Oldschool vs. Newschool

One of the biggest arguments that my wife and I have are about how we’re going to maintain our landscape once we buy a house. We haven’t bought the house yet but we play the what if game to keep our sights set on our goal. As a hobby gardener and imagined landscaper I dream about the garden I have. Attempting to put in a water feature, or building the perfect shaded hammock stand is my kind of garden-porn. One of my personal dreams is to be able to not only have a garden that is to my liking but also sustainable. Rain barrels for conservation and solar panels to reduce our dependence on generated power. A combination of high and low tech tools that will make our piece of land a little greener.

The argument however stems from the fact that I’ve never wanted to purchase a gas/electrical powered lawn mower. When I was a kid, my parents owned a push-reel mower that I loved to pretend to use. I remember that thing being so heavy and orange and cool that I wanted to be able to use it. Unfortunately we moved and my folk’s ended up getting a gas-powered beast that would be my chore for the rest of my adolescence. But I never forgot that push-reel the way I imagined it would make me feel as I was cutting the lawn.

So back to the argument – she feels that the push-reel mower is an impractical and inefficient device that will be too heavy to push and not cut the grass well enough. I was thinking of conceding and just buying an electric mower but today I saw this.

That’s right folks with proper sharpening and usage, an old-fashioned scythe can actually work better and cut quicker then a professional grade weed whacker – and with significantly less harm to the environment. But there are also other benefits of using a push-reel mower vs. a powered mower. When you look at the gas/electric models they tend to chop and hack at the blades, doing the job but doing so in a very savage way. The push reel mower acts more like scissors which to be honest is a neater, cleaner and healthier way of cutting each blade of grass.

Aside from having a naturally healthy lawn, I am a huge fan of ridding ourselves of perceived simplification. The noise and exhaust of a gas-powered motor has always been a pet peeve of mine and the constant cost of buying gas and fixing any mechanical damages make them money suckers on top of everything else. Simplicity is key here and I’m going to stand firm to my side of the argument and go with my old school preference and my wife will have to just deal with it. But don’t tell her I said that or I’ll be stuck mowing the lawn for the rest of my life. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

The Linus Theory

Scarves. They’re functional and fashionable but I never got into them. Sure there are times that I wear one, but for the most part I just zip up my coat too keep the warm stuff warm, and keep the cool stuff out. Maybe if I was a little more fashionable or had a colder neck I’d be motivated to spend time and money enjoying more of the benefits of wearing a scarf.

Lately I have started noticing the growing (literally) trend of the scarf and how it has become an essential accessory for pretty much any season. However with this trend I’ve also noticed that the scarves has become bigger and bigger and are bordering on the excessive. This past week spring has started to peek it’s glorious head through the cold and I had the opportunity to start walking to work. As I was approaching the office I saw a woman walking towards wearing what I could only guess was supposed to be a scarf. It suddenly brought flashbacks of the Lenny Kravitz/scarf picture that circulated online a year or so ago and I couldn’t help but wonder how this could even be called a scarf. It was wrapped around her neck with two long tails draping down over her shoulders coming down to just below her knees. Even though it was clearly wrapped around her neck, it still looked less like a scarf and more like she was wearing a full on blanket. She had one tail gripped in her hands and the other tail being held against her torso by her arm.

I suddenly got a flash and the only thing I could think of was Linus. Yes the peanuts character that would never be seen without his blue security blanket in tow and as much as she wasn’t sucking her thumb, I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of safe secure feeling she received from her blanket-like-scarf.

So I challenged myself to wear a scarf for a few hours to put myself into her shoes and try and identify what it was that made a large scarf so appealing. Now this exercise was done in the safety of my own house because frankly the only scarves that were even close to large enough belonged to my wife. I chose a dark but flowery number that was large enough to be a blanket for a baby or a small dog. I had her show me how to tie it and I went along with my day. Aside from the warmth, there was a sense of comfort and security that was with me the whole time I was wearing the scarf. By no means am I an introvert and I’m not really an extrovert – I’m more or less and ambivert. I’m content and happy on my own as much as I am in social settings. The scarf, however gave me a sense of warmth and confidence that elevated me to what I’d like to call my Ninja-Asskick-Superhero mode. The simple piece of fabric allowed me to “hide” (Ninja Status) in a public setting (well as public as a family dinner gets) when I wanted to and yet still be able to be at the heart of the fun and excitement a public setting. The Linus theory – being able to be wrapped in a sense of security and warmth while being out in the most public of settings.

Now the scarf I had was not even half as large as the blanket that I saw on that woman, but I can completely understand why the trend of scarves is growing. Being wrapped in so much warmth and security can give intro and ambiverts a boost of confidence to get through the day. However summer is coming, and I swear if I see someone wearing a blanket like scarf in the summer will lead me to believe that they’re either crazy or completely socially inept.

An open letter to the MLSE

Dear MLSE,

I’m not going to pretend that I’m a hockey expert by any means. I know others who are much more knowledgeable than me and have spent many years deeply involved in the hockey world. I grew up as the son of an immigrant who was introduced to hockey by friends and outsiders who showed me what it was like to be the Canadian stereotype. I started following the biggest name in hockey at the time and it fueled my love of the game AND got me excited in Canadian hockey players. To this day I still dream of the day I own a signed Gretzky Oilers jersey, the man was the reason I started watching hockey.

Then I made my decision. I decided to throw my support behind one team, and logic dictated that this team would be the city of my birth, the centre of the universe – the Toronto Maple Leafs. I didn’t know it then but it was a choice that would teach me how to endure ridicule from almost everyone. Bruins fans automatically hate me, same with Ottawa and Detroit fans. Montreal fans just laugh at me but they have to endure Montreal winters so I’ll let them have their laughs. Through all that, I can still hold my head high and be proud to have such greats belong to my storied club. The likes of Sittler, Vaive, Salming, McDonald, Bower, Mahovlich, King Clancy – those that I’ve only seen in highlight reels but players that are legends and have brought home Lord Stanley’s cup. Then there are those that I remember watching; Clark, Gilmour, Potvin, Domi, Macoun, Andreychuk, Tucker, Roberts, Gartner, McCabe, CuJo. I’ve seen such great games, classic playoff rivalries, heartbreaking upsets but regardless of the outcome, there was always hope for next year.

Unfortunately that is no longer the case and it’s not just due to the stunning upset against the Preds or the Sabres. This has been building up for close to a decade now, and my hopes and dreams for watching a Stanley Cup final in Toronto are flickering away. My wife is a Blackhawks fan and I watch them play as much as I watch the Leafs, and I must say we’re not even CLOSE to their level of play. Sure they have an off night where they get beat by shitty teams (Nov 8th) but not only is their calibre of play better, but their team cohesion and leadership is something that I haven’t seen since the Burns and Clark days. As the richest team in the NHL and one of the richest sports franchises in the world HOW CAN THIS BE POSSIBLE? How can we not attract an inspiring coach or a captain that both the players and fans can get behind? There is no respect for the current captain as is evident in the Phaneuf Pylon Halloween costume that was passed around my news feed by both fans and non-fans alike. Is that the kind of leadership that will take us to the playoffs, let alone the Cup finals?

At this time I’d like to address the management, executive offices, coaching staff and players directly. What are you doing? Seriously what is your end goal with this team? Do you even care about winning not only the cup but the fans as well? You’re losing more fans than ever. I don’t see kids sporting Phanuef jerseys, I see Crosby and Towes and Ovechkin jerseys but why don’t kids want to be seen wearing our Captain’s jerseys? I’d ask if this is sustainable to ensure that you’re investing in the fans of the future but we all know that the suits that sit in the platinum seats are going to make sure that you can fund the ridiculous contracts for players that aren’t worth their salary. I’d love to sit down by the ice and be part of the excitement but to be honest, I’m not paying over $500/seat to watch them play mediocre hockey against a great team. I’ve been able to attend four games in my lifetime as a fan, three of them were given to me as corporate seats and the game I paid for was against the Lightning and I had a chance to watch Stamkos give a stellar performance (hat-trick). In fact, I’ve only ever seen the Leafs win live one time and it was against the Sabres before they fired Lindy Ruff. And to make it clear, it’s not that I can’t afford to go to a game, I just don’t want to pay $100 for shitty seats only to watch my team lose. I can’t take the heartache. I hate our modern Leafs and by that I mean the idea of the MLSE, the large corporate conglomerate that seemingly needs to make sure that only the 1% could afford to attend its games. But that’s ok because the tiny surges that the team makes will be enough to keep fans shilling out dough and keeping your pockets lined. I still love the idea of my hometown team, but it’s buried deep under the shit that the MLSE has turned it into.

I’m going to end my rant with a commentary on the recent trend of fans throwing jerseys onto the ice. I don’t condone the act. I feel that it is a harsh action and a waste of money. I do however understand the frustration that has led to this. In fact the symbolism of the act is quite significant. You give money to the MLSE for merchandise and you return it, without WANTING a refund due to the frustration of what seems like poor choices and an uncaring corporation that just doesn’t seem to care about it’s fans any longer. While I would NEVER participate in that act (I value each dollar I spend) I promise you that I will NO LONGER spend any money attending games or buying merchandise until I see some marked improvement in the MLSE’s attitude to winning and it’s attitude to its fans. I know that my money is a drop in the bucket for you but please understand that the act speaks volumes and you should seriously consider why you’re in the hockey business to begin with.

Sincerely,

A frustrated fan

The Institution

You can always tell when you hit that age where everybody you know gets married. If you’re one with a large group of BFFs you will most likely have several weddings a summer, where some are lucky and may have only one or two. I would be lying if I didn’t enjoy each party I attend and spend some time comparing. This wedding had the best food, while that one had an amazing cocktail hour – and then there was the one with the fireworks.

It’s at these events that I find myself fielding the barrage of “when are you guys getting married” or “don’t you want to start having a family?” I’ve spent the last decade in a very happy and fulfilled relationship that has needed nothing more than what we currently have. Without fail, every occasion I attend I get the same questions and have to school everybody on why I’m not married. While I have no ill will towards weddings, I have become cynical about the institution that is marriage.

Recently I had a friend come to me about issues due to a wedding. Her friend was getting married and the planning had started. Now there is nothing but questions from friends and family about when my friend would finally do the deed and make it “legal”. This is what makes me upset about the modern weddings that I keep attending and I’m seeing this evolution happen. Couple’s going crazy to make sure that the party is perfect, each detail is resplendent. If the doves don’t fly away in a perfect heart-shaped pattern, then why is there even a wedding! I’m just as guilty as the next guy but this is what we’ve come to expect attending each gala.

However I’ve worked these events and I’ve seen what the bride and groom go through. You ask them if they remember their wedding. What did the food taste like? Do you remember talking to Cousin Phil and your uncle Will? I bet you’ll remember this night for the rest of your life! Often there will be no memory of the meal or of the music that they so meticulously chosen. No recollection of having anything to drink. Or the opposite and the most stand out moment was being sick all over the bridal suite bathroom.

This is the first reason why I will not have a wedding. There is an expectation that your life starts when you get married and if you don’t start it off with the right party then you’re royally fucked! That’s how people can judge how truly committed to each other, right. But that’s simply not true. The truth is that your life starts the moment you realize that you’ve found that person that you cannot be without. From that moment your life begins and a wedding should simply be a stepping stone on that path you take together. A stone that you can look back on and celebrate while you keep building this path on your journey together.

The second reason I will not get married is because I am not religious. I used to go to church and I understand the need for a ceremony if you are religious. I can respect in your belief and need to fulfill a commitment ceremony in the eyes of your god. I don’t believe, thus I will not partake in a right that in my mind has no room in what I believe.

Lastly – love. Let’s get back to my friend, who is going through a tough time with her bride/friend. She was already having nightmares about having to face the inquisitors and come up with a reason why the nuptials haven’t happened.  I remember those days where I’d try and explain why it is I don’t need a wedding. Then they’d laugh and ask my date, who would promptly agree and chime in about how she doesn’t ever want to get married and is happy with our relationship. Then I’ll hear, “eventually”, “you’ll change your mind when you want kids” and “but what happens if you guys break up?” and that’s the real stinger. Yes I actually got someone ask me that question and that was the moment that I took off the kid gloves and started being bold about why I don’t get married. In fact this is more or less the tirade that I ended up spewing.

I don’t believe in weddings or diamonds or any of this bullshit – to me, what matters is what goes on in here (me ticker) not some ceremony. I am already married in here (me ticker again) and in here (me noggin) and I know that my “wife” feels the same way. We talk about it and we both value each other more than any ceremony could ever show. We’ve actually seen marriages fall apart and have been to second weddings, so you can’t tell me marriage is what will keep us together. We do that for each other and that’s why I will probably never get married. And I say probably because if I need to work in the states it will make my application process easier.

Obviously my wife is American, but the point here is that we need to start understanding that our world is changing and we’re going to lose sight of what’s truly important in life. Don’t be caught up in the beast that weddings have evolved into, be caught up in each other. Don’t spend your money on a day you may not even remember, spend it on a trip – hell you can bring along someone special (parents, family, friends) so that you can celebrate together. And if you need to have a wedding, don’t make others feel like they’re not truly fulfilled until they’re married. That’s just being stupid!

The Essentials

A few months ago I was reading the Metro. It was most of the same, someone was stabbed, someone was on strike and the markets were thier usual roller coaster. I normally use the paper to kill time on the way to work, but this time the paper had something a little different in store. An ad caught my eye and since then I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I don’t remember if the ad was trying to sell me something or telling me about some upcoming event. In fact I don’t remember the exact wording of it but the ad asked me something that I’ll never forget.

That’s right, the newspaper asked me a question. In fact the paper had a full blown conversation with me that morning:

Metro – What essentials do you need to survive?

Me – Excuse me?

Metro – Yup, your paper is talking to you, and you haven’t answered my question.

Me – Ok, so this is what it feels like to lose it lt

Metro – You’re not losing it. I’m just here to remind you that your priorities may be out of wak.

Me – So then what you’re my conscience? Like that cricket dude?

Metro – Stop over-analyzing it and answer my question. What essentials do you need to survive?

Me – Really this is what we’re doing on my way to work? Ok then, I need my comics and my movies, my music and my…..

Metro – WRONG! Listen to my question dumbass – what essentials do you need to survive? Are your comics really essentials?

Me – Have you just met me?

Metro – So then tell me why you need your comics to stay alive?

Me – Well I need to be entertained, and they provide me with a source of great enjoyment.

Metro – Now you’re justifying, but I’ve got an idea. Picture this; You’ve just woken up and the zombie apocalypse has taken the world in it’s cold dead grip. What essential items do you need to survive?

Me – Ok, I think I get it! Zombie apocalypse survival essentials.

Metro – Getting warmer. Less by force and more by choice.

Me – Things l’d need to live, to survive.

Metro – That’s what I said – what essentials do you need to survive?

Me – Ok so I would still need some form of entertainment. I get bored very easily. What about my laptop or tablet?

Metro – Unless you elaborate, I’m going to have to say you still don’t understand.

Me – Well think about it this way – my laptop will contain a lot of what may be dubbed as unnecessary, but put together in one compact little machine I can eliminate other unnecessary items like CD’s, books, pen/paper, movies and so on.

Metro – Ok I can let that one slide. What else can you not live without?

Me – Beer

Metro – oh god…

Me – No hear me out, this one makes sense. I’m Canadian and much of my culture is steeped with all things that are cold, like curling, skiing and hockey. Beer is the one element that allows us to strap wooden sticks to our feet and hurl ourselves down a snowy mountain! Hell, we have a beer named after our people. How can I not need beer!

Metro – Had it not been for using the world culture, I would have instantly thrown that one out the window. But you have to think about the “survival” aspect of my question. How are you going to get any beer if you’re in an apocalypse situation?

Me – Ok, I think I get you. So lets scrap the beer idea and replace it with gardening equipment. Seeds, a rain barrel and a hose, fertilizer and anything else I would need in order to have the ingredients needed to grow the grains and veggies I need to eat and drink.

Metro – Now you’re on the trolly! You need to start to identify those things that are necessary and those you make yourself belive are necessary. The value is not in having those things that are essential but being able to provide yourself those things that in fact are necessary.

Me – That’s pretty deep for a newspaper. Why did you pick today to start talking to me?

Metro – Someone had to tell you, you were nuts and I drew the short straw. I think your lunch rigged it though, something about being afraid of getting thrown out.

So aside from being close to crazy, the paper actually made me think of the true essentials in life and how we need to take a step back from that which we think are necessary and evaluate those things we take for granted. Dissecting these essentials can give a better perspective on the truly important elements of life and how we can be happier for knowing them.

TRINITY

Before we go anything further I’ve got to say SPOILER/RUMOR – none of this could be true or this could actually  happen!

GeekTyrant is one of my favourite sites, not only due to its access to information but also because it brings me many interesting art work and fan based goodies. This time though, its brought me a snippit of news that is ultimately the reason why I visit. Casting rumors! On top of that, it’s a casting rumor about the one movie I’m holding my breath for: SUPERMAN vs. BATMAN (Superman comes first in my opinion).

http://goo.gl/Q6ZKgq

That’s right folks – WONDER WOMAN. Is this for real? Could DC/WB be really interested in fast tracking the Justice League movie by invoking the Trinity, the foundation of the Justice League? It’s quite possible that this could go one of two ways, either they make the GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME or they cast Jennifer Garner as Wonder Woman and we then have Daredevil 2: The DC years. Whatever happens, its fun to speculate!

That’s today’s update folks, now go out and do something fun!

Its only logical

I envision a world that functions in a logical way. I imagine a place that has people working together to further humanity’s success, not for profit or acquisition of goods but to make LIFE better for everyone. Ownership is dead. Profit is non-existent. People do what they love and love what they do. Time isn’t wasted on posting pictures or taking selfies, it’s not spent stalking celebrities for pictures of their babies.

Our world circulates around a need to have things and I’ll admit that I succumb to the urge to posses rare and collectible items. But despite this drive I find that we should really reconsider what kind of impact consumerism has done to our society, both from a technological and a scientific standpoint. One may think that we’ve advanced, that our society has developed wonders in science and technology and that we are progressing and evolving into an advanced species. Were far from that. We’re not as advanced as we think we are and we don’t have the technology that we could if we had not let our currency and our economic development get in the way.

As previously stated i participate actively in our current economic ecosystem, but long for a better world. I imagine what our would be like if we had decided not to own things but had decided to give things instead. Instead of selling food, making sure everyone had what they needed. Instead of making a surplus of everything and throwing more than half of it away, why can’t we address the issue of the hundreds of people going hungry in parts of the world that can’t grow its own food.

Why? Because of money. Because there are dollars that need to line the pockets of the workers and CEO’s and all the middle men that are involved in getting the food processed and distributed to people who sometimes done even eat all of it. These people who receive the money are needing of these funds, their pay – they need this money in order to be able to purchase things to sustain themselves. It’s a never-ending cycle that produces dependency and waste, one that traps us in a cage that we can’t see and makes it impossible for us to break free of the chains that hold us within this wasteful world.

The vision of my world has us creating a cycle of positive distribution. A world where we don’t waste half as much as we should and we consume only what we need. This world is far more advanced both medically and scientifically then we currently are. My world didn’t perceive scientific advancements as a way to profit but as a way to contribute to the betterment of man. Medicine in its current state is a vehicle for prosperity and illness, there is just no way you can tell me that the pharmaceutical industry is one that actually helps people. Half of what it produces sates the symptoms but does not actually provide a direct cure. Being able to contribute to the advancement of science and medicine should be rooted in a non-for-profit environment, one that can help to nurture it to its full potential not one that will try to milk it for all it’s got.

So think about what you’re doing and how you’re contributing to the world. Are you fostering a sense of growth for humanity or are you contributing to the waste that is slowly killing both the world and all life living on her. Even the little actions such as recycling and composting can help contribute to the health of our social and ecological world. Don’t do it for your children or for the future generations, do it for yourself. Do it to help you become a part of the solution, not the problem. The world has enough problems, you don’t have to be one of them.

Its only logical.