Happy Easter, but beware of chocolate!

Happy Easter to everyone! Take this time of renewal to share a moment of peace with your loved ones.

However, be mindful of the unintended consequences that excessive chocolate consumption will have on your little ones, and your belt lines. The PSA above certainly keeps me on my toes, though nothing can keep me away from chocolate.

If you haven’t heard from me by Tuesday, Choko-Late got me.

My son the astronaut (someday?)

My boy loves rocket ships.

One of his favorite activities before bedtime is to run around in circles yelling “Papa, rockay-ship. WHOOSH!” He punctuates the statement by thrusting his arm up into the air and smiling broadly.

We have a set of one-piece pajamas with classic cartoon rocket ships printed all over. The kind with the awesome foot-to-chin zippers that make life so easy. He loses his mind if he sees them lying clean in his closet, because he wants to wear them so badly, whether to go to bed, or simply run around the house in.

He is lunar lunatic. He will diligently point out the moon every time he sees it, day or night. Indeed, he points it out even when it is hidden behind an overcast sky, has fallen below the horizon, or is simply the reflection of a kitchen light in the window.

The excited stream of “Moon! Moon, MOON, MOON, MUH-MOON, papa!” is at once cute and oddly frustrating. Particularly after the fifteenth time it has been babbled in the span of a few heartbeats. However, it highlights the wonder that we should all have when we ponder the nature of the universe. The fact that we have a large, spherical lump of rock spinning close enough over our heads every day that we can make out major features with the naked eye humbles me to this very day.

I can understand why my toddler is fascinated. I have no doubt that like countless others, myself included, the nascent desire to be an astronaut is slowly taking shape in his mind.

The difference is that this generation may actually have a greater opportunity to reach for the stars than any of us have before. With commercial endeavors in asteroid mining and even a proposed Mars colony by 2023 (yes, I know, there are significant technical hurdles to be overcome, but where there’s a will, there’s often a way; never mind the debate on whether it is right to wreck another planet since we can’t handle our own), prospects for such opportunities are looking up.

Maybe my kid will end up being an astronaut after all.

Keep your eyes peeled, thar blows inspiration!

Fantasy horror toy shop.

Fantasy horror toy shop.

It’s funny how staying aware of the small things can be a boon to inspiration. Forget sweeping story arcs that need to be fed by globetrotting travels of self-discovery, forget life-changing trauma. Those can without a doubt be opportunities to find something to write about, illustrate, or simply share as an anecdote with friends, but they can be few and far between. When you’re in a bind, butting up against a particularly vicious bout of writer’s block, go for a walk. Forget the big things. Keep your eyes open for little things, things that would make a child wonder and giggle in amazement.

I took this particular picture a few years ago while strolling through an arts and crafts shop looking for some good illustration paper. There was a bin full of fantasy toys with an unusual assortment of models in promising positions. A quick shuffle of a dragon over to the princess’ corner and voilà! Ready-made damsel in distress to talk about. My inner child hooted and hollered, slapped his knee and wanted to make loud munching sounds. Since I made it out of the shop without being arrested, I assume I kept the unfolding drama securely under wraps for an external observer.

I keep the picture on my desktop for those moments where I feel like I’m running out of steam. It makes me laugh a bit, and reminds me to take things a little more lightly.

Still fighting over gay marriage? It’s the 21st century, folks. Move on.

I can’t believe that in the year 2013 we are still having to spend time and energy debating the issue of gay marriage (Toronto Sun Article).

When growing up, I was exposed to some of my parents’ homosexual friends. At school and afterwards, I had several awesome LBGT friends. I can credit them with helping me grow as an individual in many ways, and can’t attribute any of my moral weaknesses to them. My weaknesses/deviances/perversions/sins are all mine to bear.

Unsurprisingly, when one digs deeper, linking probable root causes of the resistance to the concept to the issue of money crops up: CBC News article

In a time where we believe to be on the cusp of the Artificial Intelligence Singularity, that we have begun growing human organs with the help of 3D printing, and that we’re talking about installing a commercially-deployed Mars base, I think it’s time we grow up and move on to bigger issues. If two adult, consenting LBGT individuals who love each other want to get married, let them. I think we can pretty conclusively say that archaic beliefs that gay marriage leads to warping of social values, undermining the moral fabric of whatever children they may care for, desolation of fertile lands, witchcraft, dogs and cats falling from the heavens, locust plagues, and whatever other evils that have been attributed to the concept in the past have been disproved.

Indeed, I believe there are more pressing issues which have been scientifically proven to cause desolation and plagues that should be dealt with. Pollution and climate change, anyone? Let’s get this issue out of the way so we can indeed claim to respect Human rights (last I checked every member of the LBGT community was human, no?), allowing us to get down to business over the issues that are actually vital to our continued welfare and prosperity on this little blue marble in space.

On toddler negativity – When “no” becomes versatile than “smurf”

My child has progressed to a new stage in his verbal development. Although he mastered complex, high-payoff words such as ‘chocolate’ almost half a lifetime ago, and recently managed to run out a string of new and amazing words including “ready” and “awesome”, simple words still appear to elude him. “Fox” is obstinately reduced to “Fok”, and “yes” has never evolved beyond “uh-huh.” Very teenagerly of him.

He did demonstrate some aptitude with “no” early on, although this was not his first word. In the past two days, though, his linguistic proficiency has degenerated to little more than a prolific application of “no” lavished to any imaginable purpose. Now that he seems to be coming down with one of the cyclical youth plagues that tirelessly incubate at daycare, he appears to have only one possible solution to any issue:

Me: “What’s wrong, kiddo? Why are you so grumpy? Are you hungry?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Are you cold?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Do your teeth hurt?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Do your ears hurt?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “Can you touch what’s bothering you?”

Him: “No.”

Me: “All you want to say is ‘no’?”

Him: “No.”

Ugh. The next couple days will probably be long ones.

A Letter to Victoria’s Secret From a Father

A Letter to Victoria’s Secret From a Father.

This is definitely worth passing on. As women are fighting tooth and nail to gain recognition for the immense progress they are making in carving out their rightful place in STEM fields, business, construction, and other non-traditional fields, there remains an oppressive flow of media and commercial interests that seek to make a buck by convincing them that developing sex appeal should be their primary motivation in life.

Apparently, like the tobacco industry, Victoria’s secret has come to the conclusion that they need to hook their clients when they’re young.

Rev. Evan Dolive’s open letter says it all.

Words of wisdom from my Grandfather

The Chief

Today, my Grandfather would have turned 100. He didn’t quite make it this far, having passed away this past Spring.  We say we each have heroes. For some, it is a sports icon. For others, it is a movie star. Occasionally, it is a scientist or teacher. One of my greatest heroes is my grandfather.

He was a kind and gentle man, wise beyond compare, and patient with the loving antics his extended family could foist upon him. He loved my grandmother, Bernadine, to the end of the world. They had never spent a day apart in their lives. That is a rare distinction.

Before he passed, my cousin had the opportunity to sit down with him to soak up some of his experience. I will share a short excerpt here, as they seem particularly pertinent today:

“Get along with other people, try to see their point of view”

“Be a gentleman; be honest; be kind to people; help people if you can, especially kids; don’t take the easy way every time; and play it fair. If you do that, it works out pretty well…”

Wise words.