Well, Hello You

This morning, I caught this on a stroll nearby. Beacon Hill Park, Victoria.

I haven’t blogged in, well, a really long time. Especially here.

I won’t apologize. Life’s tough, kids. Get a helmet. Sometimes people just stop blogging.

Did I stop writing? No. I just chose to do so when it came attached to money. Amazing what things like rent will do to one’s decision-making process.

That’s okay. I’m cool with it, yo.

Life, my dear minions, has been a fine and glorious thing. Okay, no. But good! Flawless? Hah! Far from. Good? Indeed. Or certainly improving at a likable clip, with many fun discoveries along the way. Which I’ll take.

A fiery sunset on Victoria’s Dallas Road earlier this fall.

I live in a super-cool new apartment. The kind I always saw in movies and wanted. 1930s, art deco. High coved ceilings, two kinds of beautiful hardwood floors, plaster walls. All that crazy old-school stuff that makes my heart go pitter-patter.

My hood’s the fabulous downtown part of Victoria, BC. It flies a little under the radar, but I love this city and it feels like I’ve come home after a long, noisy, distraction-laden trip.

Writing only when one is paid for it means leaving a whole lot of moments left in the air to evaporate, but for the record provided by my incessant iPhonography and Instagramming. It feels so hipster of me, but as the saying goes, the best camera is the one you got on ya. (Exhibits of which are provided in the photos on this post.)

Another sunset I captured on Dallas Road a few weeks back.

Not blogging, journaling, or any of that — it’s been a real release for me. A funny thing to say considering most of us writers like to write as a way of expressing ourselves. Until the day we decide that not expressing ourselves is the best way to express ourselves.

I talk to other creatives, people who live and die by the way of having thoughts and putting them out there, out in the world, whatever their media is, and they seem to get me when I tell them I just had enough. I had to walk away from words long-form for a while. Just… get a whole lot less introspective and a lot more “Ooh, shiny” in-the-moment-ness.

I wasn’t in a good place, kids. Not for a long time. I fought the good fight but inside I was losing the war. I didn’t get depressed or anything. Just real fucking tired. Bone-dragging, soul-smooshing tired, and that’s enough.

Just before Halloween we were blanketed with fog, a perfect time to visit old Gothic-ish architecture, like St. Ann’s Academy, a National Heritage Site downtown.

It’s not like I decided not to write. I just didn’t want to do it. Not for myself, and most certainly not for you.

Instead, I wanted to stand by the ocean and think deep thoughts. I wanted to let a world of mindfulness sort of drift away. I wanted to snap photos, watch dogs run, stroll through little stores, cook in my quaint kitchen, and watch a whole lot of Netflix.

I wanted to live for myself. Not for my friends, families, readers, connections, or any damned other person. I just wanted to be a party of one with more self-determination and a whole lot less bullshit.

An autumn sunset on Dallas Road in Victoria, par moi.I read once how Danial Day Lewis ditched the movie world to go off and be a shoe cobbler. Not even a big “Fuck you, Hollywood,” just a “Huh… shoes. Okay.” Sit there, make shoes. No big picture. Just one shoe, one stitch, one sole at a time. Make this one thing the best thing it can be. It’s a noble calling, being a skilled craftsman of any description.

I’m no Day Lewis, but I kinda had my own “Huh… shoes” moment. ‘Cept it was a little place called Dallas Road. A big shiny ocean. Ripply waves. Barking dogs. Fluffy clouds. Millions of honed-by-nature stones and rocks and battered driftwood scattered about a long shore on a big ocean to remind me how we’re all just put where we are and live what we do, and it’s a lot less complicated than we like to make it.

Like today, I had my back fixed. My chiropractor tells me my hip flexors hate me. I show him my stretch. I’m overdoing it, he says. Less is more. Only until I barely feel it, then “let the breathing do the work.”

Dallas Road’s Holland Point, which ate up most of my 2012. Just too beautiful to stay away.

And isn’t that just like us? We, the silly humans? Doing something far harder than it really needs to be? I bet lions and bears don’t “overstretch.” A bear of very little brain, indeed.

I don’t really know what I dropped in to tell you. I’ll start with: A very merry Christmas to you. And Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, and whatever else you got.

Will I be blogging more in 2014? Meh. Do you really want promises? Can I respect myself in the morning for a bit instead?

I would like to. As much as I’ve needed, wanted, enjoyed walking away from recreational writing, I identify as a writer. I am a writer. It’s what I do, how I am, who I am, why I am the way I am. How many more ways can I say it? I write therefore I exist. Apologies to the dead guy I’m paraphrasing.

Fog in late August. It was incredibly warm, so unusual for fog, and a beautiful day for cycling in Esquimalt, just over the bridge from Downtown Victoria.

What I can tell you is… I’ve been wanting to come back here lately. But this blog has some kinda legacy. Oof, does it. One needs a little mojo to step up to the “Cunt.” It’s been a happy, fluffy time of rainbows and growth of late. Not a Cunty mojo for me, to say the least.

That’s not necessarily a great thing either, happiness without a side of Cunt. I don’t regret who I was when I wrote this blog. For much of it, I really enjoyed the ride. I sort of stopped being her far longer ago than when I merely stopped writing it.

But maybe, just maybe, I’m coming full circle. In a better, wiser, older kind of way.

In any case. A merry Christmas to you all. Here’s hoping we can get it on again, blog-style, in the new year.

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Posted in Being me | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Once, There Were Lepers: Something to Read

Over on my other blog about life here in Victoria, I’ve written a posting about a little-known leper colony where racism lived and Chinese immigrants died. It’ll be getting cross-posted by the Huffington Post this week, but why wait to read it there when you can read it now?

Click here to travel there. Thanks!

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Why I’m Not Religious

This article from Scientific American frustrates me a little because it’s about interesting topics, but they only skate the surface and it sounds more like conjecture than a supportable argument.

But it raises an interesting point.

There is a lot of judgment out there against atheists. There’s this deluded impression, I’ve found, that being religious somehow means you have a moral code that others do not.

What? Because I don’t go to church, I’d steal from your grandmother, hit-and-run your car, and cheat on my taxes? Bullshit.

Sorry, kids, morality’s just a little bit more complicated than where I park my ass for an hour or two on Sunday mornings. God’s got nothing to do with how ethically I choose to live my life.

Here’s the thing.

I’m not religious today BECAUSE I was raised religious. I was so Catholic I’d go to church as much as 6 days a week. Used to tell the non-believer kids in the ‘hood about the sermons, and they’d listen, too.

I loved me some Jesus when I was a kid.

When I was in high school, I had a priest who told us a classmate was going to hell because she committed suicide. And then we had a teacher, who I thankfully never had classes with, who was discovered to be sexually abusing boys. He went to jail. But around the school we were talking and it seems the Arch Diocese knew for as much as five years about the teacher’s abuse.

The details on the story are hazy for me now and searching the web proves futile as I only know remember him by “Mr. [redacted].”

It’d be some years before I came to believe what Ken Kesey preached, that if you weren’t able to worship what you call God in your backyard, he wasn’t gonna be in no church, either.

I learned at the age of 13 that men are corrupt, so all religions are corrupt. And I fell hard from my pedestal of faith. We found out shortly after the child molesting thing that our elementary school Monsignor had been in a relationship with a woman for more than 2 decades. He had to leave the church.

I decided, if God needs me to join a club to prove I believe, then he’s got really, really low self-esteem, because look at some of the members! Let’s not even talk about Creationism, which is a slap in the face at everything God’s capable of, if you’re to believe the book of Genesis in the first place. If God’s so omnipotent, the idea of the Big Bang and millions of years of evolution speak far louder about a God’s powers than this dumbed-down “The Earth is 6,000 years old” bullshit practiced by people too blind to see science is a faith too.

Anyhoo. I was raised Catholic. I was raised to respect others, be kind, be honest, and all that ethicky jazz. I maintain those values. I just don’t figure God anywhere in the picture.

I live my life with virtue because I need to respect myself in the morning. I may not have money, fame, and everything I dream of, but I do have self-respect, and it comes from living up to how I was raised. Ain’t any church that’s gonna change that about me. My ethics guide my life and always will.

Ethics and the Vatican aren’t exactly in bed together, though. Look at the Catholic Church: With properties and assets, it’s about the most powerful and richest organization in the world. But we don’t know that for sure, because the books are kept pretty tight. The Vatican is literally its own nation-state, remember. For insurance purposes, its incredibly vast collection of artwork is valued at about an euro each, according to some reports. This MSNBC report states the Catholic Church received more than $8 billion in donations in 2003 alone. Never mind tax write-offs, present-day property values, or any of that.

And look at the Evangelical movement in the USA, where preachers are VERY well-paid rockstars ministering to the thousands. Yeah. And Jesus, Mohammad, and Buddha lived as paupers. No disconnect there at all.

If you really believe in Jesus and Christianity, then you believe Jesus threw the merchants from the temple. He didn’t believe money and faith went hand-in-hand.

It’s a mockery, what we have today for religion. It’s everything Christ never wanted. Churches hold the riches today, and look at the average person. Not so rich.

Yet I’m morally bankrupt because I don’t practice and celebrate that mockery of everything Christ stood for?

Don’t tell me religion today is moral when it shouts down the search for human rights for gays. Don’t tell me the Catholic Church has the high ground when it had as its Pope for the last decade or so a Holocaust apologist. Don’t tell me faiths that take in more money than they give back to the poor are doing what God wants of them.

Religion today is nothing of what it has been written as in the Bible. It’s sanctimony and judgment. Church is where the dollar talks and transparency walks.

Unfortunately, there are good people caught up in that sanctimony and judgment. There are fine Christians in the world, and admirable Muslims, and wonderful Jews. While I rail against religion, I do not rail against the believers, not if they are moral, kind people. But being a believer in religion does not mean one is indeed moral or kind, and that’s why I state there’s that prerequisite.

I will not hold your religion against you if you do not hold my lack thereof against me.

Seems a fair trade.

It is absolutely my moral code which keeps me from practicing religion. Until faiths are led by men and women I can admire and respect, I will turn instead to worshipping nature and the world around me, and living my life as I would have had I found a church worthy of my faith.

I would put my ethics against anyone’s. I absolutely know who I am at heart, and if there were more of me, and less pious sanctimony, this would be a really nice world to live in.

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Posted in Being me, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Potpourri: A Round-Up of News, My Way

Hey, don’t forget, I have a new Victoria lifestyle blog I’ve been writing, about my new hometown.

Boy! Lots I could write about today. So, let’s do that then.

The Funny-Hat Guy is Leaving

The Pope’s retirement kicks in today. Fuck the Pope. I’d like to wish a happy retirement to the Nazi Pope & his child-molesting friends he’s protected during his papal ascendancy. Now fuck off and die. Oh, right, that’s what he’s trying to do.

There, that’s done.

Exposing Child-Porn Apologists

This asshole who used to advice Canada’s Prime Minister (fuck the PM too) says that looking at child porn doesn’t do any harm to anyone.

From the Huffington Post:

I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures,” Flanagan said. “I don’t look at these pictures.”

After saying that he has long been on the mailing list of the Man Boy Love Association, Flanagan made the statement that triggered the loudest jeers from the audience.

It is a real issue of personal liberty, to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”

Fuck you, Flannagan. Child porn pictures don’t just happen by magic. A kid was violated for them.

If you look at child porn, possess it, or share it, you are condoning the commission of that violation.

I can’t even fathom the notion of defending looking at child porn as a personal freedom. Possessing child porn to me is on the level of knowing a rape is happening at a party you’re attending and choosing to do nothing to stop it.

It’s against the law, we all know it, and to be consuming child pornography while claiming you’re just another Average Joe Citizen, man… I wish shit-kickings were legal, some days, because some things are just so reprehensibly wrong my skin crawls. Enough said on that.

Science Says I’m Happy to Be Grumpy

My worldview in a photograph, shot this Monday by moi on Victoria’s Dallas Road. Sun, storm, turbulent ocean — it ain’t clear sailing, but isn’t it fucking beautiful? And that’s life.

In happier news, a study says being a pessimist will likely lead you to a longer life. From the Telegraph:

Older people blighted by pessimism and fear for the future are more likely to live longer, according to scientists.

A study, into 40,000 adults across ten years, has found those with low expectations for a “satisfying future” actually led healthier lives.

In contrast, people who were “overly optimistic” about the days ahead had a greater risk of disability or death within ten years.

I can’t stand when people are always insisting I cheer up or smile or whatever online. (You would likely not say that in person, because I smile a lot and tend to be real funny and engaging.)

My worldview is just fine, thanks, kids. I can come across biting, jaded, and cynical, but I describe myself as a realist. My worldview in short form?

Few problems are insurmountable. I believe people working together can accomplish incredible things. I think politics are, by and large, corrupt and that dreaming of radical Utopian change is kind of futile because a good chunk of mankind is, by nature, corrupt. Things will never be perfect, but they’ll always be worth getting up for in the morning.

I think for every awful person I’ve ever known, I’ve probably known five who took the bad taste out of my mouth. For every person who’s crushed me, several have lifted me up. And yet I don’t think there’s more than a handful of people I can trust with my life, but I also believe we kind of stop looking for more as we grow up as we get comfortable in our routines.

I believe my life will never be perfect, and my health will probably never be perfect either. I believe long stretches of life will occur where I’m moody or depressed.

And yet I think those times will pass. I will have good days that make all others worth enduring. I will always have my wit and wisdom to get me through.

Whatever my flaws, whatever life’s imperfections, I think the world’s full of surprises. Not all good, not all bad.

And that’s fine for me.

But if you wanna run around trying to make yourself upbeat, believe that EVERYTHING is possible, and have this YAY, EVERYTHING’S WONDERFUL worldview, knock yourself out. Because here’s the thing. Nothing’s ever always wonderful. Shit happens. That’s life. And when you perch yourself on a high pedestal of happy expectations, don’t be surprised when that knock to the ground one day comes and you’re not able to be resilient because you weren’t expecting realism.

Instead of dreaming everything’s perfect, enjoy the ups and downs, because like most great philosophers have said, that’s where life comes — in the Yo-Yo of good/bad existential juxtaposition. Happy, sad. Extremes. Like the mystic Kahlil Gibran writes:

“Only great sorrow or great joy can reveal your truth.
If you would be revealed, you must either dance naked in the sun, or carry your cross.”

And that’s not a bad thing. My losses, my injuries, all my worst moments make my present fantastic, even in its boring consistency, because I know how tough life has been in the past and I have a realistic appreciation of how good it is to just be able to work and live a simple life. I enjoy the moment right now, and do so more often than I likely have in a decade or more.

I need nothing extraordinary for happiness today. I feel, realistically, that this is as good as it gets this week, and that next week is not yet written.

As far as worldviews go, I’m okay with that.

***

And that’s a wrap. Happy weekend, minions.

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Faces From the Beyond

It’s taken me three days to take a package out of my mailbox from my brother.

He spent a whole weekend transferring videos he had found in the deep, dark boxes of his life. They were footage of my mother from the three years before her death.

We weren’t a video family. She died in ’99, so it was before smartphones, before everyone had a camera. We had pictures, was about it.

Then my brother called one night, a tone different in his voice, and told me he’d found these videos and had been watching them for a whole weekend, then decided to invest in conversion equipment.

Voila, DVDs.

So, now they’re here. Today. On the day she would’ve been 71.

So how do you go from having nothing but vague memories of a face, a person, who was one of the most pivotal people in your life, to suddenly knowing there’s a stack of DVDs waiting to be seen?

Well, I guess now they’ll sit there on my desk for a while. I’ll become used to them existing in the world. And some day, one day, I’ll have the courage to go there.

But this is not that day.

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Smells Like Sexism, Playtex

It’s been pointed out to me that the wipes discussed below are aimed at both sexes, which I already knew, but since I’m used to advertising telling me my vagina is foul, I’ll leave it up to boys to defend themselves.

***

What fresh, steamy hell is this?

I’ll give you a clue: It ain’t lavender-scented, bitches!

That stanky pile of shit you’re getting a whiff of is the latest advertising campaign by Playtex.

Like other beauty and hygiene companies, their cash-cow is in the form of hyping up our insecurities.

Wanna get laid? Make babies? Fulfill your dreams of love and destiny?

Better clean your snatch, baby. No man will have you if you smell normal. You’d better be smelling like roses and unicorns down there, girls, or you’ll die alone and wretched.

In short, Playtex wants you buying their wipes so you don’t offend the masses by smelling like a human being. You know, that smell that biologically is meant to attract men and signal our arousal? BAD. DON’T DO ITEVER.

A clean beaver always finds more wood”? No, a wet one does.

Their campaign has sent their misogynistic advertising company to the library on a quest for every dated, tired euphemism for “vagina,” because god knows the censors would never let any female bodyparts be uttered on daytime TV, and they’ve cranked out a series of offensive slogans, thinking women would find it cute, adorable, and true.

Because, hey, everyone knows women will respond positively if you use nice colours and pretty pictures. Lord knows we’d do anything to avoid taxing our pretty little heads with big thinky words or complicated concepts like empowerment, independence, or confidence.

Funny enough, there’s no proof these things do anything positive other than masking bodily odours with chemical ones. It doesn’t STOP the source, it just hides it for a while.

In fact, the odds of your getting yeast infections SKYROCKETS if you use these products.*

Then what happens? More shame over being human. More use of the product that actually causes the problem. Desperate use of yeast-infection products to solve the infection you’ve caused by using something unnatural to fight something natural. Either way, more money for the industry.

Whether it’s anal bleaching, vaginal wipes, or other cosmetic/chemical fixes for twats and penises, it’s all a sign of just how stupid we’re becoming.

Bleaching your ass  because it looks like ass? Pretty dumb, people. Getting surgery to make your snatch look like a porn star’s? Infinitely stupid.

And using wipes doused in chemicals and maxed out with scents so you can avoid smelling the way you’re supposed to smell? Yep. Stupid.

If you’re not pissed off by this advertising campaign, then you’re a part of the problem. Period.

*As opposed to wiping with, say, apple cider vinegar, under $5 a bottle, whose smell evaporates in 30 seconds and which actually fights, and kills, yeast, and is good for you. Want portable wipes without giving into this misogynistic bullshit? Papertowel dampened with apple cider vinegar, carried in a Ziploc bag, will fight any infection-induced odours & help CURE you rather than perpetuate the problem.

______________________

Don’t forget to check out my new Victoria Lifestyle Blog, about my new city and home of choice: http://VanIsleStyle.com.

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Posted in Consumerism, Opinion (Editorial & Commentary), Sexism, Steff Rants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments
  • About Steff

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