My Regular Mind, July 21, 2010 at 10h38

After Ultimate last night, someone pointed out that one of our opponents was missing a hand. My first reaction was to feel guilty for playing as hard as I normally would, but later reflection left me wondering. Surely by playing a sport that so frequent involves the hands she must want to be treated equally, so if I had adjusted my level of play, wouldn’t that have been insulting? Would I have played differently had I known before or during the game?

At a tournament many years ago, an opponent was missing most of his left arm. This was a much more noticeable amputation, and I found myself changing my intensity while covering him. Not smart. This guy knew the game and he was fast. Even when I was firing on all pistons, I barely kept up with him. I couldn’t treat him like anyone else; he was too good.

This makes me wonder about other physical limitations. Like how I’ll always take advantage of a mismatch with a slow defender. This is of course just good strategy. But what if instead of a slow defender, it was someone who was blind in one eye and I purposefully stayed to that side? Would that be fair play or would I be capitalizing on disadvantages?

The thought I had while making my way home last night was how my actions change, consciously or not, when my awareness changes. The conclusion I came to — at least as far as sport goes — is that if you’re coming to my house, be ready to play. But if we’re going to a tea party, well, I’ll take it down a notch.

The Old Apple-Cement Trick

Crime of Life, July 20, 2010 at 06h58

Yesterday afternoon, I schemed.

There was fresh cement poured across the street from my house, and a guy had been hired to make sure nobody vandalized it. Well, since I was already waiting out on the front steps, I hatched a plan.

First, I took an apple, chopped it in half, and carved an imprint into it. Next, after observing the ever-vigilant sidewalk monitor for some time, I noticed that he was drinking a lot. It would only be a matter of time before he would have to go to the washroom, thus leaving me with my opportunity to strike.

And then I was in and out like a bank heist.

Granted, I’ve never actually been involved in a bank heist, but I do however enjoy heist movies, and I’d say my execution was somewhere between Ocean’s Eleven and Dog Day Afternoon. By the time I was there imprinting the cement, it had dried considerably and my apple had gotten mushy. The result was a very slight impression, which, hopefully, will still be noticeable years from now.

Mighty in the Storm

Poems, July 17, 2010 at 03h37

When once I was so mighty
And stood against the storm
Now the wind blows lightly
And all my roots are torn
I’m weathered, weak, and wilting
And collapse upon the floor
Not mighty, but soon I will be
And brave the storm once more

As inspired years ago, at my most fragile.

The Unnecessary Details

Crime of Life, July 15, 2010 at 03h36

There are times when we hear something that makes us rethink our entire life’s habits. As example, I was visiting a small town in Alberta shortly after a friend’s wedding, talking to two people from high school that I hadn’t seen in years. I started telling a funny story about a shady pub I went to once, wherein two drunk people were cursing each other out, back and forth, repeating the same two words over and over. Except in the story as I told it that day, they weren’t just drunk people: they were drunk Indians.

One of the people I was talking to turned to his friend and said, “See? I told you! It’s not a drunk person, it’s a drunk Indian. It’s always a drunk Indian.”

It wasn’t at this point in the story that I totally understood his meaning, but when I did, I realized my discrimination. And further to this, it wasn’t even about Indians, or Natives, or whatever label might be applied; it was about unnecessary details and why they are used. The story I was telling wasn’t particularly funny itself; it was the stereotype of the characters involved. These days I consider the relevancy of those extra details.

Today I no longer have black friends or white friends, Jewish friends or Native; I just have friends. And if you ask me to describe them, I’d tell you what you need to know.

Comicle #5: Patriotism is Relative

Comicles, July 11, 2010 at 05h16

Before humans came along, borders of course did not exist. We made them up. And when we did, the land didn’t change, the air didn’t change… nothing changed except us. We started to believe that our invisible lines were better than anyone else’s. And this lead to many intense rivalries between people on different sides of these silly invisible lines. So with that, today’s word of the day is:

Patriotism (noun): the belief that the invisible boundary surrounding the relative place of your birth is somehow superior to everywhere else. (Similar to the my-dad-can-beat-up-your-dad phenomenon.)

Really, people, can’t we all just be buddies?

Note: this Comicle is presented in fabulous black and white so you can colour outside the lines! Fun!

Additional note: as has been pointed out to me by Eric — a man who changes his web theme more frequently than I change my socks — I actually defined nationalism, not patriotism. Properly, it should read: “Patriotism (noun): the belief that the invisible boundary surrounding the relative place of your birth is FREAKING AWESOME.”

The Swallow That Sings

Poems, July 6, 2010 at 08h31

The swallow that sings as the sun is rising
Feels sorrow as the sunlight fades
The days to come are promised to none
So sing for tomorrow today

As inspired by Belize, 2007.

The Printer’s Work

Briefs of Fiction, July 2, 2010 at 10h01

When the General came into the shop, he came with thunder. He was an arm of the President — the arm with the sword — and his questions were commands to be followed without question.

“Printer!” barked the General. “Will you make posters to hang in the city! Will you tell the people the truth about their glorious President!”

Work was slow and money hard to come by. Food was nearly impossible to find anywhere, every market was empty. The Printer was shaking, he had so little to eat.

The President was generous to his few loyal supporters. His General was ruthless with the rest. It was unwise to disagree with their requests, and really, what bother is it to anyone if it’s truth being printed or not? And what was truth anyway? Truth is printed all the time, by anyone! Let the people do as they will!

At the end of each day, he returned home and in the abundant food for his family he found truth. And each morning, it was lost, and he entered his shop a liar. When the door closed behind him, it sounded like thunder.

And so it went each day for months and years, his hands covered in the dark ink of the government. He could not care what horrible shapes the ink took. He would not look at it any more than to check the coverage. Day after day, he laboured.

The colour was the richest black. It was his pride.

Gone Campin’

My Regular Mind, June 30, 2010 at 10h04

Boy I tell you, it’s been a while since my wrist was this sore. The other day I finished doodling a 28-page comic as a gift for my girlfriend. I think it’s pretty rad but I wish I’d given myself more than just a week to do it in! But now it’s all done with a single one-of-a-kind copy being reproduced into printer spreads and stitched. Don’t be too impressed, it was done in a rushed panic on a colour photocopier. It’s unlikely to be worth millions of dollars by any avid comic collectors.

As this post gets published, I’ll be loaded up with camping gear and on my way to Salt Spring Island. Just like last year — except with a tad more restraint — I’ve gone overboard with gear preparations. New tarp, new multi-day pack, new this, new that. What can I say, I’m a gear guy. I don’t mind packing in a bit of extra weight if I’m going to use it and enjoy it. Like the hammock. And the bocce balls. And this, and that… actually, we’ll see what makes the final cut into the backpack.

And with that!

Emma’s Particular Diet

Briefs of Fiction, June 23, 2010 at 07h34

Emma stopped eating meat when she was seven years old. Two years later, she stopped eating milk and cheese, and three years after that she stopped eating processed food. None of this was for ethical or health reasons. Emma just had bad luck with food.

When she was seven, Emma’s t-ball team was going out for hot dogs, and when she bit into hers, she also bit into a severed pinky finger. (It belonged to one of the workers at the factory where the weiners were made.) As soon as she pulled it out and saw it pointing right back at her, she refused to eat meat ever again.

When Emma was nine she found a gelatinous gob of something icky white on top of the butter, and a little while later there was an incident with chocolate milk that she never talked about. On her tenth birthday she found what she thought was a frog’s eye in her ice cream cone. (It wasn’t actually a frog’s eye, though, it was a completely different animal.) This is when Emma stopped eating dairy.

Finally, when Emma was thirteen, she stopped eating processed food. This was an unusual year, actually, even for her. One time she found a little green worm in a fruit bar, another time a hornet’s nest in a bag of chips. A can of pop she nearly drank out of was full of nails, a donut was actually an angry coiled-up rattlesnake, and she found a paint-soaked sponge in a package that was supposed to be her favourite organic tofu. Who knows how these things happen, but they did, and they happened to Emma.

One day, Emma is going to stop eating most fruits and vegetables, all rice and beans and nuts, and everything except for a specific type of apple that she will grow herself. And then one day, something will happen, and she’ll stop eating even that.

But as Emma always said, don’t go letting her stories stop you from eating what you want. She just had bad luck, is all.

Comicle #4: Sign Language

Comicles, June 17, 2010 at 03h42

The Bible says a lot of things. I don’t know all of them because I haven’t taken detailed notes, but I do know one thing: it’s a book. No matter what else it symbolizes, it is first, foremost, and physically a book of stories. The stories are myths. Every culture has myths that they pass down through the generations. All of these myths teach a lesson, and it is this lesson that is important. The story may show the lesson’s magnitude, but that’s it. Jesus was a teacher, just like Buddha and Mr. Feeny, and it is these lessons we are meant to learn.

And getting learned ain’t always easy. People have a wide scope of comprehension; some pick up every detail, some pick up none. I think most of us probably fall somewhere in the middle, and we store the information in our brain as best we can, in an automatic way that helps us to relate to it. In a sense, we remember what we want to remember.

Which brings me to the Bible. In this comic, the character of Angry Christian is protesting with his GOD HATES GAYS sign. He even asserts that the message is from God. Well, Mr. Angry Christian is wrong! The Bible doesn’t say that anywhere! Doesn’t even hint at it! And what sense would it make to create gay people just to hate them? And why have an overwhelming number of lessons about peace and love, then sandwich in a few specific little bigoted bits? It don’t make no kinda sense to me.

I think if people treated their sacred texts as metaphorical and allegorical lessons, they would better understand the writing inside. To the best of my awareness, God is not an omniscient man behind the curtain of our existence. I see God as a guiding flow of energy that harmonizes everything. And I see any quotes attributed to God as man’s best effort to explain the unanswerable questions about why we are here. We just want some answers, that’s all.

So don’t believe everything that you read. God doesn’t hate gays. Or people with signs.