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Thank you for supporting independent music!
Been a while! Part of the reason for that is what leads sort of into this morning’s blog post idea.
The idea you don’t have to take it all on.
There’s this thing going around that those who don’t jump on the comment section bandwagon have their head in the sand or some other failing. Ironically this rant on Twitter, that one on YouTube and the third on that new social media thing that was just introduced yesterday is probably not going to change your life.
There’s connections to be made out there certainly, and there’s things I’m doing now that come from those connections but there is without question a toxic element at play. Ever had a difficult meeting? Do you have to now live one?
If you want to get involved in a cause, you may be able to get stuck into it physically and it will definitely feel more effective. There are people struggling not far from you and of everyone looks after the less fortunate near them, well the potential here is self explanatory. I’m not saying let’s not care about those abroad. You can certainly do that too (many join things like the http://peacecorps.gov which very much still exist)
Look into local soup kitchens, outreach centers or other volunteer opportunities to make life better for those struggling just down the road from you now. If you want to make the world better you can a) try to affect how you listen to others, empathize and make time for them in your own life or b) go to where the problem is and try to help in physical terms. Neither are easy but both are very much needed.
Problem with comment sections is essentially trolls and negativity. You might enter a situation because you care or feel compelled but then that stuff kicks in, and you walk away just feeling frustrated. The people in need are barely effected. Remember the ice bucket challenge? Barely, huh? It was about spinal cord research which is a lie, it was about Als but you might have gone on with that for a second as it’s been so long that like me as I was writing this could barely remember. Now how effective was that and that, for social media, was a major event.
My plan is to cut my social media activity down by dropping the primary ones of my phone, and leaving them on my tablet which stays home. I genuinely like the creativity of some of it so if I see something I want to do it can still happen, but I’d rather live my life in the right now than this thing which is blowing “TV Generation” right out of the building.
Am I saying ignore the world? No, but bear in mind that too much of this is designed to crank up your emotions in the first place. They did it with the newspapers, the nightly news, commercials and now right here in your hand on something that makes you feel guilty for turning away.
There is beauty, love and joy in the world. It is there. It’s not all ____________ <- fill in what political or otherwise bugaboo that first springs to your mind.
I’ve actually started, and this is a grear part of Care for the Soul, listening to this that make me happy, or make me laugh. Part of my work work is very dull, repetitive and alone (which I appreciate is quasi-unique) so instead of NPR political shows all the time I’ve started finding audio of things like British comedies. Now they really shouldn’t be on media platforms (my official statement, it’s fine, grab what you can before it’s taken down) but see what you can legally get on your device that reminds you of gentler times, makes you so happy it is physical. You need this. We all need this. You can’t treat others with life-affirming compassion at the same level as you can when you don’t feel it.
We need to feel connected to the others around us, not like we have to battle them every step of the way.
Life can be great fun.
Today’s album choice which is Kings of Convenience. I’ve chosen Quiet is the new Loud (which isn’t one file, my apologies) as it includes some of my absolute favorites including “Summer on the Westhill” which…well, it was once said that describing something beautiful like a sunset or art is a place where you shouldn’t so I won’t.
Enjoy this adventure for the soul by clicking here! 😊
It has been now (just 2 days over in fact) five years since this little video was published on YouTube, as a mix of a song of the same name and people all over the world saying Kindness is Magic in different languages.
Click here to see Kindness is Magic
Kindness maybe little things but they make such a difference. When you feel for a moment that you aren’t alone, that we look out for each other, or that things won’t go too far wrong…well, it is magic.
Click the link today. I just want to let it speak for itself. I think we need it.
When it comes to quotes, I certainly know there are more famous ones, but I like that for it’s ramifications when you spin it out.
This works in any relationship from the macro of a couple to as large as between sides. I don’t believe you get away with letting waves of anger out. It troubles you and even if you’re in the right it’s a mess. I’ve been on both sides of the counter when someone starts blasting some employee for not being flawless. What’s interesting about this is that it only ever has the opposite desired effect. You more horrible energy you inject into the situation, the more impossible it gets to the point that you know the employee could not spell their own name, or the word “the”.
I have two self created quotes, which means that I believe them, made them and am pretty sure that I am right about it.
1) Nothing is simple
2) For every attack is a defense.
I don’t know how amazing these are or even if they are completely mine (don’t actually care about that bit, I more want to get the old man point across)
With the first, things are more complex that we may may realize. I firmly do not believe that there is bad people over there and good people over in some other direction. That is cartoon world thinking. Everything is far more complex than that. It reminds me of a lady talking about working with the mob. The men where the most soft spoken, polite and friendly she ever met with lines like “hey, don’t use bad language in front of the ladies.”. But as soon as “business” was on the table, then it was like they switched into that role, like an iron mask came down. You cannot see inside someone’s soul, no matter if you believe in Judeo-Christian beliefs or what have you.
“Even the very wise can not see all ends” Gandalf the Grey
My Mom would love this, because I’ve been more recently learning about St. Francis of Assisi who saw everyone from a worm to a king as both equal and a brother or sister, with no judgement. To him (and of course being of his religion) there was only one judge.
Now of course this thinking is way easier said than done. Here in Victoria we have struggles with poverty, homelessness and addiction. It’s very easy to sound like something between Dickens and a 60s song until you have to work in range of an outreach center where the unpredictability of some folks can be unnerving. I grew up in a quiet Canadian suburb in the 80s. I like where I live to be just boring as hell. I think most people would sleep better if their surroundings looked as quiet as Hobbiton on a Sunday evening. But we aren’t mean, nasty or evil for feeling that. That’s because the mess of humanity is not simplistic.
For every attack is a defense. I came up with this about Ollie and Emma, the TV show I cowrote back in the day.
It was sort of an idea about bringing people into another culture or an idea, by making them feel welcome and not blaming them for what’s been before.
I genuinely don’t believe anyone has ever been abusive, aggressive or confrontational with another that caused the other to think “oh, I wonder if they are right?”
I genuinely believe that you could have an enemy down under you about to slip into eternity and they won’t think that either. Their last words will simply be damning you.
And I’d say that last one is pretty much the most assertive argument.
I’m not saying you can’t argue. Debate and working things out is a human gift. One of my favorite scenes is between Robin Williams and another professor in Dead Poets Society
where they don’t agree and have a debate on the true value of poetry in academic setting. They finish their debate and are both smiling as they eat next to each other. It’s about the debate, not personal. It’s about being able to discuss something, even passionately without thinking your opponent is somehow evil or suspect. You have more ability to argue effectively if you know why the other person’s view is occurring, not just that it is.
I remember when someone tried to explain to me that my choice of music was “bad” and they made a mix cassette of what I “should” listen to.
On the way home I was so annoyed I threw the tape and broke it.
Years later another friend put a CD in front of me at work and went “You might like that”
That CD became an instant favorite.
One is an attack, the other let me discover truth for myself.
When it came to understanding my girlfriend’s First Nations culture, (not that I now see myself as some expert because I certainly do not, but…) it wasn’t because someone “put it on me”. It was because I was welcomed in by families and it just naturally led me to want to know, to ask the questions and make those distinctions for myself. It’s like when I learn music. If I read it or it’s told to me I might eventually memorize it, but If I learned it by ear and made physical notes, it will be down for months to come.
Have an awesome day.
PS Title comes from this awesome song by Richard Fahl. I mentioned him in my old Westsound Magazine project and this tune is a smooth acoustic favorite. Click and chill 😉
I know…oh, behave! But this subject seems to need talking, more and more as things get confused. In some less-known tribal communities in the present day everyone walks about either nude or mostly nude and the number of sexual assaults or sexual challenges are through the floor non-existent. These people still “do it” and I can’t imagine it doesn’t still feels good but it is simply a part of life.
If nothing else mankind’s fascination with this subject is the stuff of legend…both love and sex. Both are the subject of songs, poems and while they are connected…love is seen as the softer, magical thing and sex is like it’s darker seedier side that dare not speak it’s name.
Then there’s the recent Incel thing which first makes you laugh until you realize how serious they are and how angry that gets people. It’s the same reason that I think “Friends with benefits” and casual stuff of either side doesn’t work. There is still powerful emotion going on. Indeed with the writing of this I have to steer the ship somewhat carefully as I want to explain that a) it’s all going to be ok and b) no, I don’t discount how you might feel.
I really believe that there is someone for everyone and that even if it takes a while before that 1st time, it will eventually happen. Physically there is no kind of person not attractive to someone, it’s simply that we have put certain looks and body types up as the it girl and it boy. Go back a few hundred years and larger people were it as that, like in African cultures, suggested wealth. One of the challenges is of course the thing both you, dear reader, and I are staring at right now. Now of course I love my ability to make use of devices and technology to put out content and connect but it is still over a synthetic machine. We are social animals in the first place. We are tribal and family centric beings, even though many families have problems so your families may not be of a “traditional” set up (may instead be a group of friends, step parents, something else). As such we need to actually be out with other beings in a physical sense. That is the one thing no app can ever, ever do is recreate the physical presence of other people. It’s been “adult material’s” one failing since Playboy first hit the shelves, it can never recreate the actual size perspective, warmth and so on of (for men with this, in traditional sense) a romantic partner. Hey but if you need that until the real thing comes along, “whatever gets you through the night…”
It’s so funny with sex advice and love advice you see all over magazines and now online as well though. I take the line from a terrific British comedy and recently played with it in a song about how this idea could really make it all work. I’m a sucker for hippy like liberalism, I fully admit (are all hippys liberals? Another discussion for another day I suppose).
Anyways the comedy is called May to December
And the quote from it was “You make yourself happy by making the other person happy.”
What’s great about it is that it’s not about what you want, other than seeing her/him smile. Knowing you made his/her day. I think the other thing is then the joy of building something like a family.
I grew up a few friend nerd by the way so if this is you please believe me when I say that you’re not a lost cause. What helped me? Other people. But in order for that to happen, I went to work, started playing that bass I just got in bands (you don’t have to by the way, this is my example), got involved in other stuff. This probably made me less an impossible mess around people. Things weren’t easy. Still aren’t but I like what that one woman said about men she would date…
“Men are like wine. They have to be crushed and go through it a few times before they are something I want to have dinner with.”
She’s a comedian, so calm down…I don’t mean you need to be beat down but experience does come from learning with comes from bad judgement so use this phone to find out what you can do today outside of your four walls and get yer shoes.
Trust me, the friends, love and yes, the sex, will be worth it.
These days I’m seeking them out which I admit is why I have been a little scattered across media. For a while, yes, I was posting on here morre frequently, which I know I really should be doing even more frequently. Started doing morning pages again. Hopefully I keep that up too.
Creativity is something that I really think doesn’t just belong to the Sting’s, Beyonce’s and…I don’t know, Peter Jackson’s of the world. It is a place of exploration that anyone can and everyone should explore, even if you can’t devote hours a day to it (and who can?). I know it’s asking a lot up front but I’ll make my argument. And no, no berets, long cigarettes on that stick thing or copies of Faust are needed…dahlings.
It is an adventure to tackle any of the arts like painting, writing or playing an instrument. You are immediately joining in a long established guild of explorers and not only is there plenty to get stuck into but there are plenty of references out there, especially now with Google and YouTube only tabs away (see my other post on “Library Firepower” if you want to go old school).
In doing this, and I can’t claim immortality, but there is a sort of fountain of youth-ish thing going on where you are never really retired and there is plenty of energy and life you can tap into in the process. You can check out new music with your headphones while you try a paint-in at a local community center. You can get a guitar and start jamming with friends. With writing being the most portable art form you can (did this) go to every Cafe in town to find your favorite, and in the process, meet lots of people. And these are just three. And then there’s the art itself which is like opening the mechanism to a steam clock so I won’t go into that but the best thing is there is usually people you can ask. See a band you like locally and want to play like that? Talk to them after the show. Sounds crazy? I can think of three off the top that got inspired by my band and actually got going from that and so many times we’ve had folks talk after. I’ve done it too. Artists love to talk shop. If your asking it’s hardly because you thought we sucked lol!
What would you like to try? PS. We all fumbled n bumbled at first.
Ready for your adventure?
Janice was the last person Samuel ever expected that afternoon. Outside the drowsy city moved on, the street cars, carriages and passersby oblivious to the moment she emerged into his store barely upsetting the chiming of the bell Samuel had nailed into the frame.
There was nothing to prepare him for the moment. That Thursday in mid September the morning sun glinted off the bottles on the west side of the room like they always did when he arrived to unlock the dispensery. Sun poured across the street between the buildings on Government street. The younger clerk arrived in a rush under the slight scowl of Samuel’s gaze, the key his was given lost somewhere in his coat pockets. Samuel waited for a moment, looking over the rim of his steel frames as the man outside continued to fumble, his movements jerky and his face occasionally looking up to stare contrite at the older man in the white coat behind the black cash register. Finally, pushing the latch to open the low swinging gate he came to the young man’s rescue, with the boy in the long coat and felt riding hat looking regretfully at the older face on the other side of the pristine, clear glass.
“Eight thirty, Joshua,” the older man said simply as he opened the door.
“I’m sorry sir, I mean…it’s not an excuse but the tram left early…I tried to run after it but…”
“Well, at least you’re here,” he said as they both went back behind the counter surrounded by vials and bottles, the disinfecting alchohol in the large teardrop shaped glass and the wall of pestal and mortars. The room smelled only slightly of lavender and the disinfectant that was used to clean everything in the white walled dispensary that sat near the corner of Broughton between the café and the grocery.
The young man scurried into the back quickly as Samuel continued to go over the notes he made the day before on Mrs. Wensten’s prescription for anti-fungal cream and her Humalog diabetic insulin supplements. He kept all his notes in perfect order, his handwriting as clean and clear as the Colonist’s printing press, with every necessary note organized within the confines of the single black leather book. The book remained in the same place of his low front shelf, it’s corner’s frayed and smooth like the skin of a well worn leather shoe.
Samuel had just finishing entering the journal notes when he realized they were getting closer to opening time. Exactly fifteen and half minutes away by the pocket watch which never left his favorite red waistcoat, the watch a gift from a friend of the St. Andrew’s and Caledonia Society which he met with on Wednesdays like so many others who had come from Scotland or, like in his case, had parents from the old country.
Soon, Joshua emerged from the back of the dispensery in his white coat, doing the regular cleaning that was his job first thing each morning, only the young man was trying to do the same cleaning at twice the pace, quickly rushing over the furthest corner with the store’s straw broom.
“Slow down there!” Samuel said firmly with his eyes never leaving the black book and his smaller notes ledger beside where he wrote down the specific notes for that day.
“I’m sorry Sir, it’s just…we open in just over ten minutes and I was late. That’s my fault.”
“I’m very aware of the time, Joshua. You can continue to clean after opening hours just this once. I can’t afford for anything to be damaged,” he explained.
“Now, can you please open the front door and clean our exterior walk? Mrs Amberson will be by early this morning to pick up her supply for the St. Joseph’s dispensary. I’ve already laid out the packages on this back table with the documentation. I hate to keep the lady waiting.”
“Hallie Amberson!” He replied suddenly with a desire to straighten his coat and tie, pushing his hair back, looking at the mirror that hung over the topical creams on the south wall “She is beautiful, isn’t she?”
“None of that, if you please,” Samuel said to the smirk of Joshua.
Soon the young nurse from the Fairfield hospital arrived to the smiles of Joshua who continued to sweep door the outside walk. Samuel felt back the urge to roll his eyes at him as the young man then came in to gather all the parcels for her to put in the large case that she had brought. She smiled back at him and he just stood there for a moment, mooning like a cat.
“Now you can sweep the back of the store, Joshua.”
The young man managed one more smile at the young lady before going to fetch his broom. Samuel could swear the young man was one step away from being better off as a coal miner like his brothers. It seemed if he wasn’t prattling on about this or that he was talking about his new accommodation over by the bird houses.
Samuel could only just remember those younger days in his life when he was still studying under Mr. Hainsbury. He now owned a small house down Moss Street which was perfectly situated near the Foul Bay streetcar line. Each morning he woke quite early in the quiet when the sun had not yet risen, having his breakfast in the front room that was shaded during the day by the two arbutus trees he had planted himself out front. After his morning routine was finished he would head out early, paper under his arm to the corner of Moss and May where he would meet Scott Cook driving the first street car run of the morning, a fellow member of the Scottish society and a recent arrival from Aberdeen. The red and white sided car would click and clack its way along the smooth rails towards Cook Street and the park before turning it’s way towards the heart of town.
Lunch was the small café just next door run by Annie and Nathanial Humphries, which had been a family business since the earliest days of Victoria. She was always happy to see Samuel and frequently insisted that she could offer him a discount for her famous coffee and sandwiches that always comprised his meal. This was due to Samuel looking into a diagnoses that he found didn’t square correctly with what she had been diagnosed before. Samuel had actually visited and discussed with the physician so the prescription was changed to medication that took her relentless migraine headaches away. Samuel appreciated the offer of the discount each time she brought it up, but respectfully declined, not out of a dismissal of charity (which he also did not approve of) but due to the fact that it was his job to do exactly that and that he would stop practicing the moment he ever cut corners.
Back in his shop, with Joshua over by the other side of the room cleaning the tables where the recent shipment had just arrived by train, the door chimed softly.
That was the moment when Samuel’s eyes went wide. He felt something inside his chest that he had not felt since he was the same age as the young man across the room. He set his pen down and walked slowly to the front of the counter as the two people entered, their presence in the room raising Joshua’s eyebrows as well. They rarely ever saw people from the Songhees inside their dispensary.
Behind Janice, whose brown eyes fixed on Samuel, stood her large framed brother, George Andrews Jr. She was dressed in a shawl and he was dressed in the clothes of a labourer. Samuel pushed his glasses back slightly.
“Good Afternoon…George…Janice,” he said trying to steady his voice. He could only hope that his voice didn’t sound wrong. Beneath the cotton white coat, waist coat and shirt, his heart thudded hard.
“Samuel,” George replied, with Janice just looking at him before averting her gaze to look around the room.
“Um…what can I do for you both?”
“Janice?” George asked his sister.
“Yes…sorry,” she said before looking at Samuel sorrowfully and then looking down into the pockets of her shawl and finding a written paper. She walked up to the counter and Samuel swallowed slightly as she came close, her shawl brushing the other side of the white wooden counter. She handed him the prescription, Samuel looking down at her soft slight brown hands covering the doctor’s scribbles. He looked up at her and then back to the paper which he took. Coughing, he studied the paper.
“I can…” he said before coughing again “set up an account for you with us, if you want so we can track…”
“That won’t be necessary,” George said firmly.
Joshua came over the side of his employer, looking at him with his head slightly tilted to one side.
“Can I get you something, Sir?”
Samuel just looked at the notes on the paper, his head focused on returning to his work immediately. People came to him because he was a professional. In truth, he was considered the best pharmacist in the finest run dispensary on the south island, but he always refused to accept this notion.
“It’s…it’s a prescription for Miss Janice Lynn Andrews for the following medication,” he said beginning to write a note for Joshua to follow in his usual precise handwriting so their could not, would not be a mistake. One was an expectorant…one 250 mg of Azithromycin…another special tropical cream that was less commonly used but otherwise benign. At least, he thought for a moment, it was nothing really bad. Most of these were for simple ailments.
“These are for yourself?” he asked.
“Yes,” she answered.
He cleared his throat and with his hand slightly shaking he wrote the note and passed it to Joshua who rushed off with a small bag to fill for her.
“How much this gonna be?” George asked, his voice firm.
“Shouldn’t be too much. These are fairly common medications and from what I understand the physician you met set a one-week trial dosage. If anything feels wrong, stop taking them immediately, but they should clear up things within one week,” he explained consulting the pricing book next to the register and entering the numbers.
She handed him the forty-two cents it cost for the bag of medication that Joshua produced. He fingers brushed his only slightly when she gave it to him which set a rush of fire through Samuel, something he felt in his legs so strong, he had to keep one hand flat on the counter. For a moment, all for of them stayed put like they were posing for a photograph.
“Come along, Janice.”
“Goodbye, Sam,” Janice said with her eyes locked on him. The rest of the world seemed to stop. The rest of the world seemed quiet.
“Take care,” Samuel replied. He could not move.
“Come along, Janice!” George said more firmly. It was firmly enough for Joshua to look at the taller Native man with concern.
As they left, the younger clerk looked at his employer who seemed dazed, staring out the door as they left.
“You alright, Sir?”
“Yes, perfectly fine. Let’s get back to work.”
Valentine’s day is long past but the prompt was discussing the idea of the essence of love across all forms so I also ask what do they share? You have the obvious romantic love, obvious because it has the greatest story potential and mystique. There is brotherly love and parental love. Then there is more simple loves of places and things that can go all the way down to “I love these new socks”. What is shared across the board here?
There is the simple existence of joy which is shared or perhaps not in the case of the socks. I feel a little like early Depeche with this song…
There is the treasuring side of love where you keep something close to you and by that young Martin Gore’s lyric “like wanting a scar” is somewhat poinant. I think that within that is possibly one part of the heart of love. We risk our own tragic presence of heartbreak and put our emotions on the line with how we cherish. It’s the one thing that made the idea of getting a pet to me for the longest time something I wouldn’t do. As you open your heart to a being, especially in the case of a pet that can not last much past fifteen years, you are inevitably opening yourself to the potential of hurt. You are willing to take the hurt for the being you love. That could also come all the way up to the grander forms. Again you are willing to suffer yourself to be connected. Being alone is safe and secure but it is cold and removed. Being connected to that other person has warmth but that potential for all kinds of damage. Not only do you open yourself up to them, trading your heart for theirs but you also put your needs behind their’s.
Powerful stuff indeed! With the title I fell to thinking of two songs. Gordon Lightfoot’s and Meatloaf’s. You know Mr. Loaf’s so here is a link to a great song by Gord backed by David Foster.
Anything for love
Have a lovely week!
Created by TomPogson.com
“It’s her” Sean thought as he walked in.
She was at the same conference that day, flanked by friends on both sides like a diamond set in a cheap gold ring. She shone out then as she did now, sitting alone at one of the small sets of cream colored chairs by the glass windows. He needed someone like Mike for this. Mike would know how to get her talking in his no bullshit way. Sean just paused for a second and went up to the bartender and ordered a domestic pint.
“That’s five bucks, pal,” the old guy said and he paid and looked around.
The place had a few people in it, mostly from the same conference, mostly mostly on their phones. She wasn’t. Sitting at the bar he managed to look and she was just looking out the window of the hotels bar over the pond towards the towering pines the formed the border onto Quebec St.
Her face glowed bright soft under the slight orange light with her large blue eyes gazing out like someone stargazing. He looked away quickly when he realized that if she looked in the reflection of the window, she’d probably see him looking at her like some stupid horndog.
He knew that Mike would have smacked him upside the head in a friendly way for what he was doing. He could almost vision Mike, The Bike Mike Attack like he called himself, and got others to call him too, right next to him on the next stool.
“Sean, buddy, honestly,” he said right up to his ear so Sean could almost feel the breath on his ear “this is a piece of cake! You’re both at the same conference. There’s your material…perfect opening line…”
“Weren’t you at the conference?” Sean breathed softly, drowned out by the sound of Stevie Ray Vaughan.
“Yeah, or how about that Keynote, huh?” Mike continued.
“Total meltdown,” Sean chuckled only to look up and see the bartender looking at him. He looked into his pint and sipped. The bartender went back to wiping down.
He looked back again. Her left hand was on the other side which gave him no chance of doing a ring check like he had found himself doing before. But if there was someone wouldn’t she be like everyone else? Wouldn’t she be glued to her phone? Maybe she was waiting for him. Maybe he’d come down from the room any moment. The scenario played out in Sean’s head like it was directed by Woody Allen himself. He would finally start talking and suddenly this wall of 6 foot, fresh from the weight room boyfriend would be towering over him like a bear in a business suit. He looked away as he suddenly broke out in a sweat. She’s so beautiful you moron. Of course she has a boyfriend or someone. Girls like that always have the guy which shoulders so broad they could carry a jet copter. And forget being over there, Sean continued in his head, he might be protective as he’d have to be with a gorgeous creature like that and if he walked in from the lobby to the bar and there’s you leering like a perverted puma about to pounce he would be straight over to assert his alpha dominant role. That role would have you flung to the other end of the bar like a balsa wood airplane. The bartender probably wouldn’t mind. He probably coaches touch football. Probably cheer and high-five the guy since he looks at you weird anyways. I should just give up and look at my phone. I could do a tweet or something about the conference and maybe put some notes down so people in here don’t think I’m some wild eyed lunatic.
“Hey,” came a soft voice next to him.
Sean turned around to come face to face with her. He looked at her stunned for a second.
“Weren’t you at the conference?” She smiled.
Created by TomPogson.com