Friday, March 31, 2006

Bad Blogger! ... No Doughnut!!

Firstly, please accept my apologies for being a neglectful blogger.. (if there are any readers left out there who even bother to check to see if I have written anything anymore...)

I have been mostly focusing my mental energies on my studies, and since most of the assignments are research/writing intensive, it takes a great chunk of both time and mental resources away from what I would generally apply to blogging.

It isn't that I don't love you anymore, or that I have forgotten about you... I promise!

In my religious studies, the lion's share of the assignments are directed towards developing and exercising one's intuitive thinking... learning to see beyond the surface level of whatever the topic at hand may be. While I tend to do this as a matter of course anyway, it isn't a dramatic detour from Bear's normal way of thinking, living, and acting... what is different, however, is the context of the thought and focus of the thinking.

While I have philosophized and devoted a great deal of thought to spiritual and/or religious thinking, this is now directed and distilled through the vehicle of the assignments that I have been working on.

Much of it is experiential, and time must also be devoted to prayer, meditation, and other exercises that serve to unite aspects of the self into a more unified whole (those aspects being mind, body, and spirit in this instance).

So, as you may imagine, my plate has been somewhat full. Nothing in any of this should lead one to believe that my regular schedule of work, gym, and normal maintenance of living area/body/life in general has been changed or diminished in any way. These things must still be attended to. I am called upon to find the time for study in the 'spaces between' the other times. In some ways I am able to do it, and in others I end up dumping on Elysia to some extent, which isn't cool.. because she ends up having to do more than her share... so this is something that has to be worked out so that it won't become a regular thing. Mind you, she hasn't said anything... but I know when it happens... so I am working on squaring that away. Balance is the key... and sometimes it takes some adjustments to get your equilibrium just right. That is where I am at the moment.

I am moving along in my coursework, and developing a rhythm, which is good. I am learning new things, and learning exactly what it is that I already know, but didn't know that I knew! So.. all in all, things are coming along in the spiritual/college/continuing education department.

We had a wee layoff from the gym, due to minor injuries... and we are back on track again, so that's a good thing! We sat down and re-examined what we were doing, and have uncovered a huge flaw in our eating habits! Apparently, our conception of what constituted a portion, compared with the actual size of a portion as viewed by the remainder of the world who are not obese, is spectacularly and hideously out-of-whack. This explains a great deal, and hopefully, now that we have gotten our periodic reality check out of the way, we can continue on with our program and actually start seeing some results once again... apparently, there is a thing called 'portion size creep' whereby you start out with normal sized portions, and over time, the size of the portion insidiously grows until you are consuming the equivalent of three hefty-sized water buffaloes, .75 acres of greenery, and sixty-seven barrels of grains and pastas... ... ... between meals!!

Needless to say... that's not cool.

The amount of weight that I need to lose could serve as ballast for most of the Pacific Fleet. Shit.

The garden is starting to wake up, and this brings joy to my heart!! We have Snowdrops, Crocuses, and Daffodills blooming, and many of the other plants are poking thier wee heads out of the earth and are well on their way!! I feel like I am seeing old friends again when I see them starting to grow this time of year!

Hopefully, this weekend will be a relaxing one, devoted to resting, recharging, study, companionship.. and, well... other stuff!!

I found out last night that one of the people from my Gaelic study group had a massive stroke and a heart attack, and that he had lay for two or three days on the floor of his apartment, all alone and in pain, before anyone knew that he was in trouble.. When I think of this, it makes me feel slightly ill. Needless to say, everyone is praying that he recovers, but, with something like this, I'm not sure how much one can hope for. I suppose you hope for the best and be grateful for whatever good comes of it...

I have been going through a somewhat awkward situation at work with a supervisor getting physical on an almost daily basis. This ranged from pushes and shoves, to ear flicking, to hard slaps in the head, to outright hitting.

At first, I wasn't sure how to respond, and tried to take it as a form of play. Over time, it started to get more and more physical until it was actually becoming painful, leaving marks, etc. I asked that he stop, tried to talk to him, and finally demanded that he stop, but it wasn't working.

Talking to the owner wasn't really an option because he is almost never there, and something tells me that it would come out completely wrong and lopsided, making me look like a bit of a puss in the end. Not that I much care whether I am looked on as a puss, it is more of a case of me not having confidence in that course of action.

I spoke with my wife about it.. at length (I think she might just have me whacked if I bring this up much more...), and she said that I was warning way too much, and that I needed to start taking action more. She phrased this a little differently than I have portrayed it, what she actually said was along the lines of; "You need to quit trying to warn him so much, and start hurting him... every time he touches you... he'll get the message, eventually. He just has to decide how badly he needs to be hurt before he stops..."

I pretty much decided that, in spite of my personal feelings about physicality, she was correct in what she had said. So, the next time he touched me, I popped him in the gut, not really hard, and said, "I'm not going to keep warning you to keep your hands off me. Every time you touch me, you are going to get hurt. Knock that shit off!!"

He was slightly surprised, but came back again the next day and grabbed the hood of my sweatshirt, and tried to choke me by pulling on it. I knocked his hand away, and told him to knock it off. As I turned to walk away, he slapped me in the back of my head. So, I decided to put Elysia's suggestion into practice, and nailed him with a quick but fairly solid lead-hand jab in the center of his chest. His eyes got big and round, and filled with tears, and he began doing something with his mouth that fish do when they are taken out of the water.. I didn't say anything. I just stared at him, and patiently waited for his next move.. He went and sat down for a while, then he left for an hour or so. Later in the day, I heard him telling someone that I "stopped his heart for a few seconds". So far, he hasn't touched me at all, and has been extremely polite, which is very, very much out of character for him. I feel somewhat sheepish about the whole thing, preferring to just be happy and get along with everyone, but part of me recognizes that it wasn't really my choice to take the situation that far. He could have chosen to stop it at any point along the way. I never, ever start in on him or put my hands on him. So this is where it stands, and I am hoping that we have gotten past the whole physical intimidation crap and can simply work together and be comfortable.

I'm not sure if it will work out that way... but I will settle for simply working together and keeping our hands to ourselves, to be quite honest. The owner's brother works with us on a daily basis, and has recognized that I never start the incidents and that responded reasonably by consistenly using the very least amount of force necessary to deal with a difficult situation. He seems to think that I should have responded this way long ago and nipped it in the bud. I think he and Elysia are right. I really hate the contention... I just want to go to work, do my job, and stay happily inside my own head until it is time to go home... where I really want to be!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Stillness, Focus, and Study.... Looking Inward

Today has been a very introspective day... It is overcast and sort of glum, but beautiful in a stark, end of wintery sort of way...

Elysia's mom is up visiting some friends, and we decided to go out for brunch together. When we arrived at our usual brunch place, we were surprised to find out that it no longer existed... it had changed ownership, and no longer offered Sunday brunch.. sort of an end to an era, I guess you would say... we had been going to this place for brunch on special occasions for about seventeen or eighteen years, now. But, in the way that these things seem to work, one of the workers in the new place suggested another place, not too far down the road, and off we went in search of it.

We found the place with no problem, and hit it off at once with the staff, and with the other guests... we were all wisecracking and laughing our asses off as we enjoyed our brunch.

I was somewhat less expressive today, not because I am down or sad... I'm not.. I am just sort of still today. I think that what all this really means, by which I mean my recent step towards a more spiritual focus in my life, may be sinking in. I have a great deal of work ahead of me... and a tremendous amount to learn. I am excited about it, and looking forward to it, but, I think that I have entered the calm before the storm at this point, and I am taking account of my inner resources and preparing both my mind and my spirit for what is to come.

In a little while, I will be heading out to work, and I wont be getting in until late tonight... so for me, at least, my weekend is more or less over with right about now... That sucks, but, in order to enjoy another weekend, I have to get through another week!

Slán go fóill


Friday, March 17, 2006

Acceptance.. A Journey Begins...

Yesterday I came home from work to a pleasant surprise. I received an acceptance letter from the religious order that I had applied to for membership.

I had begun to think that for some reason, the investigative process of the membership application had found me unsuitable. But, as it turns out, I was welcomed into the order.

I am including portions of the Acceptance Letter here, although I have deleted some parts, changed others, and censored or modified still others. My purpose in this is to leave the specific religiosity out of the picture entirely. I feel that this is best for a number of reasons. As I am sure that someone will send me an email asking me whether I am ashamed in some way of my particular religious beliefs, I will assure you now that I am not. I simply feel that in the context of this blog, it is not so important a part of what I am trying to convey that I feel that it is absolutely necessary to include it here. I do feel, however, that by deliberately not including, or alluding to my particular religious path, I avoid alienating readers who may follow a different path than the one that I follow. In this way, they can share my experiences within the framework of their own beliefs without feeling as though I am trying to preach to them, convert them, otherwise proselytize them, or in any way challenge their beliefs. As far as I am concerned, the important thing that I want to convey is the transformative process of undergoing a spiritual pathway... particularly a pathway that leads to one being ordained as a member of the clergy, such as this one. This will be a long pathway... encompassing years... before this happens, and I have a great deal to learn. I am very happy to have been accepted, and I feel that this is something positive and represents a new beginning in my life.

(and for those of you who are thinking that I have joined some strange cult that involves me giving away my personal possessions and the like.. it is not. And, if it were.. it wouldn't take long as I don't have much in the way of personal possessions to begin with!)

Here are the excerpts from my acceptance letter..

March 16, 2006
[City Where Headquarters of Unspecified Religious Order is located]

"We, the Triune Council, have reviewed your application for membership in the [Unspecified Religious Order]. We have read and evaluated your essays. You have demonstrated knowledge indicating you have read all documentation we have sent to you.

Based on your application, your essays, and your questionnaire, we are pleased to welcome you into the ranks of the [Unspecified Religious Order].

This is only the first step on a path that should, ultimately, become a way of life. We will work with you in any way necessary to help you as much as we can to achieve this goal. With any brotherhood, the person must fit the group and the group must fit the person. We hope that you will find all that you are looking for with us.

Once you have participated in the investigator's program you will be enrolled in the [deleted] course by one of our mentors. You'll be able to begin your lessons almost immediately.

From this moment on, you have the right to call yourself a [Title deleted] in the Order of [also deleted], although your actual rank in our Order is that of [Deleted](Beginning Student). How far and how fast you progress is up to you.

Your mentor is your primary teacher in all the [Unspecified Religious Order] has to offer. How much you utilize them is up to you. They will give assignments and will grade tests, and they will answer questions and read assignments. Do not be afraid to “bother” your mentor, which is what they are there to do.

Congratulations and Welcome!

The Triune Council"

Now the hard work begins! I am looking forward to getting started, and have no doubt that I will successfully complete all of the coming trials and tests. I am in good hands.

I have taken a step here, folks... and as of this moment, I am somewhat different than I was before. Although I live and work exist in this world, from here on out I will live and work and exist equally in the world of the spirit as well.

So. The decisions have been made. The first step has been taken. And now my journey begins.

It may seem odd to some that a person who spent much of his life as a soldier, learning to take the lives of others in various ways and practicing this craft with motivation and with vigour would turn to such a pathway, but, from what I have come to learn over the past few years, it is not actually so uncommon. I am just another person on the journey from warrior to priest.

I will let you know how this changes and affects me along the way.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

"Get Rid of Her"

When I was about fourteen years old, I began dating a girl named Leslie.

Now, Leslie was a nice girl, but, as it turned out, she was looking for something permanent, and I was just interested in being a kid. When she began to talk about "when we are married..", it sort of freaked me out a little bit (..and me just wanting to ride my bicycle, sneak in to the movies, and go to gung fu class! Married?! Me?! What the FUCK is that all about?!! I'm friggin' FOURTEEN!!).

I was a bit of a late bloomer as it was, but this was just too much for my brain to deal with. I wanted to break it off and be done with the whole thing, but had no clue about how these things were done. Being me, I did what, over the years, has become a sort of a hallmark pattern of behaviour for me; I went to the library to see if there were any books on the subject. There was, in fact, a book on relationships which was directed at teenagers!! Perfect!! This was precisely what I needed!! I took the book out and hurried home with it where I proceeded to memorize the paragraph on breaking off a relationship. It said something about getting the other person alone, not doing it over the telephone (which, at the time, to be honest, sounded like a terrific idea...), explaining that it wasn't working out, and that it would be better to see other people, blah-blah-blah... it seemed to make sense, and I thought it would work swimmingly! To my mind, at least at the age that I was at the time, it seemed infallible. How could you find fault with the logic?? It was written by an author for Pete's sake.. how could there be anything wrong with something that was in print?!?!? Right? [Snort!]

I diligently memorized the whole damned thing, word for word, and practiced it in front of the mirror, until I had all of the gestures and inflections exactly right (or at least right as far as I was concerned... (( by the way, if you haven't figured out just how unprepared I was emotionally for any sort of romantic relationship simply by reading these last two paragraphs... go back and read them again! )), and then I screwed up my courage to meet with Leslie and let her know that it was time to move on...

The next time I saw Leslie, I avoided the kiss that she attempted to plant on me when we first met, and explained that I had to talk to her about something.. her reaction sort of caught me off-guard (in retrospect, I wonder if she thought I was going to propose!). I walked with her to a spot where we could have some privacy, and I began to recite my perfectly memorized paragraph on breaking up. I went through the whole schmiel, ending with, "So.. I've made up my mind, and it is time for us both to move on and close this chapter".

I waited for her to explode and begin hitting me or yelling or crying, but that isn't what she did. What she did do was completely unexpected, and caught me utterly off-guard; She simply said "No".

Bear: "Excuse me?"

Leslie: "No."

Bear: "Ahh... No, what, exactly??" (Completely baffled...)

Leslie: "We aren't breaking up."

Bear: (Blank mind... no thoughts... circuits are overloading..) (In a strangled voice -) "We aren't?"

Leslie: "No."

Bear: (Seconds of confused silence (I was completely unprepared for this reaction!... then;) "But.. I just broke up with you.." (Isn't it nice of me to helpfully point this out to her, as though she was ever so slightly mentally addled??)

Leslie: "No. You didn't. You can't break up with me. We'll never break up. You are going to stay with me forever!"

("Come and play with us, Danny... for ever.... and ever.... and ever... and ever!")

Bear: "Um. No! We are broken up, Leslie! I'm not going out with you any more. I want to be a kid! I don't want to get married. I don't want to go steady. I'm only fourteen!"

Leslie: "No."

Bear: (Beginning to think that four out of the five voices in her head may be planning my demise....) "Um... I gotta go..."

Leslie: "Can I have a kiss goodnight?"

Bear: (Dumbfounded) "Did you hear anything that I just said to you??!"

Leslie: "No! Kiss me!"

Bear: (Talk about an ice-water enema!) "..." (Turn on heel... walk away... very fast... holy shit!)

Leslie: (Creepily cheery bright shiny voice...) "I love you!"

Bear: (fuck!)

So... needless to say, this didn't really work the way I had run it through my mind... I avoided Leslie like the plague, particularly after she began to cry hysterically in the hallway in school in front of about 300 people, which made me feel like utter shit, and a complete lowlife, and which also assured me that my decision to break up with her was a well-thought one.

She left me notes. Well... she plastered every surface that I frequented, or was likely to frequent with notes, actually... she left me presents... she called continuously... even after my mom asked her to stop, told her to stop, demanded to stop, freaked out on her and threatened to cut her still beating heart from her chest and eat it in front of her... (okay... I'm lying about that last part... but, my mom did ask her to stop calling after 10:00PM. My mom liked Leslie quite a bit, and I secretly thing that she thought I was a bit of a shit for breaking up with her... they were both insane, and as fellow sufferers of severe mental illness, were able to communicate telepathically and conspire against me... I have no proof of this... but I know they were on the same side.)

So, after months (months!) of this. Months of me avoiding Leslie, or running in to her and feeling incredibly awkward... school finally ended, and the summer began.. blessedly. Leslie quit hanging out in front of my door (She would get up extra early and stand in front of my door so that she would be there when I came out to go to school!), it was all finally done with... or at least it appeared so. As the weeks of early summer wore on, I saw and heard less and less of Leslie.

My mom was at work one day, and my younger brother (I have two.. this one is five years my junior - he was about nine years old at the time - the other one was about a year old, and my mom dropped him at a babysitter on the way to work) and I were home alone. At the time, we were living in a garden apartment, on the upper floor, which was located on a semi-main road. Since it was summertime, and hot, we had the sliding glass door to the balcony open to allow a breeze to cool the apartment down. It was my habit to sit out there and read, or just watch the world go by. I was just about to step out on to the balcony when I saw Leslie peddling like mad on her bicycle, and obviously heading towards my house!!


My brother just happened to be sitting right there in one of the arm chairs that was near the sliding glass doors at the time, and I said to him, "Get rid of her and I'll do your chores for a week!"

Brother: "Two weeks!"

Bear: "Deal!"

He shot out of the chair, graceful as a comet, and in a low blur, moving like a gazelle, headed towards the back of the house, where our room was located.

(What the F....?!)

I headed back there to tell him that he would actually have to answer the door.. but as I reached the door to our room, he was headed back up front, and moving fast! Good enough for me!

I was just closing our bedroom door, when I happened to glance at him and noticed the wrist rocket sling dangling from his hand... !!!

Bear Thought: "I wonder what he's going to do with ..... OH SHIT!!"

I bolted down the hallway, through the dining room, and rounded the corner just in time to see him let go with the slingshot... I heard the low 'thunk' of the surgical tubing as it snapped back to its original length, and reached the spot where my brother stood. At this point, I was just about on the verge of a stroke!

... just in time to see Leslie's head snap back, her feet fly up, and to watch her, as though in slow motion, topple off the back of her bicycle, which was moving at perhaps 20 miles per hour... her wooden soled Dr. Scholl's clogs (hers had the white leather uppers) flew in a low arc through the air, and landed on the street beside her scant milliseconds after she hit.. rolling and bouncing along the asphalt. The bicycle, now riderless, continued on for a few yards, before swerving, jumping the curb, and crashing into a fence, where it fell and lay on the ground... wheels slowly spinning...

Bear: (Wide eyed, and able to hear my blood pounding in my ears... absolutely incredulous at what I had just witnessed... though I have to admit it was a singularly perfect shot.. he caught her smack between the eyes... with a small lead fisherman's clincher weight. -- It can't feel that good to get nailed in the cruller with a lead sinker, though... and that was one hell of a fall!!)


Brother: "You said if I got rid of her, you would do my chores for...."


Utterly panic-stricken by now, I blasted out the door, down the stairs, out the front door and down the street at a run... I ran to the spot where Leslie was lying in the road, and asked her whether or not she had been killed.

Leslie was crying, and had the beginnings of what I knew would be one hell of a mouse on her forehead. She had road-pizza all over her arms, legs, back, face, head, chest... shit, she was scraped to all hell.. bits of road were embedded in her skin. She had a fat lip from bashing her mouth on something as she fell, and her nose was bleeding. One of her toenails had caught on something, and was sort of hanging off... she was an absolute mess.

I thought I had felt like shit before... Now I REALLY felt like a jackass.

I helped her to her feet, collected her sandals, and took her by the only undamaged part of her arm...

"C'mon inside, Leslie, we'll get you cleaned up..."

Through her tears, she nodded, and limped alongside of me as I guided her into the apartment where I cleaned and dressed her injuries as best as I was able.

When we first entered the apartment, I was just guiding her to a kitchen chair, when my brother rounded the corner, and with the most innocent look on his nine-year-old face, in a tone of utter and complete surprise and concern, said, "Oh! Leslie! What happened??! Are you alright?!!"

I was so taken aback by this hitherto unparalelled level of deceit that I simply gaped at him for a few seconds, with my mouth hanging open... I could not believe what I was hearing from his mouth!! He had just shot her in the head!, and now here he stood expressing his undying concern for her welfare... the duplicitous, wicked wee bastard!!

After we got poor Leslie cleaned up and bandaged, I went outside to retrieve her bicycle. The rim of her front tire was badly bent, and the chain was broken. That bicycle wasn't going anywhere unless it was pushed or loaded onto a vehicle. So it looked like I was spending the day with Leslie. Great plan so far... oh, man.

I called my mom at work to let her know what had happened. (I left out the part about the slingshot. Leslie was under the impression that a passing bus had kicked up a pebble that subsequently struck her in the head, and neither my brother or myself were overly inclined to disabuse her of this belief.. so we more or less just left it at that...). My mom asked to speak to Leslie, who began crying again once she heard an adult's voice on the telephone. My mom understandably felt terrible about what had happened, and invited Leslie to stay for dinner, offering to take her home afterwards. Leslie called her folks, told them what had happened, and explained that she would be staying at my house for the entire day, and then for dinner.

My brother, at this point, pulled me aside and enquired whether I planned on doing any of his chores for his valiant attempt at getting rid of her... at which time I began describing the various tortures that I was conjuring up for him.. and he wisely decided to hightail it out of the house... leaving me completely alone with Leslie.

Sigh. Welcome to Bear's world.

The day pretty much went exactly the way one would think it would go under the circumstances... it utterly sucked for me.

My mom came home, cooked dinner, and for some unfathomable reason, insisted on referring to Leslie and I as "You two lovers". I was secretly planning to do her in at that point... though I never actually acted on any of my plans.

To cap off the day, during dinner, my mom made some quip about me marrying Leslie one day and living happily ever after. This went straight up my ass, as I just knew it was going to completely revive this whole friggin' issue... and I made a smart assed comment back at her. (My mom didn't put up with this type of shit from us, being Scottish, and stern, and authoritative by nature...) She suggested that I recant my statement and treat her with the appropriate level of respect. My countermove was to offer a helpful suggestion to her that she mind her damned business regarding my love-life, or lack thereof, my marital status, who I was seeing, who I no longer wished to see.... and pretty much everything about me that didn't involve my school work or cleaning my room... her calm response was to plant a plate of Beef Stroganoff in my face.

In front of Leslie. Nice!

And so, not for the first time in my life... and certainly not for the last... I heard the resounding 'click' as the wheels of cosmic justice turned another notch and resolved the imbalance of injustice in somebody else's favor...

...obviously, it began to dawn upon me, there are probably better ways of handling these sorts of situations!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

We Now Return to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming...

I just want to clearly and concisely reiterate my feelings about those who are closest to me reading this blog, and then it will be over, and I shant bring it up again unless some unruly individual should happen to shove such an untenable situation under my nose that I cannot avoid it. So here it is;

This is my one small place in all of the world where I can be completely and unequivocally free. This is the only place where I can caper about naked, painted up in woad, and bark at the moon with a tartan ribbon tied around my wilson - if I should so desire. (I would have said that this is where I let my hair down.. but, I don't have much hair, and what I do happen to have doesn't even get wet, never mind let down...)

Basically, this is my place, my spot, my sanctuary. I write here mostly for my own purposes. I welcome the readers who visit my blog, but I am able to maintain a certain comfort level with them chiefly because of the degree of separation between us that is brought about by our mutual anonymity.

To put it plainly, the closer you are to me in real-life, excluding my wife, the less comfortable I am with you reading this blog. People who know me, but only peripherally, I am more comfortable with than I would be with close friends and family. Why? I have no clearly definable idea. I just am. It would completely skeeve me out to know that my mom, my son, or one of my brothers was reading this blog... it isn't intended for them, it isn't directed at them, and, frankly, it isn't any of their business. I wouldn't want to read any of their personal shit, and I wouldn't be comfortable with them reading any of mine; this blog included.

If you are adamant and decide to go ahead and read what I write here regardless of my feelings or wishes... that's fine. I can't stop you, and I wouldn't try. But you should understand that sooner or later I am likely to drop a bomb on you in some way, shape, fashion, or form. Like I said... this is where I can drop all pretense, more or less shed any social inhibitions that I may have (which are few already...), and go just about anywhere my mind decides to take me. If It should come to my attention that you not only continued to read my blog when you know that I am somewhat uncomfortable with it and you then clued others in to its existence, then you are a back-biting, shit-eating lowlife and I will most definitely be writing some things here about you personally... with pictures... and signed affidavits from numerous independent witnessess... and anything else that I can come up with to be as embarassing and as socially unacceptable to you as I can possibly be in order to drive home my point. Respect my privacy, please. I respect yours and everbody elses, and if you know me, you know this to be the truth.

If you want to stick around for that eventuality (that of me eventually writing about something that will make you uncomfortable, or otherwise freak you out), be my guest! It won't bother me, and it certainly won't hurt my feelings, insult me, offend my sensibilities, or otherwise shock or scandalize me... you see, I already know what goes on in the darkest dungeons of my heart and mind. I am also intimately familiar with the most twisted reaches of my darkly sick sense of humour. If you get stung while holding a scorpion - don't blame the scorpion. It is in the nature of the scorpion to sting... after all.

As far as what ever has already taken place, and whoever you are, whether I know you were here or not (rest assured, I have set out traps and snares here from day one, so I most likely know that you have been here if you have... though I admit that it may be possible that you slipped through my numerous nets...) I want you to know that I am not angry, and I hope that there are no hard feelings on your part(s). There are certainly none on my part. Since this is the place where I air my feelings without much in the way of censorship or filtering, however, whatever feelings I happen to have get put down as posts here pretty much the way I feel them, as opposed to how I may control or channel those feelings in person to person relationships. I may keep things under wrap in real life, but I don't do that here. Free expression is the main purpose of this place. So, if I seem harsher than usual, or overly emotional, or otherwise weird.. this is my blog! I unload my thoughts and feelings here exactly as I feel them.. or as close to that as I am capable of conveying them in this format.

Regarding my blog, I feel that the overall 'flow' has been slightly disturbed by the whole 'outing' process, but I now return control of this blog to me. It's mine. Do not attempt to adjust your monitor.

From here on out, this is a dead issue, as far as I'm concerned... we will now return to the usual rambling, aimless, somewhat vague and vapid drivel that we have all become accustomed to. Thank you for playing. Goodnight!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later.. We have been outed! A close friend stumbled across Marcheline's profile somewhere, and linked to her blog from there... and from her blog, to mine. This isn't anywhere near the same thing as being 'Dooced', but, 'outed' it is! Marcheline, who is Elysia, was extremely upset about it... I was knocked off my keel a bit, but, honestly, I sort of figured that this was one of the risks that one takes when putting something 'out there' where anybody find it... I just didn't actually think that it would ever really happen...

Somebody else found my blog previously, but it didn't strike me quite the same way. I'm not exactly sure why I make this distinction in my mind, though, as both are friends and personally known to me. It would seem that if one would make me feel uncomfortable, then they both would.. but, that's not how it worked out for some odd reason.

In this recent instance, the individual involved is actually more like family, though. In fact, he is, for all intents and purposes, family.

This may be why it feels sort of weird, I guess...

It is my guess that how this affects one depends entirely on how you define your own blog, and in what function your blog serves in your life.

To my wife, the blog is mostly (this is only my take... I can only speak of what I see and what I perceive... we haven't really discussed this at length... usual disclaimer applies...) a place where she can let down her hair, express thoughts and feelings that she may or may not feel comfortable expressing in front of folks that she knows personally, or where she can comment or rant or ruminate over any and every topic that may breeze into her mind... so, the act of having been discovered, outed, what-have-you has a great deal of significance for her, because, the blog serves as a sort of diary/personal journal/sounding board. Consequently, the thought of somebody reading it (who knows her in person) without her express permission, is extremely upsetting to her, and thus, by extension, to me.

I live with her, have lived with her for years, and share her most intimate thoughts, and that notwithstanding, did not read her blog until she invited me to do so... I am making this clear just to illustrate the degree to which her blog is private insofar as it relates to people who know her on a personal basis.

When I initially started out with this blog, It was decidedly not something that I would have wanted people who know me personally to read, or to know of, or to even be aware of. This explains why I have never brought the blog up as a topic of discussion to anyone who knows me other than my wife. It was sort of my own private place, where I could air my thoughts, and where I could write whatever I so desired without any thought to how it would affect those who are close to me, or how they may view me.

While I still would prefer that I had retained complete and total anonymity, it is quite evident that this is no longer possible, so I must decide what to do from this point onwards. A number of possible scenarios have been playing through my mind, such as ending the blog, shutting it down, deleting the posts, and having done with it; but, I enjoy the process of blogging, I enjoy my blog, and I enjoy the way that I perceive things through my 'writer's' eye..... I thought of simply starting a new blog, but, this one has sort of developed a life of its own, and it would seem odd to me to just abandon it over this. I thought of censoring what I had written, removing anything that would be embarassing to me, or to anyone else, and filtering my writing style and subject matter. But, to emasculate my writing would invalidate the entire point of a blog. So. I have decided to do none of these things. What I am going to do is simply continue on, and to let those of you who may know me that what you read here is not generally intended for the consumption of those persons who know me personally. It is my own private space, and what I write is basically for my own purposes, with the added benefit of providing some small entertainment level or food for thought, perhaps, to those persons who have never met me, and who are not likely to ever meet me outside of this forum. At least not cognizantly.

This may sound similar to the function that my wife's blog serves, to her (or, more accurately, it may sound similar to how I have described my perception of what function my wife's blog serves for her). It is similar to some respect, but not exactly the same thing. To me, the blog serves a slightly different function. It is in part a sounding board for my thoughts and feelings... in part a showcase of thoughts - where I can gather my memories, my thoughts, my opinions, what have you... and present them in a slightly polished fashion... This serves as a way of condensing my thoughts, and helps me to articulate them, and, subsequently, by posting them and then reading them over, I then have a visual impression that is in some cases, even clearer than the actual memory.. this sounds strange, but, there it is. I'm strange, what can I tell you?

My blog is also, for me, a place where I can work out problems.

By being forced to articulate my thoughts to the degree that I can put them down on paper (on electrons?) I am forced to think clearly and concisely... I am forced to organize my thoughts, and to be able to present them in a (marginally) logical fashion. This helps me to work through things that may otherwise be muddled in my head...

It is a journal or diary of sorts, and it is a vehicle that I use as a repository for private thoughts and feelings at times... so, as far as that is concerned, I do feel somewhat intruded upon, or uncomfortable, or weird. That being said, I must also point out that if you are going to put your shit on the internet, you can't be freaked out that other people (some of whom may know you!) may come across it. That's the way it works, and you can't run with the big dogs if you can't pee in the tall grass!

So. While I would have preferred to have had this blog remain private, naturally... I also feel that one must roll with the punches, and adapt to the situation on the fly. You work with the hand that you are dealt, and move on. In the event that anyone may be harboring such thoughts as, "What is so secret that you have to keep it from your friends and family?", I reply, "You do it every day.. in one fashion or another... as does every other human being. These are my thoughts that have been given form in the shape of letters, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. If I had wanted to share them with someone that I know personally, I would have done so in my own time, or not... as is my right."

It would appear that at least two people who I know personally have read or are reading my blog. One part of me feels slightly weird about it, and one part of me says, "Fuck it!". I am basically a very direct person, and I say more or less whatever happens to come to my mind. I am not ashamed by my feelings, my thoughts, my weaknesses, my sexuality, or, honestly, in very much else. So. If you want to read my blog, knock yourself out! That's what I write it for. As it turns out, there isn't anything in this blog that is particularly controversial, or overly private, save for discussions of intimate thoughts or times with my wife. I find that I feel mostly protective of the potentiality that this blog afforded me in the event that such a situation should ever arise that I should want a forum in which I could share my thoughts, and perhaps ask for feedback from people who are, outside of this medium, strangers to me.. though some of them are undoubtedly friends to me now... I still am not likely to sit across from a table with any of them.. and it is this distance that makes such open communication possible between us.

That having been said, I must also say this; I use this blog as a place for me to puke out my thoughts, sort through them, play with them, tease them out, and put them into some semblance of order. Many of those thoughts are rough-edged, raw, undeveloped, and outright blatant! My first thought upon having been outted was that I wouldn't be able to write with complete honesty and integrity any longer, because somebody might read what I write! (the inference here being that the 'somebody' is a somebody who knows me personally).

Then, after letting it turn over in my mind, I decided that that was not a valid thought. In fact, I will continue to write here, just as I always have. I will write my thoughts as they come, and I will sort them out and put them down here. Some of those thoughts may entertain, others may provoke, still others may shock you. I want this blog to remain what it is and to continue to serve the purpose for which I first began blogging.

I may say things that you agree with, and I may say things that offend you. By reading what I am writing here, you are sharing an intimacy with me that you otherwise would most likely never have shared. So. Be prepared to read or learn any class of thing at all about me, my thoughts, my preferences, my opinions, or my actions, activities, proclivities, or anything else regarding me. Some of these things may make you feel as though you have come to know me better, while others may paint me as a complete alien to you. Whichever way it goes, if I think it, and I want to express it, I will most likely do so here...

If you happen to step on my toes in real life, or otherwise piss me off, I may very well speak my mind here. You may not like what I say. If you happen to touch my heart, I may speak of it here, and it may be embarassing to you. So far this has never happened. I don't expect that it should.. but, this blog being what it is, I just want to cover that eventuality.

What I'm saying is that this blog is basically a written record of my most private thoughts and feelings. If you want to read them, and you think that you will be comfortable with that, then read away to your heart's content. However, if you tend to be judgemental, or overly sensitive, or if you do not like to read opinions and thoughts that you do not agree with... you may be better off finding some other form of entertainment.

I don't have anything nasty to say about either of the folks that I know have read my blog - I love them both. They are dear to me, and I think the world of them both. This post is not directed at any one individual, but to anyone who is reading this who knows me in person, or who thinks that they may know me. There may be others of you who know me, who I do not know are reading this blog. Much of what I am addressing doesn't apply in this particular case, but, I cannot say what the next day, week, month, or hour will bring, and who knows what I might be thinking at any given moment? Whatever it is, it just may end up being put down here, and if you get your panties in a knot over it, I ask that you remember that it was YOUR choice to come here and to read. I'm out of it. As far as I am concerned, if you are reading these words, you have given me consent to be as brutally honest, as outspoken, and as blunt, crass, or opinionated as I feel the desire to be.

The bottom line is that I am going to post here just as I always have. I don't plan on changing a word of what I write to save anybody's feelings, to avoid causing shit, or to cater to anyone's pre-existing judgment or opinion of me. This is my blog, and when I started writing, I started out by sharing some very, very difficult feelings and situations about myself. I will continue to do this as the need arises.

I personally would not continue to read anybody else's blog that I knew in person unless that person gave me a clear invitation to do so. You now have that invitation with the caveats listed above firmly attached. I write about anything and everything here, folks, and I'm not going to tone it down. This is my place for expressing whatever I so desire, and if I can't do that, I might as well simply shut it down.

I don't plan on doing that. I look forward to my blogging time as a time when I can live inside my own head without intrusion or interruption, as a time of solitude and inner reflection, and as a time that is outside of my normal day to day activities. It is my own world that I have constructed, essentially from scratch, and in so doing I have found that it works as a catharsis for me, for my heart, and for my mind. In short, you have stumbled across an outwardly expressed inner landscape of my private mind, and you must realize that while you may stay, you must be particularly aware that the presence here of someone so close to me is potentially distracting, potentially disturbing, and may result in a nasty backlash if approached the wrong way... for either or any of the persons involved.

I don't lie about anything here... not bullshit stories, not bravado or bragging, but, and most crucially in this instance; not face-saving white lies either.

I am not inferring that I have had, or that I currently have any bad thoughts or insulting things to say about you... I am just saying that if it should happen that I do, I may very well address it here. For the simple reason that this is a healthy (for me) vessel in which to express these types of feelings and thoughts. It often works out that by expressing thoughts in this fashion, I deflate them and take the urgency and the volatility out of them, and thereby render them harmless and redundant in real life. By judging or by taking to heart anything that I happen to write or say here, you are stealing from me a process by which I maintain my day to day equilibrium.

None of this has happened... I am simply laying some ground rules, as I see them, for this small little patch of unseen disc-space that the folks at Blogspot have been kind enough to loan out to me. Since they have seen fit to do this, I have claimed it as my own, and therefore feel that it is my right to set forth any rules that seem right to me. I am the guy with the user name/password combination.

When I sit down to blog, as I am doing at this very moment, I am generally completely alone, or alongside my wife, who shares such an intimate place in my life that in this respect, at least, it is much the same thing (meaning that I am able to gather my thoughts and feel the benefits of solitude even though she is right here... she is non-intrusive to me in most any case that I can conjure up in my mind...). I sit before the keyboard and I pour out whatever is or has been going on in my mind. Then I play with it, and sometimes I get a cohesive post out of it, and other times I get a series of random thoughts, and still other times, I get complete shit and it all goes in the bin.... but this is the exercise. I don't have anyone standing in front of me... either at this moment, or at any time in the conceivable future to whom I have to answer. I am free to put my thoughts out in any form that I so choose.

I value this freedom immensely.

So it appears that I have gone through this long winded diatribe to say what amounts to this;

If I should write something that pisses you off, hurts your feelings, irks you, miffs you, or otherwise rocks your boat, I don't expect to be called to task for it. I don't expect to be asked to explain myself. I don't expect you to act strangely towards me for it. Honestly, I can't think of any issue that would cause this to happen.. but, I feel that it is necessary to put this out here. So long as you are on this page, you are in Bear's world, and you are asked to leave your conceptions and pre-existing knowledge of me outside. I don't really want to discuss my blog outside of my blog. I ask that you do not discuss my blog with others or, for that matter, that you do not even divulge it's existence to others (for those of you who have not met me in person.. link away!). If other folks who I know personally should stumble across my blog on their own and I come to be aware of it, I will send them a link to this post at that time. Please do not direct people that know me to this page. If I had wanted them to know that it existed, I would have let them know. I don't view this page as a website for my personal circle of friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintences. It is my own personal space, and a place for those individuals that I have come to know through the blogging community that I know only by a pseudonym.

I don't intend to come off like a great big dick by saying what I have said here, but, I still feel that it is important enough to say, and to say honestly. As far as I am concerned, it isn't an issue that need be discussed any further, I don't think it has changed anything between myself and any other person on a personal level, nor should it.

This place is here, and the rest of the world is there. Period.

If there are any of you who have experienced a similar situation, being outted, discovered, what-have-you.. I would be interested in hearing about it, about how it affected you, and about how you ultimately dealt with it.

If any of you think that I am spot on in the way that I have presented my feelings, I would be interested in hearing your comments on the matter... and, naturally, if you think I mishandled it, and am acting like an asshole, I would like to hear that as well... as I said, this is the place for me to put my raw unpolished thoughts out there to share with whoever wants to share them...

Now I am challenged to continue writing with the full knowledge that people who know me fairly well, and in at least one case, well enough to be a brother, are reading what I write. I don't think it is all that different from what thousands of other writers have dealt with over the years. I'll just write. What I write will either work, or it won't. I don't tell anybody that they shouldn't read what I write here, and I don't tell anyone that they should. On this blog, its all about free will, free thoughts, free expression, and freedom of creativity.

So.. that's the situation, folks. I'm out of the closet, it would seem...

... Look out, look out, wherever you are!! Ready or not, here I come!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Of Breakfasts and Afternoon Walks...

We woke up this morning and had our coffee while dicking around on the computers... Rather than type a post, which is what I generally do on a Sunday morning while enjoying my coffee and listening to 'Sunday Baroque' on National Public Radio, I fiddled around with my blog template and made some changes; sort of a symbolic spring cleaning, I suppose. Nothing huge, just some small cosmetic changes, and a tweak here and there. So, if the blog looks a little different, that's the deal.

We headed downstairs to rustle up some food, and decided against anything breakfasty.. instead, I made a ceasar salad, and Elysia made up a bowl of chick peas with garlic and olive oil which we ate in pita bread halves, along with the salad. We watched 'Tattoo Stories' on FuseTV and basically hung out after eating... she working on a crochet project (for me!), and I on an embroidery project (coincidentally, also for me! I'm a lucky guy in the handicraft department, lately, it would seem!)

My back was killing me when I woke up (every time I tend bar, I wake up the next day with my back shrieking and totally freaking out... I think it may be the constant twisting at the waist... I'm not quite sure what the deal is with that...)

Today was a gorgeous sunny day, with a huge sky, and relatively warm temperatures, so we decided to go for a walk. We walked down towards the water;
The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

On the way, I found a tennis ball, and as luck would have it, it wasn't all sodden and wet and nasty, so I popped it into my pocket. When the weather warms up, I can spend wonderful afternoons making a complete ass out of myself attempting to bat it around down at the tennis courts along with my gorgeous wife! (In the meantime, Jinx can have fun with it, pawing at it and then chasing after it!)

One of the houses that we pass on the way down to the water had always had a garden that we admired. It was recently sold, and now the new owners have made their mark. Both Elysia and I are horrified! What used to be a gorgeous, wonderful, magical garden is now a showcase for the largest collection of hideous plastic lawn ornaments ever assembled. I can't understand why anyone would ever think that this is in any way attractive!! They must have noticed the beauty of the garden when they first looked at the house, intending to buy it... and I can only imagine that this would have been a major selling point... I simply can't understand why they would take something that was so wonderful to start with, and completely fuck it up! There is no accounting for taste, I suppose...

We walked on, and strolled across one of the many softball fields down there.. behind two of them is a pond, so we walked over to that, and watched the geese and ducks for awhile, until they decided that our company was less than desirable, and flew off in a huff! We continued on then, chatting all the while, to the sea wall. We walked along the sea wall, and finally sat down on one of the two park benches that were recently placed there as part of the memorial for two residents of the village who were killed during the 9/11 attacks. We discussed mankind's seeming need for permanence, in the erection of these monuments.. in stone and metal, that create a false sense of permanence, at least to my mind. Since we are inseparable from the world around us, it seems to me that we are a part of all of this, of everything, and, therefore, are permanent in any case, without the monuments and all of the other stuff. It isn't that I have anything against monuments - I don't. I just wonder if they are as necessary as we seem to think that they are. I guess they chiefly serve as a marker to remind us of people and of events past that we might not otherwise remember. All in all, thouh, the erecting of stone monuments and all of the other things that we do as humans in order to prolong our presence here, artificially (as it must be) simply strike me as being redundant in some way. At any rate, we sat and talked for perhaps 45 minutes to an hour, she and I, about all sorts of things;

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

After a time, we decided to head on back to the cottage, so we walked through the quiet village streets, mentally redecorating and relandscaping the houses and properties of our neighbors.

The birds all seemed to be unnaturally quiet today, as though they were all waiting for something to happen. Birds always seem to know about stuff like that...

We decided to plant a Forsythia or a Rhododendron for the Spring Equinox; a fitting way to observe the day. I think I lean towards the Forsythia. I like to let them go nuts... they look like a party!

Today was a quiet, reflective day for me. I needed the time to relax and to recharge my mental batteries. Tommorrow starts another week. I'm already looking forward to next Sunday.

Tonight, I think we will most likely cook ourselves a nice dinner, then sit together, enjoy one another's company, and work on our respective projects. A nice quiet nice at home. It's perfect!

I am tossing around some more ideas for future podcasts. I promise I'll make future podcasts much shorter. The size of the file of the first one pretty much excluded anyone who doesn't have a broadband connection. (I do not, and many things are simply passed over because I can't (or won't) devote the time to such a long download.

If I can figure out a way to do it, I would like to interview some of my fellow bloggers and post the interviews as podcasts. I could either send an email with the questions, have the interviewee answer the questions and send the answers to me as sound files - mp3 or whathave you... or perhaps do it over the telephone, if I can figure out how to record the conversation, though I would imagine that some folks might not be totally comfortable with that.

If anybody has any ideas on how to go about solving any of the tech issues associated with this, please let me know.

As far as the interviews are concerned, they would be along the same lines as the interview questions that I asked during the Marcheline interview.. though some of the questions would be tailored towards the specific interviewee's blog.

It occurs to me that these interviews don't have to be audio interviews, I could just as easily do them via email, and just post them as regular written posts here, though I would guess that many readers/listeners would like to hear the voices behind the words of thier favorite bloggers.

If anyone would like to consent to an interview in either media, let me know, please. My email address is on this page, in the sidebar. If you can't find it, though, or if you are lazy, or unable to move your eyeballs, or what have you... here it is: Bear_Tracks_2_Nowhere@Hotmail.Com If anybody has any interest in this, please drop me a comment or an email and let me know... conversely, if you think that this idea completely sucks and that it would tank, let me know that, too!

It's about time to start the dinner, so, I'm off like a dirty girl's undies!


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bear's First Podcast

#01 Bear Tracks
Posted: 02:19PM Thursday, March 02, 2006

This is my very first Podcast. I don't plan on publishing a podcast for every post. It will most likely remain a thing to do now and again when the mood takes me, or when I have something to say that is better expressed via this media. This is a fairly long podcast, since I had no idea what I was doing when I took on this project. It has turned out to be a little longer than I had originally planned, but I am still learning and will work all of the kinks out over time, I suppose. In this podcast, I interview Marcheline of "Mental Meatloaf" ( We discuss a number of things, principally her blog, blogging in general, as well as other random topics that came into my feeble mind during the interview. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy listening. I will keep the rest of my podcasts a great deal shorter... I promise!

You can see my podcast page by clicking here


Click to Listen!