Friday, April 28, 2006

"Life, at it's best, is the synthesis of opposites in fruitful harmony."

Those words, though wise like my own, are actually those of Dr. Thomas A. Parham. I attended a workshop on cross-cultural counselling facilitated by "Dr. P" today. Lots of useful things came from it but I want to focus specifically on the introductory quote.

I don't think the idea of good and bad or the dark side and the light side existing in and around all of us is any great revelation to you. That is not to devalue the quote in any respect. I rather like it for it's ability to make me re-frame how I consider my own life. Happy...Sad. They seem like two competing feelings (which I guess they are). At the same time, they work directly with one another. To consider trying to find "fruitful harmony" between those two disparate emotions, or any other opposites for that matter, strikes me as a good challenge. Having discussed the subject earlier this evening I'm clear that one doesn't necessarily serve as a salve for the other but maybe just conceptualizing them together rather than apart is useful. Then again, if I'm to universally apply that line of thinking to the opposites in the world I might need to think of "Dubya" with wise. Ladies and gentlemen, I may have just found the achillies heel in this line of thinking.

Monday, April 24, 2006


I don't think I'll ever get around it. Thinking, I mean. Even if I'm not "thinking straight", I'm still thinking. I don't know that I'd make very good company if I didn't think. That being said, I've got some "moment" living to do as thinking yourself in circles is no way to live. I'm always amazed at how easy it is to be in a kind of stasis where everything is as it is and you don't see other perspectives on it. Maybe I'm more amazed by how obvious it is when you get to seeing things from another perspective: "Why didn't I think of that earlier?"

Saturday, April 22, 2006

"Music to rob trains by"

"Music for an Irish wake". Yes, it's late again, and I'm still espousing the virtues of the Silver Hearts. This is a band that counts Tom Waits, Marelene Deitrich and the Muppets among their influences. I'm already looking forward to their next show (it's too bad I don't know anything about any upcoming shows).

Here I was pushing the band on everyone I knew but missed perhaps the best opportunity. A friend has a show on campus radio every Tuesday afternoon. The Sweet Hereafter exhibits Tuan's penchant for Sarah Harmer but plenty of other great Canadian (and non-Canadian music). Even though it's a little late for this past show, I think I will need to share the joys of the Silver Hearts with Tuan. Maybe he'll even play them. If he knows what's good for him he will. Did that sound menacing? I've been thinking of becoming a "heavy". Think I can do it? Don't answer that.

By the way, I've added a new "friend" to the list of people with blogs on the side. We're not the closest but I think he deserves a link. Enjoy.

"A Beer Brothel Folkestra"

How can you not love anything that is described like that? Really. Last night I enjoyed the musical stylings of a band alternately billed as: 'Brothel Blues'?, 'A Saloon Symphony'? 'Ghost Town Orchestra'? 'The Muppets meet Harry Smith's Anthology of Folk Music'..'Music to rob trains by'.

Damn do they make me happy! Oh, "who am I talking about?" you ask. Why The Silver Hearts, of course. Catch some of their music either on that last link or this one. Please do. You'll be glad you did (even if it is just to keep me happy). I'm going to be glad I am going to sleep now but I'll be back with more.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

National High Five Day

I know it's late in the day but there was a time when people relied on me to find the useless detritus of the internet for them. In honour of that I will let you know that where I am, there are about 5 hours left in National High Five Day. Now, it was started in the U.S. "National" implies it's just in the 'states but I think everyone can take some joy from the "high five". I hope you do.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What if?

What would the world be without those whose imagination can take them anywhere they please? What would we be if we could not conjour up images of a world and experience unlike our own? I would venture that the world wouldn't be as good a place.

That being said, what happens to those people who are always wondering: "What if?" Do they ever find an answer to that everlasting question? I feel like I am one who regularly asks that question. I think that has the opportunity to make me a better person as I am open to more ideas and opportunities. The challenge with it (for me) is that even if I'm in a situation that I should be happy with, I find myself asking the same question. While nobody should "settle" for an experience or a world that does not reach expectations, is it ever possible to stop asking that question of yourself and those around you when you are happy with things? I feel that I am in a perpetual state of "What if?" and that can take away from enjoyment of the moment. What can change that? Being genuinely happy with one's life? I feel like even that is not adequate. Questioning things may be part of the hard-wiring of some of us. That still doesn't provide a solution. Not a bad target, but no solution. Maybe the answer is 42. Somebody wake me if I'm right.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


I just spent a great weekend with my family celebrating my uncle's 50th birthday. Sure, it was Easter and Passover (Eastover if you will) but that wasn't the reason we got together (save for the long weekend). Anyway, it was a wonderful opportunity to all be together with discussions all over the place. One such discussion touched on things that have happened in our shared lives and I was left not remembering very much. I've felt like I have a bad memory for a long time... As long as I can remember. ;) I regularly harass my brother for seemingly remembering things from the womb. While not an earth-shaking revelation, the idea that memories are "set" in our minds based on the emotional reaction which we have to them came up. It stands to reason that we remember things that resonated with us and continue to, in a good or bad way. If that is the case though, it raises a bit of an unpleasant possibility for me, one that I don't want to think of as true (but might be anyway). What if my poor memory is a sign of me not engaging with the world around me? What if things don't resonate with me? Sure, we all have moments that pass us by. But what's going on that I don't remember things where I was an active participant. Was my brain just in neutral? Raising the more frightening question: Is it still?

I had something else very important to write about... but I don't remember what it was. ;)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Work and Life

Where does work end and life begin? Of course, work is part of your life so it can't ever truly be separated. While we may not be able to take life out of work we can take work out of life. Until we win the lottery or reach retirement (ahhh, Freedom 85), we won't literaly be able to take it out but we can remove it in our minds. Maybe I am alone in this but I have found myself thinking: "It is only work." First off, don't think that is representative of any unhappiness with my work. Quite the contrary, I cannot imagine finding work that I would find more enjoyable or fulfilling. I am a lucky man to be able to say that. But no matter how lucky I feel, I am able to remember that it is work. If I weren't there, someone else would be doing it (maybe better, hopefully not). The same can't be said for life. If I'm not living it, no one is going to do so for me. As a result, the "only work" moments. Every once in a while something comes up to remind me of this distinction, of the importance of living one's life. Work is a valuable and often necessary part of life but it's not all there is. I think that recognition can make the time we do spend in work, and wherever else, more fulfilling and enjoyable. Gotta go live.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Hide from "Hidden"

I went to see a french/austrian/german/italian film this evening (though for all intents and purposes, it was French). Caché (Hidden) is about a family receiving videos from an unknown person. The videos are of them and things in their life. It leads the father, in particular, to revisit his past. It was meant to get viewers to examine the French relationship with the developing world but I felt like it failed in that. I think because the father maddeningly didn't take responsibility for his actions as a child. It won many awards but it left me wanting. I felt that little had been resolved. Then again, that might've been the goal (that the problems in France between the "French" and immigrants remain unsolved). I just know that as a film-going experience, I left frustrated. Grrr.

P.S. (And on an entirely unrelated subject) When playing ultimate frisbee and trying to stop someone from catching the disc, don't use your nose to knock it down. That is unless you want to look like you're a fan of bar brawls. ;)

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Funnily enough, in the past week I have seen an illusion twice that I had never seen before. It involves folding a Canadian $20 Bill vertically through the Queen's head in just such a way that when you tilt the bill up and down she appears to smile and frown. Simple enough and rather entertaining. More to the point for me, it highlights the effect of our perspective on the world around us. If where we are in relation to a $20 bill can change the way we see it so much, then imagine our change in perspective when we really shift our point of view. For me, spending more time with my friends has "tilted the bill" for me. I can only hope that there will be plenty of "bill tilting" in my future (and yours, if you fancy yourself a "bill tilter").

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Practice Makes Perfect

If the above adage is true, then I should be perfect at not practicing.

I have realized that my previous experience of things coming easily to me has one major downside, I don't have the experience of practicing to improve. That is a scary thought. Almost scary enough for me not to post it.

Sure, being aware of it should be the tool that helps me move forward. But moving beyond denial doesn't delve deeper into the root cause. It seems like good intentions are fine (and great for paving the road to hell) but without further understanding of the source, it may be another case of: "Wow, I'm glad I know that. Now what's on tv?" Speaking of which... Kidding.