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
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.
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
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
Saturday, May 21, 2011
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
Friday, February 25, 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
Friday, February 18, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011