Chickenshit.

I’m confrontation averse mostly because I’m not very good at it. Assertive isn’t really part of my DNA.

I tell myself that I’m cursed with the nice gene, but nah, I’m just chickenshit. Words have been falling out of my face for years, but when I need to step up and speak up — silence.

Recently, I escaped the rain by ducking into a small art shop. One of the pieces was all light, bright colour and I pulled out my VISA card. The painting came off the wall, the shop owner set it aside as he looked for wrapping — the piece looked totally different leaning against a desk than it had under the track lighting on the wall. The colours that had been clear and sunny were now muddy and dark.

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Did I say anything? Did I speak up? I think we all know the answer to that.

I now own a painting that could be pretty, but isn’t because I’d have to repaint and rewire to do it justice and, yeah, not happening.

On the other hand, I made the shop owner pretty damn happy 🙂

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Rock Church

Believer or not, and I’m not, it’s impossible to see Europe without seeing churches. From St. Paul’s Cathedral in London to St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, these buildings are architectural wonders that have witnessed history as it unfolded around them.

I’ve often thought as I’ve followed my tour guide through these churches that while they may have been built to praise the universal creator they are more of a monument to man and his artistic talent. Of course, that’s just my own personal take on it. As an atheist, I don’t exactly have the right mind set for this kind of thing.

But … if any building could make me spiritual, it would be the Rock Church in Helsinki. Excavated and built out of solid rock and yet, impossibly, bathed in sunlight. It’s a mystery to me, but somehow you sit inside this rock and feel as serene as if you were sitting on a beach. You look out through the skylight and believe for a moment that the universe is unfolding as it should.

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Athletic Couture

Is it just me or is there a certain irony in the fact that while the stores are overflowing with yoga wear, workout gear, and running shoes made for every conceivable exercise and sport, North America is fatter than ever?

People who never enter a gym walk around in sweat pants and track shoes.

And Fitbits, please. Counting the steps to your couch is not exercise.

I have an on-again, off-again relationship with exercise. As we speak, my treadmill is gathering dust, but even I know that fit and fashion — not the same thing.

yoga

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Rorschach Test

There was a time in my life when the summer was long and September seemed a distant forever away. When my life wasn’t scheduled to hell and back and I didn’t live attached to my phone.

There was a time when I lay on the ground and saw images in the clouds. You know the game, That cloud looks like…

I wonder if the Swiss psychologist Hermann Rorschach, the guy who created the Rorschach Test, got the idea from watching clouds as a child.

For some reason, this past week’s madness of shootings, hate rallies, and terrorist attacks has me thinking that the world around us, that life itself is a Rorschach test.

clouds

What do you see and what does that say about you?

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Brain Dead

I’m not good with games. As a kid, I could handle the tough stuff like Go Fish and Crazy Eights. Eventually, I graduated to Checkers and Monopoly.  In University, my brother tried to teach me Chess, please — way too many rules. Trivial Pursuit? If you need a Cole Porter lyric, I’m your man. Poker? I can’t bluff and I can’t be bothered to worry about who’s holding what. Apparently, I lack the killer instinct.

And then, there’s the whole world of computer and phone games. Remember Farmville? I was hooked there for a while, till I ran out of friends. I quit Candy Crush around level 79. I got a little cocky with Jewel Quest and thought I could handle a hidden object game called, Dying For Daylight. I was wrong. Poor Dahlia the Vampire, she’s still looking for that potion on an old laptop that’s been banished to the spare room.

These days I play it safe with Solitaire and Cut the Buttons. Last week, I was forced to acknowledge my abysmal game playing skills …

While trying to entertain a four year old, I installed Astraware’s Alien Pop!
The blurb read: The aliens are coming! Tap to pop them. Designed to develop manual dexterity in young children. Lots of sound and visual effects, no win or lose. Enough variety to keep little ones interested and entertained.

Perfect, right?

The four year old played the game for maybe five minutes and then decided he’d prefer to watch Rescue Bots — but the game was sitting on my screen and I spent a whole dollar and a half on it.

Yep, you got it. I’m now playing a game for the preschool group. I can’t tell you how proud I am 🙂

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy.

Back in the day, Bobby McFerrin sang, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.  

These days, pop-culture spouts the phrase, Be Present.

More than two thousand years ago, the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu expressed much the same idea in these words:  “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

Similar philosophies, but notice the tone. The first one is all sunshine and beach days, the second seems a tad dictatorial to me, and the third is a helping hand offered over a cup of tea.

It’s a beautiful day today and I’m on vacation so I’ve got to go with McFerrin on this one 🙂

 

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Real – ish

I’m a spectacular wimp when it comes to roller coaster rides. Not for me, hurtling down mountains of steel track, defying gravity and sanity. Nope, can’t do it. I’ll take my terror in a virtual format, please.

This past week, I climbed aboard my very own banshee and flew. 

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Pandora spread out below me, friends flying beside me. A breath-stealing experience.

Was it real? No.

Does virtual reality count? Uh … did you hear the part about flying?

Every animal on the planet can do real: perceive the world around them as it actually is. As far as we know, only humans can do real-ish: perceive the world around them as it actually isn’t.

Real-ish — it’s the basis of everything we are. Everything we’ve become since that long ago kid in a cave picked up a stick and drew in the dirt.

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Attitude

I’m not a fan of inspirational quotes. Way too rah, rah, cheerleader for me.

Truth be told, I find most of these tiny slices of wisdom annoying.

I read quotes like the ones below and think:

success2“So … this is my fault?”

 

success1 (2)    “Right, like it’s that easy.”

 

success3 (2)“You’ve heard of depression, right?”

I’m skeptical as to whether these facile bromides help anyone, but the Can Do This attitude they tout … to borrow from Martha Stewart, “It’s a good thing.”

As a writer, before you ever open a Word document some part of you has to believe I can do this. In my case, it was more like a maybe I can do this … baby steps 🙂

If  you tell yourself you can’t, you won’t.

Attitude is everything.

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Censorship: A Time Honoured Tradition

The ancient Greeks appreciated the human body for the gift that it is. The body was both natural and holy, a concept that didn’t translate well to the Christian world in the dark times of the Middle Ages. A succession of Popes, starting with Pope Paul IV felt that while man was an expression of God’s creation, there was no need for that expression to be anatomically correct.

Welcome to a period of prolific art desecration, a centuries long brutal and clumsy attempt at censorship. Goodbye genitalia and hello fig leaves.

Still today, the line between art and pornography is a blurry, wavy thing dictated by taste and culture. While the ethics of depicting the phallus itself change with the tides of time, phallic images have managed to escape the scourge of the censor. They pop out everywhere, impulsive and indiscrete, and often amusing. Freud was particularly fond of them but that’s a whole other post.

With phallic images, it’s not so much what you see but what you think you see.

Phallic images, like the phallus they represent, come in all shapes, sizes, and flavours.

From traditional
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to whimsical
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to artistic

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Personally, I’ve always found that the space ship, Andromeda Ascendant from the television show Andromeda bears more than a vague resemblance to parts unmentionable …

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or maybe that’s just me 🙂

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