Sing Along

Do you ever find lyrics that you just want to share with someone?

I have been listening to New Design and Kennedy on loop. They both create the same affliction to me: I want to sing with someone. I know very few people who have heard of these bands, let alone know them well enough to belt along with someone.

When I say “sing along”, I am only half meaning that on a literal level. I just want to be able to type the lyrics in a window and have someone respond with the next line. I want someone to appreciate the deft use of language as much as I do.

I was having a fantastic conversation with my friend Corey, and we both came to the conclusion that we’re the same with lyrics usually. They play little rolls in our appreciation for music, which can be detrimental when we enjoy something degrading or offensive. I, myself, only realized recently how important the lyrics of the band I was in during high school were. So, Kev: you deserve more credit for being a poetic genius.

I understand the cognitive dissonance in me saying how I do not comprehend lyrics right after talking about how two albums have some of the best lyrics ever. If anything, it should illustrate how impressive the words are. They permeated the barrier that I didn’t mean to install. All said: I think only 10% of my music I actually get what they are trying to say. I hear the words, I just cannot always connect what is being said with actual messages.

Thus, the me realizing how misogyny some of the words that bands I am affiliated with have been.

For that, I am very sorry. Especially if you gave me a heads-up at the time and I blew you off.

Are We Friends…?

The title of the piece is the eternal question for someone who spends all of their time online. I am constantly fighting with myself, trying to decide whether or not someone is a friend or just an entity online. It raises the question: can someone who you never meet or talk to on a regular basis be a friend? I would argue yes.

Most likely the person is in your feed because you appreciate their input or you enjoy what they produce. Where it gets dicey is having too many people in your feeds that just agree with everything you post, causing your opinion to never be pushed or strained. This causes an almost utopian existence.

Tell me my opinion is shit. Well, only if you can back up why with evidence or statistics. I will always hear out alternate opinions that are not just trolling for trolling sake. The idea of never having my opinion tested is actually a fear of mine. I make sure to read something that goes in the face of what I believe pretty close to daily. Worst case: I learn how right I am to have that view.

Do I always do this? Is my mind truly open and accepting of every view, even if it contradicts my own views?
Hell no. I do try incredibly hard to keep my mind open, but some topics I have a very hard time challenging my opinion. That only doubles if I think an alternate way of thinking is detrimental to the human race.

Religion is one place that I am steadfast even if it is easy to disprove my opinion on a matter. I believe that the end is the end, and there is no further existence outside of what we have right now. I will fully admit, a big part of that is a fear that my actions will have further repercussions down the line that I never intended. I need to think that when I die, I no longer have any attachment to this mortal coil because I cannot fathom hurting those in my life. Even if I die a natural death and there is no immediacy in my passing, I do not want to dwell on the people who might be negatively affected by my passing. Not that I put much emphasis on my importance in others lives, but I worry about how my parents would deal if I went before them. I worry how my wife will cope, if anyone will help her out, and what happens to my dogs.

Thankfully, in my mind, we die and nothing that happens after matters. The book I have been writing for months? Lost in the files of this computer I am currently sitting at. If I worried about every facet of my life, I would be a wreck. I actually take comfort the most of my friends live far away from me: if I die, they might never know.

I digress.

What is a friend? Someone who you are happy to know that they are still alive. Someone who’s words matter in your day to day. Someone who you can honestly say you love.

Total Collapse

I have been ruminating on writing this for literal weeks. Not because I am afraid of offending people, the people who would be offended somewhat need to be offended. No, simply because there is too much that has been going on in my head.

I hate the culture of ignorance around this pandemic. It feels like there is willful ignorance and too many fake professionals giving their two cents. If I hear how horrible it is that Canada hasn’t opened its borders to the US again, I think I will actually lose my voice screaming at the screen. Same goes for letting kids back to school, or how the vaccine has a microchip, and the most egregious: how the mask is inconvenient.

I get the allure of having kids go back to school. “Free” daycare so parents can go to work. There are so many things wrong with these sediments, but the easiest rebbutle is that this will cause the pandemic to spring back up in numbers. Kids are gross and needy. They will touch each other, no matter the precautions that are put in place. This puts teachers lives in danger. This puts families lives in danger. I cannot even express how blind and arrogant this whole idea is. Again, I understand the want. I just have a hard time accepting that we (as a society) are ready when we just have quintuple digits worth of new cases spring up in some places in the states.

Do you have a license? Do you have pets? Do you notify the government when you move? Do you collect mail? Do you have a cellphone? Do you belong to a country with universal healthcare? Do you have a bank account?
If you answered yes to any of the above: THE GOVERNMENT DOESN’T NEED TO MICROCHIP YOU.
There is nothing that they cannot access already that they could learn from checking your blood. Health records are accessible to government agencies, so they know everything from your blood type to your diet.
And no: you cannot figure out sexual orientation or physical disability from blood. I HATE THAT I HAVE TO WRITE THAT.

The states have literally created an Orwellian police state. Here is a video showing and explaining much better than I could.

Wear your fucking mask. Just, wear the fuking thing. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, but there is no excuse whatsoever. If you think there is, then doctors shouldn’t wear one when they do surgery. Wear your fucking mask.

I am not an expert. I am just sick of being assaulted constantly with so much misinformation that I don’t know where to start my tyrades.

this post is not depressing

The idea that “things will always get better” is a lie.

Hear me out.

It’s not a bad thing that things change. Yes, at times it can seem, or even be, daunting. To wallow in a mindset where things could be better is just as debilitating as the event could be.

Take me being in a wheelchair. Yes, it sucks. Yes, the healthcare system has all but failed me. Yes, I do make attempts to get my body back to where it once was. I never think that things could be better, because the idea of better is so damned subjective.

Will I walk again? No one has been able to give me a conclusive reason why not, so I’m going with a softy ‘probably’ for now. Do I want to? Of course I do. That’s why I try to walk everyday, only held back by the brain damaged I sustained that left me epileptic and has caused my muscles to react strangely to stimulus.

Do I really want things to be better?

Better than what? I have gone on rants discussing how I think the term “better” is bloody horrible. To paraphrase: Better than what? If your response was my current condition, then I have good news for you! I have gotten a lot further in some form of recovery! I mean: I still have brain damage and cannot walk on my own, but to dwell on that fact is futile. I’ll walk when I walk, and I won’t stop doing things until it starts to happen. Then, I’m planning on taking a four week nap and punching cute things endlessly.

I play. Of course there is no end to “improvement.” I do prefer that word over ‘better’ because improvement in quantifiable, but I digress.

So, why make the claim that things don’t get better over time? There is a chance that the person wants help instead of just sweeping proclamations. Instead of basically saying “stop bitching for now”, offer a hand. Even just the offer is all people want some times. If they turn it away, calmly and quietly leave the situation. There is a good chance they just need to vent in a semi-public fashion. Like screaming into the night and your neighbour accidentally hears you. FaceBook is just a way that the police will not get involved for public disturbances.

In eventual conclusion: no. I do not think things will get better. You just get used to the situation around you and learn to cope with it. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it means you’re learning! You’re adapting! Just know who you can turn to. There is no shame in asking for help.

Once more for the people in the back:

THERE IS NO SHAME IN ASKING FOR HELP.

Song Review :: Yeah Yeah Yeahs — Maps

I have this song in my head. It just loops over and over and I have never been happier to have such a beautiful melody stuck in the recesses of my mind than I am right now. So, instead of reviewing the gem of an album, I thought I would just focus on this song.

Why? This album is amazing all the way through, but this song stands out. Not because it is the best song, that is arguable. No, it stands alone as almost a lullaby on an almost-punk album. It’s peaceful, it’s beautiful, it’s haunting. It stands as a kind of slap-in-the-face transition from the rest of the mix.

I have a slight tendency to prefer music from the early 2000’s. A large part of it is because I came to my auditory maturity in that time, a lot of it is because there was such a revolution in sounds not seen since the ’60s. Sure, it could be argued that most of it actually started in the ’90s, and I cannot argue that. Regardless of when the experimentation started, it got popular around the turn of the century, and we were all better for it.

Anyway, back to the song. It opens with a simple tremolo on one note, then thunderous drums kick in. After a swell, Karen O adds her voice to the ensemble as a type of whisper. The tones all mix together in an almost ethereal medley until the end of the first verse.

At just shy of 2 min. in, a Pixies like blast resonates from the guitar. This song is the perfect example of the quiet-loud-quiet formula invented by the Pixies back in the ’80s. The formula is simple, but the almost juvenile writing adds to how beautiful the song is. There is nothing to cloud the almost dream like state that this song creates.

Again, this song stands completely alone in it’s execution. The album is stuck somewhere between punk and almost dance pop. Songs like “Date With the Night” are incredibly violent (but still fun) compared to Maps.

Do I recommend this album? Whole heartedly.
Do I acknowledge that it came be disarming in how skattared the tone can be? Absolutely.
Is Maps a good example of the overall feel for the album? Fuck no. I will say that if you are intrigued, I recommend this album with every fiber of my being.

Sorry for the inevitable ads.

The Social Experiment

As some people saw, I released a poll asking what the content of the next update should contain. It was a success in some ways, and a miserable failure in others.

So, why am I calling it a failure if I got some input? I only had 13 votes, and that kind of hurts. It kind of tells me that there is a very small portion of people who read this, and possibly even less that actually care. I DIGRESS! To those 13, thank you. I really do appreciate it!

The winner was the topic “something else”. I have had a recommendation by the amazing Katie Maz (that should be your superhero name) asking me to do a book review. I think that’s a neat idea! There is a catch, however: I haven’t read a book since I ended up in a wheelchair. I would love to, but the damage to my oculare nerve makes it hard to focus on reading. Even typing this, I barely look at the screen, and proofread at the end. Red squiggly lines make that part easy. I will try, regardless. I mean, I will do my favourite book. I remember most of that one pretty well.

Can you guess what my favourite book is? You would be forgiven if you guessed 1984, especially because I yammer on and on about how amazing that book is. No, my top spot is filled by Rant by Chuck Palahniuk. The best part is, even if I read it today, I would still only be able to talk about half of it because it’s so full of twists and false-flags.

The word of the book takes place in a dichotomy of two existences. You have the people of the day: very similar to what we have now, and there are the people of the night: think midnight shift somewhat permanently. The two planes of existence rarely intermingle. Not by any expressed issue that may incur, but by just happenstance. It feels more natural than a government force imposing some sort of anti-mingle rule.

The story follows around the character of the title (Rant) as he experiences the world around him. He is accompanied by a collection of misfits and weirdos that he calls friends. They enjoy destroying things, and lead a very normal (or, “normal”) life.

The book becomes surreal when time travel comes into play. I am NOT going to go any further into the plot because it will ruin parts, but my GOD the path is worth it. To give an example of how convoluted (in the best way ever) this book is, it is NOT a massive spoiler to say that he is his own grandfather.

That’s right: him being his own grandfather is NOT a massive spoiler. More of “well” as opposed to a “NO WAY” when you read it.

The writing style is what you can expect from Chuck Palahniuk. Grotesque, unnecessary, overly descriptive, and completely perfect. One thing that I have championed for a very long time is that he is my favourite author. To call him unique is underselling his works, and also short-changing his very stark look on society.

Like Fight Club before it, this book has a way of looking at society. It is not bluntly chastising, nor does it feel like he is going out of his way to attack. It simply feels like he is focusing on aspects as literary expression as opposed to critical commentary. It’s more of a “this is how things are” as opposed to “look how things are.” The difference is how he doesn’t explain things: doesn’t try to fix them.

I will be keeping the poll open for the next little bit. Vote on it, and if I notice much of an interest, I will adapt.

You don’t need to see.

Okay, this sounds like a no-brainer to me, but maybe I’m biased.

If I you don’t see something, it does not mean that it did not happen. We cannot see electricity powering a device, we cannot see water moving through pipes, and we do not see our body metabolising energy. All of these things happen in the background and we do not question their existence.

With all of these things in mind: if someone says they did their recommended exercise for the day, BELIEVE THEM.

I have been, for months, dealing with people in my life not believing me when I say that I did ‘x’. I am just going to put ‘x’ because there are many different things that have been brought to question.

No, there is not always physical proof that ‘x’ happened, but it did. My promise should be enough. Especially when it involves a thing that only benefits me.

I get it: people have an interest in me walking again. People have this idealised fantasy where everything is the same as it was seven years ago. Well; news flash! Even if I walked TOMORROW I might never be able to get my license back. Even if I walked TOMORROW I could be turned away from my old job. In that situation, I would come out much further behind than where I am now.

Now, let’s play positive-guy for this paragraph. Assuming that I did my exercises proper and everything went the way half the medical community says that it should, I am still six weeks off ON THE SHORT END of being able to kind of walk. Assuming my medication continues to work as predicted and my body does not create some sort of immunity, I could avoid seizures wrecking my day, but they are to be a constant in my life.

I didn’t write this as a pity-party for myself. I wrote this on behalf of everyone who feels pressured to do something they are doing already and having no one believe them. I am writing this for everyone that feels overburdened by people who have this strange vested interest in their health, even if it really doesn’t affect them. I am writing this for every person who has been told there is a 5% chance of recovery.

DO IT FOR YOU. NOT FOR THEM.

And for “them”: fuck off. We are doing our best, even if you don’t believe us.

Writer’s Block is Weird

I find myself at a bit of a stop in my next book. I am proud of what I have so far. It comes out just over 20 pages. Strangely, I am able to think of a blog post to write, but not a continuation on my writing.

Why does the brain do this? Yes, blogs are a little more auto-biographical usually. That, or they are explaining from a very biased (in my case) source. My stories are usually birthed from reality. They are all situations that I have either lived through, or exaggerations on events. No, I have never been part of a terrorist organization, nor have I taken a bullet for my cause. I have been publicly ridiculed and emasculated for my beliefs. No, the comparison is not one for one. It could be argued that being publically hung to dry is worse than being killed. At least, when you’re killed, you don’t have to keep surviving in the hellscape that comes after.

On that note, at least if you don’t die, you can patch and fix your image. It may take a long time, but it’s doable.

On a very unrelated note: I got a new chair! I’m not using it! Thanks!

Okay, details: I have been using the same chair for 6 years at this point. I have learned many things about what I want from a wheelchair since I put together my initial order, and grew out of certain things that were put in place all that time ago.

Unfortunately, the chair I received until they have constructed mine has a misplaced centre of gravity. Small imperfections in my movement would result in me suddenly tipping backwards. Luckily, wheelchairs have anti-tip bars in the back. They saved my life on multiple occasions, but I hate having to rely on them. Due to this, I moved back to my old chair with a new seat cushion: at least for now. I hope that all is sorted before August.

Politics and Why I am So Sorry

I recently posted the most egregious thing on FaceBook with no explanation. I simply set my status to “I give up” and turned off notifications from my phone.

I am sorry. That statement was less of a depressed admittance, and more of an angry and exhaustive representation of me throwing my keyboard to the ground in a moment of grief.

I know that I have kept my blog out of politics pretty well, with a couple of notable exceptions. This is because I know my own ineptitude, and I try not to share around opinions for fear of corrupting possible movements (as if I have enough clout to wield any power great enough to hamper a movement). I will, however, use this platform to point out my least favourite “argument” that seems to plague the current world of discourse.

A “Whataboutism” is more of a derailment method as opposed to an argument. It is used in place of a proper rebuttal to distract from the point being made in favour of outrage at an opposing (yet, strangely similar) point. The example that I was faced with was when I posted THIS article with little context, and the only reply I received in response was “Yeah, but Trudeau supported the Chinese regime.”. I was completely floored. Their comment had no additional context or room for debate, they completely undermined my attempt to raise a point in the overarching debate that is my feed currently, and now anyone who has anything to say on what I posted is divided between talking about the first article or the second point.

Let me be clear: I was not supporting what Trudeau said about China. It was not even really on the table. My point, and ONLY point, was the article discussing T*mp in North Korea a year ago. My reason for highlighting it was to illustrate some comparison between his tactics and his public statements. I was not saying that it was fair, I was just looking for some opinion. That is when someone derailed everything I was trying to set up and pushed my argument down to the bowels of argument Hell where it was to be ignored for fear of stirring up clearly unimportant points.

My official response to what Trudeau said in regards to China: that is definitely something we should keep in memory IF it ever comes into question. How that relates to what my point was? It doesn’t. T*mp is treating his presidency in one of the most questionable ways in recent decades, and the purpose of me sharing that article was to raise questions if he might be using tactics to gain an upper hand.

Yes. I am Canadian. No. American politics should not cause me to rubberneck like someone passing a horrible car accident. I would argue, however, that this is not only Canada’s neighbour, but also one of the biggest and most powerful countries in the world. So, yes, any argument from a Canadian is valid. In this case, any argument is valid regardless of what country you are from.

If you would like a more thorough explanation of improper arguments, I recommend this old video from Idea Channel on YouTube. I use that video to discuss improper arguments in general, but “Whataboutisnm” was defined beautifully by a video from Last Week Tonight.

Oh: you may have noticed me using an asterisk whenever I spell the standing President’s name. That is so, when you do a search on a search engine, this article doesn’t come up. This is so less hits can be made when searching his name.

ONTO WHY I AM SORRY.

My statement was not well divulged as to what I was giving up on. I was disheartened by the constant barrage of political statements (from all sides) not being well thought out then fought over with assumed authority. I cannot promise that this will be my last wade into the waters of political discourse, but I do promise to consider every side with equal weight, even if I vehemently disagree with you. We are all capable of respect.

The quotes

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you will notice that I have started releasing out-of-context quotes from You’re Not Dead.

It’s very interesting. I haven’t read the book since I finished editing it, and this is a great way to A) renew interest for other people and B) Revisit my work without feeling like I am under any real pressure.

Below is what I have released so far, but please let me know if you have a better line in mind for me to put to the masses:

  • For that hour, the Hero felt like he was drowning above water.
  • What is even the point in self-improvement if I am not to enjoy whatever I achieve?
  • Maybe it was for the best that he was alone.
  • Luka hugged him./He tried as hard as he could to hug back./He tried to call her a fool for thinking he was gone/He tried many things.
  • In a hospital near you, a heart monitor squeals./In a town far away, a girls heart breaks