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Clap Along If You Feel Like Cookin’ …

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Man-cooking

This is definitely not ME! Paying close attention to recipes is not in my playbook…

Why do I feel so damned Pharrell Williams “HAPPY” when I’m cooking up a storm in the kitchen? Even if the kitchen isn’t “a room without a roof“?

What kind of a real man eschews the world of sliding under cars to manhandle greasy gaskets, or watching blood-spattered UFC supermen, to “perform” on the stage of culinary arts?

I think I must be what you would call gastrosexual.

Cooking and food – as we all know –  is really a metaphor for the warm and soft, fuzzy aspects of our lives.

Food provides calories, but isn’t just sustenance, would you agree?

Food means sharing, friendship, family, love, sex, laughter, discussion.

Throw a bottle or two of wine into the equation and it also means political arguments, RAUCOUS laughter, louder talk, dysfunctional families, wine goggles, raunchy sloppy sex.

dinner-argument

A typical Sunday night at my house…

……………………

Sometime during the 1980’s I remember a great heated discussion in the (now defunct) Canadian back-to-the-earth magazine Harrowsmith about the cover photo of a woman holding a hot steaming loaf of bread, fresh from the oven.

The blush and shiny glow in her cheeks hinted to some readers of a post-orgasmic flush and maybe even a hot-and-ready yeasty bun in her own personal oven.

To naive little me, it looked like a woman proudly offering up a beautiful loaf of bread, but I’ll admit that sometimes a cigar isn’t just a cigar. Yes, once again, sex rules the media, and it’s everywhere.

Switching to the movies, one of my favourite “family” cooking scenes from cinema comes from none other than big John Candy and little Macaulay Culkin in Uncle Buck.

Whenever my kids are home and I’m stirring and chopping away in the kitchen, inevitably, one of them will whisper the classic line loudly, “Dad’s cooking our garbage“.

Now you might prefer the more serious-toned Julie and Julia for your film cooking chops. This is all well and good but makes cooking and cuisine a job to be wrestled into an organized round of beginning, middle, and end.

DING, the round is over … the recipe has been followed exactly … there, done!

Damn, forgive me. I keep getting sidetracked from the message I’m here to talk about today.

Which is … that I have a different approach to edible art.

The Alternate Zen of Cooking

Aside from the obvious connections between cooking food and family and love in its various forms … for me, cooking also means musical themes, and exploration and travel.

How so, you ask?

Cooking can be regimented and stiff, or, if you’re like me, free-form like jazz.

I know that for some, food preparation is a rote symphony – you measure every quarter note and 1/4 cup to the T… you place every rest and teaspoon in its perfect momentary place. The cuisinary maestro is to be strictly adhered to for the music and vittles to sound and taste so sweet. This is fine, I suppose.

IMG_2413

In Marrakesh, Morocco, Karina ensures I measure everything for a Tagine dish just so …

I was told by Karina, my cooking guide in Morocco this spring to:

 Respect the Recipe”

Bahhhh… I want to play my cooking-style like uplifting jazz, using a recipe only as a guideline where a list of ingredients is important but amounts vary from time to time, and my imagination allowed to summon up a flavour that I favour on that day.

More lemon today, more ginger tomorrow, less oregano and cumin this time around. Maybe quinoa in place of rice.

Cooking is like playing in the sandbox with the kids, it’s fun and learning all mixed together in an agreeable mess.

Image

Lugme, a delightful Cusco friend, stacks our freshly-baked guinea pigs into a container for the short walk back home from the community oven … a tasty Peruvian delicacy…

A wonderful bonus of today’s connected world is the availability of ingredients from every region of the world, all of the time.

Any day of the week, I can choose to eat Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Peruvian, French, Spanish, Caribbean, Hawaiian, or whatever style of food you can name with one quick visit to the local supermarket.

Is this a great world, or what?

I can hear you already. You might believe strongly in the 100-Mile Diet.  I get it. I want the local grower to do well too. But, I figure that the peasant farmer in Quillabamba, Peru or Wenchang, China or Ladysmith, South Africa deserves a livelihood as much as my friendly orchardist down the road. I support both. ‘Nuff politics, OK?

Even if I’m not travelling, cooking transports me to other worlds and exotic locales.

A special meal is like catching a plane and taking a vacation in your own home – a STEAK’ation if you will.

We can create recipe sex in our own homes where Thai meets Italian meets Brazilian and an incredible taste explodes for us like an atomic bomb in our mouths.

But at some point I grow tired of staring at the map on the wall and making dishes from afar.

The true measure of great cooking, eating, and enjoyment is to settle in the dust of the region where that food originated.

Just put a forkful (or chapati-full, or chopstick-full) of locally-cooked, flavour-laden food where the street sounds and smells encircle you … music floating on the evening air… then close your eyes and absorb all that surrounds you.

Here, I’ll take you on a short cooking-style trip right now… hang on… it won’t take a lot of your time or money!

Image 1

Oscar showing us Spanish-language students in Cusco how to prepare “Ahi de Gallina”.

I’ll throw a great little Peruvian peanut-chicken stew recipe at you here from my Cusco, Peru master-chef amigo Oscar? Listen for the pan flutes playing through the thin, cool Andean air.

Oscar makes lovely gourmet-style meals for large groups using only a 2 burner propane-fired hotplate. Try this in your own kitchen and feel free to adjust the amounts.

Ahi de Gallina (Serves 6 – Oscar gave this recipe to me in Spanish, but I’ll make it a bit easier with translation)

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 100 g white cheese (mozzarella or cheddar or monterey jack)
  • 1 1/2 onions
  • 4 aji peppers (any small hot pepper will do)
  • 1/4 litre milk
  • 50 g roasted, ground peanuts
  •  150 g chicken stock
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 150 g water crackers
  • 4 garlic cloves

Preparation:

  • Boil the chicken breasts in 2 litres water with a clove of garlic, some salt and pepper for 15 minutes
  • Drain the broth but reserve 1 litre of the cooking liquid and hand shred the chicken into small strands
  • Chop 1 onion, garlic and peppers into small pieces (remove and discard seeds from hot peppers)
  • In a large frying pan on medium heat, saute the chopped vegetables in a small splash of oil, add salt and pepper to taste
  • After a few minutes, add the milk slowly in equal portions to the crushed water crackers
  • Add cubed cheese, the peanuts, and the chicken broth and stir for a minute
  • Pour the entire mixture into a blender and liquify until smooth
  • Cut the remaining half onion into julienne strips and add to the frying pan and saute for a minute before adding in the blender mix and the shredded chicken
  • Stir over heat until it reaches the boil point and add more milk or broth for a smooth consistency
  • Serve over rice or potato, accompanied by olives and hard boiled eggs

…………………..

Now when I travel, I want to spend time in the company of local cooks and learn their magic with local traditions and foodstuffs. Few things in life bring us more warmly, more peacefully, together than cooking and sharing a meal.

And I’m just at the start of this journey. Morocco, Peru, Spain, Cuba, China, even Newfoundland and the Northwest Territories of Canada … the list will grow and recipe sex will make the spicy ambience of life a bit richer.

So it might seem crazy what I’m gonna say but I’m just gonna put on my Pharrell cooking hat and keep pirouetting and gyrating my Happy-dance as I blend the fusionary, culinary, provisionary, sometimes flavourful, sometimes disastrous kitchen concoctions and dream my way to the furthest corners of the world.

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Fat Girls …

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On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys…” 

 

beach girl

Trouble getting dates? Yeah, right…

Some things just get to me.

Not very often.

But sometimes.

Today I want to tell you about a TV episode I saw recently that affected me deeply.

It scratched and inflamed a raw nerve that was an oozing wound inside me.

Maybe it’s because of the guilt I feel for being so shallow… or  maybe – just maybe – because I’ve felt the same way – inadequate – at times for similar and slightly different reasons.

Do you know Louie CK?

Middle-aged, slightly rotund and unkempt, somewhat depressed-looking, stand-up comic-guy? I don’t know, maybe he’s the new Rodney Dangerfield. Anyway, he’s pretty popular right now.

I can’t quite figure out whether I like him or LIKE him yet. He’s a lovable teddy-bearish kind of gent, but I don’t want to get sucked into his vortex of minor, low-level gloom. I’m perplexed, is he funny or a downer?

Louie has his own comedy series on FX network called … yup, LOUIE.

It’s kind of like Seinfeld, where Louie does his brief stand-up comic bit followed by a usually semi-autobiographical, weird story arc of an aging, divorced father.

It’s set up to make us feel squirmy and uncomfortable with that unsettling awkwardness that many of us feel from time to time. He’s got the stunned look down pat.

Only for Louie, it’s awkward ALL of the time.

Louie

I’ve had awkward moments.

Once, when I was in my late teens, I climbed into a hot, sticky backseat for a car ride back home from a McDonald’s employee picnic with a dude and his girlfriend – said girlfriend happened to be my ex-girlfriend who I wasn’t 100% over yet.

I sat, feeling sweaty, squirmy, edgy in the back, like a little kid getting a ride home with Mommy and Daddy … uncomfortable? I felt so small.

Many of Louie’s uncomfortable moments revolve around his difficult and embarrassing attempts at dating in NYC. He’s dying to be loved but he’s also the least smooth operator living in the civilized world.

The Episode of Shame

The installment of Louie that affected me so much was one where Vanessa, a plus-sized but sweet-faced server-girl at the club where Louie does his stand-up routine asks him on a date.

(BTW Aside:  the Louie show is worth watching just to see the little girl (Ursula Parker) who plays his 8 year-old daughter Jane. AMAZING little actress!!)

In his typical Louie dazed-style, he looks blankly at Vanessa, gut hanging over his belt, and hums and haws around a way to say “no thanks”.

Sarah Baker as Vanessa is stunning in her frank portrayal of the “fat girl”. She utters such an honest and heartwrenching statement about men and women in western culture that it hurts.

On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys,” she says. “Why do you hate us so much? What is it about the basics of human happiness, feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us, that’s just not in the cards for us? Nope. Not for us.”

It’s a wonderful and moving soliloquy, isn’t it? Could you feel yourself squirm a little? Maybe you saw yourself in either Vanessa’s position, or maybe Louie’s. That’s the beauty of this episode.

We hold a mirror to ourselves, and we don’t love what we see.

And I reluctantly realize I, like Louie, am guilty as charged.

Yup, I avoided dating fat girls in my early years. I dated a fat girl for awhile – and like Vanessa says in the clip above, we even had sex –  who was very cute and then I backed off when I felt like I was too good. She didn’t match up to the image of what I felt I deserved.

I wallow in the shallowness of my internal self. There are ugly parts to me.

I feel guilty knowing the truth about myself … but then I look in the mirror again.

I realize that just like a fat girl, I have limitations too.

Every one of us has limitations.

Every one of us has the potential to be rejected for something we are or we aren’t.

But I live with my flaws and deficiencies and make the best of it. Sure, I occasionally set myself up a pity-party and knock back a drink or two, but it gets boring quickly and so I head home early and refresh my outlook.

Yes, the storyline is about fat girls, but you might substitute nerdy guys or short guys or an unattractive person. 

We can be fat, we can be ugly, we can have little boobs or a short penis, we can be short or stupid, bald or buck-toothed. Life sucks. But it is what it is.

Yes, I’ve avoided dating fat girls. But really hot girls and too-many-to-count average-looking girls have ignored me and definitely wouldn’t have sex with me in my youth. It’s true, even though since I grew out of my tween chubbies, I’ve been reasonably slender all of my life.

But I don’t look like Rob Lowe, or Tom Cruise, or thank heaven, Mick Jagger. I don’t own yachts like Bill Gates. I don’t have the compelling intellect of Bill Clinton (and any cigars I’ve had were strictly for smoking!). My gifts are modest but worth unwrapping.

We can accept it or change it. We have choices and if we decide to accept our lot, then so be it.

There will always be Louie’s out there that make us frustrated, but really we’re frustrated with ourselves.

So, Fat Girls … fat girls, I’m sorry. There is no perfection, even if looks like sometimes there is.

I feel for you and I want for you what you want, but I can only tell you what most of us (should) know and reluctantly accept.

Life sucks. Shit happens. Sometimes.

I’m shallow.

But we all have something about us that makes us lovable and makes us special to someone else.

And when we find that someone, it makes the wait all worthwhile.

I promise, Vanessa.

perfection-sign

 

 

 

 

WHO Wants To Be A Hero …

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Superheroes

I wanna be a hero.

Not a superhero like the costumed wonder-boys and -girls in spandex-clad movies.

Although if I wanted to drive my kids crazy, my costume would just be a simple Speedo lycra bathing suit – winsome little curly hairs sprouting from the edges – and maybe a big bright red S painted on my chest.

Better yet, I’ll have the flashy S tattooed on so I don’t have to waste the extra minute painting a letter on every time a superhero emergency shit-case hits the fan.

I’ve never been a fan-boy of the superhero movie genre … I prefer REAL LIFE HEROES… give me Terry Fox instead of Batman, give me Stephen King instead of Spiderman, give me Rosa Parks instead of Wonder Woman, give me Jackie Robinson instead of Superman… you get my idea.

Superman guy

This hairy-S might be better than a tattoo until I decide if I’m meant to be a HERO…

The reason I’m thinking about this right now is because lately we’ve been having discussions during spin class about super-druggie-cyclist Lance Armstrong, one of my publically avowed heroes, drug-fiend or drug-free.

Hero-osity is a Hard Job

I can be pretty forgiving of heroes’ goofs and gaffes because they’re under a huge amount of pressure. Being a hero isn’t easy; it’s like a well-meaning politician trying to save the world but being jabbed at with Zulu-warrior spears from all sides, unable to stanch the gush of blood.

People love to play Lee Harvey Oswald and figuratively assassinate a beloved politician or a desired movie actor or sports star.

Adding “hero” to your resume can be relatively easy, but staying one is damned near impossible.

In the heat of the moment, when crisis strikes, most of us can summon the courage and energy to lift 2-tonne cars off people, or run into voraciously-burning houses to rescue fluffy kittens.

But the real measure of a true hero is someone who can be courageous day-in and day-out when the rush of super-hormones has passed. The strength to do valorous things without a massive wallop of adrenaline coursing through our system is an epic measure of hero-aciousness.

9:11 Firefighters

Heroes are everywhere you look, not just in battle zones, or in ripped and torn 9-11 skyscrapers.

When I was a kid of maybe 9 or 10 years old, I had a classmate John who had hydrocephalus, or an enlarged head from excessive buildup of CSF (cerebrospinal fluid).

Most of us dumb kids, in our ignorance, made fun of John because of the differences in appearance and also his slower mental functioning.

Some days you could see the pain in John’s eyes. He knew he was different, and there was nothing he could do to change his circumstance. I felt badly for his situation but wasn’t “man” enough to stand up for him.

But another one of my little buddies, Billy, befriended and defended John. Billy didn’t care if it made him look like an outsider or feel rejected. Billy was valiant and heroic enough to risk his own reputation to make another less fortunate outcast feel a part of something outside himself.

I admired Billy’s strength then as I do even today. Billy was a pint-sized hero.

But back to Lance.

I spent a number of hours each July in years gone by, watching TV images of the long Tour de France waves of cyclists race day-in and day-out across the flat stretches of French countryside; postcard-scenic riverbanks of gently shifting grain and alfalfa stretched out alongside.

Pedaling in a crowded pelaton for endless hours each day. Hard work, yes.

Then they hit the mountain passes and it was nothing short of miraculous to see the strength and mental toughness summoned to climb the steep Alp and Pyrenees slopes, the Plateau de Beille or Alpe D’Huez.

I was mesmerized. I was gobsmacked and most of the worship was doled out to one athlete, Lance Armstrong.

Lance Climbing

Minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, he would monster-pedal his way up the hellishly-steep switchback slopes.

And then just when the other riders thought he was broken, he could find another gear in his physical bag of tricks, and destroy the competition. Spinning his muscled legs even faster, he’d leave the other boys in the dust.

It was beautiful to watch.

It was poetry on wheels … no… it was more than that, it was an operatic aria sung at ear-splitting volume… Ah, bravo Figaro! Bravo, bravissimo! Fortunatissimo per verità!

But even then, I knew in my heart of hearts that he was performing his feats with the help of the wonders of medical intervention.

Sure, it disturbed me, but I also thought then and still believe that every other rider that was anywhere close to him on the road was using similar little helpers. It was an even-steven kind of thing and Lance was the very best of the best either way.

Drugs or no drugs, he was superlative. I loved him, faults and all.

He was/is an arrogant son of a bitch like so many top notch achievers and I reluctantly accepted this too. The price of great ability can sometimes be an irritating attitude, thank you Muhammed Ali, John McEnroe, Serena Williams, Kevin Spacey, Pierre Trudeau.

However, bit-by-bit I’ve fallen out of love with Lance. I’m removing my worshipping lips from his ass. His arrogance and deceit has hurt too many people along the way.

Heroes are meant to inspire, not hurt.

There have been many heroes in my life – friends, relatives, strangers – and there will be many more to follow.

I stand at the top of Giant’s Head Mountain here in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley gazing out over the fruit orchards and lake below, seeking sources of inspiration.

I wanna be a hero. But where will I find my own hero-sity?

All I have to do is look and listen and ACT.

I have no concerns over shamelessly borrowing the bright starlight of others who shine my way.

  • I can emulate Dave from the gym who voluntarily serves healthy meals at the soup kitchen every week to the less fortunate.
  • I can borrow the initiative of cousin John who writes country music songs while bravely battling his own cancer.
  • I can draw on the energy of the many who travel to 3rd world countries, giving their time, on their own dime, to deliver supplies and education to intelligent people who need a helping hand up.

Yup, heroes come in all shapes, colours, and sizes.

It’s good to know that the champion’s letter on our chest can be an “S” … or an “s”.

 

Superman Butt

Of course, the S doesn’t HAVE to be on our chest…

 

 

 

What Happens in Vegas … is it Spiritual?

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Spirituality …

Spiritual

… it’s powerful, it’s all-embracing.

I used to hate, maybe even fear the word and now I hold it close to my bosom (do guys have bosoms … anyone?).

So you ask: “Larry, why would you fear a simple word like spirituality?”

In a nutshell, I’ve shied away from writing or talking about spirituality because it has a way of sounding like a synonym for RELIGION.

And, as you probably know by now, I’m not much of a player on the game field of religion.

Spirituality – 1 … Religion – 0.

A greater omnipotent DEITY just isn’t in the cards for me.

Hang on … just as an ADHD aside: Even though I’m not devout or God-fearing, I like hanging out with people who are religious in the traditional (but NOT Evangelical) sense. There’s a warmth and genuineness and often an atmosphere of “all will be OK” that floats in the mist surrounding a true believer. It’s comforting to be in their company.

But today I’m going to drag up the courage to voice some thoughts –  you may agree somewhat … or you may just hate my perspective.

I’ve spent most of my life refraining from this discussion because I care what you and everyone else thinks about me and so it’s easier to avoid the topic than to offend you.

Today, the water looks inviting and I’m boldly plunging in.

In my mind, Spirituality is the NEWS HEADLINE,

everything else is the Subtitle.

Religion is just one of the subtitles along with

  • nature
  • music
  • dance
  • pets
  • children
  • visual art
  • love

You might have others to add to this list.

What I’m saying is that spirituality is the overarching feeling that plunges deepest into the heart of our personal earth.

There’s an aura or ambient meaning that accompanies something that we describe as spiritual. It’s otherwordly, even though it may or may not be religious.

We all have our outer crust that protects us from the dangers of life, great and small. But way down below there is the molten core that is warm and liquid and exudes the inner strength that rejoices in the beauty and wonder we encounter, and supports us in our darkest troubling times.

I suppose sex, drugs, alcohol, and gambling might be considered as spiritual subtitles too but they’re loaded with downside potential, so I can’t include them. I don’t think that Las Vegas will soon be changing its motto to:

What Happens in Vegas is Spiritually Healing and Good in Vegas

Jesus in Vegas

We all have monsters inside us needing some spiritual calming.

Calm is a good word. I used to think that spirituality and religion were the same thing. But now I’ve discovered, for me, the synonym for spirituality isn’t RELIGION, it’s CALM.

Religion and the other items I’ve listed above are where we find the soothing calm that carries us over the mud puddles that are the bad days, the hard times that inevitably seek us out and try to suck us into the muck.

Doesn’t matter where it comes from, we all need spirituality. When we don’t have it, we cease functioning properly.

As an illustration, the other day I finished reading a book by Jodi Picoult entitled Nineteen Minutes. It’s a wonderfully crafted book about a young teenaged boy, Peter Houghton, who is bullied his entire life before he finally snaps in late high school.

Over the course of 19 minutes, this distraught soul wanders the halls of his school shooting the dozen or so classmates who have made his life a misery, catastrophically changing his life and the entire town’s future. It’s as sad as it is telling.

It tells of his inability to find a source of spirituality to carry him over his miseries, leaving, in his mind, only one way to find calm inside his head, even though it means spending the remainder of his life in a jail cell.

Calm

Here are a few examples of where I find my spiritual base – that impression of heaven-on-earth (I’d be pleased if you shared some of yours too!):

  • I awake at 6 am on an early summer’s day and step outside into my yard. Immediately, I inhale the light sweetness of Lily-of-the-Valley in the air, hear the notes of robins chirping and mourning doves cooing. Then I feel the glow of the just-risen sun striking my eyes and cheeks while a dewy dampness in the air cools me from behind.
  • I’m standing still on my cross-country skis in the frigid mountain airs of January. There’s an unearthly calming quiet as I gaze out on the the sun reflecting brilliant off the snowy banks of the side of a frozen lake scraped clean for skating or sliding.
  • I’m perched in the momentarily-hushed darkness of a movie theatre with the intoxicatingly warm, salty scent of popcorn rising. My mind is floating backwards to my childhood as I sit in the same darkness of the Palace or Capitol Theatre in my Hamilton boyhood where I’m mesmerized by the colourful brilliance of … movie classics of the time like Bonnie and Clyde, Bullitt, Sound of Music, Mary Poppins.
  • The sands of Sunoka Beach are hot beneath my beach towel, my torso is absorbing the heat from beneath as the blazing sun burns decorative red lines through my closed eyelids. I feel the sand sift between my toes while children’s screams of delight zoom left to right by the water’s edge. There’s a mixed aroma of french fries and coconut suntan oils drifting over me like the little wiggly heat lines on a scorched highway.
  • It’s 11 pm and the living room is quiet at the end of the day. I pick up my acoustic guitar and stroke the first few chords of Fire and Rain or Dan Fogelberg’s Leader of the Band and I drift away on a cloud where time is meaningless and my mind is still like the morning surface of Lake Okanagan.
  • Shavasana … the end of a yoga session. It’s the only time I feel comfortable lying prone on a cool, hard surface. The room is semi-dark, filled only with Marsha’s soothing voice telling me to release, relax and let go. It’s also the only time in my life where I get to lay down beside 20 women in the dark and not feel guilty – every man’s dream …

Pets-At-The-Movies

 

CALM … SPIRITUAL …

I’ve finally lost the hate, the fear, the confusion over spirituality … SHHH, please pass the popcorn – real butter, of course –  I can’t wait to see how the rest of this story plays out …

 

Do Something …

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Nobody cries at the end of a movie about a guy who bought a Volvo.”

-> Donald Miller

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

 

From time to time I feel a rant coming on and that time is now.

I want to stand on the pulpit like Jerry Falwell or Oral Roberts, my welcoming arms spread wide, and preach to you about how to live your life.

I can sense a warming Pastor’ish aura descend over me, like a rich multi-coloured woollen cloak.

And the really wonderful thing is I won’t make a pitch for you to send money… hmmm, hold on a minute … if you want to send me a few dollars I won’t object.

So, friend … Join me today in the esteemed CHURCH of LAWRENCE.

Church Sign

Do you want to be the one who left this earth and they said at your funeral:

he read a lot of books.” (although that’s good too!)

 

I want to be the one who reached his final breath, where they said :

there were a lot of books written by and about him.”

 

In other words, I DID something.

Do you see where I’m going here?

Lose the passive, lose the inertia … become the active. Physical. Mental. Spiritual.

It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, really important stuff to anyone other than yourself or the small world around you. If you want to be Nelson Mandela or Maya Angelou… go for it. But it’s good enough to be a better Joe Schmidlap.

In Grade 13 Physics class at Sir Wilfrid Laurier school in Hamilton, Mr. Miedema tried to teach me all about the various forms of energy. I was bored stiff other than when I was ogling sweet-faced brunette Charlene, dreaming of what she looked like naked, but this much I absorbed:

It isn’t enough to have potential energy… you can store up all the energy in the world but unless it’s released, there ain’t nothing happening.

I need my energy to become kinetic … active energy that makes things happen.

potentialkinetic energy

 

Because I’m preaching and ranting today, you might think I’m claiming to be perfect.

I wish.

I know people who brag to me about not watching any television. BULLSHIT…

Not me …

If you don’t watch “television” you’re most likely watching your iPhone or Netflix or downloading movies and TV series from the internet … it’s all semantics. I love good TV and there is some very good TV available, just like there are great books, great movies and great music.

Like the food I eat, I try to limit the junk TV (did someone say Reality TV) and seek out the quality screenwriters and performers that nourish my mind and inspire my funny gene or my idea machine after I click the box off.

I even like to watch nighttime soap operas like The Good Wife, House of Cards, and Nashville (of course the music negates the “soap” component here).

But if I sit in my La-Z-Boy hour after hour, day after day, after sitting at an office desk 9 to 5, my muscles atrophy and I slowly dwindle. My strength shrinks and fades as surely as my gut swells and my chin clones multiply.

If I think and do … build chicken coops, write books, ride bikes up mountains, play some piano, cook a gourmet meal … my kinetic energy builds and multiplies.

growth mindset

We have to measure our time carefully so we don’t become strict observers of life.

The kinetic energy that makes us grow smarter and better needs to be used over and over again and then it grows like a voraciously hungry trumpet vine or a wisteria, wild plants that once started, sprout new tendrils at an astounding pace.

It takes sweat and effort. It’s hard work to think and grow and generate ideas and make things.

Just like in the gym though, the muscle won’t grow until the effort creates heat and rivers of sweat.

And sometimes it’s not what we do, it’s what we don’t do that makes the difference.

For example, I’ve stopped buying the Globe and Mail newspaper every day. I can spend a couple of hours easily each day, reading news that means nothing to my life.

By cutting this back, I can use that time to do and create, or maybe just think. I still buy the Saturday Globe, it has the Books section and lots of pretty pictures of models wearing swell clothes, so I won’t give that up.

Our electronic world is filled with wonderful time consumers, little bastard time-wasters that vacuum up precious moments of our lives.

Time waster

I’m learning not to waste my time with negative people or those that are draining … I want positive interactions with those who plan to live life in an uplifting fashion.

I have a friend Henny who seeks out newness in her life to the tune of her birthdays. For each year of her age, she finds something that she’s never done or seen, or even eaten, to accomplish in the year between birthdays. So, for example, at age 35, she finds 35 new things to be a part of her life.

They’re not all big items – most aren’t actually –  just something unique and different to her.

It keeps her fresh and excited about her life.

Things like a trip down a zipline, a bottle of wine from a country never tried before, reading a book about something totally foreign to her, riding her bike down every street in her small town at least once in the year.

These are little exploits that take a touch of effort but reward her with an ongoing profusion of experiences and enthusiasm.

So, my friend, dive in … I’ll cheer you on.

Do something that makes you catch your breath, even if just a little.

We can all become minor Superheroes. No cape required.

Maybe your earthbound days will roll to the finish line and the immortality of your name will live on as an eponymous adjective.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have the newest “IT” thing described by the masses as … not Kafkaesque, Orwellian, Wagnerian or Napoleonic or Shakespearean, but … maybe Fergusonian or Fisherite or Swidzinskian … or perhaps  best of all… Greenesque.

There you have it good friend, this concludes today’s sermon.

Go forth and be kinetic. You have the potential.

Ordinary superheroes are just like you and me ...

Ordinary superheroes are just like you and me …