Category: Life

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

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I don’t follow the calendar much for cultural reasons, at least not for cultural reasons tied to the culture I live in. I pay attention to important dates in my family’s lives, and a couple of key things that everyone celebrates, one of which is New Year’s.

Personally, I find the January 1st designation a little arbitrary. Well, the whole calendar is a little arbitrary, really, but it’s been far less than 300 years since the New Year was moved by British Parliament to January 1st from March 25th, which I will grant is rather longer than normal human lifespans, but January 1st as the start fresh date is relatively recent, and other calendars use different dates. Personally, I’ve always thought that the calendar should be a little more tied to the physical world. Make the equinoxes and solstices the anchor points and go from there, but I didn’t get a vote.

From a more personal perspective, I prefer to count years from my own birthday, my own specific orbital completions.

But I’m stuck with what we’ve got, I suppose, like everyone else, and it does give me markers for a one-year period that would be intelligible to anyone who picks up any of my logs or posts.

So, since New Year’s is a major event in our shared calendar, I hope everyone had a happy and safe one and that 2018 unfolds in the best way possible for everyone reading this.

If that isn’t clear enough, I’ll just say be well, everyone.

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Friday Poetry for 15 December 2017

Friday Poetry for 15 December 2017

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Another from the deep vault, the date on this silly piece, according to the original file, is 02 November 1999, and it concerns possibly the greatest food ever created, pizza. Once, years before this poem, while a university student, I ate pizza for twenty-three (that’s 23) consecutive meals. Oh, not all from the same pizzeria, and not all with the same toppings, and not all at the same temperature. It is, it is, a glorious thing to be the pizza king.

 

Ah, pizza

Food of the gods

But no other food

Puts more people at odds

Anchovies, sausages

Mushrooms and cheese

Onions, green peppers

Pineapple, chick peas

Toppings galore

A list without end

How to decide

Between you and a friend

Tomatoes and ham

Ground beef, pepperoni

Baked in an oven

On a platter that’s stony

Or perhaps in a pan

Or a hot barbecue

One thing about pizza

There’s no limit for you

To cook or to slice

In sauce or in spice

The food of the gods

Is never the same twice

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That’s My Secret, Cap

That’s My Secret, Cap

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Sometimes, I wonder if it’s a bad thing that I’m angry all the time. Oh, I’m not in a bad mood, and I’m not that stressed out. While certain decisions I’ve made in life have made things harder for me in the long run, I’ve mostly done okay. I have an incredible wife and three great children. We have sufficient income for food, shelter, and to make a serious dent in the overall cost of postsecondary education for kids. I have the leisure to do things I want to do, not just things I have to do. I am lucky enough to have been born into a wealthy country, and one that has yet to elect a Prime Minister comparable to the Orange Menace currently in power south of the border. Of course, we also have yet to elect our version of Obama.

So it’s a pretty sweet life, really. I have opportunities and rights and privileges and wealth that 80% of the world would kill for. Or at least be willing to lie, cheat, or steal for.

So, why so angry?

Because, large segments of the population in the country I live in, and other rich, Western democracies, are blindly stupid and willfully ignorant about really, really important things. And some of them hold extremely significant wealth and power, and some of those think that wealth and power entitles them to shove their beliefs and views down the throats of the rest of the population. Disregarding, for the moment, how some people in my society see the rest of the world.

Looked at globally, the social trend has almost always been upwards, and mostly has been throughout human history. Trend. That doesn’t mean any particular moment, but over time.

It matters who’s in power and what their view of the world is, but large portions of the population either follow along blindly, or don’t think there’s one bit of difference between one politician and the next, one crackpot and the next, one power-hungry narcissist and the next, one world view and the next when neither of them are their own.

So we have people who believe that vaccines cause autism, that the earth is flat, that chemtrails are a thing, that the universal cure for all cancers is being kept secret in the name of profit, that it really doesn’t matter who you elect to office because they’re just going to screw things up anyway, that religion is actually a force for good in the world.

We still have people who think they are better than other people because of their skin tone, gender, sexuality, ethnic background, religion, or shoe size.

The Internet lets those people be loud, lets them find other people who have the same idiotic viewpoints, lets them shout down anyone who disagrees with their uninformed opinions. And most of us don’t shout back, because we think it’s a waste of time, because we don’t want to offend anyone, because of we think we won’t make a difference.

Most days, I can find the time to be bothered, I don’t care if it offends someone, or upsets someone, and I can make a difference, if only to onlookers. Sometimes, silence is taken as assent. And just because a minority opinion is louder than everyone around them doesn’t mean that it’s a good opinion.

I’m not particularly interested in debate, but sometimes it appears be necessary. I don’t feel like I should have to explain things to people, because mostly, people are entirely capable of reasoning things out for themselves. Some just don’t so sometimes explanations and debates are necessary.

None of this should be my problem, should it? Actually, no. It should be my problem. I should be all of our problem. Because we have to live and grow and make life better for others and the world a better place. If we don’t, who will?

There’s an old saying when you want to ignore the crazy people: not my circus, not my monkeys. I’ve made the point recently in several venues that it is my circus, and they are my monkeys. The whole world, that’s my circus, and the whole of human civilization, those are my monkeys.

And they’re yours, too.

Stay angry, my friends. And be well, everyone.

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I Think I Hate Christmas

I Think I Hate Christmas

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Really. Christmas sucks in a lot of ways and I’m just about as sick of it as I can get. Writing that, I’m fairly convinced I’ll be even more sick of it next year.

Hear me out for a minute.

Major retail outlets start having a Christmas section sometime in August, more than four months before the actual holiday itself. I (like everyone else) am supposed to spend hundreds of dollars on decorations and thousands of dollars on gifts every year, plus whatever the annual holiday feast is supposed to cost. Spend, spend, spend.

To get me in the mood, those same retail outlets move to a Christmas music format the instant Halloween is over, in some cases before.

Don’t forget cards and wrapping paper. And gift tags; those are far more important than you know. All single-use stuff.

Open your wallet and spend.

Extra events, extra travel. Did you notice the price of gas go up?

Spend, spend, spend. Rack up a little more debt. Mortgage your future so you don’t look like a cheapskate this Christmas. You’ve got the rest of your life to pay it down.

The forced togetherness. I want to get together with my friends and family because we want to, not because society tells me that’s what we have to do. I actually like my family even, though she may be shocked to learn it, my sister, in spite of the fact that we have to be very careful about the subjects that come up in conversation or we wind up arguing.

The “War” on Christmas. Why does anyone think anyone else cares how they celebrate a holiday? I just need certain people to stop telling me how I need to celebrate it. While we’re on the subject, those same folks also need to stop whining about how no one can make them stop saying ‘Merry Christmas’ and force them to say ‘Happy Holidays’ instead. I hope you have a merry Christmas. I hope it’s everything you want it to be. But ‘Happy Holidays’ is more inclusive, takes in unknowns, and recognizes that there are huge numbers of people, even in the country I live in, who celebrate something other than Christmas. They deserve a little joy, too, don’t they?

And every year, the Salvation Army trying to pass itself off as a charity. The Salvation Army is a church, as noted in multiple places on their website. Their mission statement contains the phrase “exists to share the love of Jesus Christ”. Their core values are “Salvation, Holiness and Intimacy with God”. Church. Religion. They may do charitable works, though they’re not accountable to anyone for how or how much they happen to deliver.

All the money we spend could actually do something other than make the pile in our local landfill bigger. If you spend $1000 on Christmas crap (which is pretty light for a lot of families these days), how much good could you have done by getting it to an actual charity that does actual work to help actual people.

Stop telling me I have to be cheerful because it’s Christmas. I don’t. Not today, not tomorrow, and not because it’s Christmas. Maybe I’ve got mental health issues and I don’t need you making me feel guilty because I’m not cheerful. Maybe my life situation is hard at the moment. Maybe I’m just not a cheerful guy.

And no, by the way, I don’t want to go to your (or any) church or community centre for the special Christmas service/pageant/choir. I’m good, thanks.

Christmas just digs us in deeper, individually and collectively. As it’s currently celebrated in our culture, it’s a blight on the face of our personal finances, our economy, and our society.

So, yeah, I hate Christmas. More every year.

But I totally want you to have a merry one, or Channukah, or Yule, or Kwanza, or Festivus, or whatever you happen to celebrate. Enjoy the season. Enjoy your celebration. Enjoy the people you spend it with. But I want everyone to be happy and healthy all the time, not just at Christmas, and I want us all to look out for each other and to make the world a better place.

And that’s not always easy.

But it’s always worthwhile.

Be well, everyone.

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Miyazato-Sensei Was A Wise Man

Miyazato-Sensei Was A Wise Man

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I’ve been studying karate for closing in on nine years now, and I get a lot out of it, mentally, physically, psychologically, socially. It’s become an important part of my life and health, and I hope to continue that for the rest of my life.

My Sensei fairly often quotes Eiichi Miyazato-Sensei, the founder of the Jundokan (the Okinawan home of one of the two flavours of karate I practice), on a particular subject that doesn’t initially seem to promote karate, at least until you think about it a little. It probably sounds cooler in the original language, but still comes through fairly well in English:

“Family first, then work, then karate.”

Substitute your passion of choice for karate.

The point being that anything after your family’s wellbeing and the support of your family takes a distant third place.

It seems simple. Or it should.

So, for everything I do, there should be a series of three questions.

Does it help my family?

Does it help my career without harming my family?

Does it further a dream without harming my family or career?

If I can’t answer yes to at least one of these, there’s a fourth, obvious question: why the heck am I doing it?

Be well, everyone.

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Easing Back on Social Networking

Easing Back on Social Networking

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So I think I spend too much time on social networking.

And, let’s be honest, most of that is on Facebook lately. I still enjoy Twitter, but I treat that primarily as an information source. I lurk a lot because I find it too difficult to have a nuanced discussion or argument with somebody 140 280 characters at a time. Facebook allows me more than just a snarky comment.

I have an Instagram account, which gets a few photos here and there. Most of those are of my dog or my cats, sometimes of something I’ve seen outside somewhere. It’s not exciting, but it entertains me.

I have a LinkedIn account which I didn’t touch for about four years, but I’ve recently decided to start updating a little bit. I started a few weeks ago, making the decision to update my work history. I haven’t gotten much farther.

But Facebook, much as I enjoy it, is a time sink, and a lot of the time sunk into it really serves no purpose.

It’s a great point of social contact, the daily reminders of people’s birthdays are nice, and the system lets you keep in touch with people without all that pesky phone conversation or letter writing, and makes sure you can never completely lose touch with old friends, so long as they’re on Facebook, too.

But it’s very, very easy to get lost in the infinite scroll of cat photos and other memes, pseudo-articles and not-quite-advertising, pictures of places you’ll never go, and gross stupidity.

Let’s be honest, you don’t really care what I had for breakfast. (In case you do, it was toast. It’s always toast.) Probably, you don’t much care what I did last night unless it was particularly interesting. I’m not going to answer any of your game requests and I will not like and share, nor will I copy and paste, and I will absolutely, positively not type amen. I may laugh if you post something I find funny, cry if it’s something worthy of tears, and like some of the accomplishments you put in your highlight reel.

But there’s too much.

Apparently, I have something close to 400 friends on Facebook. I don’t feel like I ever see posts from some of them, and there are people I’m surprised when I do see something. And, yes, there are people who I’ve hidden because I can’t stand the stuff they do post and discussions are either fruitless or not worth my time in the first place. I’ve had some great discussions and arguments on Facebook. Occasionally, hearts and minds of change. That’s never the objective, but it’s cool when it happens on either side.

It’s still too much. It takes too much of my time.

Frankly, it’s interfering with my life goals. And I’ve got a lot of those. I have things I want to do, places I want to go, sights I want to see, a world to make a better place. A lot of what I do on social networking isn’t helping me work towards any one of those.

But that’s on me, not you. I’m the one using too much of my time scrolling.

There’s a meme about how someone can’t go to bed because someone is wrong on the internet.

Lovingly borrowed from XKCD.com

Surprise, someone is wrong on the internet. Someone is always wrong on the internet. But unless they’re endangering other people or deliberately lying to them, is it worth a response? Or is it better to leave people in their own echo chambers? I often consider that silence can be taken as implied assent or agreement, so I frequently respond with a quick google search or a link. Sometimes it’s even worthy of a discussion.

But I need to consider my own time, too, and whether the audience is even there to begin with. If no one is responding, is it worth the time and energy? Isn’t it better to leave the echo chamber as it is?

Right now, every article, every link, every post gets considered before I click on it, react to it, or comment. Will this improve my life or those around me? If I can’t come up with a compelling agreement, then maybe I should just move on, or stop scrolling altogether.

I enjoy seeing what you’re up to, what you’re doing with your kids, what you just accomplished, the cool place or thing you just saw. I want to talk about philosophy or politics or religion or major events to keep my brain working, and sometimes to keep my blood warm.

But it’s too much. It’s taking too much of my time.

I’m not going to finish my current writing project sitting in front of Facebook. I’m not going to get farther than playing the C-Major scale on my saxophone sitting in front of Facebook. I’m not going to hike to the top about Mount Fuji sitting in front of Facebook. I’m not going to go back to school for the degree I actually want sitting in front of Facebook. I’m not going to get back into the appropriate shape to run a marathon or complete a triathlon sitting in front of Facebook.

There’s an old cliché about how no one in their deathbed wishes they’d spent more time at work. The same can be said about social media.

I’m around, just a little less, and only on the things I think are truly important, or to remind people I remember they exist and appreciate that. And maybe to bring you a feel or two.

Things to do, places to go, people to see. I may even post about it. And I may react when you do. We have to live, to experience, to exist aside from just reacting.

Be well, everyone.

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Another Child Driving

Another Child Driving

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It seems like I enter a new era every few weeks lately.

Last month, my oldest daughter (who turned 16 in May) finally wrote and passed her exam to achieve a G1 license in Ontario. She’s held off for the timing to be convenient and she was mentally prepared rather than wanting to rush into the Drivetest Centre the moment she was legally able to. Sets her own pace for her own tasks, my child.

No, you should not be afraid. She’ll be a competent driver in short order and I have every expectation that she’ll actually be a good driver with a little practice.

The point is that my Little One is old enough to drive a car. I remember quite clearly holding her for the first time, bringing her home from the hospital, and so on. It’s hard for me to understand that sixteen years and more have passed since then. It shouldn’t be, since I’ve watched her grow from that infant into a wonderful young woman. But she’s still my Little One, so it is hard.

Be well, everyone.

{This is where I’d insert picture of my oldest daughter holding her license, but photographic imagery is currently forbidden.}

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Year of Celebration – July 2017

Year of Celebration – July 2017

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The Year of Celebration Continues!

July has some odd and interesting holidays and awareness days. Plus one or two things that are a little more personal. Here’s what I’m celebrating in July.

 

01 July – Canada Day (and Canada is 150)

So it’s Canada’s 150th birthday this year. On this day in 1867, the British North America Act took effect, creating the Dominion of Canada as a separate nation and setting up the basic functionality of the Canadian government system. A sesquicentennial may not make Canada old as far as nations go, but it’s a mark worth celebrating.

 

02 July – World UFO Day

Ever seen a UFO? No, I don’t mean aliens landing to make crop circles. The U stands for Unidentified, as in Unidentified Flying Object, as in an object in the sky that you can’t identify. I saw one as a kid living in Sudbury. Pretty sure at this point that it was a weather balloon of some kind launched from the airbase we lived near, but at the time, it was a distinct dark circle against a light cloud cover, moving just a little differently than the clouds themselves.

 

03 July – Plastic Bag Free Day

While I find the 5-cent charge for a plastic bag at most places has certainly decreased my plastic bag consumption (and data seems to bear this out for almost everyone), I’m moving in the direction of refusal to use them at all. We have a couple of dozen heavy-duty reusable bags, and I don’t mind cardboard from the grocery store when it’s available.

It’s also Disobedience Day. Which doesn’t mean you should go out and break the law or do something just for the sake of being disobedient to some rule or authority. What it does, or should, mean is that you should take the time to break a mould or habit. Take a different route or method to work. Refuse to settle into your normal habits and try something new or twist something into a new path. Disobey your own ingrained ruts.

 

04 July – Independence from Meat

I’m not telling you to become a Vegetarian or Vegan, though if you’re considering moving in that direction, you could look at this as drawing your attention to the idea a little more forcefully. There are health benefits to be found be decreasing the amount of meat in your diet. There are environmental benefits to be found in farming less meat. There are also gains to be made in the number of people who can be fed by farming less meat. Think about it for one day.

 

05 July – Bikini Day

Seriously? This is a thing? How about we celebrate Wear Whatever Makes You Happy Day instead?

 

06 July – International Kissing Day

Kissing has a lot of different levels and meanings. Pick one and kiss someone today. Make sure you have permission first.

 

07 July – Tell the Truth Day

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off. I don’t recommend telling only the truth for the entire day, because that isn’t what every situation needs. Does my ass look fat in these jeans? How do you like my son’s band? I just got a new piercing, what do you think? None of these are likely to warrant a strictly honest answer.

But if there’s something that’s been bothering you, that you’ve been keeping under wraps so that it sizzles in your guts, maybe it’s time to come clean and talk to whoever else might be involved, being honest about how you feel and being kind to them.

 

08 July – Video Games Day

Yeah, like I need to find a reason to celebrate this one. Pull out something you haven’t played in a while and revel in the nostalgia it brings you.

But maybe you’d like to celebrate Math 2.0 Day instead. Yeah, I know. Math probably wasn’t your favourite subject in school. But anytime you need to figure out a tip, how long it will take you to get somewhere, how much tax there’s going to be on something, you use it. And you almost certainly use some of the thought processes involved in the course of rational decision making. Don’t be afraid of math. Celebrate it.

 

09 July – French Fries Day

Ah, the lowly potato. A little oil, some properly applied heat, and perhaps some seasoning, and you’re left with some form of fry. Shoe string, crinkle cut, wedge, curly, waffle, or just regular. Add what you want in terms of seasoning and sauce, but don’t be afraid to enjoy some today.

 

10 July – Clerihew Day

A clerihew is a four-line poem making light or fun of a famous person. They’re supposed to be mentioned in the first line, and the poem follows an AABB rhyming scheme with a meter up to the poet. One I wrote in 2007 for our then-Prime Minister:

My greatest wish for Stephen Harper:

That he were just a little sharper.

A few more neurons to realize

He leads a nation.  It’s not a prize.

A little more recent:

President Donald Trump

I wish, instead of tweeting, you’d use that giant lump

Of useless clay between your ears

To allay your self-generated global fears

Okay, I tend towards biting when I write at all about politics.

 

11 July – World Population Day

Noting the anniversary of Day Five Billion which occurred on 11 July 1987. We hit 7.5 billion in April this year. When I was born (at the end of 1970), there were fewer than 4 billion. If you’re keeping track, that means growth is actually slowing down, maybe even fast enough to help the increasing stress we’re putting on the global ecosphere overall.

A lot of the population growth comes from developing nations where there’s insufficient access to contraceptives. This is improving all of the time, but then you can look at how certain developed nations <cough>United<cough>States<cough> are trending and you might find some things to be worried about.

 

12 July – Simplicity Day

Simply put, we have too much stuff. Today is a day to look around and see if there are things you can do without, if there are things you can stop doing, or if there are things you can start, all with the objective of simplifying your life.

 

13 July – International Rock Day

Whether you realize it or not, a big part of the world is made up of rock. There are a lot of different kinds of rocks, broadly fitting into three categories (Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic), and those rocks come in a variety of sizes. Look at a rock, of any size, you haven’t noticed before. Find something to appreciate about it. Think about all of the things rocks have given you. There are far more than you realize.

 

14 July – Shark Awareness Day

Cue Jaws theme song.

Not really. Sharks may be super predators in their element, but they aren’t really any threat to people. The chance of getting killed by a shark is roughly one in 3.8 million. Only 5-15 people die per year from shark attacks. Know how many sharks die from people attacks? Estimates usually ballpark around 100 million. I’d love to put a set of odds on that, but there are no reliable estimates on how many sharks might remain in the world, and isn’t it enough of a horror that we kill ten million of them for every one of us they accidentally try to eat?

Sharks are actually pretty cool creatures, and come in a surprising variety (something to the effect of 450 known species). Find something to like about one.

 

15 July – Be A Dork Day

I’m not going to define dork for you, but we all have dorky things we like or enjoy. Today, do something dorky and fun without being ashamed that you find it fun.

 

16 July – World Snake Day

Snakes are pretty neat creatures and they can be really interesting to watch. We have one as part of our household menageries, a cute little corn snake who goes by the name of Sonic. Affectionate, as far as reptiles go, and interactive in his way, too.

Oddly, it’s also Guinea Pig Appreciation Day. We used to keep a few of those loveable little fur balls as pets, too. Closest thing you can get to a tribble in the real world, right down to the purring.

 

17 July – Hug Your Kid Day

Never miss an opportunity to hug one of your children, the ones that will let you, at least. There may come a time where they merely tolerate it, and don’t want to be touched. When that happens, remember when you could and take your warmth from the memory.

 

18 July – Nelson Mandela International Day

It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build. – Nelson Mandela

Do something today to make a difference, no matter how small, in your community. Mr. Mandela devoted his life to human rights and spent a significant time in jail as a result of this pursuit. That didn’t stop him. What’s stopping you? What’s stopping me.

 

19 July – Take Your Poet to Work Day

I’m taking Piet Hein.

The road to wisdom? Well, it’s plain

And simple to express:

Err

and err

and err again,

but less

and less

and less.

 

20 July – Our Family Day

Assign the days from January 1st to December 31st values from 1 to 365 in order. Add the numbers for our anniversary and the birthdays of all five of us, then take the average. You get 201, which is July 20th.

And today also happens to be Space Exploration Day, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. I wonder what we can do to get back.

 

21 July – No Pet Store Puppies Day

Adopt a rescue. You’re changing a life.

 

22 July – Pi Approximation Day

For a couple of thousand years, an approximation of Pi was used (accurate to 2 decimal places) of 22/7. So, the 22nd of July. Geek alert.

 

23 July – Hot Enough For Ya Day

It’s been hot enough for me for a couple of months by this point, but we’re far enough into summer that it’s time for people to start longing for the cooler days of autumn or even winter, right? I wonder if there’s a “Cold Enough For Ya” day in January or February.

 

24 July – Cousins Day

Some of us had cousins we played with as kids. Or second cousins, or whatever. Maybe we only have sporadic contact with them at major family events as adults. This is the day to reach out to your cousins and remind them you know they’re alive. Probably on social media since it doesn’t involve all that much effort and you can send a quick greeting. Maybe that will even spark some of them to respond and maybe you’ll talk to each other a little more often in the future. You’ll never know until you try.

 

25 July – My Wife’s Birthday

And if that’s not reason for you to celebrate (and why isn’t it?), it’s Hot Fudge Sundae Day. Mmmm… hot fudge.

 

26 July – One Voice Day (read the Universal Peace Covenant)

One Voice Day is a global movement to unite the world in reading the Universal Peace Covenant, a pledge aiming to bring people, nations, and the world together in peaceful co-existence. Not the easiest thing to contemplate given the general state of international interactions most days. To bring the “unite” into things a little more closely, the idea is for everyone to read it at the same time, 6 pm Universal. That’s 2 pm Eastern Daylight for me. I may record. Here’s a link to the text. Don’t get too hung up on the punctuation.

 

27 July – Walk On Stilts Day

Once upon a time, I could make a set of stilts work. If I had a set of stilts, his would be the day I’d try again. But, and let’s be completely honest, it’s been decades, so there’s some chance of hilarity for the people nearby if I find a set.

 

28 July – Milk Chocolate Day

I like chocolate. Dark chocolate, light chocolate, and just about everything in between. My basic school of thought: dip it in chocolate, it’ll be fine. Unless there’s mint involved. Mint is for toothpaste, mouthwash, and gum and doesn’t belong anywhere near chocolate

 

29 July – International Tiger Day

There are more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild. Some estimates say twice as many. Beautiful giant cats, but the kind you want to admire from a distance. I’d like to keep admiring them, so it would be really nice if conservation efforts were successful in bringing them back from the edge.

Not entirely unrelated, today is Don’t Be A Dick Day, a celebration of Wheaton’s Law, namely, “Don’t be a dick.” Seems like it should be easy, but I see people screw it up all the time. We should all try just a little harder today.

 

30 July – Paperback Book Day

Sometime today, curl up with a paperback. Not an e-reader. I love me an electronic book, but not today. Engage a few more senses and celebrate how many more people got to read and own books because someone figured out how to make them smaller and lighter. Celebrate the explosion of reading and stories throughout the twentieth century because of them.

 

31 July – Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day

How many instruments can you name? There’s a lot more out there than what you see in the typical pop band or high school concert band. Watch a video of someone playing a theremin or a glockenspiel or a glass armonica. Or pick one of your own. Maybe learn to play a few notes?

So there’s the celebrations I’m picking for July. Feel free to find your own.

Be well, everyone. And celebrate.

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Year of Celebration – June 2017

Year of Celebration – June 2017

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So a few years back, I tried to christen the calendar The Year of Celebration. The idea was to have something to celebrate every single day of the year if I wanted to. I don’t remember if I got bored writing things up, or if I got distracted by some other part of life, or something else, but I don’t think I made it through even half the year. Which doesn’t really explain why I’m starting in June (or with my anniversary in May, which is when I really started but haven’t written about it before now.

Leaving that aside, here are the things I’m celebrating or marking in June 2017

01 June – Say Something Nice Day

Seems easy, right? So why do we need a day for it? It’s a Thursday and I’m probably at work. I’ll find lots of nice things to say, I hope.

02 June – Hug Your Cat Day

Something that should be every day, and probably is for most cat people. Make a special point of it today.

03 June – Drawing Day

Visual arts aren’t my thing. I have problems getting the proportions right on stick people. Still, sometimes it’s fun, right? On June 3rd, I’ll draw something, scan it, and post it.

04 June – Cancer Survivor’s Day

You know someone who beat cancer. Today, remind them that you’re glad they’re still around.

05 June – World Environment Day

Pick something up off the ground and recycle it if you can. Water a plant. Help a turtle across the road. Take a deep breath and think about how clean the air could be.

Veggie Burger Day

It’s also Veggie Burger Day. These come in a lot of varieties from “clearly seaweed and tofu” through to “I can’t believe it’s not meat”. Pick your favourite. Have one.

06 June – D-Day

Seventy-three years ago today, the largest amphibious assault in history marked the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. Something to think about.

07 June – VCR Day

Ah, the humble VCR, with us for far too short a time but whose influence is felt even now.

Running Day

And it’s a good day to go for a run. Especially if it’s been a while. But take it easy.

08 June – Mom & Dad’s 49th Anniversary

But for those of you who might be less interested celebrating my parents’ anniversary, it’s also World Oceans Day. We should be a little more worried about how much crap we’re dumping into them.

09 June – International Archives Day

Be glad there are people whose job it is to preserve things. Some day, you might want to know.

10 June – Missing Mutts Awareness Day

Have you ever had a dog go missing? This was a huge deal for us at one time when I was a kid. We were lucky enough that Alexander turned up a week or so after he disappeared. Not everyone has that luck.

11 June – Abused Women and Children’s Awareness Day

I think the name speaks for itself. That this is an issue large enough that it warrants a day of recognition shouldn’t surprise me, but somehow, it still does. It also offends me.

Ferris Bueller Day (released on this day in 1986)

If that’s a little too depressing for you, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off released today in 1986. That might be depressing in a different way.

12 June – World Day Against Child Labor

How to celebrate this? Take a minute to be sure you don’t by your clothes or other products from companies you know use child labour.

13 June – World Pet Memorial Day

We took in a pair of rescue cats just before our first anniversary and had them until just before and just after our seventeenth. I still miss them both.

14 June – World Blood Donor Day

If you haven’t given blood in a while, this might be a good day to think about it a little harder. Maybe even do it.

15 June – Nature Photography Day

Take a picture of something interesting outside in the natural world. A plant, an animal, a cloud, whatever. Post it.

16 June – Fudge Day

Do you really need a reason to celebrate fudge? I’m sure there’s some around here somewhere.

17 June – World Juggling Day

What might be really funny is if I posted a video of me trying to juggle. I can juggle two things, but that’s not really juggling, is it?

18 June – Father’s Day

Call Dad. Give Dad a hug. Remember Dad. Whatever you can do, do.

19 June – Viking Day

As in the Mars probes. On this day in 1976, 41 years ago, Viking 1 Entered Mars orbit. I don’t remember it. I was only five. But it’s pretty cool to think about the awesome planetary science being done when I was a little kid.

20 June – World Refugee Day

Depending on how you count things, and I “like” UNHCR’s numbers, there are as many as 65 million people in the world who can be counted as refugees. That’s equivalent to the entire population of the UK or France. Tell me again how the world is at relative peace?

21 June – Solstice

Depending on whose calendar you use, it’s either midsummer or the first day of summer. Either way, it’s warmer than it was three months ago on the equinox.

World Humanist Day

It’s also World Humanist Day, a day to celebrate, as openly as your own situation allows you to, that people are more important than ideas.

22 June – Onion Rings Day

So I could probably give up everything fried without too much in the way of regret or problem, and still nom the next onion ring offered to me.

23 June – Take Your Dog to Work Day

I wish. Aside from the fact that my dog is an incredibly anxious Saint Bernard rescue, I work in a casino. He’s not a service dog and the lights and sound would drive him completely insane in a few minutes.

24 June – International Fairy Day

The Fair Folk have, in some way, been with us in our stories for centuries and across dozens (hundreds?) of cultures. Remind yourself of the huge collection of myths we all have available to us.

25 June – Colour TV Day

How could we live without colour TV? The world would be a very different place.

Global Beatles Day

Or, if you want to think a bit about music, remember that fifty years ago today, the Beatles participated in the first ever global transmission broadcast by singing All You Need is Love.

26 June – Chocolate Pudding Day

Mmmm. Chocolate pudding.

27 June – Sunglasses Day

I’m trying to remember the last time I actually wore sunglasses. I used to have a prescription pair, but it’s been a while. I’d love a set again.

28 June – CAPS LOCK DAY

Ah, how to celebrate. Should I post gentle reminders to avoid this key? Or should I take the ironic route and use it all day myself?

29 June – Camera Day

Don’t limit yourself to nature today. Take some cool pictures of whatever you want and throw them up on your social media.

30 June – Meteor Day

Hope for clear skies and spend a little time looking up tonight. Maybe you’ll catch a shooting star as it consumes itself in the upper atmosphere.

So there you have it. Celebrations for June. I do intend to do this every month for a year. We’ll see if I get further than last time.

Be well, everyone. And celebrate.

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