Laughter

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I threw a hissy fit yesterday because Lisa sent me photographs that she had taken of me while playing Cards Against Humanity at the cottage. Clearly I’m engulfed in laughter because it’s the most ridiculously offensive game on the planet.

Now I’m feeling guilty that I was such a petulant child. I get freaked out when people take photos of me and I don’t know it! Oh well, can’t be good all the time! This is my favourite photograph that she took.

Hehe.

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How hard is it to get an effing job these days?

Think good thoughts, good thoughts....

Think good thoughts, good thoughts….

Years ago, in my youth, I applied for a job to work at a doggie daycare centre in downtown Toronto. I had stumbled upon an advertisement on Craigslist and thought, how hard could it be?

Within a week I received a telephone call from the owner who expressed an interest in meeting me to discuss my application.

My cover letter was rather clear about my intentions. I was looking for a part-time job that involved my love for animals while pursuing other interests in my spare time, such as my day job and running a small dog walking business.

Any animal lover will tell you they are at their most peaceful when surrounded by dogs. Even the most misbehaved canine has its own unique and lovable personality that has the power to warm the heart and soothe the soul.

So I agreed to meet the owner at a nearby coffee shop. He was personable, kind, passionate about his business, and animals in a manner that wasn’t intolerably greedy. Our first “interview” was casual, we discussed my hobby’s and interests and he described what he was looking for in an ideal candidate.

The entire meeting lasted close to two hours, which I felt was unusual, and not at all what I had envisioned based on our brief initial telephone conversation but I chalked it up to the fact that he was interested in hiring me.

A couple of days later he called me back and asked if I was still interested in the position. I said that I was and he asked if I had time in my schedule to meet his co-owner, also his wife, at the same coffee shop. Again, I agreed.

So another couple of days passed, I met the wife, answered basically all the same questions that her husband had asked me previously and was yet again surprised that our meeting went well over the agreed time. She kept me in her company for almost three hours! I was not impressed.

Obviously a few light bulbs started to go off in my head. I mean, this was a little odd considering that it was a low-paying $12/hour job where the chief requirement was basically knowing how to run a cash register. Despite my reservations I affirmed to remain positive and go with the flow.

Again a few days passed, another phone call, this time they wanted me to meet the store manager, and general dog behaviorist guru who would be responsible for teaching me the ropes. I sighed, and set up a meeting to speak with her at the same coffee shop as I had met the two co-owners.

Now I never insinuated that I was a dog behaviorist. I don’t even know what that meant. I figured that I could learn. When I saw the store manager I was surprised at how sloppy she appeared, but I chalked it up to her working with dogs all day long. She asked me similar questions as the one’s prior, I answered as politely as I could but was growing irritated when she kept me for over two hours. Okay, do I have the job or not, and at this point, is it even worth it?

Sure enough I was hired, and the following Monday I started my four-hour training shifts, five days a week. No benefits, no pension, not that I needed either but I’m adding it for impact. Imagine what a 20-year-old who is desperate for a job would have to go through for this type of mindless occupation.

Everything was going well for the first couple of weeks. I was learning as fast I could, they wanted me to know the names of each and every dog that came into the daycare and the products were multiple, but easy enough to wrap my head around that eventually I knew the brand names by heart and their retail price.

So where’s the caveat? I learned within my first few days of employment that this was a trial run. That they were assessing whether we were a fit for each other. Excuse me? You interviewed me for over 7 hours and you don’t know whether or not I’m a fit for your little shop yet? What am I supposed to be here, NOVA?

Another snag was that they couldn’t speak about anything other than dogs, and they behaved as though they were veterinarians. Last time I checked they weren’t, but they spoke with the authority of someone with 10 years of animal health education.

I arrived to work and asked how their evening, or weekend had been only to receive an answer that detailed the evening and weekend of their pets.

I would persist, “Yes, but what did you do?” They’d stare back at me blankly. Eyelids fluttering.

Okay.

Really I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a little personal detail here, like perhaps they went to the market and bought vegetables, not whether or not they went on a date or what have you. I wasn’t asking for that kind of information.

In the end, I guess the trial period was valid because I realized that it wasn’t the fit I was hoping it would be. I gave my resignation, thanked them for their semi-commitment and never saw them again.

I was reminded of this personal experience today while on the phone with a friend of mine who recently succeeded in landing a job at the Flight Centre. After three weeks of interviews, she was finally offered a position that she’s not too certain she’s going to accept.

First, they behaved as though they were looking for a brain surgeon during the interview process, when in reality it’s a retail job. Then they told her that the first three weeks would consist of intensive training and testing. If she did not score over 85% on any of the tests then she would be asked to leave their employ. What? So she’d have to resign from her present job with benefits, accept this one, without a guarantee that after three weeks she’d still be an actual employee?

WTF? Is it just me or has it gotten ridiculous to get a job in this country? Everything now entails having a university degree or a college diploma. I get if you’re a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher that you must have the proper education, but for a retail job the government is now regulating that applicants take a two-year college course. I mean, that’s insane. Am I the only one who thinks so?

Young high school graduates are now being obliged to go into debt to acquire a college diploma for a retail job? A job that pays at minimum $11 an hour? Okay, something isn’t right with the current job market if young people are being asked to go to school for jobs a monkey can do.

And that’s not to disrespect retail jobs at all, but I think even they would agree that a two-year college diploma program is a little much to ask for.

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate government regulations, they’re the reason Canada didn’t kowtow to the 2008 economic crash that befell so many other nations, but this, you would have to agree with me, is going too far.

Family Affair

At 10 years old, Chico Colvard shot his older sister in the leg. This seemingly random act detonated a chain reaction that exposed unspeakable realities and shattered his family. Thirty years later, Colvard ruptures veils of secrecy and silence again. As he bravely visits his relatives, what unfolds is a personal film that’s as uncompromising, raw and cathartic as any in the history of the medium.

Driving the story forward is Colvard’s sensitive probing of a complex dynamic: the way his three sisters survived severe childhood abuse by their father, and as adults, manage to muster loyalty to him. These unforgettable, invincible women paint a picture of their harrowing girlhoods as they resiliently struggle with present-day fallout. The distance time gives them from their trauma yields piercing insights about the legacy of abuse, the nature of forgiveness, and eternal longing for family and love. These truths may be too searing to bear, but they reverberate powerfully within each of us.

The Imposter

In 1994 a 13-year-old Texas boy named Nicholas Barclay vanished from a schoolyard only a stones throw away from his mother’s house.

Three and a half years later he is apparently found thousands of miles away, alone and afraid on the streets of Spain. His tale is epic. He was kidnapped by military men, tortured, raped and repeatedly beaten for years until one day when he escapes from his captors.

His family is ecstatic to have him back no matter how strange the circumstances. For starters Nicholas appears much older than a teenager, he has a French accent, dark hair and his eyes are brown, not crystal blue like they had been at the time of his disappearance.

Strangely his family accepts him, but the FBI grows suspicious of the person who claims to be Nicholas. Why does the family not seem to notice the stranger in their midst? Is it possible that they may have been responsible for Nicholas’ murder?

But most startling is the question that if the person who has arrived in Texas isn’t the Barclay’s missing child… who is he?

A gripping thriller straight out of real life, THE IMPOSTER is an original film experience that walks the razor’s edge between true-crime documentary and stylish noir mystery.

Streaming on Netflix now, you have to watch it.

Life with murder

In 1998 Mason Jenkins shot his sister while she sat in her parents’ living room watching television. She was 18 at the time of her death, a life full of possibility cut short by a relative who supposedly loved her very much.

Life With Murder chronicles the lives of Mason and his parents, who are left with a Sophie’s Choice dilemma: Either break with their son or accept him back into the family.

With astonishing footage shot over a 10 year period, the film follows the family’s evolving relationships with one another in the face of enormous tragedy.

The movie is available to stream on Netflix, I strongly encourage that you watch it. It’s fascinating portrait of unconditional love and forgiveness.

Look at all the poor bastards

Poor bastards

I can throw away my fears/ Up into the atmosphere/ They race away at the rate/ Of the smoke and rust

Look at all the poor bastards/ Gotta go to work while I sleep

Steel town’s light keep on glowing/ From smokestacks that keep blowing/ In my eyes so I don’t see it/ Close my heart so I don’t feel it/ Everytime

I can see it in your eyes/ I can feel it on your sighs/ They’re not like either of us at all

Look at all the poor drivers/ Gotta go to work everytime

Streams of headlights come flashing/ On the hills that we used for crashing/ In my mind I don’t see it/ Close my eyes or I’d believe it

Streams of headlights come shining/ on Wheels that we use for grinding/ In my mind I don’t see it/ Close my eyes or I’d believe it

Everytime.

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A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’

Peach, Plum, Orange:

It frigthens me that in 2014 there exists a movement aimed at destroying feminism. What’s worse is that this movement is run by women. It slaps in the face of every feminist who has died for the rights now taken for granted by a generation of entitled, misinformed brats. And it sets my blood to boil.

Originally posted on iwantedwings:

Imagine this:

The year is 2014. You are a white Western woman. You wake up in the morning in a comfortably sized house or flat. You have a full or part-time job that enables you to pay your rent or mortgage. You have been to school and maybe even college or university as well. You can read and write and count. You own a car or have a driver’s licence. You have enough money in your own bank account to feed and clothe yourself. You have access to the Internet. You can vote. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing, who you can also marry if you want to, and raise a family with. You walk down the street wearing whatever you feel like wearing. You can go to bars and clubs and sleep with whomever you want.

Your world is full of freedom and possibility.

Then you…

View original 1,400 more words

The rumour mill

Balsam Lake

The worst type of gossip is the kind that attempts to negatively alter people’s opinions and perceptions about a specific individual.

I observe this particular discourse from time to time and it makes me ill. My stomach begins to churn at the manipulation I see occurring. In fairness, allow me to preface this post by confessing that I’ve created gossip like this myself, and I’ve also been the recipient of it.

Talking behind someone’s back and making potentially false assumptions about their character is amoral and a reflection of the gossiper’s character. It’s not that they’re terribly wicked people, but potentially holding a bad personal space at the time.

They’re either insecure, mean, bored or careless. Maybe all of these characteristics apply. I don’t know. What I know for certain is that it’s damaging, not only on the person being gossiped about, but on the person who is doing the gossiping.

I’ve told specific friends in the past that when I open up about aspects of my private life it does not therefore give them permission to speak about these matters to their other friends when I am not present. Especially if they’re intended purpose is to editorialize the confidential information I have provided.

Gossiping and making rumours about a person is dangerous and irresponsible. By engaging in this behaviour we’re blatantly disregarding their feelings, and at times, their dignity and their humanity. It’s not fair, yet our society seems to be obsessed with gossip.

Keep in mind that I believe it’s natural to be curious about the lives of other people, but it should never be in a callous manner. If it is, then we have to look inside ourselves to understand why we harbour such thoughts.

A couple of years ago there was a rumour being spread about me, by a group of friends who I know longer associate with. When I learned about it, though I had suspected that it was occurring, it bread paranoia, especially with how it was revealed to me.

I investigated who was spreading this vicious and irresponsible rumour by asking my friends outright if it was possibly one of them who may have carelessly done such a thing.

One friend, Raquel, looked at me sympathetically, with one hand gently placed on my knee and humourously confessed, “Oh Franco, I have so much more going on in my life than to care about yours. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about you.”

Haha. I loved it. I saw Raquel as a secure, trustworthy person, living her life, not someone else’s. Her comment reminded me of what a vault she is. I remembered a few years later when a mutual friend of ours had separated from her husband how Raquel refused to talk about it, to anyone. Not even me. “Their personal pain is not for me to discuss,” she said. It was such a compassionate thing to say. And the sign of true friendship, of a true friend.

Whenever I hear someone detailing the private lives or even romantic relationships of another person in a negative light, I can’t help but wonder what the storyteller’s insecurities are.

Clearly they’re trying to justify something about themselves that they are insecure about; perhaps it’s their own fractured relationship, or their jealousy at being single, who knows, but it’s always something that has nothing to do with the subject of their gossip.

All it takes before we open our mouths to talk about someone else is a little thought, a little kindness and a little compassion.

Why are these criteria so hard for us to muster?

If you look at the photograph I’ve posted to accompany my post, you’ll understand that there is so much beauty to spend our spare time on.

We should focus on that the next time we feel the need to gossip.