Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What's that strange tingling?

This is gonna sound really weird but I think I can feel other people's brainwaves. I know, I know it sounds crazy. I'll try to explain. The first I can remember it happening was back in Grade 7 or 8. My friend Pete liked to draw. (Still does) Sometimes I would ask him to draw for me. When I watched him draw I would get a strange tingling sensation up my spine and across the top of my head. When he stopped, so did the tingling. I still get that same feeling sometimes when I watch people do certain things. It happens most at work. If I am watching someone troubleshoot or fix my machine, either physically or by working on the computer, I get that feeling. However, I think that the task they are performing needs to require a certain amount of concentration. It doesn't work if they are just running the machine. That doesn't require much thought. But if they are trying to do something that requires some concentration, it tingles. But, I have to be sort of be concentrating too. If I look away, it doesn't work. I have to be paying attention and watching them. But I can't be paying too much attention. If I am actually watching what they are doing and either trying to figure it out or remember it, there is no sensation. But if I am almost casually but intently watching, it works. It's almost like I need to keep my mind slightly out of focus. Too much focus on the details blocks it. I have to "let it in". I haven't tried to experiment with it too much but I don't think it works if I just watch someone think. I think they need to be translating those concentrated thoughts into a physical action. Even if it's just tapping keys on a keyboard or pushing a pencil around some paper. It's a hard thing to test because not everyone likes being stared at when they are trying to do something. What I am trying to figure out is, I think, is there something emitted from the brain of someone translating concentration into a physical action that my body picks up on? Does that make any sense? Is it real? Or is it just some subconscious pleasure in watching people do work for my benefit that my mind has created? And my body has a physical reaction to it? It is quite weird. If it is some sort of phenomenon, how can it be explained physiologically/neurologically? It is an interesting question but I don't know how to find the answer. Maybe I should watch someone try to figure it out!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

On Hunting

This post was inspired by a single line of poetry that I wrote myself yesterday morning as I watched the hunters set out from the hunt camp/cottage next door.
"A sea of orange departs in the pale morning light in hopes of returning on a wave of red."
I never have, and never will, fully understand hunting as it is practiced in Western Civilization. I understand the concept, the means, the end etc. but I fail to understand the necessity. I'm not an advocate of killing in any sense (I take spiders outside and let them go) but I can't wrap my head around killing innocent animals for no good reason. I'm going to center on ruminants (deer and moose) but it applies to sport hunting of any kind.
In prehistoric times, hunting was necessary to maintain sustenance for our hunter-gatherer ancestors. But that hasn't been the case for centuries. At least in most of the civilized world. I don't expect Inuit to be vegetarians. But in the Western World, where anything thing we want is right at our fingertips, killing for sport just seems barbaric. We don't need the flesh for food, don't need the hides for warmth, don't need the bones to make weapons to defend against predators, don't NEED any part of the animals at all. But every year, thousands and thousands of people take time away from their jobs and family to go out in the woods in hopes of ending the life of an innocent deer. Deer are beautiful and majestic creatures just minding their own business in their own little world and people choose to destroy that. This is where the hunter's mentality really baffles me. They KNOW how beautiful deer are. You'll hear them talking the species up all the time. "Look at that one! Ain't she a beaut!" Yet they still want to kill it. It also appears, seemingly, that the greater the specimen, the greater the urge to kill it. This is man consciously working against natural selection. Survival of the fittest does not apply. Back in the day, the hunters picked off the weak and lame. Not only because they didn't have the means to take out the strongest and swiftest but because it made the herd stronger. A strong herd is able to reproduce better to ensure its survival. Eliminating the best specimens only serves to weaken the species as a whole. However, some hunters will be more than happy just to kill whatever they can. That's just blood lust. That's kind of frightening. A friend of mine bragged to me once about how him and his hunting buddies like to have a few beers, go down by the pond and shoot beavers if the hunt is not going well. Beavers! When I asked him why, he responded, "Well, we have to shoot something!" And this coming from one of the most Catholic people I know. It says right in The Bible, "Thou shalt not kill." It doesn't say specifically not to kill people. So when people go hunting just to kill something, it violates a rule in virtually every religion.
Now people may argue that deer hunting is population control. Last time I checked, deer are not running rampant across the continent destroying everything in sight like a swarm of locusts. I live out in the middle of nowhere and my neighbour is a full kilometer away and I can count the number of times I have seen a deer in the last year on one hand. If an abundance of deer leads to an abundance of their natural predators, nature will take care of that. The predator-prey, food eater-food source balance is in constant ebb and flow. Human intervention disrupts that. Call me ignorant, but I don't see deer being a major contributor to crop losses anyway. If that were the case, those losing crops should be responsible for protecting their own land. Some farmers have to much land to physically "police" or even fence but I still don't see that as being a justifiable reason for deer hunting in general. People of all sorts deer hunt. Not just farmers. All those Great White Hunters from the towns and cities never lost a damn thing because of deer but they are more than willing to kill them. Besides, hunting season is after the harvest! And most hunting takes place in the woods! Not empty corn fields! If crop control was a reason, then hunting season would be in growing season, would it not? So far, the deer have done nothing to harm people directly yet people still line up for the opportunity to kill them.
Speaking of the woods, let us talk about moose. People pay more money to go to more remote locations to kill animals of even more wondrous beauty. Any argument in favour of hunting holds even less true in the case of moose. Any nuisance they may cause on the roads or in gardens is only because we are encroaching on their habitat. So if choose to live in such an environment, a moose on the road or in our backyard is something that should be expected.
The majority of animals that are routinely hunted are gentle herbivores going about their own business posing no threat to humans whatsoever. I've never heard of a flock of ducks carrying off small children or a moose eating a baby. Deer, moose, ducks, geese, quail, pheasants, even bears, coyotes, wolves and cougars are more likely to react with a flight response over a fight response when they feel threatened. The most likely reason an animal would fight would be if it was cornered or defending its young. Are we any different? Even in the case of cougars or bears or wolves, they'd much rather keep away from humans but as humanity further encroaches on their natural habitat, encounters are inevitable. Driven by desperation and hunger, any animal will do what it takes to survive. Ultimately, it is all our fault.
 I guess what I am trying to say is that the only reason that would justify killing another living being would be in self defence or defending a loved one. Hunting down and killing an animal that has never and will never wrong you in any way is just plain wrong. Killing for sport and killing for sustenance are two vastly different things. Sure some of the deer or moose etc gets eaten, but it's just a treat more than anything. No one's diet will suffer without it. I just don't understand how people can destroy the beauty and innocence of nature just for fun. No matter what animal it is.
However, I must give hunters a little bit of credit. While shooting an animal that is either completely unaware of your presence or is running in fear seems pretty cowardly, (I'd be much more impressed if they killed in hand-to-hand combat so to speak) at least they know what they are doing. They are fully aware that their meal is a result of the death of an animal by their hands. Any guilt about that rests firmly on their shoulders. They are conscious of the chain of events that leads from living animal to meat on a plate. Whereas the average omnivorous consumer is able to distance themselves from that chain of events. To them, meat is a commodity. Buying meat bears no more weight on their conscience than a box of crackers or a piece of fruit. They have blinded themselves to death. They may not have killed the animal directly but they are responsible for its death. Their murder weapon is not a gun, but an appetite.

On Movember

This is not a personal attack and I mean no offence to my friends that are participating but: FUCK MOVEMBER. I totally understand that men's health needs more attention but this whole moustache thing is just stupid. I do the Relay For Life every year. I walk all fucking night. It is a physical sacrifice. I am in pain. I suffer in place of those I am raising money for. I know cancer charities are inefficient and beaten to death (pardon the pun). But what I am trying to say is, growing a moustache for a month is actually LESS effort than a regular day demands. There's no real sacrifice. No symbolic exchange of suffering. Again, no offence to my friends but it seems that as soon as something easy (rewarding laziness) comes around that makes people feel like that they are to be patted on the back for making a difference, everyone and their dog is all over it. I'd say almost 1 in 3 guys I know has a November Mo where barely anyone is around to support the myriad of other charities the other 11 months of the year.
I will say this; at least Movember requires participation. That's better than the charities that just stand there with their hand out. Or the ones that prey on people's greed and gullability to sell tickets. (Guilty! Come ooooooon Lotto! ) I don't know a better way to promote men's health but there has to be something that requires a little more effort. For instance, my cousin is collecting pledges to determine how many (of an INSANE AMOUNT) of situps she will do in a 24 hour period. Like 100/hour or something.
I'm still going to make a donation to the Movember campaign but it will be because it is important, not because of moustaches.
I got it! Help Prevent Colon Cancer: Go Vegan for a month!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I Rant About Voting

First of all, I'm going to get something off my chest. In this past Thursday's Ontario provincial election, 50.1% of the voters in my riding sucked. If I counted the rest of the voters that didn't vote the same as me that number would be much higher but I am satisfied to shake my head with derision at those that re-elected the clown in the suspenders.
Now on to voting in general. More or less. I can't remember the exact number but less than 50% of eligible voters actually voted in Thursday's election. That means every other "voter" was perfectly willing to let the person next to them make the decision for them. This is not a trivial decision either. This is how our province is run! Education, transportation, health care, social services etc. Things that affect the very fabric of our lives every single day.  This is how our taxes are spent! Our hard earned (well most of us) money!  We don't have a choice about paying taxes. (well, most of us) But we do have a choice about choosing the governing body that decides what to do with our taxes. Why would you not want to have a say? How can you be so complacent? A friend of mine said during the federal elections something to the effect of "I'm not going to line up with you sheep." But really, isn't HE the sheep? By not even trying to have his voice heard, and letting others make all the decisions, he becomes the follower. Just going with the flow. Good guy, smart guy. But I believe his logic on this is flawed.
There really is no valid excuse not to vote. Complacency is not an excuse. "I didn't have time." BULLSHIT. The polls were open for 12 hours. My wife and I were in an out in less than 5 minutes and we had to stop so people could coo over our baby. Don't give me the time crap. Even if you worked a shift from 9-9, the whole time the polls were open, employers are obligated to give you the time to go vote. It's your right. (I'll get to that in a minute) Besides, there was advance polls leading up to actual election day. No time is not an excuse. "I don't know who to vote for." Well who's fucking fault is that? YOURS! Read the newspaper, watch the TV, attend debates, look on the internet, ask someone who IS informed!!  You'll never know the answer unless you ask the question. There are so many avenues to get the information you need to make an informed decision. Even if it is just asking your husband, wife, neighbour, parents, children, barber, mailman, whoever. Lack of information is no excuse. "My vote won't make a difference." Like FUCK it won't make a difference! If every tit who sat on their ass saying "my vote doesn't matter" got up and voted, do you have any idea how much of a difference that would actually make? A HUGE difference!! Mostly because the people that think that way would vote for a "lesser" party like the NDP or Green Party etc. Maybe if people changed their attitudes about that, things might change. Their might not be two big parties and some also-rans. Look what happened in the federal election. (I'm talking about the NDP becoming the official opposition, not Emperor Harper getting his much coveted majority. He said the election was a dangerous exercise.YUP! I'm expecting him to dissolve the Senate any day now. "Unlimited POWER!!!" I digress) The insignificance of your vote is bullshit and not an excuse.
No time, no clue, no care, no weight. None are valid excuses. If you can think of another reason not to vote, let me know and I will gladly tell you why it's bullshit.
I mentioned your RIGHT to vote. Yes, it is your right but it is just as much a privilege. For generations, Canadian soldiers have fought and died to maintain our rights and freedoms. Democracy is part of that. Go tell a veteran that you don't care. See how much they like that. Go tell someone in one of the countries that doesn't have the freedom to vote for their leaders that you don't care who runs your municipality/province/country. I'm sure they'll gladly trade places with you. Eligible voters should feel proud that they have the right to vote. They should feel honoured and privileged to serve their democracy in the manner that regular citizens can. Most of us were born into this right but thousands upon thousands of refugees have fought for the opportunity to vote. In this country or their own. And over 50% of eligible Ontarians just sat on their ass and did nothing. Shameless.
I'm going to go extremist for a minute here. Sometimes I think it should be mandatory to vote. I don't know what the punishment would be. I'm just talking. The problem is, the people who don't care to vote now would either just take the fine or whatever or randomly pick a name based on whatever bullshit criteria pops into their head. Which wouldn't work either. I'm just being hypothetical because I'm frustrated and it's 4:30am.
So, can you just do me a favour next time there is an election of any sort? Do some research, get informed and exercise your right and VOTE.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

There Is Always Another Way Out

 should be blogging about something good. Like my second daughter starting school. But sometimes the impetus to express oneself in words is brought on by events of tragedy rather than of triumph.

A friend and former band mate took his own life this past week. I haven't seen or talked to him in many years but the news is weighing heavy on my heart nonetheless. I've been lucky enough not to have known very many people that have taken this path to another life. It's not something I care to get used to. One suicide is one suicide too many.

Another friend and former band mate broke the news to me. They were best friends. As is often the case, even those closest didn't see it coming. As I've spoken to him, he told me that the deceased seemed like he was on top of the world. It was "all good" and there was nothing that sent up any flags. Apparently he did have a bit of an issue with painkillers after a motocross accident but not to the extent that it was feared this would happen. Like I said, his BEST FRIEND didn't see this coming.

Which got me thinking about the nature of suicide itself. I have a hard time wrapping my head around how people can go so far as to believe that suicide is the only way out. And I am no stranger to the concept. I've been to the bottom of the pit of despair. I know what it feels like to be surrounded by the slick walls of pain and loneliness. To feel like you have nothing to grab on to and no one will ever be there to pull you out. But deep down in the bottom of my heart, I knew that there were people out there that cared about me. That cared about me a great deal. That LOVED me. And I knew that if I resigned myself to thinking I would never get out, that the only way to escape the pit would be to put myself in the ground below it, that it would cause more pain and loneliness to those that loved me than I would ever feel myself.

That's why I find it so hard to understand when people actually do take their own lives. Because everyone has someone that loves them. Everyone has someone that wants nothing more than to see them happy. Sadly, sometimes people hold their eyes shut so tight, they can't open them up again to see that. They've blinded themselves to the door that is right in front of them. The other way out.

I suppose some people feel that they are a burden to others. That by choosing to remove themselves from this life, they are somehow doing "us" a favour. Their notion of putting others ahead of themselves has been twisted somehow. Somehow they fail to realize that those they are trying to "free" are actually the ones that will hurt the most. It's a harsh reality, but when it comes right down to it, suicide is a selfish act. (Unconsiously selfish) It's putting your pain and suffering, your needs, ahead of all others. When the true way to happiness is by putting the pain, suffering and needs of others ahead of your own. But it happens everyday. And each one is just as sad and tragic as the next.

I can't begin to know what reasons my friend had for ending his own life. Even his best friend was blindsided. 
But that's the way it is, isn't it? Those that are serious about it, keep it inside where it gnaws at their soul. If they were to let on that they were really that far gone, someone would try to help. And if they are that serious, they don't want anyone trying to talk them out of it. On the other side, the people we think would commit suicide based on what we see, are the ones that wouldn't. They are just looking for attention and that's one way to get it. When people try to help, that means they care about you. In the end, his suffering in this life has ended. I can take some small solace from that. But it just means the cycle of birth, suffering, sickness and death begins anew for him. I pray that in some way, his return is able to enrich the lives of those he left behind.  My heart of hearts goes out to his family and friends in this most difficult time.

RIP Dude. You were part of some of the most exciting years of my life and I will never forget that.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Relay for Life 2011

This past weekend I participated in my 3rd Relay for Life. For the most part it is a family event. Because who doesn't have family affected by cancer? Right. And this year was no different. Well, a little different but that part's not important. Our team name was Yes You Can Sir. We were walking in recognition of men's cancers. We had a Knight theme and all our Knight names were plays on words. Mine was (if detected early, cancer is) Sir Mountable. Ya, it could be taken a couple different ways.
The slogan for the Relay is Celebrate.Remember.Fight Back. As always, I find myself more on the Remember end of things. I usually don't dwell on things. The past is the past. But something about this event gets to me. Most the time there, I am walking alone around and around. Faster than most. That's just how I walk. I don't dawdle. As I walk, I do a lot of reflecting. I think about how much I miss the loved ones I've lost. I think about all the people there and how much they miss their loved ones. I think about the pain in their hearts. I think about what the survivors had to go through to still be here. And I think about my own mortality and how those around me would suffer if, karma forbid, something terrible ever happened to me. Sounds kind of morbid but it's not really. The finiteness of this life is something we need to think about. If we can live with the mentality of "I may die today," eventually we can gain a greater appreciation for this precious human life. We can cherish every moment we have. We can strive to make each moment even better, not just for ourselves but for those around us, those we love, those we don't love yet, those we'll love again and all life everywhere in space and time.
That's what I thought about as I circled the track again and again for over 20 kms. Thousands and thousands of steps. Each one a moment, a thought, a reflection in time. Each one a step towards making the universe a better place.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's the little things...

I've always been a very eco-conscious person. But I'm also kinda lazy. Drawn to the glamour of convenience. But all that's starting to change. In today's society it's getting harder and harder (and more expensive) to be as eco-friendly as I want to be. So while I can't do the big things on my list, (geo-thermal, >$25000!) I can do the little things to set an example on how to be easier on the earth. Just like in my Buddhist studies, where we are taught not to be preachy but to let "the way" emanate from you, I can't tell other people how to live, but I can be an example.
Over the last couple weeks I've started doing little things throughout my day with an environmental motivation. My plan is to do more and more things with this motivation and maybe someday, with a little karmic help, I can be the enviro-person I want to be.
Here's a few examples of things I (and/or my wife) have been doing:

We're switching over to natural based soaps, shampoos and personal hygeine products to put less chemicals on our bodies and into our water system.
We're using a natural, biodegradeable, bulk laundry soap that comes in a refillable container.
I'm getting much better at turning off lights when I don't absolutely need them on. Even if only for a few seconds.
I've started altering the way I drive to reduce fuel consumption.
I've started drying my hands on my shirt instead of using paper towels or blowers after washing my hands at work and in public restrooms to save paper and/or electricity.
(after some rationing by necessity) I've started using my (Rainforest Alliance Certified) tea bags twice.
Instead of putting my used tea bag on a napkin in the cafeteria because I'm too lazy to walk it to the garbage until I'm going that way anyway, I'm either putting it on a lid or something or getting up and walking it to the garbage.
I stopped drinking pop (and coffee) for this month to reduce my caffeine and sugar intake as an experiment. (I feel great btw) But I may continue as a way to use less packaged consumer products. The first "R" is REDUCE! and as a boycott of mega-corporations that threaten local ecosystems by using up valuable freshwater sources to make their products. (like water) I've been thinking about this one since I watched the documentary Tapped.

This is on top of all the stuff we usually do. Like not letting the water run while we brush our teeth or wash our hands, using cloth diapers, washing our clothes with cold water, not eating meat, etc

And then there is the stuff I plan to do. Such as, grow my own fruits, veggies and herbs, build/buy windmills/solar panels, possibly plant a bamboo stand to act as a carbon sink, replace my CFL bulbs with LEDs, get my ebike fixed, when the time comes, replace my hot water tank with a solar hot water tank, my gas riding mower with an electric one, and hopefully a Nissan Leaf or something like that. I love the idea of geo-thermal but I just can't afford that yet. I'm also going to try and burn more wood this winter to use less oil.

I guess the biggest thing is just to be more aware of the impact our choices make. Ask if there is a more eco-friendly option. Just think. Think, "What would that big hippie Matt do?"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

End of an Era

Our daughter Amelia has been going to an AMAZING pre-school since last October. Sadly, her time there will come to an end in a couple weeks. It has done great things for her. She has come out of her shell, her vocabulary has exploded, she can write her name, etc the list goes on and on. We really wanted her to keep going but it just wasn't making sense anymore. With Becky on Mat Leave and gas over $1.30/L it just wasn't adding up. On top of sending her to pre-school/daycare while someone is home everyday, there's the ~80km of driving for 2 round trips each day she goes. Despite the fact that it looks like an easy choice, it was not. Becky and I fought with ourselves (not each other) over when to take her out. If we still lived in town, no brainer, leave her in. It was 3 blocks away! So really it comes down to the driving. Stupid driving.  If I had a Nissan Leaf I wouldn't care! LOL
No matter when she had to leave, it's sad. She had all her little friends and stuff. She loved it and they loved her.
But to take the positive out of this, we will  now have 3 months to enjoy her all day every day before she goes off to Kindergarten, all day every day. AND, Ruby is already on the list for when she turns 2!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Family Day 2011!

We had a great day on Family Day! Instead of just sitting on our duffs we decided to get out and do something. Luckily, the local Century 21 branch was hosting free swimming at the pool (not in the river) and free skating at the arena (not on the river). Grace and Amelia both LOVE swimming. I just never get to bring them in very often. The free public swim usually a madhouse and this time was no exception. Well, in a way. It was an exceptional madhouse this time. It was crazy packed. And loud! I shoulda brought earplugs! You could barely move in there but Grace managed to find a friend and cover every cubic inch of that pool with her. Amelia however, stuck right to me. She started with a life jacket and we puddled around a bit. Then I gave her a
piggyback swim all the way to the end and back. When we got back she took off the life jacket and hopped right in. She went right under and bobbed back up before I grabbed her to steady her but she wasn't upset by it. She actually laughed a little. Before too long, they blew the whistle and it was time to go. The change rooms were even crazier than the pool. Of course, we split up to handle the girls and I took Meel into the men's with me. She didn't seem to mind and I don't think anyone else even noticed us. Or I didn't notice them noticing.  I was trying to get Meel and myself changed and get out. I wasn't looking around too much.
We met up in the lobby and the girls went in the party room to colour some pictures. They even had a visit from someone dressed up as a giant life jacket. I can't remember its name so I'll just call it Happy Strap.
After lunch (nothing says family like McDonald's!) we headed over to the arena. We were a little late for the start of the public skate but I think the hour they got in was just fine. I don't get to take them skating much either so I was anxious to see how well they would do. I knew they would need those skate helper thingys but they were all being used. So I took them by the hands and we inched ourselves along. We got from one end of the benches to other and someone came over and offered me one. She said I had two kids and I looked like I needed it more. I did. Grace took that one and started off on her own. I still had Amelia so I couldn't really follow. Grace came across a friend of ours and her son. She showed Grace how to use the helper more effectively and she was off to the races! Seriously! She was racing Jacob. Safely of course. I went around holding Amelia's hands for a bit when suddenly a helper was left unattended. I waited to see if someone was coming back for it. When it appeared nobody was, I swooped in like a scavenger and flew away with my prize. Once Amelia had that I was actually able to skate at a speed that actually required skates.
Not fast, mind you but tolerable. Grace and Amelia were both so proud of themselves. And they got better every time around the ice.  At one point Amelia turned the helper around and used it more as back up. Then she just let go and started skating!! Mostly shuffling but she had a few glides. She made it from the red line to the hash marks before she fell down. Amazing for a 3 year old who has skated MAYBE 3 times before. And I pretty much just carried her arond those times. I have the utmost confidence that if I was able to spend the one-on-one time with Grace, she would do the same. Both of them amaze me every day. They are awesome.
Now, I bet you are all wondering, "This is supposed to be Family Day. Where's Becky and the baby?" Well, since Ruby can't swim or skate, or much of anything at all except eat, poop and cry, (and smile!), she couldn't participate. So somebody had to watch her. Not because she is the most qualified or anything. What with the breast feeding and all. No, she had to watch her because well, the breast feeding and all. Hahahaha. We were all in the same place and that's what matters. They had fun watching us have fun.
I practically had to drag the girls off the ice. "But Daddy I love skating!"  I really need to check the schedule and see when public skating is and take them. I think it would be lots of fun.

We went to the banquet hall after the skating for some cotton candy. They were taking the air castles down as we got in there. Much to Amelia's chagrin. But Grace was able to joust against another girl. Up on pedestals on a giant air mattress with big inflatable jousting poles. Grace kicked her butt.
Before heading home we went over to visit Grammie. We had a nice visit. I managed to snag a few more LPs too. Mom gave me some old
pictures of me and my brother and her. She even gave me the wedding album from when she married my dad. It was kinda weird showing the girls. They couldn't really get it. Maybe they were just distracted by Dad's blue tux.
We had some awesome soft tacos/burritos/wraps for supper. I made a giant one out of all the leftover fillings. I posted out about it on Facebook and Twitter. It was that worth it.
I initially wondered about the usefulness of a stat holiday in February (as opposed to say, June) but we took full advantage! What a
great day!!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My New Year's Resolutions

I have a handful of resolutions for 2011. None of which are unreasonable.
1. Practice. a) I need to get better at my Buddhist practices. I very rarely meditate outside of class. That needs to change. Meditation is like medicine. I can go to the doctor and get the medicine and read the label, but unless I actually take the medicine, it won't do anything. I can go to class and listen to the teachings and read the books. But unless I meditate on what I have learned, I will come to no realizations.
b) I need to actually play my guitars.  How can I ever consider myself a bass player if I never practice? What should I concentrate on? Black metal and/or Doom?
c) I need to start screaming again. Not at people. I'm talking musically. I am very out of practice. I should probably watch the Melissa Cross Zen of Screaming video and practice her methods so I don't kill my vocal chords.
2. Swear less. The actual goal here is to not swear at all but I have to start somewhere. I know plenty of people who swear lots more than I do but I still think I am a little too free with my language. There really is no need to use expletives in any situation. I still may use them when reviewing albums or when engaging in 1c but the goal is to take it out of everyday use. I know a guy who just uses different words instead. Frig, or fuddle etc. He may not be dropping F-bombs but the intent is there. The best way to keep that intent from arising in your mind is by engaging in 1a.
3. Drink less alcohol. This I am actually doing really well with. I have not been in to the LCBO or the Beer Store yet this year. I had beers that were offered to me while visiting people and I had one at a restaurant the other day. Also, I was given 3 by someone who doesn't have a taste for Belgian Abbey beers and somehow ended up with them in his fridge. I haven't gone out and bought any to have at home though. We'll see how well I am able to stick with this one once summer hits but for now, I'm doing great!
4. Blog more. I do need to blog more. Both on this blog and my metal blog. If I want more readers, I need more posts. I will be using this one to chronicle the development of our mini-farm at least. And I hope that I can get my metal blog to a point that it gets noticed by bands and labels and I can get some free stuff! Maybe even sell ad space!
5. Read more/Watch less TV.  Television is saturated with crime dramas, mediocrity and (far from) reality shows. Even if I can get Becky to watch more documentaries with me, that would be cool. Do you have any idea how many books I want to read but haven't been able to? Literally hundreds.
6. Win the Lottery. I have persevered for years at this game. Maybe I just need to give that little bit extra this year and I'll finally get that big payday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Playing WIth Fire by Theo Fleury

I just finished reading Theoren Fleury's autobiography, Playing With Fire. I thought it was incredible.  It chronicles his life from minor hockey all the way up to his attempt at an NHL comeback. It's a story of neglect, abuse, winning, losing, drugs, alcohol, love, pride and hockey. He pulls no punches when talking about former opponents, teammates, coaches, lovers or himself. He lays it all out on the table. No holding back the details. (No holding back on the language either) It amazes me that he could be such a good hockey player at such an elite level given the lifestyle he led. It's a story of reconciliation and triumph over one's own demons. This inspiring book has left me with a deep respect for Theo Fleury. Hockey fan or not, I highly recommend this book.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

We are now a family of 5!

On January 12, 2011 at 11:51pm Becky gave birth to our 3rd baby girl. Ruby-Claire weighed 8lbs 7oz. Here's the quickie birth story.
On the 12th, Wednesday, I got Grace on the bus and dropped Amelia off at pre-school and met Becky at her parents. She had stayed there for the night to be closer to the hospital should anything happen. She was feeling crampy and such so we started timing her contractions. They were around 6 mins apart but they varied. We called the midwife anyway and went in to the clinic. We got there around noon and when the midwife checked, Becky was about 3cm. But the baby's head wasn't oriented in the right way so as to put pressure on the cervix and open it up more. Becky laboured there and tried some stuff to get her head to turn to no avail. Around 3:30 we were told to go home or whatever and see what happens. We decided to go to my parents. Of all our parents they were closest to the hospital and definitely closer than home. I went and picked up the girls and brought them there. At this point we kinda knew they were going to have to stay somewhere without us. We knew this was the night. Becky prefers to give birth at night apparently. (10:19pm, 1:41am and now 11:51pm) By the time I got back Becky was in a LOT of pain. Around 7 she was telling me that she couldn't do it anymore. She was concerned that all she was going through would have been for nothing and nothing would have changed. I told her that all we could do was go back in and check. We met the midwife at the hospital around 9pm. Becky barely made it to LDR. She was really hurtin' now. They checked her there and she had progressed to 6cm but the head still wasn't right. She spent a couple more hours labouring and trying to get the baby turned. I put a Buddhist chant for removing blockages on repeat on my iPod and we listened to that the whole time. Also, when she was contracting, I gently placed my hands on her and visualized that when I breathed in, I took away all her pain as black smoke. It dissolved in my heart. And when I breathed out, pure white healing light channeled through my hands into her to ease her suffering. I told her what I was doing and she would visualize it too. She told me it really helped her.
Shortly after 11, the midwife offered to try and turn the baby. Becky agreed and voila! The baby moved into position. Then The midwife broke her water and we were underway! According to the records, Becky started pushing at 11:42pm. That means she was only pushing for 9 minutes. 9! 3 pushes to get the head out and one more for the rest. They had Becky grab hold of this bar that went up over the end of the bed. She was able to pull on that bar to really put some leverage into it. As with Amelia, I helped "catch" the baby. I held my hand on the back of her neck once her head was out and when her little body came sliding out, I put my hand under her back and "caught" her! It's awesome. I got to cut the cord too and Becky actually got that on video! I haven't watched the videos yet but that's a cool moment to catch.
After all was said and done, all the checks complete and a-okay, we were headed out the door. A mere 4 hours after she was born! Ah, the beauty of having a midwife. As long as everything is good, you go home! No sitting around in a loud, unprivate and (let's be honest) disease-spreading hospital for no reason.
So from the time we arrived at the hospital til we got home was only 8 hours. Some women push for that long! haha Maybe not that long but you get my drift.
So as you can imagine, we have been bombarded with "Are you gonna try for a boy?" The answer to that is a resounding HELLS NO! Hahahaha I know we have a 50/50 shot (no pun intended) every time but so far our luck has been leaning one way. So the likelihood of having a boy isn't very good. We are just meant to make beautiful girls. We could go on and on and never have a boy.So we're quitting while we're ahead.  You have to draw the line somewhere. It sounds bad to talk about kids in a financial respect but it doesn't make sense for us to have any more kids financially. Our situation isn't likely to change in the foreseeable future so we want to do the best we can for the kids we have now. If you can afford lots of kids, go for it! We always kinda knew we wanted three and now we do. Besides, Becky's the one that has to carry and deliver them, and she said No. So that's that. LOL
Plenty of people have asked me how I felt about having all girls. Well, there's nothing I can do about it right? So I embrace it. I have to be honest though and say that in the back of mind there will always be a voice that says "3 teenage girls all at home" and it kinda freaks me out. Then I think "4 possibly menstruating women all at home" and freak out a little more. I'll have to find a safe place to hide. I've even coined the term "Estro-fest".Ah, I wouldn't change it for the world. I love my girls. And I will turn at least one of them into a metalhead. It's all about exposure. I'll wear 'em down.