Wednesday, January 17, 2018


Despite the best efforts of the current president of the United States and the early warning system in Hawaii, I've successfully managed to go around the sun one more time.

Let's face it, from a global perspective all but three day of my 47th year sucked. And they were the three days when Obama was still president. After that, well, we knew Trump was going to be awful but this was a touch beyond most people's worst case scenario. Unless you thought he was going to end the world. In which case, congrats, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

As for things on a personal levels....well, I honestly thought about griping about a few personal things. My 47th year managed to give me a new level of disdain for contractors and insurance companies. The former for managing to spectacularly mess up a bathroom renovation, the later for being not able to master the simple process of taking my money so that my car can stay insured. Those two things caused more than their fair share of stress the last few months.

And I could mope about not being happy with my weight. Right after Christmas Cathy gently nudged me into donating a truly depressing amount of clothing that no longer fits.

But as Cathy says, that's just "Adulting". Everyone has this crap they deal with. And if that's the worse you have, well.....

But I'm reminded of other things. That we had a great vacation, spending time in Portugal, Spain and Gibraltar. They we went back to St. John's at Christmas and I got to spend some quality time with my niece, who has started calling me Uncle Cag, which is just about perfect.

However, there are three specific moments that come to me, and they are small moments. Fleeting, but they stuck in my mind.

1. In the Fall, when all hell was breaking loose around the #metoo movement, Cathy and I were talking about it. We're both on the same page about those men (and more) deserve what's coming to them. But she looked at me at one point and said "You've never been scared to walk alone in a city in your life, have you?" And I had to respond truthfully, "No, I haven't."

Now, it's not like I've strolled solo through the streets of Kabul or anything. But I've walked home from a movie in Iqaluit at midnight. I've walked home from downtown St. John's at 3 am. I've wandered around Manhattan after midnight. Never thought twice about it.

I'm an upper middle class, heterosexual, white male from a Christian background living in a Western nation. My level of privilege is pretty god damn high. Occasionally it's good to be reminded of that and to try and be a better person.

2. When we were back in St. John's there was a Duke night. Which was a blast. My only regret is that we couldn't stay later, but we had a 6 am flight the next morning. There were jokes about just staying up all night, but I said I was getting too old for that shit.

But I was chatting with Jocelyne, who I haven't spoke to in an age, and she was saying how much of a blast her 40s have been. And I was agreeing with her. It was a nice chat about how we were just relaxing and enjoying life more, and trying not to let silly bullshit throw things off course for the important things.

A quick conversation in a bar, but again, a good reminder.

3. And the final one came last week. I was driving to work, running through things in my head when the news came on with the latest inanity from Trump. I just had a moment of exhale. A moment where I went "You're healthy, happy and have a good life. And you're not American right now." I genuinely feel awful for a huge chunk of the country. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, as they say. Assuming they make it to 2020 those people are going to be the Hulk by then.

So, what to do for my 48th year?

1. Make my peace about getting healthier. Losing nearly 70 pounds in 2012 was an aberration that had as much to do with my mental health at the time as any diet and exercise regime. Just keep going to gym, eat a bit healthier and let the chip falls where they may. Hopefully not in my mouth.

2. Read more. I'm reading lots of graphic novels and lots of news and magazine stories. But I'm not reading enough books. I'm going to try and read 50 this year.

3. Write more. For a job that involves communicating, it's really killed some of my creative writing. So at least 50 blog posts this year. Many of them may involve comics and movies. Sorry, you've been warned. But we'll see. Maybe I should try some creative writing. My friend Seamus is publishing his first novel this year. I'm tremendously proud of him, but it's also one of those things where "I can do that, I just need the discipline." So we'll see.

4. Restrain the geekery a bit. Seriously. It might have gotten a little out of hand this year. I might do a post at some point showing my current geek den/office/sanctuary. I love it, but I know the effect it can have on others.

5. Be a better husband. That's an evergreen resolution.

There's a lot to look forward in my 48th year. We're in the early stages of planning a nice vacation in Europe. Gods willing and no more hiccups, our mortgage will be paid off. Hopefully we'll catch up with friends and continue to be healthy and happy.

As plans go, it's not dramatic, but it sounds pretty good to me.

Last Five
1. Street fighting man - The Rolling Stones*
2. Fallen from grace (live) - Blue Rodeo
3. The Bagman's Gambit - The Decemberists
4. Parts and accessories - Josh Rouse
5. No one - Ron Sexsmith