Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I am not a fighter, not even close. I have not been in a fight since Grade 13, 1993. And that fight consisted of me kicking a guy in the balls and him cuffing my ear. I'm not sure which hurt more...

I take pride in the fact that I have not been physically violent since then. But I also have this weird impulse, deep down, to see if I could step up and kick some guy's ass. Luckily, no matter how drunk or belligerent I feel, something inside always stops me. What's even weirder is that somehow, mystically, that force seems to stop others.

I have literally thrown myself in the path of fights. I did it at the Slayer show in 2006, I've done it at the Dom a few times. And yet, I didn't get pounded. The guys involved saw this goofy, happy drunken Metalhead and stood down. I helped to diffuse violence. There isn't much in this world that fills me with pride as much as that. Why? Because real violence simply isn't worth it.

And the funny thing is, I should have been suckling at the teat of violence. I'm the youngest of seven, six of whom are boys, and my earliest memories are of family members beating the snot out of each other. Luckily I had a buffer from all that testosterone, my sister Suzie. She was born in '72, after six boys, like some kind of miracle. What was an even greater miracle, or pratfall, depending on your humour, was that after her came one last boy. I was supposed to be Sylvie... Whoops.

So there I was, stuck  4.5 years between me and my next older brother. So while they played sports, I sat inside, being too small to join in (not that there weren't grandiose moments where my brothers would use me to make awesomeness happen, like the crabapple-shooting go-kart). So I did a lot of reading... I got into Masters of the Universe and comic books. And I entered high school as a total geek, not knowing how to be cool. And I got bullied, harassed, disappointed, etc.

I was suicidal at ten years old. I was a miserable little guy. But you know what? I had a moment of clarity, where I realized the second-story drop would hurt more than kill, and that was it. I contemplated suicide after that, but never with any conviction. I fought it. And I cannot be more grateful for that ordeal, because I got it over with early. I see loved ones still contemplating horrible acts and it pains me. Why? Because there should be no bully so strong as to extinguish the joy of what life has to offer. Whether it's fiction, sex, food, booze, whatever. Nothing should be that strong.

But in the end, some of us can't fight it alone. To you, I offer my support. Talk to me before you think about it, I might be able to change your mind. At least I hope someone can. @gutfrag on twitter.

I should have been dead a long time ago, a pathetic statistic of the effed up way life is lived these days. But I fought. And fighting is its own reward. There's nothing more satisfying than looking your failings and faults in the eye and saying "I'm better than you and I can prove it!" So, if you're thinking of ending the fight, hopefully you'll try one last time. The fight itself can be worth it for some of us...

Strive on my dear friends!

Size matters, but should it?

Hi there!

I've been wondering a lot lately about the issue of "sizeism" - i.e. being prejudicial towards people for being too fat or skinny (and let's be honest, it's the former that is more often at issue). A few of my more activist friends are often bringing up the issue of "fatphobia" in relation to ad campaigns and the like. The most recent was in relation to a vegetarian activist group posting a cartoon with a bunch of obese individuals asking "where do you get your protein?" to a bunch of fit vegetarians. It kinda made me lose it. First off, healthy eating isn't about WHAT you eat (omnivore/vegetarian/vegan/zombie), it's about HOW you eat. Sure, that vegan quinoa casserole might not cast a shadow, so it's OK to eat, but if you eat half a pan in one serving, you're bound to notice it in your belly.

Now, I admit I am a recovering "sizeist". In fact, I broke up with an ex a few years back because of the issue of her weight. Well, I was more upset about her constantly talking about getting the "perfect body", but doing nothing about it and eating poorly. Still, I was a jerk about it.

I think I've gotten over it since I am head over heels in love with a woman that some would consider 'fat'. But that isn't the point of this post. The point is this: there is a measure of validity to evaluating a person's weight in relation to their health. Criticizing someone purely for being overweight in and of itself is wrong and needs to be fought, but in an age where the life expectancy is shrinking due to an ever more sedentary population, we need to be honest about how we look at the issue of weight. Obesity is a serious health issue and I'm sorry, if you're obese, it's difficult for folks to simply overlook it. Especially when their taxes are paying for your ill health. As a smoker, I am fully aware that I have earned the right to be shat on for my unhealthy, harmful and tax-draining habit. Shouldn't someone's McDonald's habit be subject to the same scrutiny?

It's an unfortunate reality that all fat people are tarred with the same brush. An overweight person is subject to constant scrutiny, bombarded by conflicting advertising ("Lose 50 pounds with Nutri-fit!" is followed by an ad for the Baconator) and possibly caught in the loop of depressed-due-to-being-overweight/overweight-due-to-being depressed. And I know a whole bunch of people who might look "overweight", but are in far better shape than most thin folks! So what is to be done?

Well, that's going to be the focus of my write-up to follow. But first I need to vent a little. Yes, it's totally wrong that overweight people are subject to mockery, prejudice and marginalization, but if you're over 300 pounds due to dietary choices, sorry, you can't use the excuse that you're a victim of "fat-shaming" to justify bad eating habits. You can't scarf back 5000 calories a day of crap and expect to be immune from criticism. Yes, there is a staggering number of negative influences that shape bad eating habits, but the medical facts bear out that you're still doing yourself a frightening amount of harm. Not to mention common sense!   

Whatever the causes of poor eating habits are, it's your responsibility to overcome them and at least try to eat better. You shouldn't have to do it alone, no doubt about that. But in the end, it's YOUR responsibility to ensure your own health, if only from a social perspective. The socialized medical system won't be able to handle the pressure being exerted by an increasingly unhealthy and obese population.

And don't think I'm immune either, I KNOW I need to eat better and I have a few pounds to lose and I have no problem with anyone reminding me of that fact or criticizing me for "letting myself go". This is a contentious issue that hurts feelings in a heartbeat. But we need to look it in the eye and be brutally honest about it without feeling like a bad person.

Now, none of this means society shouldn't help a little.

September 30 2011

Proposed Measures for Improving Eating Habits among the Canadian Population

1) Nutrition, culinary and health awareness education in schools:

- All children should be taught to cook, with an emphasis on using healthy ingredients and cooking on a budget.
- Secondary schools and post-secondary institutions should provide facilities to allow students to make their own meals. Cafeterias can sell ingredients in addition to prepared foods.
- Cafeteria food would need to be re-evaluated and menus overhauled to include healthy choices.
- All annual check-ups in schools will include an evaluation from a nutritionist.
- Programs will be implemented to heighten awareness of self-esteem and bullying in order to curtail problems related to depression and overeating.

2) Support to parents:

- Affordable subsidized cooking lessons should be provided to adult populations. Possibilities include workshops in community centres, the workplace, religious institutions, etc.
- Healthier ingredients will be made cheaper.

3) Popular understanding of health effects of poor eating:

- A massive education campaign will be launched in the same vein as anti-smoking campaigns, using shocking imagery and direct language to emphasize the ill effects of bad eating habits as well as adding emphasis to the benefits of home-made meals over processed foods.
- Workplace campaigns for positive body image and good eating habits that focus on boosting persons' self-esteem.

4) Encouragement for an active population:

- Public facility gym memberships will be partially subsidized and gym classes will be made mandatory for at least 3 years of secondary school.
- Public workers will be provided with a "health break" to allow time to go for a walk/run/bike ride, etc.
- Private sector employers will be provided a tax benefit for providing similar "health breaks"
- An national Hide and Seek game will take place on October 2 annually

OK, so the last one is mostly a joke, but the point is that we need to foster a culture of positive health, body image and proper eating habits on a country-wide level. If we don't, just wait 30 years to see how bad things get. For point of reference, see Wall-E...

And now let the hate mail begin!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding Home

Hi there!

It's been a mad-whacked-out-crazy couple of months of apartment hunting, packing, moving, and watching nature kick the world's butt. And yet, when all is said and done, my world's settling into the warm months quite nicely. Of course, if you'd talked to me 12 hours ago before I found my keys that had been missing for a week buried amongst piles of stuff in my bedroom, I would have been singing a different tune.

But my optimistic side sees that as the final nail in the coffin of me not feeling like the place I've lived at for the past week with my lady love Kari is home. It is most emphatically my new home, in a way I've never felt before. Until now, home was the place where I grew up; a house long sold and re-occupied. Or maybe it was the house where I spent my teens and early 20s. But no, that's my Mom and Step-Dad's home, I just visit once in a while.

And strangely enough, my last apartment, where I lived for nearly 4 years, wasn't home, it was more of a place to hang my hat and pass out at the end of a night at the bar, with the exception of the deck out back.

But where I live now is starting to feel like home. Maybe it's because it's 5 minutes away from work, maybe it's because I've got the most awesome roommate ever... Or maybe it's that I finally have enough space not to feel like a cramped bachelor.

Anyway, what got me thinking about this most of all is the fact that, despite the lease being in mine and Kari's name, the apartment, or at least a small part of it, belongs to another creature.

Outside the bathroom window, in a hollowed out piece of a wooden eave, lives a family of some sort of chickadee or sparrow. It's oddly heartwarming listening to birdsong as you take a whizz! But that got me thinking about what it must be like for animals building a home to protect their family. They don't have the same foibles or silly aesthetic issues us humans do (except cats, of course). So, it got me thinking about writing a narrative on the duty of a bird towards its nest and it young.

May 9 2011

It's about time we got this nest going! The warmth can't last too long, the young must be birthed and cared for. Let's get some more grass stuffed into that corner...

Wow, can't deny that I KICK ASS at nest locations! This place is gorgeous, safe, and there's bugs EVERYWHERE! Wheeee! Let's sing for that one! Tweeweeweet!

Oh jeez, one of those big naked dogcats is looking at me again. I'm gonna cock my head and give it the "Whatchu got, punk?" look. That usually works, right? Yup, there it goes, lumbering away with the grace of a plummeting rock. Ha! Don't test me, jerk. I'll peck your brains out if you try anything around me! This is my HOME. This is mine because I'm nesting here. I don't know, nor do I care, what lived here before, I'm here now and that's what matters.

The mate is nestled over the eggs, giving the chicks her warmth. I hope they come soon, the excitement is killing me! Gotta hop around a bit I'm so excited here!

The sun's warming my feathers, and I'm filled with a pride that only comes to the new parent who's taken an empty space and made it a home for their spawn. I tilt my head to get more sunshine and sing my joy.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Great, expectations...

Good day!

I keep wondering sometimes if I'm repeating myself or if I keep repackaging the same themes in this environment. I guess I find myself thinking a lot on the same topics. My last three posts strike me as tying in to each other thematically, and linking to this one.

Back in December, I covered the whole realm of dreams, followed by my New Year's resolution shpiel which, of course, I have failed to live up to. Sob sob. And then there was my last post, which dealt with the concept of judgement by others and judging others being necessary elements to living what I will smugly call a moral life.

All of these tie into today's theme: expectations.

Dreams are one thing, we never really expect them to come true. Obviously not the case with expectations. Y'know, because it's in the damn word!

Yet another frustration that has become part of the social fabric of normalcy (as I perceive it) is the backlash against the slacker movement that has led to what I will call an environment of massive pressure on one's self to live up to a series of expectations based both on self-delusion and perception of peers. And in the digital age of over-the-top self-promotion, I think that expectation focuses on a kind of homegrown fame.

Just about everyone I can think of wants to be known. Gone are the days of being happily lost in the crowd, standing out has become de rigueur. And I find myself feeling the pressure of that expectation. So much so that I created not one, but two blogs. And as much as I prevaricate to say that I created these as writing practice when bored at work (which is still true), in the end, the truth is that I started writing Nick Likes To Write Stuff and Dude, Cook! as a way of getting noticed by foodies and philosophers.

Too bad I don't seem to be striking the right chords (no one's calling me to write a cookbook). And even more frustrating is the knowledge that certain people who are shilling an image of themselves that isn't quite honest, because it's all they have going for them, are succeeding at it better than truthful lil' ol' me. Oh well...

But this takes me back to the concept of expectation. I'm not talking about parental pressures, because I'd hope anyone with a sense of self-determination would have learned to tell their parents' pressures to suck it, but rather I'm looking at the cultural environment of expectation in which many of us, I think, find ourselves wrapped up.

Perhaps it's because I'm surrounded by artists, musicians, dancers and event organizers that I get this sense of not measuring up. But I feel it no matter what. I feel like I'm not making my mark on the world.

Which leads to the inner monologue to pipe up with "Since when are you supposed to leave a mark?"

And really, since when are we? Isn't the only expectation we need to place on ourselves to be happy in our own skin and to do as little harm as possible to our fellow humans? But wait, freeze. That can't be it, that's too... lazy?

So, maybe there are expectations we need to place on ourselves. But they aren't the standard "get a good job, get noticed in your field, meet Mr./Ms. Right, change the world" expectations. Maybe, just maybe, we all could benefit from placing this one expectation on ourselves and on others: "be as good to each other as you can!" With that strategy, disappointment only comes to assholes.

March 26 2011

A red heart lain bare, raw and passionate is stronger than steel. In its fragility, it can be shattered, but in its capacity for love, it transcends pain.

In peace, all that which has come before, every failure, every misstep, every unfulfilled ambition can come together into a great tapestry of joy at the living involved in not achieving.

If everything we did succeeded, would life not become as boring as asphalt?

Wear your screw-ups like armour, like a bangle, like a medal. The attempt shines brightly too.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



It's ironic just how much of the Bible is taken in snippets when people are trying to make a specific point. In this case, the whole "judge not lest ye be judged" passage. Well, the full version of that passage is:

Matthew 7

1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

So, it's not really "judge not lest ye be judged", it's more like "Dude, you're in no position to judge others because you suck so DAMN MUCH!"

Well, I'm going to disagree with the Bible a little bit. We are going to inevitably judge others by their actions in accordance with our own values, especially based on the levels of intimacy we share with people. I've often been criticized or disapproved of for my perspective on friendship because I believe that friendship is NOT about unconditional support, but rather being there to help keep your friends on the path you believe best suits them. If you see someone you care about doing things that are hurtful to them or just generally dumb, it's up to you to call them on it.

As for the "mote vs. beam" message, well, Matthew, I'll ask you this: Isn't the one who's most experienced with a given fault or sin better suited to call someone else on that behaviour? Is it hypocritical or is it "I know because I've been there"?

But that isn't really what concerns me in this post. What does concern me is the growing social impulse to avoid judgement towards anyone in the name of privacy and independence. Problem with that is: How are you supposed to to keep yourself honest and behaving in an honorable way when you don't have someone else to act as a sounding board for your behaviour?

Seriously, individually we aren't really designed as human beings to take care of our own behaviour. How often do we fess up to our errors without any form of evasion or "butt covering"? Contrition  never comes easily, if it comes at all.

Therefore, isn't it almost necessary to have someone a little more accessible than God judging our behaviour? And if you're an atheist, then this whole argument is moot and the need for a behavioural standard is rooted in social interactions. So, isn't there a necessary evaluation that must happen in any interaction? Isn't it, in fact, necessary to judge others' actions?

Now, the word 'judgement' itself has a double meaning. First, judgement is the act of judging. But judgement also has an inwardly analytical meaning. Having 'good judgement' means the individual knows the consequences of their actions and acts accordingly.

Now, my point in all this is that this obsession with not being "judged", not being held accountable, has led to the death of honour, grace and courtesy in our time. I think it's time we learned to be at peace with the idea that someone close to us is watching our actions and will chime in when appropriate to tell us "Um, dude, bad idea. Knock it off." Whether or not we listen is a whole different story.

February 15, 2011

The Hollow World

No one is better or worse.
Impulse driven masturbation of the soul fills the World
With a fog of apathy and self-importance.
Each is become Caesar to themselves.
"Any who dare to speak ill of the King is to be exiled and reviled!"
We decree with peacock chests puffed.
All working towards base satisfaction,
Leaving the noble to fade, the genteel to be forgotten,
The beautiful to be thrown on the pile.
And when a bold voice dares to speak against it,
It is vilified as an enemy of freedom and cast down,
Leaving muses and saints to weep for what's been lost,
And dullards to revel in their obligation-free paradise.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Looking ahead to 2011

Happy New Year folks!

Well, 2010 has been one heck of a year. For me it was year of new discoveries, new experiences and crossing at least one item of the ol' bucket list. But it was also a year betrayal and lies that fundamentally shook my faith in others, thankfully offset by a love that brought that faith back. It was also a year of learning a whole heckuva lot, including the fact that you just can't reach some people. But that isn't going to stop me from crying out to the ether, because some of y'all probably enjoy what I have to say.

So, today's entry is dealing with what I call New Year's Goals. I don't like the term "resolutions" because to me it implies that if you don't stick with them, you've somehow betrayed yourself and failed the universe and should rot in Hell! Well, mayhaps I'm exaggerating, but I think you see my point. Goals are far more mutable than resolutions.

Now the twist here is that I actually think I've got some insight into how to make these work and I'd like to share my thoughts with you on the subject.

So here we go!

Sunday, January 2

Goal 1: Lose the belly

One unfortunate side effect of falling in love with someone as indulgent in hedonism as myself is that you double the amount of food you eat! I've always had a bit of a tummy, but since Summer I've kinda let it go into overdrive. I've not been exercising nearly enough, and that's purely out of laziness.

So, how does one go about addressing such a pesky problem, especially when everyone seems to share it and yet it endures. I'm sure at least half of you have made some sort of promise to lose weight this year. Well, I've found a few things help.

1) Keep moving! Even if you go to the gym 3 times a week and kick your own arse for 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer, it means nothing if the rest of your time is spent sitting on your butt (says the guy doing that very thing as he types this up). So, get up and go for a 20 minute walk at least once a day. I have the good fortune of living within walking distance to work so it's already part of my day, but try to find the time to do it for yourself. Next time you're going for a small grocery run, do it on foot. Nothing to do on your day off? Hit a museum or gallery; you get the benefit of being on your feet while checking out neat stuff!

If all else fails, get a Wii and play one of their fitness games, it can be a surprisingly good workout!

2) Smaller meals. I've been failing at this one miserably. Normally, it's recommended to eat 5 smallish meals daily. I've been eating, on average, a huge breakfast (I shake my fist at you Kari!), a lunchtime snack, and a huge dinner. This is the wrong way to go about feeding yourself. There's a simple principle to eating and maintaining a decent body shape and it's this: eat enough food per meal to be only just sated. Your body doesn't store unused nutrients, we aren't bears. Nope, whatever isn't being used to fuel the body is going to become fat. So, think of feeding yourself as a constant current of nutrition rather than spikes and dips.

3) Less meat. Meat is harder to digest, so more of it stays un- or under-digested. My friend Troy, who's a vegetarian, once wore a t-shirt I thought was disgustingly clever: "Beef, it's what's rotting in your colon." I LOVE meat. I would marry meat if it wasn't weird. But I've been overindulging in it of late. One meat course a day at most is my current plan.

4) Less beer. Ooooooh boy, this is going to be the hardest one. Apparently switching to gin works well, but gin is disgusting. Instead, I'm going to try drinking more wine. Problem is that wine and beer are about the same calorically. Hey wait, the Internet said wine has MUCH fewer calories! And the red stuff has those anti-oxidant whatchamadealies. SWEET! Where's my corkscrew?

So, those are some strategies. Oh, that and a medicine ball workout every other day. That should help...

Goal 2: Stop worrying about being understood

I don't know why I care so much about not being misinterpreted and being understood, nor why I obsess on trying to explain myself when that isn't happening. But it's a huge flaw that has gotten me in trouble on numerous occasions. I guess really it's about not caring what others think of me. I like me, that's the only one whose opinion really counts.

Goal 3: Think the best of others and keep quiet

This is the positive form of "stop holding grudges and gossipping". Really it's directed at a few people who know very well why I think badly of them. But hey, holding onto that anger doesn't help at all. So, here's hoping I can exorcise it with positive thinking and go back to the not caring what others think.

Goal 4: Take people as they are in REAL life

The Internet has this horrible power to skew who people are, so much so that some people start to let their online selves bleed out into their real lives and get so caught up in their online lives that real life seems less important. Just look at Twitter.

Well, I'm going to keep enjoying the knowledge and time-killing joys the Net has to offer, but I'm going to develop a greater sense of willful doubt when it comes to anything people say online.

Goal 5: Drink more wine, less beer. Not just for weight reasons, but also because it's delicious.

So, that's about all I have.

I hope all your goals come to fruition and maybe even a dream or two!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Dream A Little (or Big) Dream!

Aaaaaand we're back!

It occurred to me, after the last post dealing with my weirdo dreams from age 17, that it would be fun to look into and share some of my real-life dreams. I may be an old man of 36, but I still have a lot of dreams I'd like to undertake, things that are more than hobbies, but rather ideal paths for me. That being said, I'm a pretty pragmatic fella, I seriously doubt that any or all of these will come true.

But success to me comes from the attempt, not the achievement. I look to the example of one of my brothers. A few years back, he decided he was sick and tired of the life of a salesman and decided to try his hand at opening a business of his own that dealt with one of his passions, golf (yeah, whatever floats one's boat, I guess...). Long story short, it didn't last much more than a few years and it was strenuous to say the least. I'm not even sure how he feels about it any more, maybe he thinks it was an utter waste of time. I haven't really sat down and talked to him about it. I should do that. But I respect the hell out of him for giving it a shot.

Why? Because Lord knows I'm getting antsy to start exploring my own dreams, specifically professional ones, that are outside the confines of the federal public service. Don't get me wrong, the work's easy, the money's good, and there are always interesting characters to meet.

But is this work that makes me happy? Not really.

What keeps me from feeling like a complete sell-out underachiever is this: the notion that you have to find a job that 'fulfills' you is a steaming load.

Work isn't a calling, it is neither ennobling nor embiggening, and anyone who says it is has been reading too many Knights of Labour pamphlets. Less than 200 years ago, work was a necessary evil, paid or not. The idea of success was to make enough money to pay someone else to do the heavy lifting while you sat back and watched your belly grow. Not much has changed other than the ridiculous economic reality that dictates you have to keep working until you're old; where the idea of having enough income to be able to stop working at, say, 40, is laughable unless you're one of those 5 percent of the population who control 90 percent of the wealth. I am not, nor do I imagine I will ever be. I'd have better luck winning the lottery (which I never play).

And you can bet your arse that if I did win the lottery, I'd quit working 'toot suite' and ski until my knees collapsed.

And then I'd buy cyborg knees.

Am I digressing? Anyway, the point is that I'm getting pretty antsy to explore the idea of making a living outside the confines of an office, doing something other than staring at a computer screen. It is a dream of mine to open some sort of food service. Not really a restaurant proper, because I've been a line cook and I don't care to repeat the experience of running around for hours on-end like a chicken with my head cut off. But maybe a tea room or 10-table bistro. I've been seriously contemplating opening a food truck (not going to say more because I don't want anyone poaching my idea!), as well as some occasional catering work.

But that dream is precluded on the real necessity of having the capital to afford to set things in motion. I do not have anywhere near the resources to do such a thing, and the only real way I imagine I can get the collateral to secure a loan is to buy a house.

And that is another dream of mine: to be a homeowner before I hit 40. But, as the housing market in this town continues to have such ridiculously inflated prices, I'm going to have to keep dreaming it feels like.

Stupid reality getting in the way of dreams n' stuff... *grumblegrumblegrumble*

But yeah, I think we'd all like to live our dreams to the fullest and maybe, just maybe, some of us are clever (or delusional) enough to mold their own selves to the dreams that become attainable as time goes on. So suddenly, what may at one point have been a hobby or a side project can become a 'dream come true'. If humans are as adaptable as all the textbooks say we are, then it stands to reason that when we become convinced of the unattainability of our dreams, we necessarily change them.

That being said, I have dreams that I know are pretty much unattainable, but being a stubborn bastard, I won't abandon them. Mostly because it's a nice way to occupy one's mind, especially when drudging through a Sunday morning shift in media monitoring.

Among those dreams is to work for a year or so in Africa doing some sort of relief work. But that dream is nearly pointless when juxtaposed with the more realistic dream of becoming a father. Not like I can shlep the kids out to Tanzania, at least not any time before they're of school age. Another is to visit half the countries in the world. This is more realistic, but unlikely because of prohibitive costs.

Now, all you super-positivists can cram it if you start railing that I'm being too negative. I've always been this outwardly curmudgeonly and it hasn't stood in the way of me attaining some of my dreams. Luckily, some is good enough for me. I may not dream huge, but I rarely have my illusions shattered to the point of depression. I could die today, satisfied with the sum of my accomplishments.

But, in an effort to make this post both entertaining and cathartic, I'm going to write a passage on my favourite, yet absolutely unattainable, kind of dream: flying. I'm not talking learning to pilot a plane or hang-gliding, I'm talking Superman-styles; throwing off the shackles of gravity and hurtling through the sky with only my will to propel me. I have this dream fairly regularly, possibly as a counterpoint to my acrophobia. Ironic eh? The guy who gets nervous looking over a 3-story balcony dreams of flying. But, I suppose overcoming our worst fears is the most important dream of all...

December 17, 2010

It's late. It's always night time when the impression of possibility overwhelms me. I look out my bedroom window, which is always in my childhood home, yet looks out on any number of possible vistas that I've seen over a lifetime. One moment it's Heron Road, the next it's the Market, and then a placid lake somewhere in Cottage Country I once visited when I was ten.

Next, before I can even fathom why, I'm out on the sidewalk, looking up at the rooftops and thinking I should get up to them somehow. So, I will myself to rise up off the ground. My waking mind, which is always a tiny bit aware, even when in the throes of a dream, screams that this isn't possible, but the power of will is far greater in this environment than in the conscious world.

It's hard to describe a feeling that can't happen in the "real" world, but the memory of it is strong. It's like a vibration starts throughout your whole body. It's not quite a numbness, but it's in the same ballpark. It's sort of halfway between the warmth of a bath and a limb falling asleep, but it surrounds and penetrates every cell. Maybe this is what the womb feels like...

This feeling, fuelled by an intense, passionate, all-encompassing, necessary desire, causes my body to simply float upwards, slowly. The desire is beyond the mind's capacity to put into words, the action is one of pure instinct. But in an instant I realize what I'm doing and the mind kicks in. A mirror of consciousness comes into the scenario and it becomes real. And I now feel control.

With this realization, everything is possible. I shoot off into the air, bounding to the first rooftop. I'm not quite flying, more like leaping. Kind of like the Incredible Hulk, but more restrained. I alight onto a rooftop gracefully, as if gravity itself had become subject to my whims. Then, a smile worthy of the Devil on my lips, I launch myself into the air, completely abandoning notions of up and down having any effect on me. I am free to careen in the sky, to smother myself in the embrace of clouds, to hurtle upwards towards Heaven.

Soon the dream becomes one of impression rather than visualization. I can't see where I'm flying to, it's all a jumble of images, disjointed and confusing. But the sensation of peace in flight steadies me and I revel in it until I awake. And, as I open my eyes, I try to hang on to that moment between sleep and coffee. Somewhere in there, the feeling of flying is still there, hiding beneath the surface of my molecules. It's in that moment, lasting mere seconds, that I realize that, if I could ever find a way to keep that instinct, that magical capacity to shake off gravity, I will fly.