a topic to tackle with this size of headache.
Stevie, out.





Some photos of the same statues I've seen every day in Montreal for the past two years, manipulated in new ways. Because I have to keep myself interested in life somehow.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Lionel Conacher

One of Canada's early athletic greats, Lionel Conacher (AKA the Big Train) could also be viewed as an exercise in irony. Involved (quite successfully) in a number of sports, the biggest of which were Football and Hockey, but also winning championships in baseball, wrestling, boxing, and lacrosse, Conacher was a sort of athletic superhero. Seriously. Think about it. Not that most athletes aren't physically capable all round, but most have some area upon which they concentrate with laser focus.

Interesting note, he is also one of two athletes to have his name both on the Grey Cup and the Stanley Cup.

Another interesting note, following his athletic career, Conacher became involved in politics as a Liberal MP for Bracondale and later Trinity.

Another interesting note: Conacher died of a heart attack while playing softball in 1954. He was born in 1902. Think about that now. This athlete, this great athlete died young. Of a heart attack. While playing softball. Tell me you don't see the irony there?

And yet, in some ways it is perfectly logical. The brightest flame burns half as long, as they say. Maybe he pushed himself too hard, tried to do too much, and his body just plain crapped out on him. So I guess, that raises the question: is it worth it to do as much as you possibly can in your youth, and risk burning out by middle age; or is it better to take it slow, pace yourself, achieve big things and little things in good time, and die at a ripe old age.

I don't really have the answer here. Both have their own appeal. Its too late for me to do the former, anyway, so I suppose I shall pursue the latter. Slow down, take life at life's pace. No pushing, no rushing.

After all, we all wind up at the same place, eventually.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


So, I've had a lot of reasons to be pretty introspective and self-scrutinizing lately. I've come up with a few things in me that I'd like to change. Character traits I'd like to free myself of. I know, I know, you're supposed to embrace your flaws, not override them--so maybe change isn't even possible. But these are unhealthy things about me that I would like to root out.

Sorry in advance for the personal post, guys. Its a diary moment. I could write about this in my actual paper journal, but I'm hoping there will be some interesting food for thought in here. Or maybe I'm just too tired to use a pen. Anyway . . .

Things I'd like to be free of:

Guilt- Guilt is a big thing for me. Its haunted me for forever. People get irritated with me because I'm constantly saying "I'm sorry" and "Are you mad at me?", even (especially) when I've done nothing wrong. The reason I constantly feel guilty partly goes back to my childhood, when I felt it was my personal responsibility to keep my family on an even keel. I did a pretty good job, but whenever things began to fall apart, I would take that as a personal failure on my part. Hence, guilt. The other reason I feel guilt is because somehow this sense of responsibility for everyone else's wellbeing has spread to the entire world for me. I've folded, caved. I have been unable to help everyone in the world. There are problems I have to outright ignore. Once again, this inability to help everyone on the planet feels like a personal failing, and I feel constant, intense guilt.

Sadness - Let me preface this by saying I don't want to be entirely free of sadness. Sadness can be healthy. Tears are a good way to release intense emotion. What I mean when I say I want to be free of sadness (and this is something almost no one will understand) is I want to be free of the lingering sense of sadness that I carry with me in the pit of my stomach. Like, all the time. From other bipolars I've talked to (there's that topic again . . .I can see you rolling your eyes), there is a core of intense emotion in them that can't be shaken. Often, this is an intense sadness that just sits there in your gut. Its not sadness for any particular reason. It feels like all of the sadness in the world has been soaked into you like a sponge. My theory is that manic phases are an effort to drown out the sadness, while depressive phases are succumbing to it. When my meds are on track, that feeling goes away, and life feels much less difficult because I'm not dealing with all the sadness in the world, so maybe there is something to my theory that intense sadness is just part of the whole bipolar shtick.

Fat - I know what I should say here is "I want to be free of my poor body image", but most of the time I don't really have one. I look like a goof. Sometimes I look like a slob. I've never had a model's body, and I never will. My personality makes me endearing, I think, so I really don't have so many poor body image issues as I did a few years back. Before I realized how cool I am (ego kick). But yes, I do want to get rid of my massive coating of fluff (under which there is a good deal of muscle, I think). Sometimes I feel trapped in my own body. Like I'm drowning in unnecessary pounds of flesh. It feels yucky. I don't like it. This is an easy fix, and yet a hard one. So difficult to get up the energy to pursue a fitness regimen when its constantly snowing and cold and your body is telling you to hibernate.

Compulsive Behavior - Once again, this may be associated with bipolarity, but that really isn't an excuse. I tend to get very dog-with-bone about certain things. I'll get an idea in my head, a notion, a perceived problem, and I until whatever it is has been resolved. This is not only exhausting, but it makes me pretty much harass anyone who might be involved until they cave and talk to me about it.

The Need for Positive Affirmation - Positive feedback from people is a good thing. . .a wonderful thing, when freely given. My problem is, I often dig for it. Try to get people to give it to me. Part of this is an anxiety issue, part of it ties back to my guilt. I want people to reaffirm for me that I am indeed a good person, despite my failings. This is probably the trait that ticks me off the most about myself. I should be stronger. I should be able to give myself that affirmation. In general, I should feel more secure. Its annoying to me, and its annoying to other people. I don't know why I do it, and I don't know how to stop.

The truth is, I don't know how to be free any of these things, really (except being fat and to an extent being compulsive). I can't bend my head around concepts of just picking myself up and not feeling sad, accepting myself as I am so I don't need affirmation, realizing that there is no reason to feel guilt. I try to understand these things, but I can't. Its like my brain shuts off and goes a little slackjawed when I try to work through it in my mind.

So, that's where I am, and more about me than any of you wanted to know. If anyone has any suggestions for me on how to work on some of this crap, please send them my way. I really don't want to pay for a therapist :p

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Taxis and whatnot

This is really a small portion of what could be a huge rant about how Anglais are treated in Quebec. But, that is really too big of a topic for me to handle here, and one which I am certain would get me into some trouble if I did. So, allow me to restrict myself to transportation in Montreal.

Say, for example, I wanted to order a cab. This seems simple enough. You find a phone number, you call it. . .right? Wrong! In Quebec, prior to making such a call, you desperately search the web for a company with service in both English and French. Should you fail to do this, and you call one of the French companies instead (even though pretty much everyone here speaks some degree of English) the dispatcher will straight up hang up on you. Rude.

Or, for example, say I want to ride the bus to the airport. Nowhere is it posted that this is a $9 trip. The driver will explain this to me in French, will not explain it in English, will become increasingly frustrated with me, finally explain it in English, and then kick me off the bus. When I attempt to explain why I was confused (AKA I thought my transit pass had enough $ on it for a $9 trip), he will say (in perfect English) "I don't know English". Rude.

What ticks me off here isn't so much the rudeness (although that is bad enough), it isn't this stubborn adherence to the French language in a world where English is the global language, it isn't even the general lack of common courtesy and concern for one's fellow man. What bothers me, more than anything, is that this sort of behavior is absolutely illogical in any sort of a setting where one is intending to generate a profit. Montreal is a city with many English speakers, and many French speakers. By catering to both, you are maximizing your profit. By catering to only one or the other, you are cutting your profits in half. Simple good business sense seems to be greatly lacking in this city.

To demonstrate the reverse: were a French speaker to wander into a store in Saskatchewan (where French is poor at best and non-extant at worse), the storekeeper would not automatically turn this customer away with a brisk "I do not speak French". I mean, certainly some assholes would, but this wouldn't be a common practice. Instead, the storekeeper would do her utmost to try to understand the potential customer. She would point, she would grasp at her rudimentary grade seven French, she would flap around and grunt until some sort of meaning was exchanged. At the very least, she would be intensely apologetic. The point is, anywhere else in the country, all customers are created equal (unless they are rude or have a history of not paying). The money exchanged is the same no matter what language you speak. Obtaining money is the entire point of a business, ergo the language spoken should not prevent someone from giving a business money.

In conclusion:

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Saskatchewan at Night

One of my favorite things to do is to make random shadow pictures in paint. Normally I just do creepy half-shaded faces, but this time I decided to do an actual scene. Don't know whether I like it or not, but here it is.