All Good Things…

Ah, the 1990’s… They gave us so much. Setting aside the fact that I graduated from high school in the 90’s (yes, I’m that old), the early 90’s also gave us the finale to a much-loved and anticipated follow-up to the original Star trek series. I’m writing, of course, of Star Trek: The Next Generation. TNG hit the airwaves in an unexpected manner, giving us the follow-up series that Trekkies never knew they needed. When the two-part finale aired, it was entitled “All good things…,” a play on the old saying that all good things must come to an end. I felt it a fitting and suitable title for today’s post as, you see, today will be MY last episode, or post, I suppose…

I started this blog all the way back in late 2019. It originally started as a means for me to keep my writing skills sharp. Writing, much like anything else, is a kept skill; one that becomes lessened or lost if one does not use it regularly. “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” may be an apt analogy. When I originally posted, my intention was for this to be a photography blog, if you can believe it. I absolutely love flower and nature photography and my first post was a gallery of various flowers I had photographed during one of my trips in New Brunswick. I’m totally not kidding! You can check it out right here. Those flowers bring back some memories…

Somehow, within a short period of time, I immersed myself in writing this blog and did the same thing I do with everything else; I gave myself goals. My first goal was to expand my own horizons and research capabilities. Through that lens, I began writing about the two things I felt I knew a reasonable bit about: martial arts and Type-1 Diabetes. Before I knew it, I threw my own faith in the ring and began writing about Buddhism, as well. The Diabetes and martial arts aspect developed into fitness & health, writing motivational or opinion pieces as well as the occasional “just because” posts that made me feel good. Somehow, since publishing that first post on February 27, 2019, I’ve managed to write 1,480 posts (not including this one) and have amassed 573 subscribers. Although not quite on part with the modern day “influencer,” and I use the term lightly, it’s not too shabby for someone who started to write on a whim and simply grew from there.

My goals were reasonably simple. On the larger scale, I wanted to share what I knew. I also wanted to keep my writing skills as sharp as a could. On a smaller scale, I wanted to write a post each day for a week. Then a month. Then a year. Then I challenged myself to go for broke and write for 1,000 straight days in a row, a goal that i achieved on December 10, 2022. I found myself asking what’s next and this was perhaps the beginning of a downward slope that would bring me to the here and now. I believe I’ve reached a point where I’ve gotten from this blog what I started out to do. I have maintained my writing skills, which are now in heavy, HEAVY use in the job I started two years ago. I’ve reached the goals and milestones I set for myself and any further or lengthier milestones would just border on the absurd at this point.

I believe I’ve shared reasonable, well-researched information to allow readers to consider possibilities and do research of their own, never professing to be a medical professional or to know better than anyone else. I’ve written on almost every fitness, health, martial arts and Diabetes-related topic I could think of, some being so obscure that it seemed almost a stretch (you can scroll through my posts to find the ones on bowel movement colours, if you need an example). Although I would have never thought it possible, I believe I tapped out my creativity. After all, I did manage to pour out 1,000 posts in a row. How much more could I possibly do?

As with all things in life, there is a balance. For all the good and the enjoyment I’ve received from writing my blog, there has been some negative. I recall getting into a heated debate in my comments section from a very unpleasant young lady who took offence to a post I wrote about meat. THAT was fun. I’ve also had a number of individuals who have unfortunately thought it was their place to question, belittle and demean some of my posts, either in the comments section or to me directly. In a sense, even those were beneficial as they often led to posts about scrolling on by or not commenting on things you don’t agree with. But all in all, it has certainly been a positive experience, one I think that I shall always remember fondly and without regret.

Writing this blog hasn’t garnered the kind of traction I had eventually come to hope for. But I know that I have reached some. And for me, that’s more than enough. My posts will be here, at least until I ultimately decide to shut the account down completely. So I take some comfort in knowing that to some extent, people can still find my posts, read my writing and come to allow their thinking to be stimulated. And for one such as I, that’s all that can be asked. I may eventually come back to my blog. Or perhaps writing here has opened the door for me to pursue something bigger. You know me, always another goal. And that’s what’s important in life; to never let yourself grow stagnant and always keep pushing forward. Stay healthy, stay hydrated and check your blood sugars frequently. Doing so will ensure that I will be here sometime in the future to continue this writing. And it will ensure you’re here to read it. Food for thought… 🙏☯️

In With The Old…

Considering everything my brother and have gone through, medically, throughout our childhoods, it seriously surprises me that I’m not more screwed up than I am. Most of my childhood memories between the ages of four to ten involve spending long periods of time in a hospital; either for myself or waiting on my brother. That’s why the good memories often shine through the murky recesses of my brain like a bolt of godly lightning and leave a lasting impression.

When I was somewhere around the 8-year old range, the outlook on my brother’s life expectancy took a grim turn for the worst. He wasn’t expected to live into his adult years, which meant that he was eligible for a number benefits, such as programs that are similar to “Make a Wish.” Endorsed and supported by local charities back home, my brother chose to get a small, child-size four wheeler, which he rode at his leisure until he managed to fall off of it and injure himself.

My brother was asked to choose an alternative, something that wouldn’t risk bringing injury to himself or others. Luckily, a new gaming platform was released that year that would change the face of home video games… that’s right, I’m referring to the original Nintendo Entertainment System. My brother got the gaming platform, controller, the pistol and a slew of games, which included the original Super Mario Bros, Duck Hunt, Mega Man and a smattering of others. We spent hours on that thing, living it up and spending time together.

My newly-acquired gaming platform

The NES involved some of the best memories of my childhood, considering it was something we could do, even when sick or bed-ridden. I also learned increased hand/eye coordination, reflexes and an appreciation for graphic art. We moved on to Super Mario Bros. 2 and 3, and I purchased Mega Man 3, Metroid and Castlevania after my brother passes away. I eventually purchased a Game Genie, along with Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. For you young punks who have no idea what I’m talking about, your childhood sucked! But I digress…

I don’t even recall how I came to lose that gaming system. Although if I had to guess, I would presume my mother got rid of it along with the majority of my toys when I got older. For years, I’ve been trying o find emulator platforms to relive those memories. The problem with emulators is that they eventually encounter copyright issues and shut down. And as much as I would like to purchase a used platform, collectors and hipsters have basically made that all but impossible.

Reliving my childhood with Super Mario Bros. 3

That’s why it came as a big surprise to me when, last Tuesday, I was walking through a mall in Saskatoon prior to returning home from eye injections and saw what appeared to be a miniature version of the NES console. You guys have probably seen some of these advertised on occasion. In short, you have a console and the controllers and the console is integrated with 500 games, so cartridges aren’t required. There is a version of this that was released by Nintendo a couple of years ago. This one is an off-brand, but the games are properly coded and genuine. The level of excitement I felt is almost ridiculous. I could throw my money at the seller fast enough…

I got the console home and Nathan and I have been playing old games like gangbusters. It’s been a wonderful thing, reliving some of the good memories from my childhood. More than anything else, I was amazed that all the same reflexes were still there and I remembered a bunch of cheat spots and secret passages in a few different games. All in all, it was definitely worth the $75. New isn’t always better. Even if only for nostalgic purposes, the older pleasures can sometimes be the best. Food for thought…☯️

Til Death Do You What…?

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that “[…] in this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Considering the taxes I’ve paid since making my transition into the adult world, quite a number of years ago, I can attest that taxes are not something one can avoid. At least not legally, but that’s another post for another day. The focus of today’s post is death. Most people are leery of death and the concepts behind it. One of the things that allows us as people to make our way through life and work towards goals and find some semblance of happiness is the fact that we seem to be programmed to live without constantly being aware that there’s a finish line and there’s nothing to do to avoid it.

If one were to wake up every morning acknowledging that they’re going to die, can you imagine the kind of chaos that would ensure in the world? People would stop trying. Goals and achievements would come to a screeching halt, crime rates would increase dramatically and the ones who don’t necessarily covet their existence quite as dearly as others would take foolish chances and perhaps bring upon their end sooner than would have otherwise taken place. Problematically, there are some who DO live this way. The results are never good, per se, and there is always the question of what happens after we die. The big problem is that we are programmed to survive, often whether we want to or not. And as I once read in a book by one of my favourite authors, survival is a motherfucker!

We are also biologically programmed to ignore death, preserve ourselves and push forward, which is why for most people, their first thought in the morning isn’t “wow, I’m going to die someday.” The concept of death frightens most people, whether because of their inherent, biological will to survive or because of the unknown. For many, knowing what happens to our existence after death could potentially bring peace. Especially if it could ever be proven that there is some level of existence beyond this mortal flesh. on the flip side, much of what I described in the previous paragraph would come to pass on a high and more extreme level, if humanity ever managed to confirm life after death.

It’s a topic rife with contradictions, since most people avoid the topic and become uncomfortable talking about it. But it’s ever-present nonetheless and I recently had the opportunity to deal with a matter that brought some of these thoughts and concept to the forefront of my mind. When I was young, despite having Type-1 Diabetes, the concept of death was always a bit of a mystery to me. It wasn’t until my own doctors suggested that I would die in a short number of years due to my condition that I awoke to the question of what happens beyond the grave. Given that I was raised by a devout French-Catholic mother, there were plenty of religious concepts thrown into the mix, which were nothing more than extremely confusing for a young child.

It wasn’t until a couple of years later, when my brother passed away from all his illnesses, that it really brought it home for me. It was my first time genuinely dealing with the concept of death and seeing it in its horrible reality. In some ways, many ways, I was fortunate as my brother spent the majority of his life suffering and death brought an end to that. It was one of the driving factors that motivated me to take my life and health into my own hands and ensure I would continue on and live a full life. Three and a half decades later, I’m still alive and very-much kicking, karate pun FULLY intended.

My recent experiences have once again raised the question of what takes place after death and ultimately, does any of it matter? As a people, different cultures have different beliefs and customs behind what happens to our remains after we die. Generally-speaking and only from my own experience, folks here in the western world generally bury or cremate their dead, include religious ceremonies of whatever faith they follow and believe. The ceremonies are given almost as much status and importance as the death itself but the painful reality is that such ceremonies are usually only of import to those who remain; the dead don’t care about such things.

I once read an article written about the concept of life after death where the writer stated that at this point, given the number of people who have claimed to have experienced something beyond consciousness, near-death experiences and such, we should start to consider WHAT happens after death as opposed to IF something happens, since it appears evident that is some activity that takes place. Modern medicine and science have provided plenty of information about everything the brain does to try and keep the body going when it knows it’s dying, which causes the whole “bright light ahead” thing, as well as other aspects that people have attributed to dying. People have reported being “outside” of their bodies, watching as doctors work and were able to hear everything. Since science has somehow confirmed that our sense of hearing is one of the last to cancel out after death, perhaps that could be easily explained, as well.

It’s a fascinating topic, if one doesn’t mind the morbidity of it all. And I don’t pretend to know what happens after death but I will admit that like most, I’ve often been curious. I often turn back to what I once told my dearly-departed aunt, when I visited her for one of the last times as she was dying of cancer. I explained that no matter how one viewed life, there was the possibility of something beyond death. If your life was rooted in religion and your faith was grounded, your beliefs would explain everything you needed. You could find comfort in those concepts. If you have no religion or happen to be an atheist, one still needs to acknowledge the scientific aspect, which is that our bodies are proven to be driven by a measurable form of energy. This energy is seen in the current that controls our heart, maintains our brain activity and I think, contributes to making us who we are as a person. And as we all would have been taught through basic high school science classes (at least the ones we didn’t sleep through), energy never ceases to exist nor can it be destroyed; only moved or transformed.

So not matter what manner of life you live, one could argue that there is an explanation of the afterlife, whether your life is rooted in the theological or the scientific. The question simply remains of what, exactly, will that look like. The bad news is that no one knows for sure. The good news is that since there’s no avoiding it, we will all, eventually, have our answer. The takeaway here is to continue to live one’s life to the fullest and recognize that although sad and includes a deep sense of loss when someone we love passes on, it is part of the natural cycle of life that all living things must observe. Birth, life and eventually death is a something we all will experience. But there’s nothing saying that death deserves our time or attention until our time comes, of which we are usually blissfully unaware. Morbid food for thought on a Sunday morning… ☯️

Not All That Glitters Is Gold…

Well, it’s been a couple of days since my organization moved into a new office space and I feel that I’m in a position to provide at least a cursory update on how things are going. In order to have a bit of context, I should likely provide a bit of background on what our previous location was like. In the interest of privacy and confidentiality, what I’ll say is that my organization rented out office space on three separate floors. Several Division, divided by separate floors. There were frequent power outages and water shut-offs, homeless people in the parking structure and little to no support from the property owners in our interest. It came as little surprise when my organization chose to end their lease and seek office space elsewhere.

Since all life is a matter of balance, I should provide some of the positives with the previous location. We had a hotel in our tower’s lobby, which featured a very nice coffee shop. We had a pedway that gave us access to a two-storey shopping mall, which featured just about anything you could think of needing in one’s day-to-day life. need some nasal spray? Pharmacy. Need something for one of the boys? Dollar store, pharmacy or retail location. Hungry and forgot my lunch? Food court inside the mall and various restaurants outside. Last but certainly not least, it was a five-minute walk from my endocrinologist from my office.

Now, on to the new location. As people, we’re groomed to assume that newer is always better. This isn’t always necessarily so. Some of the things I’ve dealt with in my first morning include network issues, furniture issues and constant noise since our entire organization is now located on one shared floor. Towards the end of the first day, our network phones weren’t working and our internet was kicking in and out. We no longer had individual temperature control for each individual office, which means that I’ve basically boiled in my office for the past two days since the weather has been in the high teens for the past couple of days.

I think that some cheques were written that this new location couldn’t cash. that being said, I have to be honest… It was nice to mingle and speak with multiple staff members that I would previously only communicate with over email or text message. My staff have discovered some alternatives to the coffee shops they would have used at the mall and they seem to be pleased. That being said, there’s renovation work that still needs to be completed, despite the fact that we’ve occupied the space. My office is about half the floor space of my previous one, which as I write it, seems like a total first-world problem. But ultimately, one needs to acknowledge that one does not need all the gilt and gold in order to feel rich.

I think I’ll be happy in my new office. there’ll be a period of adjustment as with all things in life. The secret is to make the most of any given situation and adapt as required. There’s good to be found in any situation. One needs only to find it and see it. People just need to realize that newer isn’t always better. And not all that glitters is gold. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Some other cheezy fuckin’ analogy… I don’t know, pick one! bottom line is, I’ll make due with whatever location I have to work in. ☯️

The New “Office”

Despite the fact that I have moved into a new office space, this isn’t what this post is about. I’ll no doubt be writing about what my new office if like, once I’ve gotten through the week and have acclimated to my new environment. No, this post is about a different kind of “Office.” Since we had some spare time and no evening plans last weekend, I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with my wife building a newly-acquired LEGO diorama of the hit television series The Office.

The completed project

Ordered directly from the LEGO Canada website and boasting 1,164 pieces, this diorama-style set shows the main entry and office space, Michael Scott’s office and the staff board room in a fun display that took us well into the wee hours of the morning to complete. With our snacks, wine and streaming on the big screen, we sat side-by-side in the living room in an attempt to assemble this beast on our living room coffee table. And we succeeded. All in all, it didn’t feel as complicated as some of the other sets I’ve assembled. Despite the large number of pieces, every little coffee cup or item on Michael Scott’s desk counts as a piece, requiring no assembly, so it’s a bit misleading in terms of how complicated it would be to assemble.

Michael Scott’s office

Interestingly enough, Michael’s office is detachable and can be removed as a standalone piece. Since this doesn’t apply to the conference room, I’m not sure what the thinking behind this may have been but the railing system that was used is pretty unique and I haven’t seen it in any of my other sets. I handled most of the bulk assemblies while my wife put together some of the smaller components that my meat hooks were too big or indelicate to handle. If she hadn’t dealt with all the stickers, the diorama as a whole would likely look quite bland as I wouldn’t have bothered.

The conference room…

For those who have watched the US version of the series, you’ll recognize a number of familiar aspects within the completed diorama. As you walk into the office, Kevin is standing there with his large pot of homemade chilli. There are pieces inside to represent what he spills on the floor, I simply didn’t bother to spread them around. Next to the fax machine behind Pam, you can see a fax to Dwight from his future self, warning him not to drink the coffee. There are a number of awards and things on the wall, including Pam’s drawing of the office itself. The white board in the conference room has the pyramid scheme that Michael thought was not a pyramid scheme, drawn upon it. there’s even a jello mold containing Dwight’s stapler on top of a filing cabinet.

If you look on the right-hand side of the very first photo, you’ll notice a small barrel that Dwight used to start a small fire during a fire drill. And you can clearly see Stanley holding what appears to be a pretzel that he got from the vendor downstairs. So many little details… All in all, it was definitely a worthwhile set to work on and I was even happier to have gotten the opportunity to work on it with my wife. Both our backs were killing us by the end; being bent over a coffee table wasn’t the most comfortable of assembly positions. But we powered through and got it completed before we hit the sack and it marks the first time I’ve assembled LEGO with someone else. Even after all this time, we can still have firsts. I’ve added the larger, beige baseplate for better stability and my goal will be to have it set up in my new office location eventually. ☯️

Another One Survived…

I somehow managed to muddle through another year without having to deal with the ridiculousness of April Fools’ Day… Throughout the year, I’ve been the victim of a number of different pranks in both my personal and my professional life. Everything from having my jacket sleeve filled with shredded paper or having one of my coworkers spritz a touch of pepper spray into my coffee. In the event you’ve never been pepper sprayed, it works by reacting with the mucous membranes; eyes, nose and mouth, mostly. So if you take a sip of it when it’s in your hot coffee, you may not notice it right away. But once it hits the inner lips, son of a bitch…

For the most part, playing pranks on friends and family can be hilarious and somewhat harmless. It’s when you do something that causes mischief or interferes with the general public that it becomes problematic. For example, one year I had a batch of kids who would constantly move a park bench into the middle of main street and put a toilet bowl on top of it. It would be pitch black and the middle of the night, so there was no finding who did it. But it was dark enough that a vehicle coming down the street could potentially collide with it. We’d take the time to remove it and as we’d patrol, we’;d find it back in the street, minutes later. Cheeky bastards! Working on the evening of April Fools’ Day was the worst day to be a cop, followed closely by Halloween and New Year’s Eve.

So, where does it all come from? I mean, I’d be lying if I said I never played a few creative pranks on friends in the past. But why do people feel that they need one specific day on the calendar to get all their mischief out of their system? Depending on the source you dig into, the calendar may actually be to blame… I found a couple of different sources behind April Fools’ Day’s origins and all seem to stem from the same general story. So, I’ll share a snippet from

“Some historians speculate that April Fools’ Day dates back to 1582, when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar, as called for by the Council of Trent in 1563. In the Julian Calendar, as in the Hindu calendar, the new year began with the spring equinox around April 1. People who were slow to get the news or failed to recognize that the start of the new year had moved to January 1 and continued to celebrate it during the last week of March through April 1 became the butt of jokes and hoaxes and were called “April fools.” These pranks included having paper fish placed on their backs and being referred to as “poisson d’avril” (April fish), said to symbolize a young, easily caught fish and a gullible person.”

Since I grew up in an environment with a heavy French population, I can confirm the French part of the explanation. I remember the paper fish thing from my early years in grade school. Sources go on to describe some different traditions in different countries, kind of like how Halloween has different backgrounds in different countries, as well. But depending on whether you’re the one playing the pranks or receiving them, enjoying it as a fun little escape from the everyday hum-drum of life is subjective to the recipient. I can’t recall if someone managed to get one past me last year but this year, I was lucky enough that April Fools’ Day took place on a Saturday so I didn’t have work to contend with, and none of my friends seemed inclined to try and pull anything on me. One more year survived… ☯️

Rise And Grind…

I’ve never been much of a morning person in general. I know what you’re thinking; is ANYONE ever really a morning person? But in my case, it’s pretty much always been an issue of consciously forcing myself to function for the first few hours of my mornings. I’m often surprised that my posts are so coherent. During my school years, I always attributed it to just being a teenager. I mean, what teenager DOESN’T fall asleep in class, right? But considering it’s carried on into my adulthood, it’s pretty clear that I just can’t handle morning in general. At least not without several hundred milligrams of caffeine pumped into my system.

For years, I’ve tried to find a way to incorporate fitness into my morning routine. The thought behind this is pretty simple; increased fitness first thing in the morning will increase blood flow, raise my heart rate and start my day off with a kick. I may even potentially need less caffeine, if I’d manage to get my little dynamo pumping. But most attempts I’ve made have failed. What usually happens is when m,y alarm goes off, I’ll roll over, nope the fuck out of it and reset the alarm for an hour later.

The root of the issue is it has to start with you. No matter which way you look at it, you have to show up. Tired? Sore? Don’t feel like it? Too fuckin’ bad! Keep showing up and do it. It sounds ideal but most people, myself included, often can’t bring myself to do this. I’m not suggesting that you should work out if you’re injured or ill but otherwise, “pushing through it” is a very necessary part of a successful fitness routine.

A few months ago, I had this bright idea to get a membership for. A local swimming pool, since they have lane swimming that starts at about 5:30 in the morning. I figured I could sneak in there in the morning, hammer out 30 minutes of laps, grab a shower and make my way into work. I recall from my academy days that lap swimming is an incredible cardio workout and works almost all the muscle groups in the body. It would have been fantastic. Would have been. Had I been able to get myself out of bed to start doing it.

I needed to do something simpler. Something more straightforward. Something that allowed me to just jump straight into it without thinking about not and didn’t involve dealing with the public, first thing in the morning. This is where I came up with a simple circuit that I could do as soon as I woke up. It only takes about fifteen minutes, or closer to twenty, depending on how exhausted I am, I can do it in my basement before grabbing a shower and heading to work. I have a set group of exercises for Monday to Friday and I do it despite whatever structured workouts I do in the evening when i get home from work. I call it my “tragic warm-up to help embrace the pain.” Here it is:

– 30 jumping jacks;
– 30 push-ups;
– 25 high knees;
– 10 burpees; and
– 25 crunches.

– 20 squats;
– 35 push-ups;
– 35 crunches;
– 35 jumping jacks; and
– 35 high knees.

– 30 jumping jacks;
– 30 push-ups;
– 25 high knees;
– 10 burpees; and
– 25 crunches.

– 20 squats;
– 35 push-ups;
– 35 crunches;
– 35 jumping jacks; and
– 35 high knees.

– 30 jumping jacks;
– 30 push-ups;
– 25 high knees;
– 10 burpees; and
– 25 crunches.

It’s reasonably gruelling, especially first thing in the morning. I’ve also had days where I’ve simply skipped working out in the evenings by virtue of having done this morning gem. But it’s had the desired effect, in that my caffeine intake has lowered and I have a bit more energy and drive. granted, I also bottom out and get tired as shit by the time the end of my day comes along, but this is when you should be winding down and getting tired so you can sleep a full night, right?

Anyway, because I believe that variety is the spice of fitness, I thought I would share this with you. To be honest, I printed off the sheet this workout is on so long ago, I can’t remember if I found it somewhere or created it, myself. But it suits the purpose. Tomorrow is Monday and I will once again be seeing if I can’t “rise” to the occasion and make my way through the circuit. But it’s definitely worth trying, if you’re looking for something quick and effective to kickstart your mornings. Enjoy! ☯️

The Shopping Cart Theory

I’ve noticed I’ve been writing a fair bit about right and wrong lately. Not really sure what’s prompting that, beyond someone trying to break into my neighbour’s garage recently. But some of it has had me questioning our perceptions of right and wrong, and how good or perspectively bad a person may be. I say “perspectively” because what seems to be bad to one person, may in fact seem perfectly normal to another. The problem is, most people will allow themselves to do most given things if they know for a fact they won’t get caught. Let’s take speeding, as an example. Everyone knows that speeding is illegal. Most people recognize that they shouldn’t do it and that speed laws are in place for a reason but most people will also allow themselves to speed if they believe there are no cops around and they won’t get caught.

Enter: The Shopping Cart Theory. I’ve heard/read about this theory a number of times over the years, and have even had heated discussions with friends and family members over the concept. The theory postulates that in general, people are unable to self-govern unless they’re ordered to do a given thing or may face consequences if they don’t. This is demonstrated by the returning of a shopping cart, once one is done shopping and has loaded up their vehicle. In concept, there is no acceptable reason WHY a person can’t return their shopping cart. It only takes a moment, it’s simple and easy and it saves work for others.

The flip side to that, is that there are no laws obligating a person to return their shopping cart. The reality is that no one will punish you, fine you, harm you or kill you for failing to return your shopping cart. Although most of us will invariably recognize returning our shopping cart as the right thing to do, there is nothing to be gained from returning it. No one will praise you, you gain nothing and returning it is done only out of the goodness of one’s heart. One must accept and recognize that one is returning the shopping cart ONLY because it is the right thing to do and provides nothing of value or reward to the person.

This is why The Shopping Cart Theory basically determines whether a person is good or bad within the scope of modern society. The thinking is that a person who is unable to take five seconds to return their cart after using it, is only able to do what’s right when they are threatened by the law or some show of force. Most people will leave their cart unreturned without a second thought, seeing no issue with doing so. Hell, I’ve been guilty of it myself, on occasion. I like to rationalize that I had my children with me to deal with or that it was a freezing winter day. But what makes me any better or more important than the poor staff person who has to retrieve my cart in those harsh conditions because I chose not to do so?

Are we capable of doing the right thing, even when we have nothing to gain and won’t be punished for failing to do so? I’d like to think so. I’ve evidence to the contrary often enough to make me question it, though. But doing the right thing even when not required to so, plays into the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes Right Thinking and Right Action. So, the moral of this post is simply to ask oneself a question: Am I able to self-govern and do what’;s right, even when it gains me nothing? If the answer is no, perhaps a touch of self-reflection is necessary. Food for thought… ☯️

A Little Mid-Week Motivation…

Having lived a number of years in the National Capital Region, I’m not stranger to protest and people picketing in the street about some dumb shit or another. Given that I now live in Regina, Saskatchewan, which has the Province’s legislative building, it’s not unusual to see people picketing or protesting outside of that property, as well. I’ve seen enough of it to last me a lifetime, and I was even stuck in Quebec City in 2001, when they held protests against the 3rd Summit of the Americas. oh, my bad… As I was often corrected by protesters on site, it was a “demonstration,” not a protest. Idiots. Anyhoo, as you can clearly see, my opinion of protests isn’t the best. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I was there on vacation and wasn’t a protester, yet I got gas canistered. But I digress…

My point is that when one sees someone standing by the road, holding a large placard or sign, one is inclined to think that they’re protesting something or “standing up for something they believe in.” Don’t get my bitterness wrong; if there’s something someone feels they should object to, have at it! It’s still a free country, to a point, and if there’s something you feel you need to communicate, that’s your right. I won’t get into the politics behind what I’m describing as I don’t need my comments section blowing up in my face and that really isn’t the point of today’s post. in fact, today’s post is meant to bring up something positive.

One of my friends back home posted a short video clip of a man, standing on the road, holding a large placard with some words on it. My friend was driving by, so the video wasn’t clear enough for me to see what was written. She captioned the video with “every Sunday.” I got curious and thought maybe this person was protesting something, so I asked what the sign said. It isn’t unusual for someone to protest consistently. in Regina, for example, we have a lady who protests almost on a daily basis in front of the RCMP Training Academy. Despite knowing what HER placard says, I’m still not sure what she’s hoping to accomplish. But once again, I digress…

My friend that this person’s placard said “Happy Sunday.” I must admit that hearing this made me happy in a very particular way. There’s so much negativity in the world that hearing of someone who takes their own time and goes out of their way to do something like this is quite amazing. Likely, most people drive right on by without a second thought but when it comes to a positive action like this, if even one person sees that signs and feels happier because of it, this person will have made their difference. And I think that’s beautiful. This is the influence people should have in the world. The reduction of suffering, not the propagation of it. Be a positive force in the world instead of constantly hindering others. If everyone did this, the world would be in significantly better shape. Food for thought… ☯️

It’s Not Them, It’s You…

By virtue of having spent well over a decade working as a police officer, I’ve had the benefit (or detriment) of seeing both sides of society; the concerned, vulnerable populace who need help protecting themselves and the people who just flat out don’t give a fuck and will break every law, whether they get caught or not. Whether you view these folks as criminals or simply willing to “do the time,” I’ve come to learn that it isn’t always so black and white. After all, there’s always the old moral dilemma about a man stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving children. By definition, this man is a thief. By moral standards, he’s doing what’s required in order to feed his starving family. The latter raises the question about whether we should be doing more to help people like this, as opposed to simply slapping them with the long appendage of the law.

I think that most folks in general would agree that they’ve worked hard to obtain their material goods that there’s really no reason for others to try and take what they have. I’m inclined to agree with this concept, recognizing that maybe not everyone has the ability or resources to reach the same stage of life that I have. But this doesn’t entitle them to take what I have, infringe on my home and my sanctuary and endanger the safety and wellbeing of my wife and kids. Such an action can expect a measured result, intended to defend and deter more than harm or injure. Especially since the latter can get you into scores of legal troubles, depending the jurisdiction in which you reside. In Canada, the Criminal Code allows you to defend yourself or your property, as long as that defense is measured and no more than what is required.

At the start of the weekend, I was awoken by the sound of a text message on my cell phone. Considering the only folks who regularly text me are my wife, my boss and my staff, I was carefully choosing some choice curse words to give whomever was waking me up at 2 o’clock in the morning. Turns out it was my next door neighbour. We share a tandem driveway and he texted six little words that had me fully awake in less than a second: “Just caught someone in my garage…” I bolted out of bed and had my hoodie and shoes on in less than a minute. I bolted out the door and found my neighbour’s downstairs tenant stepping outside, as well. He told me he saw four guys running out of my neighbour’s yard and heading to the street.

I got the direction of their escape and watched the street carefully. given that I live in a residential area, I couldn’t be certain that they didn’t dash into someone else’s backyard. My neighbour came out to join me and advised that he was awoken by the sound of his dog losing his mind. He made his way over and found him barking at the garage. Thinking it might have been his girlfriend grabbing something and not even realizing she was still in the bed, he made his way out and came face-to-face with multiple intruders. He backed out quickly and they ran, which was fortunate for him. If their intent had been violence, he would have had no easy defense against multiple assailants.

He had called the city police and to their credit, they showed up within two minutes. They dismissed the downstairs tenant and myself, so I made my way back to bed. My wife commented that she couldn’t remember the last time she had ever seen me move so fast. It was humbling and comforting to know that I still had a bit of the ol’ responsiveness in me… once I was back in bed, my neighbour phoned me and pointed out that he reviewed the camera footage and spotted three individuals going into his yard but only two came out. He was concerned that there may still be someone in his garage or backyard and asked if I would come check with him.

We searched his garage and his backyard thoroughly. Lucky for us, a light powdering of snow had fallen hours prior and we could clearly see that there had been no wandering in the backyard. No one else was found in the garage, either. It shook up everyone involved and I’ll confess that my level of adrenaline took hours to taper off and I didn’t get much sleep. i kept expecting to hear something outside or get another phone call. Hyper-vigilance mixed with PTSD is a hell of a stimulant. The average person will always hear about such things on the news and in the media but one rarely considers how they’ll respond or what they’ll do when it happens to them. Generally speaking, people consider their homes to be their sanctuary, where they can feel safe from the outside world. Something like this tends to slap reality in one’s face and recognize that even the most effective of sanctuaries require safety protocols.

All in all, no one was harmed, nothing was taken and the police have indicated they would be increasing their presence in our area. It simply serves as a reminder for me to ensure my doors are secured and that my yard remains well-lit at night. I don’t like to think about what a confrontation with someone desperate in my backyard may yield. My preference would be never needing to find out. But on the odd chance that someone’s intent may include violence against my family, my sanctuary will become their combat arena. The great white hope is that the police respond before I intervene. ☯️