Friday, February 19, 2010

Death to Snuggie

If you could get rid of one invention, what would it be?
I would get rid of the snuggie. 
I know this will make me unpopular with a few people I know, but it just seems like the most ridiculous invention on the planet- along with the Doggie Snuggie. 
I’m sorry- it’s a sweater!? It’s a blanket!? Why not wear a sweater, and snuggle under a blanket? I have a dozen of each! I don’t need to buy something else. 
Not to mention, I really cannot stand the available colours and patterns. And I already get caught up enough in blankets and end up tripping when getting off the couch- now I need one that’s attached to me? 
I know, of all the inventions that anyone has ever invented, it seems a bit strange to pick the Snuggie as my invention of destruction- but seriously. I just don’t get it. 


Is love at first sight total bs? 
Okay, a bit. But here’s how I think it works:
I think that love at first sight is that connection- that instant when you look across a room or stumble through a doorway or sit down at a table at a bar, look up, and instantly feel like the person in your direct line of vision is going to have a defining role in your life. 
And I think it’s largely our own responses to those impulses that define the follow-through; if I think that the person across from me will have something beautiful to offer my life, if I feel a level of attraction or connection, I’m probably infinitely more likely to be open to the development of our relationship from a chance encounter to something more substantial. 
Sometimes people just kind of... walk haphazardly into your life, and sometimes those people redefine you, or at least let you redefine yourself. 
The first time I met Pumpkin we were both getting drunk off our asses at an event; within a month, and after only two hangouts, I’d decided he was my favourite, my #1. It wasn’t until 6 months later that our casual acquaintanceship developed into a solid friendship. 
When I met Goldilocks we had one night in which we said probably no more than 3 words to each other, and the next week bonded over our love of the Body Shop’s Hemp line, and within a week or two following that had become fast friends. 
And when I met 1002things, way back in the day, I saw this amazingly cool lady every week for months on end before we finally sat down, talked, and developed into incredibly close friends. 
Was there an instant connection with each of them? I’m guessing so- but I met all three in three very different circumstances. So, while Goldilocks and I hit it off instantly, Pumpkin and I took a little longer to finally take off on our fab friendship, and 1002things and I had a much slower courtship which has landed me with a relationship with one of the best people I know. 
Love at first sight? Maybe a hint at love. A connection. An instant in which we decide- is this a person I’m going to invest my love in right now? Or do I maybe need to wait? 

Never Give Up on the Good Times

What experience would you be willing to risk everything for?
I’ve been trying to think on this one, very seriously, to figure out what, if anything, I would risk everything for. I want it to be something grand- something worth losing everything I’ve got. 
Worth losing my friends.
Worth losing my family. 
Worth losing the friends that have become my family, the family that are my friends. 
What would I be willing to risk losing Myself over? 
Honestly, I’m not sure there’s anything. 
There are a whole lot of amazing things I’d love to experience- going into space, seeing the lowest point of altitude on earth, hell, seeing the highest. I’d love to fall head-over-heels in love with someone who loved me (head-over-heels) back. I’d love to get my PhD, become a published author, or sell and produce a line of tshirts. 
I’d love to do a lot of things; in fact, I have a whole list of them. I think right now I’m somewhere around 450. But would I give up the people I love to experience all those things? 
I don’t think I could. Because I wouldn’t trade in texts like:
“Although I like the adjective yeti-ish, I don’t think it applies to you”
“Hahaha, sorry, a hobo just called you from my phone”
“You’re welc-gooooooooo!”
“Don’t go to bed with a frown in your pocket. Take it outside and strap it to a rocket”

for anything. 
And without those amazing people, what the hell are all the experiences worth?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lean on Me

Do we only need God when life smacks us in the face?
I’m tempted to say yes. I want to hope it’s a no, though. 
As someone who isn’t very faith-filled, I don’t have a lot of first-hand experience in this department, but I think it’s safe to say that when shit hits the fan we all turn to our systems of support. 
Two weeks ago my grandma passed away, and my very first impulse was to call Pumpkin, to check in and just hear his voice, to have some sort of steadying force. I turned to the person I not only wanted in my life at that moment, but a person I suddenly realized I needed. And I don’t think it’s out of line to say that people of religion, people of spiritual faith, have that same impulse- to turn to someone or something that they feel they can rely on. 
At the same time, Pumpkin is also at the top of the list for calls when things go amazingly well, when I get great news or something beautiful happens in the world. I’d like to think that people turn to their God in those moments as well. 
But I guess my question now is- does that still count as a smack in the face? I mean, yeah, usually we’d assume that getting smacked is a bad thing, but maybe sometimes we need to be slapped with something amazing to wake up and get out of our own heads. Maybe the key is wondering if we turn to God in those mediocre moments, in those times when things aren’t particularly awesome or negative, but are just... mundane. 
I mean, okay, I tend to text Pumpkin about pretty much everything, because for some reason things like “man, I just sneezed like 8 times and every time i let out a tiny little ‘achoo’” are the kinds of things I feel I need to share with him. But I guess I just don’t know if God comes into play during those moments as well? 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Love Uncontrollably

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done for love?

I tend to do a lot of ridiculous things, especially when love gets involved. 
Countless mix tapes/cds, dozens of handwritten letters, and at least a few extravagant packages later, I still think that the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done for Love, for someone I Loved and continue to Love was to fly across the country to see him. 
Okay, so, let’s set this up with a bit of backstory: My cousin plays for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (KWS) and a couple years ago a buddy of mine was going to school out in Kitchener-Waterloo (he will henceforth be referred to as Kay-dub). 
And, while the trip was, in large part, to see my cousin and spend some time in what is easily one of my favourite Canadian cities, the added benefit was that, with some perfected timing, I was going to get to drive out from T.O with my cousin and see Kaydub for an evening, see a show, and have an awesome hangout. 
Since he moved away, we’d started emailing more, talking on ye olde interwebs, and occasionally even indulging each other in a phone call. Because, regardless of how far apart we were, we were buds, and it made sense to keep in touch. Hell, we kept in touch better that year than we have any year since. 
Anyway, and I mean this with no disrespect or slight intended towards my cousin, because she is easily one of the most amazing people in my life and I love her to bits and wish I could see her infinitely more often than I do- a big part of the trip was about seeing Kaydub. After all, he was doing his MA, which was a huge deal, and was living away from home. I’d been there. No matter how awesome it is, it’s still kind of rough. And I missed him, and wanted to see him. Plus, I got to bring him to one of my cousins performances, and show off how proud of her I am. That was hella cool. 
But, at the end of the day, I largely arranged a trip around the prospect of getting in a car or hopping on a greyhound bus and going out to see him. 
Lo and behold I happened to get there on what probably still ranks as one of the worst weekends of the kid’s life, but, hey, shit happens. 

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Does Sameness = Lameness? What does it mean to be distinct?
I find this “individuality” craze to be totally peculiar. I really hate to pull on the book The Rebel Sell, since so much if it just offends me entirely, but the authors make a good point- 
It used to be that the small, individual, elite group was looked on by the masses with distain. At the turn of the century, industrialization and urbanization polarized the western world, and people were very clearly in either the group of Haves or of Have-nots. The have-nots were the majority, and they were fuckin pissed with the haves. So, being in that elite group made you an ostracized member of society. 
However, with the establishment of a solid middle-class, something changed- suddenly we want to be that elite, we want to be one of the few: we don’t want to be just one of the masses, but we want to stand out. We want to be individuals. 
Hilariously enough, that still only goes so far- because you can’t be too much of an individual, or suddenly you become ostracized for being weird. 
There’s this odd negotiation right now- finding a way to “stand out” in a way that is still socially acceptable to the majority group, or whatever majority group we envision is judging us. So, does sameness = lameness? Not at all- competing social groups will always judge each other for being “exactly the same”. After all, if you’re outside a group of goths or preps or scenesters, looking inwards at any one of those groups it’s easy to say “but they’re all the same!” However, within the group itself, the minor alterations on a particular style or item distinguish one member from the next.
Distinction seems to be about putting something personal into, for example, your fashion (because it’s simply easier to look at the cover than to read the book itself). It’s about using something that’s either one of a kind, hard to find, or entirely wrought with sentimental value, while still upholding your particular social group’s status quo. 
Sameness = Fitting in, and being Distinct is simply a matter of perspective. 

Weighing the Odds

Food or Booze?
If there was a 90% chance that a homeless person or beggar would use any money I gave her/him for an addiction rather than food... honestly, based on that 10% chance, I’d still give the money. I tend to side more with giving food or drink, whenever possible, but I don’t subscribe to the horrid misconception that “some of those beggars make hundreds of dollars a day.” 
Here’s the thing. 
I think addiction, especially chemical addiction, is a huge problem. But not giving someone money, regardless of what they’ll use it for, isn’t going to stop them from accessing their drug of choice. An individual might steal, might attack, might compromise their own health and safety in order to access their next fix. 
So I guess what I’m getting at is that not giving someone the means to feed themselves or, should they choose, get high, can create a more dangerous situation than the one at hand; going cold-turkey from a chemical dependency without access to detox/withdrawal facilities, especially when one is living on the street or in extremely unsafe/unhygienic conditions puts the individual at risk of various ailments, even death. Furthermore, it would seem to me that someone desperate for a high is going to be much more violent than someone who is high as a kite. 
I’m tempted to look at this from a moral standpoint- to say that it’s their own fault for getting addicted (when, really, how the hell do I know?), that they should get jobs (maybe they can’t, maybe we’re in a horrible recession), or that the individual in question will do fine without- but I guess what it comes down to, for me, is - how the hell do I really know? Even if I could guarantee that there was a 90% chance the money would be spent on drugs and only a 10% chance it would be spent on food, there is that 10% chance- and I guess I’d have to just... hope.

New Year, New Home

So, long story short, I hadn't touched my old bloog since November, and it just felt like it was time to change over. Partially I wanted to make the change simply because the purpose of this blog has changed since I first started nattering away at Cordially Invited. At first it was just a place for random thoughts and such things, but with taking on the Soul Pancake Challenge it shifted entirely. Nothing really goes up here except for Soul Pancake responses, so I did a little makeover, added a second site, and BAM: Comfort Food for the Soul was born.

I've slipped behind in the Soul Pancake prompts, but over the next 6 months and change- up until my 23rd birthday, I'm going to do my best to get through all of Life's Big Questions and the vast majority, if not all, of the activities.

Over the next few days I'll also be tinkering with the older posts, adding in tags, and ideally doing a bit of a makeover of the current setup. But we'll see what happens!

So, without further ado, let's get this shit rolling!

Inspiration for the Uninspired

Of all the SP questions so far, this one probably makes me the least comfortable. I tend to think of myself as a (relatively) creative person, but when it comes down to it, I don’t think of myself as an artist, and I certainly don’t think about where my Inspiration comes from.

I have no muse, I have no place to ponder and think of amazing things.

A friend of mine once told me that, for him, art was just what happened when he stumbled across God. Like, hey, I’m walking down this street, and if I’d stepped three centimetres to the left I’d still be walking, but because my foot landed exactly where it did, I’m suddenly struck with what feels like Divine Inspiration.

I have no source, no fool-proof way of coming up with ideas. Some days they’re there, others I am the least creative person in every room. Not to mention, there are days when my creative energies don’t go to art projects or the actual creation of items, but the creation of moments and feelings, or to writing a kickass research paper.

Either way, I think if I had to pin my inspiration on something, it’s just the random collaboration of people around me. Weird or funny things my friends do or say, a goofy grin or smirk I get for something I said or for nothing at all. It’s in taking a moment to realize just how fucking lucky I am to be surrounded by so many ridiculously amazing people.

Today I feel inspired- not to be better, but just to do something. Anything. To be the person that my friends seem to think I am.

Today I want to prove them right.

Expiration Dates Are Just Loose Guidelines

Life's Big Questions: March 8, 2009: Is Religion Outdated?

Okay, so we’ve covered my feelings on Talking About God With Strangers, but at the end of the day, God is kind of a huge concept, so there are at least a few dozen more posts I can write about the various facets about god. Today? His house.

The question of religion being outdated is a pretty heavy topic- it’s one of those things that people get fanatically passionate about, and it can tear apart some fairly solid relationships, or at least make them incredibly uncomfortable for a few days. But, at the end of the day, here’s how I see it- Faith and Spirituality aren’t outdated, but Religious Institutions, by their very nature, usually are.

I say usually because even a severely secular person such as myself has found multiple churches at which I feel entirely comfortable, welcome, and loved. There’s a minister (Melvin) that was based out of an outreach church in the far outreaches of Edmonton who has since moved to Toronto to begin his own outreach centre. His philosophy, loosely quoted: “If you’re not comfortable sitting next to someone who doesn’t believe in God and might never? This may not be the place for you.”

I quote this man often, because he symbolizes the part of faith that I love. The open, non-judgmental side that just wants to spread a little love around. That’s the kind of faith that I think any of our religious icons would condone.

At the same time, there are the people who, for lack of a better term, I see as total nutballs. To call them out, evangelicals. They scare the shit out of me, much like any fanatic does. Get enough blind faith and you give a religious institution and its leaders way too much power.

The religion that scares me is one of hatred, of bigotry, and of discrimination. It’s in the Pro Life and Prop 8 and, really, Pro Hate side of things. It’s the part that takes what it wants from religious texts and says, hey, it’s written here, so it must be true! And we must follow it to the letter! Because there is no possible way that changing social climates or changes in what are considered Universal Human Rights could have any bearing on this matter, because this text? It is the word of God.

So, in that way, any kind of hate based on sex, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, culture, birth place, political stance or, yes, religion, just seems outdated to me. I understand that, to an extent, there will always be people who hate other people simply because of the way they look or live their lives. I tend to discriminate against stupid people- its part of being an academic. But I’m not about to try to pass legislation limiting their rights to love each other.

Yes, here I am on my soapbox, getting incredibly pissed off about the Gay Marriage Issue for the second time in under 24 hours.

But to remove it from issues- religious institutions are notoriously traditional. I mean, that’s their whole business, right? Reinforcing one set of behaviours and beliefs that have been around for however long. So, yes, religious institutions are outdated. But faith? Believing in something bigger, something beyond, in the possibility of something better? Isn’t that what every day is spent hoping for- that today will be better than yesterday, but less so than tomorrow?

Aren’t we all just hoping to live in a slightly better place than we did yesterday? Is hope outdated? Are we that cynical?

Doing the Impossible

Life's Big Questions: March 8, 2009: What Would You Attempt To Do If You Knew You Would Not Fail?

If I’d answered this question a few weeks ago when I’d initially intended to do so, my response would have been substantially different.

Yes, I’ve been slacking on my posting, but, to be fair, the last few weeks have been a total shit show. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, made a huge mess of things, now I’m going to go out on a limb and take some much-needed chances.

Today is the Pumpkin’s birthday, which means that for the last 7 days I’ve been plotting a whole slough of little surprises and gifts and fun things, including what I guess was actually a surprise party at our weekly coffee/pub night last night.

To be fair, we intended to surprise the kid at midnight, but at 11:17 I looked over at Goldilocks and we decided that we were sleepy enough to ignore the time and just celebrate a few minutes early. So, after excusing ourselves under the rouse of needing to get my wallet from his car, we brought in a gorgeous (and deliciously diabetic) Cravelicious Crave Cake, lit a squiggly candle, and plopped it in front of the Pumpkin, with Happy Birthday belting out at the top of our lungs.

I then proceeded to hand him his obscene and hilarious birthday card (the HOMO Boner Donor Card), and mortify him with his Birthday Poem.

There were a whole lot of inside jokes, a whole lot of mocking that some people still won’t understand, some disgustingly gross sections, and then a few heart-warming passages explaining how much we love him.

We laughed, some of us may have teared up a bit, but at the end of the night it just turned into one massive Pumpkin Love Fest, which, looking at that, sounds kind of kinky.

What I’m trying to get at, though, is that the Pumpkin just seemed so happy- I know it was a combination of a few things, but I honestly don’t know if the evening could have gone any better. In the end, I think he felt truly loved by everyone there, and if it would be possible to replicate that feeling every day, I would.

I don’t mean necessarily for the Pumpkin specifically, but rather for everyone I hold dear to me.

What if every single day I could make someone I loved feel ridiculously appreciated? Make them smile and laugh and blush and just irrevocably happy?

If I could choose one thing that I could try to do and not fail? Making those I care about happy. Every single day. Or even just make them all happy for one day. One day of total, outright bliss and contentment with the world.

It’s a very selfish thing to want to do, because at the end of the day, the thing that makes me happiest is making other people happy. I’m honestly not sure who enjoyed last night more- the Pumpkin or myself. All I know is that when I went home afterwards, I could not stop smiling, and I went to sleep knowing that if today could be 1/10th as good as yesterday, it would still leave me entirely happy.

At the end of the day, what else really matters? There will always be war, some people will always go hungry. There will always be pain and suffering and, while I’d like to believe that we could somehow solve all our problems, I think we’d just develop a whole slough of new ones out of sheer boredom if we could. So if I could do one thing, and be guaranteed not to fail?

Make people happy. No question.


Internet Famous

Hey guys, so APPARENTLY there is someone out there that reads this, other than my mom.

Actually, I don't think my mom even reads this, because she's not internet savvy and because she doesn't love me. THANKS, MOM.

But apparently someone at Soul Pancake stumbled across my here patch of the internet and wanted to ask me some questions about my Soul Pancake goal- and I totally missed out.

That'll teach me to never check comments.

Anyway, you can read about Soul Pancake In The Real World over here, where I am very casually mentioned and, perhaps for the first time ever on the internet, someone has linked to my blog.

This is momentous.

What it means is that I'm also suddenly aware that people might be watching. So, after a couple weeks of very little happening over here, I'm finally going to get my ducks in a cute little ducky row and get going on some challenges, as well as answering more questions. Three went up last night, and I'm a little terrified to re-read them as they were typed in a horrible exhausted stupor that apparently a pot of coffee and a hyper-sugary Caramel Brule Latte from Starbuckles couldn't fix.

Also stay tuned, as I have some thoughts in the works for getting some of my friends involved in this project, as well as another project I'll be launching soon with Chelsea Dee.


March 13th, 2009: Life's Big Questions: What's One Tiny Change You Wanna Make Today?

Worry less? Care a little more?

When it comes down to it I'd just like to work on taking charge of my own happiness.

I tend to place my happiness in the hands of others a lot of the time, one of the best examples of which is a text I sent out this morning, asking for a friend to send me something silly, something stupid, something that would distract me from my stresses. Yes, I've figured out certain things that are the key to making myself happy, but a lot of the time it's easier to just wait for someone else to make me happy, so that I can wallow in my own self pity.

And, yes, my friends are amazing at delivering. There is nothing quite like getting text messages about massive crowds of Mormons hanging out at Arby's to make my day, and they darn well know it.

But at the same time, I'm pretty stressed out right now, and I'd really love to wake up tomorrow and start taking charge of my own joy.

I guess I'm still trying to impress those that hold my happiness.

Girl Talk

March 12, 2009: Life's Big Questions: Why Do We Spend So Much Time Talking About Other People?

My first impulse is to start this off with a rousing- Because it is So. Much. Fun. It's tempting to do. Because, hey, who doesn't love a little gossip in their lives? A little drama added to the day? I mean, there is a crazy popular TV show that I have been known to watch which isspecifically about an online gossip column about High School/ University students.

I have been known to pick up gossip mags when I go through the cashier at my local Big Box, and I am more than happy to check celebrity websites daily. You will find no shame here. But, being a little more serious, I think what it comes down to is that talking about others is easier than talking about ourselves.

As a sidenote, I want to distinguish between two key forms of talking about other people- concern v. gossip. I'm not a gossip fan, at least when it comes to my friends. Celebrities are fair game- it's part of what they're getting paid a ridiculous amount of money for. But when it comes to my friends, if I'm talking about them, or about things they've disclosed to me, there is only one situation that's okay in my books- concern.

(To those who have confided in me: For the most part those are things I'll talk to my mum about. She doesn't know the vast majority of my friends, so even if I tell her things, she'll definitely forget the names, and will most likely forget the details, but she can still be a solid outlet for me to reflect and sort out my thoughts.)

As for gossip, though, when it happens, I honestly I think it's because it's a great way of deflecting attention from ourselves. Rather than having open dialogue about our own issues and problems, we're able to focus on other people, and successfully avoid looking within ourselves and admitting to our flaws, to our quirks, to those choices we've made that we're not so proud of.

Of course I end up talking to friends about other friends- if we're concerned about some life choices (I'm looking at you, R), it's bound to come up in conversation. I'm a worrier, so at times I need to reflect with others to make sure that my worries aren't entirely unfounded, or to put them in perspective. But there is a distinct difference (I hope) between that kind of talking about other people and talking about them in a cruel and judgemental fashion.

So, why do we gossip? Because it's easier. Why do I talk? Because I am a very concerned individual who often likes to work on helping solve other people's problems before dealing with my own.

Which, I guess, is still easier.

Oh, My God?

March 8th, 2009: Life's Big Questions: Why Is Talking About God So Dang Awkward?

A few weeks ago I had a lovely couple in my store, a little quiet, who, upon paying for their items, handed me a business card sized slip of paper offering me a free bible, a supposedly hip version of the new testament which would surely win me over to the side of God.

All I could wonder was- Do I really look that godless?

The thing is, I have no problem talking about God in my personal relationships, mostly because I like to push the boundaries of what people consider 'normal' and 'appropriate' topics of conversation, and partially because I can't help but think that if you can't talk about the really important things with the people who you're supposedly close to, then how close are you, really? But when someone that I hardly know, or someone whom I have never met brings up God, the conversation is sure to take an awkward turn.

On a very personal level, I find it offensive. In a lot of ways, I percieve a deep judgement in the act. Obviously I must be unholy, unfit, unclean. I must be saved, brought back to a path of righteousness, I must be shown the One True Way, because, at the end of the day, I'm not smart enough to figure it out on my own.

I understand that in a few religious sects there is a Mission to Save, there is a duty to talk to people about faith, to share your God. I get it, but I don't respect it.

I believe in God. Or, at least, in some conception of A God, or Many Gods, or simply something bigger and more powerful than our individual human lives. Call it Evolution or Karma or simply Connection, call it by a name, or by many. However you choose to identify your God(s), though, I think we're all approaching something that can't really be communicated.

God, or whatever part of it we do or don't believe in, is a deeply personal relationship. No one can tell you how that connection feels, no one can fully understand your relationship with it. It is something that is deeply and entirely our own, and so I think when we try to vocalize or dictate our perception of God it comes off as something Finite, as something True, not because it is true for everyone, but because it is True for Us, as individuals. God is a truth that we can only know on an individual level, and when it comes down to it, it transcends language.

So, when strangers bring up The God Question, I can't really connect with them. They can let me know what they think their God is saying, what they feel the message is. But when it comes down to it, if it doesn't feel authentic to me, then it fails to be real to me.

It's awkward because, at the end of the day, we all conceptualize of God individually, independent of other people. We may go to the same place of worship, or believe in the same lack of worship, but as different people with different personalities and perspectives, we interact with God on fundamentally different levels. My version of God isn't the same as yours, and so your version seems entirely foreign to me. And being told that your version is somehow superior to mine, that God's interaction with you is more Correct than it's interaction with me, just seems to be a demeaning, condescending way of saying- I'm right, you're wrong; I'm big, you're little; I'm smart, you're dumb, and there'snothing you can do about it.

I Should Have Been More Specific

Big Questions: March 15, 2009: Do We Get What We Pray For?

There is this fabulous section of one of Margaret Cho’s stand-up routines in which she talks about how, growing up, she always wished to be surrounded by gorgeous men. Turns out, all the gorgeous men in her life are gay.

We have something in common.

I’ve never been super-comfortable with the idea of prayer. For the most part, at least how I’ve seen it realized in my own life and in some select few people around me, it tends to go towards the selfish side of things. Like having Santa on speed-dial, you can just call up Jesus (or whomever you believe in) whenever you feel like it and say, hey, it’d be cool if you could give me this.

Now, I know a lot of people, if they pray, and if that prayer asks for something, it’s going to land on the side of strength and hope and please help. In a lot of ways it seems like an act of desperation- of just needing someone to be there when it feels like you’re entirely alone, with no one to lean on. I get it. I tend to call out to friends in those times, or just sit in my own depressing silence and try to deal solo.

Maybe I’ve been spending too much time with Red recently, but I can’t help but think that, at some point, we need to learn to stand on our own two feet. I know that he’s a fairly closed-off person when it comes to emotions, or he at least tries to be, but at the end of the day, there’s an extent to which he’s right.

I’ve been relying on a few key people recently, and there aren’t words to describe how thankful I am that I have them in my life. But at the same time, now that things are starting to turn around, I know that I’m going to stop being so emotionally overwhelmed, and as a result won’t be sharing as much with them. At some point, I think you have to let go of that safety net and just act on your own. This is probably a big reason of why so much of religion doesn’t work for me- because I’m honestly not comfortable giving up control.

I don’t know if we get what we pray for. I don’t tend to subscribe to ideas like The Secret, or any of the new age philosophies that suggest that just putting an idea out into the universe will bring it to you. I’m much more into concrete actions- if I desire End C, then I just need to do A and B and I’ll be there. Easy. Done.

Maybe prayer is just the step we sometimes need to get us going so that we actually work for what we want, and work towards our own happiness. Does prayer directly lead to getting what you’re praying for? Not at all. Does it help you to vocalize and then put into practice what it might take for you to go out and get it yourself? Maybe.

Enough is Enough, Love is Enough, Love is Love

March 8th, 2009: Life's Big Questions: Is love nothing more than a chemical reaction?

I'll start this with a bit of a forewarning: I'm the cynic of most groups. I'm really skeptical about emotion, tend to fall on the side of the hyper-rational, and have been known to use logical arguments to reason myself through some decently heart-wrenching situations. Life tends to be easier when you can compartmentalize your way through the hard times.

What this means is that I tend to think that the idea of romantic love is a little hokey. And in saying that, I can feel the burning eyes of the romantics in my life turning towards me in scorn. Yes, I've been in love. Yes, it was fool of googly eyes and butterflies and staring at each other all day because we loved each other sooooOOOoooOOooo much that we even overcame the barf reflex from all that lovey-dovey-ness.

Unfortunately, that kind of love isn't really what I think love ever evencould be. I think it's easy to attribute love to the hyper-romantic version that, for some reason, seems to be idealized. And the endorphins that are set off when people become attracted to each other, during the phase of falling in love, are basically like one massive high, that tends to last about a year. So if you're talking the head-over-heels googly love, I think it's purely chemical. It's getting really jacked up on someone else and being entirely overwhelmed by the rush of chemicals swimming in your brain. That's real, but it's not real love.

I do think love exists, though. It has to. It's the kind of thing that's in every choice you make- choosing to care about someone above all others. Choosing to love someone not in spite of their flaws, but because of them. Choosing to stay with someone, day after day, even after that overwhelming euphoria has ended.

If love exists, it's the mundane-ness of daily life. Falling in love is just the chemical process you need to get to the place where you decide- is this someone you can spend your life (or at least some part of it) with, or isn't it?

Word to Your Mom (I Came to Drop Bombs)

March 12, 2009: Challenges: Word to your Wordle

Today's tackled SP challenge is to write out a manifesto, a mission statement, a goal, then to plunk it into Wordle and make something beautiful. Enjoy!

Wordle: make something

Where Do You Go?

So, obviously I didn't get to posting yesterday, but for anyone that was out with me at Ye Olde Pub you can understand why. I think it's safe to say that being that inebriated at 10pm on a Tuesday night is a personal best (or a personal worst, depending on your perspective) and I'll be going at the next couple weeks (months) pretty tamely.

That being said, let's get going on this SoulPancakey life, as I sit here eating leftover waffles and french toast. (Gotta round off that breakfast tripod, no?)

Life's Big Questions:Sunday, March 8thWhere Do You Go To FindInspiration?

I have to start with the usual- like so many people out there, I tend to spend a lot of time walking outside, sitting in parks, and, when I'm able, dipping my feet into the ocean in order to find something inspiring, or, at the very least, to feel inspired. The thing is, though, my happy place, that one situation I can be in at any time and get completely blown away by it all, changes on a daily basis. Different venues, different nights, but in the end it's always the same- live music totally gets my inspiration going.
There's just something about being at a crowded venue or one that is entirely empty, and just being swept away by the band on stage. Now, take note- there are a lot of bad bands out there. And past that, there are even more decently passable bands that are just not my preferred musical flavouring. But at the end of the day, if you can find a band that moves you, a band that kills it on stage, a band that is obviously having so much fucking fun up there that you just can't help but have funwatching them have that much fun, then you've got something miraculous on your hands.

Now, if you can manage to find a good recording artist who also performs amazingly on stage? Then you've got a magical combination.

Best Served With Blueberries

Best Served with BlueBerries

So, among other things, I've been thinking about the ending of my 21st year and the transition into 22. I've never been a huge fan of New Years Resolutions, and yet every year on my birthday a new question or mission or reason arises.

Last year's question is old and tired, and so with a new one fast approaching, I've been rattling off ideas of what could be The Logical Next Step.

And I think I've got one.

And the best way to bring it around seems to be to fully embrace the SoulPancake life.

On March 8th, Rainn Wilson and a whole smattering of other fabulous people launched an all-out forum for Chewing On Life's Big Questions. My Mission is to retroactively go through the last 6 months worth of Challenges and Questions and to hopefully become completely up to date with postings by this time next year.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about a task like this- mostly because it's hard to stay motivated on tasks like this when School and Work are looming, and partially because most of the questions that SP poses are so philosophical in nature, and even my inner egotistical philosopher can't seem to feel entitled to splat all my opinions on such Big Questions out there on the interwebs.

At the end of the day, though, it's a new project that I can, at the very least, kick off with the sentimentality of this past year- why the hell not?

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on eath. So, what the hell, leap." - Cynthia Heimel

1 in 1300

Did You Know? from Amybeth on Vimeo.

I've gotta say, this wigs me out.

My Soul is Hungry

A friend of mine believes in embracing the shitstorm that, more often than not, rains down on us in times of frustration and grief and absolute mind-numbing stress.

"I'm Lost Again," he says, "And I Feel Fine."

I don't feel fine. My version of this typically goes "I'm Lost Again, And I'm Fucking Scared Shitless, But I Guess That's Okay. Sort Of."

I was fully prepared to write a huge rant about my current frustrations, but after browsing around SoulPancake for the last few days, in particular over the last half hour, I find myself just not caring anymore.

What is SoulPancake? WHO EVEN KNOWS. Okay, I do. Sort of. It's fluid. It's alive. It's you and me and we're debating Life's Big Questions. Like Why are we here? What makes something right or wrong? What is that gook stuck to my shoe?

Seriously, it's gross.

Either way, it's a brand spankin new project that's being largely spearheaded by The Office's Rainn Wilson, and it's all about challenging our ideas, a place where people from around the world can talk about what really matters.

"We want to make discussions about Spirituality, Creativity, and Philosophy cool again. Were they ever cool? I have no idea. But it seems like a good idea. We want to engage the user to “Chew on Life’s Big Questions”™. (I was kidding about the ™ symbol; you can use that phrase however you want. Even to sell frozen taquitos.) Where do you go on the Interwebs if you want an irreverent, fun, and profound take on God and Art and the Soul and Faith and Beauty? Maybe. But maybe also here at"

I was talking with Naddine about the role of technology and society, and we both agreed that it's all in how you use it - and I can't help but think that this is one of those amazingly incredible ways in which the world can benefit from technology. Even if we never meet face to face, SoulPancake is a place where those of us who a searching for some sort of greater connection can get it- and without annoying the pants off of those in our immediate vicinity in the process.