Tuesday, 24 May 2016

First Blog Entry In A Series Of Six

So I'm supposed to write six blog entries, three this week and three the next. It doesn't matter why. The important thing is I've made the commitment and have to follow through. But I've really gotten out of practice writing these things, and words aren't coming easily. It's probably more honest to say that the words have never come easily. That's because I don't like self expression. Writing is fun, but writing about anything personal is hard. Looking for attention, exposing myself to the scrutiny of others, is hard.

The thing is that it's easy to write about other things. Conversing on the Internet about some other subject that has nothing to do with me is fun and simple enough, and so is contributing to a group effort where my contribution is just part of a greater whole. But if I accidentally express too much of myself the words dry up and it hurts. The idea here is to directly tackle that resistance by writing regularly for two weeks. Six blog entries sets an achievable benchmark.

So what is there to talk about? I lost weight recently. I've been going to  a gym regularly for about eight or nine months and working pretty hard in there. My goal was to lose the extra twenty pounds I gained after Dad died, but I wasn't having much success. I think all the weight lifting helped me gain some muscle, but I didn't lose any fat. Then I went on a ketogenic diet for a month (while still going to the gym) - and BOOM, the weight melted off. I lost twenty-three pounds. I've been off the diet for about three or four weeks now, and kept most of the weight loss. I gained back about six pounds (but I'm pretty sure that's mostly muscle), so I'm still eighteen or nineteen pounds lighter than before, and that weight seems to be pretty steady. The diet really worked.

A ketogenic diet is where you eat no more than  twenty grams of carbs a day. That's it. There's  no point system or complicated diet plans. I had no bread or sugar for a month, but ate plenty of meat. Sometimes I'd get a roast chicken from the grocery store and eat the whole thing for supper. With the weight lifting and running I was burning plenty of calories, but they were all coming from protein and fat.

Maybe that's enough for Blog Entry Number One. But Ill be back soon.

Monday, 12 May 2014

April Photos

Yeah, I know. It's halfway through May. But I didn't take enough pictures for the current month yet.

Here are some of the images of April:

This is the fifty or sixty year old dogwood (Maybe ash?) behind the garage.

The yard looks like Mordor in this picture. That's because the tree trimmer I hired convinced me that Dad's magnificent fourty-year-old rosebushes needed to be trimmed to the ground. You know, for their health.

I'm really scared that I've killed them, but everyone says that roses like to be trimmed.

My hope is that these will be the "before" pictures, and when the roses have grown out again I can post the beautiful "afters."

The Blood Moon of April 15.

And here's the regular Moon. I'm a bit obsessed with it.

Hello there, Magpie.

These birds are hard to photograph, because they never stand still! And on top of that, they have black head feathers, black eyes and black beaks, which makes the features blur together. Got this one, though.

And finally, at long last, the first robin of spring!

This little guy was nearly invisible, but I saw something hopping around on the other side of the alley and just knew it was a robin. So I ran for the camera and viola!

You're Just Looking For Attention

An interesting discussion on Metafilter today got me thinking about the right to speak, and my own hangups when it comes to self expression. The discussion was about Jaden Smith, celebrity son of big time movie star Will Smith, and his strange pronouncements on Twitter. It actually wasn't that interesting. The kid has acquired a reputation for posting strange non sequiturs, and someone on Buzzfeed decided to take advantage of this by pairing Jaden Smith tweets with Garfield cartoons. The bit is marginally funny, but you could probably do the same thing with anyone's random Twitterings.

What interested me is when someone mentioned that Jaden had an Official Twitter account, and another Mefite said that his publicist probably encourages him to blast a quota of tweets out into the infosphere every month. Now that is strange. Heck, it's downright weird. His publicist thinks it's a good idea for a movie star to send unsolicited messages to random people? I mean, you can be on the bus or sitting down to a nice prime rib at AppleBee's, your phone buzzes, you see it's Jaden Smith tweeting You Can Discover Everything You Need To Know About Everything By Looking At Your Hands, and what... You smile like it's a good thing? Wouldn't that be incredibly annoying and make you hate him? Apparently not.

I just can't imagine doing this, and therein lies the problem. Deep down I've always felt that I'm unlikable, and people can only tolerate me in small doses. Twitter and its accompanying cellphone culture is weird and alien to me because I just can't believe on a gut level that people want to talk to each other that much. In our house phone calls were mostly received, not made (by a ratio of maybe a hundred-to-one), and even today I find it extremely difficult to call people. It just feels like an invasion of their privacy. I like talking to people on the phone, but calling them makes me feel tremendously guilty, because I know I'm bothering them with my unlikable self when they have better things to do. Tweeting things to a list of followers would ramp that guilt up to a whole new level.

This causes problems with writing, too. I started this blog as a storehouse for interesting things I've written elsewhere on the perishable Internet, but I've never once used it that way because deep down I don't think anything I write is worthy of preservation. I was going to post photos here, but still haven't done it. I barely post on Facebook. There are so many things I want to write, but never even start because I hear that voice (my father's weary voice) saying "You're just looking for attention." My mother had cancer for a long time, and Dad had to care for both of us. It was really hard, and I don't begrudge him anything. He did a great job, but that kind of situation messes you up as a kid no matter how much love there is in the family. Whenever I had night terrors or cried because I couldn't fit in at school, he'd say "you're just looking for attention" and I'd stop because that was the ultimate sin. You're not supposed to look for attention, you're supposed to just do your job and be quiet, like him.

But maybe that isn't the best approach to life for everybody.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Dream No More

It's been quite a while since I made a post. A lot has happened. A WHOLE lot, probably too much to summarize right now. But here's the important part for now.

I decided to make some changes to my life, to make some plans and actually carry them out. And the first plan was to travel. All my life I've stayed in Edmonton. When I was younger our family went on vacations, but the most exotic place we ever went to was British Columbia. After my Mom died, Dad and I still went on the occasional vacation, but we stayed within the bounds of the earlier trips. Then came my big act of rebellion in my twenties: going to the World Science Fiction convention in Winnipeg with a friend. By Greyhound Bus. It was exciting and wonderful, but world travel it was not. And every night I called my Dad on the phone. It was so good to hear his voice! I worried about him constantly while I was gone.

But now Dad is the one who's gone. He's dead, and it's been nineteen years since that trip. I spent six or seven months crying and wondering if I should still be alive, and eventually I decided the answer to that was Yes. So now it's time to start living, and make one of those childhood dreams come true! I'm typing this right now on a laptop in the departure lounge at the International Airport. In about an hour and fifteen minutes (barring further delays) I should be in the air (for the second time in my life) and on the way to Cancun Mexico for a week long vacation. It's exciting as hell, and absolutely terrifying.

Is this what it's supposed to feel like when dreams turn real?

Monday, 25 February 2013

Asleep Inside A Dream

Strange dream last night. I was in a cavern deep inside the Moon, about to enter an icy coffin. As the cover clicked shut I knew it was just supposed to last for a year (Asleep inside a dream!), but next thing I knew I was in a busy restaurant and somebody told me that I had actually died. There was somebody else I had to meet, but I couldn't find them or maybe they were too busy to see me, and in the middle of the bustle and commotion with all these people walking around and bumping into me I realized that dying had changed nothing. My skin was really pale, but I could still feel a heartbeat in my chest and nobody else seemed to care. It was same old runaround.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


Today is my birthday, the first one I've ever had alone. More perhaps later.

Monday, 3 December 2012

A Visit From The Trickster Spirit

There's a coyote in the backyard! Just a small one (probably less than seven pounds), but definitely a coyote. I looked them up on Wikipedia, and this little character is just like the photos. It's got a thin muzzle with close -set almond shaped eyes, triangular ears, and a fuzzy yellow-brown coat. The fur is puffed up a little around the shoulders. I haven't seen it's tail, unfortunately. But I'm pretty sure it's not a dog.

And it doesn't act like a dog. It laid down in front of a rose bush and curled up around itself, nose under tail, but instead of resting it kept sticking its head up in the air, maybe listening to the neighbourhood sounds. Its manner reminded me of the rabbits from the last few years: always on alert. Then it licked its fur for awhile.

I coughed a couple of times, and it heard me! Even though I'm on the other side of a window and more than ten feet in the air. I was scared it was going to leave, but it just moved over to the other side of the bush and seemed to eat some snow. (Not sure it was actually doing that, but that's what it looked like.) Then it sniffed the air for awhile, and looked back in my direction. I looked right into its eyes, but it might not have seen me through the window. Then finally all must have been well, because it turned around three times and laid down again. I guess coyotes, dogs and wolves all have that turning behavior.

The coyote is still there! I think it's sort of half sleeping.

EDIT: Heh. One of my neighbours is out shovelling snow now. You can't see him, but the coyote is laser focused on the sound. You can just see it calculating danger levels in its head. Should I stay or go? So far it's "stay."