Resolutions

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I resolved not to make any resolutions, which is probably the only resolution I have been able to maintain – though maybe writing it down here actually breaks that resolution? So in fact I’ve never kept a resolution, or at least not in the year it was made. In some self-help books we’re encouraged to make a list, dream big, don’t worry if the dreams are even possible – if we don’t dream big the universe may not even notice our small dreams.

There is also this imperative that our resolutions weren’t to be self-serving i.e. I will go to the gym every day so I will look attractive – so people will see that I have a great body – so I’ll more confident. All good enough, I think, but all no-no’s: I will go to the gym so I will be healthy. I dream of winning lotto max so I can be a philanthropist is good – I dream of winning lotto max so I can be rich rich rich: not so good.

Not that there’s anything wrong being a philanthropist. It’s as if everything has to be balanced with a nod to altruism before the universe will even listen to one’s dreams: big or small. I can’t tell you how many contestants on cooking shows want to win to make their parents, children, or partners proud. Rarely does someone admit they like to win, that they like to be showoff or that they love the attention. I sometimes wonder if losers go home & are shamed by their parents, children, or partners. Do customers at their restaurants say ‘no food prepared by that loser chef.’

So I don’t make resolutions about changes that are really bargains with the universe – if you give me this, I’ll do that. If I want to be a philanthropist I can start by being a decent tipper when I get a coffee at some cafe. If I want to win Top Chef Canada I better learn the difference between flank steak & porterhouse, the  difference between Pate a Choux & Croquembouche 🙂 lol

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Kopi Luwak

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At a zoom recovery meeting a member was protesting ‘dictatorial’ nature of the steps – ‘no one could tell them what to do when they were drunk, so no one is going to do that now that they were sober.’ Being sober was enough of a change, I guess. They were proud to be a rebel. I thought, whatever. 

Not that I think recovery demands conformity – after all, here in Ontario, I live in city liquor stores & pot dispensaries lining the commercial streets. Who is shopping there – conformists or nonconformists? 

In many ways recovery is a counter-culture in which we step away from the social context of bars & vape stations – which, at this time of year, is even more challenging. Already this year two different people have offered me gifts of either a nice bottle of wine, another it was a special festive weed mix – both of which I politely declined. I’d rather some high quality shortbread. 

Then again, maybe not, as I saw many things are now infused with a little extra. Brandy shortcakes! Coffee with bourbon ‘flavouring’, I assume it is favouring or perhaps the beans are soaked in bourbon before they get ground – or maybe like that ultra expensive coffee from beans fed to civets, the beans soak in the brandy soaked stomach of a booze-hound. 

But I digress, I started to write about the resistance to change in recovery. This member was asking for ways to deal with a situation & when it was suggested they try certain of steps their resistance & the need to be a non-conformist arose. The greater the resistance, the greater the pain.

Time for my cup of Kopi Luwak. 

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy Kopi Luwak sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Pacific Mall

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Went on a short excursion to the Pacific Mall, in Markham – northeast of Toronto. Drove out with a friend, who likes to drive. There is no scenic route through the vast stretch of retail sprawl, unless one find the various shopping malls scenic. Traffic getting there wasn’t too bad, coming back was hell. Parking was easy even though by 11:30 the lot was already full.

Google said that the stores didn’t open until 11 so we timed our arrival for 11:30. Many of them didn’t open until noon. We entered via the west doors & there was a lineup around one of the inner block – was there a flu shot clinic that morning? Turns out it was Black Friday line up for special deals at Fido & Virgin. Figures, as every other shop is a some sort of cell phone attachments spot. 

Lots of anima/manga t-shirts, candy stores (I bought a variety of Japanese KitKats but was disappointed there was no wasabi KitKats to be found 😦 ) the first floor is primarily retail – tailors, leather goods, some health-food spots. I was hoping for a tea shop but didn’t spot one. On the second floor is the wonderful street food court. Japanese, Chinese, Korean specialties & many were super busy. 

The counter people were eagerly inviting passers-by to stop & eat their noodles, pancakes, tofu. I settled on ‘dry’ chicken with spicy noodles. Dry as opposed to soup. Yummy. we found a table near the Terra Cotta warriors. These, needless to say, are reproductions. On my lotto max to buy list –  a couple of them would be perfect for protecting the morning glories in my garden. 

We both made purchases. My friend got toys for her grandchildren. I found, gasp, a great t-shirt that supposedly changes colour in sunlight – the higher the uv the greater that change – I didn’t have the heart to tell the very cute clerk ‘Honey, your sales pitch is as hard as a Chinese Warrior.’ Maybe I should have said it to see if he would blush. The image is a dragon & phoenix in a yin-yang coil. I also found a new maneki (lucky cat) to add to my collection – one without the solar arm that waves constantly. 

All in all, a successful excursion that I’d love to repeat soon now that I have a better idea of the layout, where the always-hard warriors are lol – & see the other half of the mall. Maybe to get ancestor money for Chinese New Year.

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy t-shirts, sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Music of Masculinity

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I recently did a couple of posts in my music series about The Rolling Stones. It started me thinking about the role music played in my teenage year. How what I listened defined what I believed was masculine. In all footage I’ve seen of The Beatles there is nothing but screaming, swooning girls – no boys. In fact pop rock music fell into those two camps – most of it was in the girls camp. The Beatles, Herman’s Hermits were for girls, The Rolling Stones, The Who were for boys. Donovan: fem; Bob Dylan: masc. Boys who like music too much were suspect – girls could sing along – boys couldn’t – lol. 

The Stones ‘Satisfaction’ was clearly about getting laid, The Beatles “I want to Hold Your Hand’ was clearly about holding hands period. Hand holding was safe for girls. The Stones were never innocent & many of their songs were clearly misogynistic i.e. ’Under My Thumb’ or were calls to violence ‘Street Fighting Man’ – these were the proper role models for real boys – real boys wanted more than holding hands. They wanted action, or revenge. Never mind the fact that by the time they recorded ‘Street Fighting Man’ they were millionaires not revolutionaries.

So how did this resonate in my life at the time? The sneering misogyny & objectification of girls (rarely were they women until they got to the Honky Tonk) was masculinity defined. I felt I would never be masculine enough, aggressive enough, daring enough to live in the reality of their songs. They sold a myth that I saw as reality – much like the Hollywood fantasy that the love of the right person would give you reason to live.

I don’t even think I found the Stones sexually attractive – even then there were rumours that Mick was a bit bi – I had a buddy who said he’d have sex with Jagger but, to be honest, I found Jagger to be too lizard like for me. Speaking of lizards I my first pop jo sex fantasy was the Lizard King, Jim Morrison, then Foxy Jimi Hendrix, but I digress.

I’ve blogged about growing up with out any real role models in a culture that had distorted sense of gender that I ended up with my own distorted sense of masculinity. Pop music of the time merely echoed that that distortion – real men were Born to Be Wild whereas faggots like me could only dream about it.

Rolling

 

Stones 

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Paywall

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Would you pay for FaceBook? How much would you pay to be ‘verified’ on Twitter, or to even use twitter? Would to pay not to have ads on yahoo, tumblr – your television? Whatever happened to MySpace – (according to internet it ‘has mostly transitioned away from social networking to become a curated music and entertainment site.’)

Most publishers require that their authors have an online media presence – a webpage, now of course, one must also have twitter, instagram, tictok, tumblr, WordPress, Facebook & be an influencer. All at your own expense. Of course maintaining all that connectedness leaves little, or no time, for actually writing anything. You also have to have verified followers – the more the better.

All of these media traps were intended to give the writer a way to promote their work – to make the public aware of them – you know the most frequent followers I get on twitter are other indie writers looking to promote their work – not followers who want to discover anything about me or want to explore my work. One thing wordpress doe sis show me where my ‘clicks’ come from – I don’t think I’ve ever had one from twitter – even for posts of mine that have been liked & even reposted. zip. 

I am glad that all of these sites do allow me to ‘curate’ who I follow & who follows me – I am fast to block followers who are clearly spammers or who don’t interest me. Annually I go through various lists of followers & who I follow & remove people (that is if they are people & not bots).

Most of these free sites aren’t actually free. Supposedly information based on each of your clicks is marketed to advertisers so they can target their products more successfully – never mind the fact that most people are more annoyed by ads than are clicking on them to shop. We click on Amazon or Esty etc to shop for what we want. Though one can now pay at many sites to have your post promoted to people the site feels would respond to it – whatever. At once time I used FB to promote events, there would be dozens if not hundreds ‘I’ll be there’ responses & if two them showed it would be a miracle. Same with events that I said ‘‘I’ll be there’.

How much would I pay for any of this, beyond what my provider charges to access the internet in the first place? Not much – though I have paid for some sites. My WP site had a business plan so I don’t have to worry about the photo archive. I do also have ‘subscriptions’ to a couple of gay men’s cruising sites as the free membership is severely limited. 

If I paid for anything, say, at Yahoo, it would be to be targeted by products I might actually use, not by this endless barrage of smart skirts, beachwear, strapy sandals, t-shirts covered with kittens, etc all for women. Where do I sign up for an endless barrage of men’s underwear, bulky snow boots or t-shirts covered with barbed wire. So much for the accuracy of algorithms that are selling my privacy. 

Would you pay for twitter? 

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet