Friday, 28 June 2013


Lately, I have been learning just how bad late night television is.  For the past couple of months, I have been having some trouble sleeping.  Well, I started out having some trouble.  Now, I'm having a lot of trouble.  The six or seven hours I was getting two months ago seemed paltry at the time but today that much sleep would be a priceless luxury.  Now, I'm getting three or four or, on a really good night, five hours of sleep.

Most days, I am so tired that I feel physically sick.  My already foggy brain has shut down completely.  I am still trying to get my workouts in but that just about does me in for the day.  My ass is growing roots on the couch.  Rather than tossing and turning all night, I get up and watch some television.  Holy crap.  Probably have around two hundred channels and I can find nothing interesting on at three in the morning.

So, if anyone out there is up at 2:00 a.m. EDT, gimme a call and we can chat - nothing on t.v. anyway.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Corey Crawford

I grew up in the small town of Chateauguay, Quebec, just south of Montreal.  Not much happens in my sleepy hometown so when something of note does occur, I figure why not publicize it a bit?

Two days ago, on June 24, the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in rather dramatic fashion.  What does this have to do with Chateauguay?  Well, the Blackhawks' starting goalie, Corey Crawford, hails from our little South Shore community.  He is 28 years-old, which is too young for me to know him, though I have met his uncle many times over the years as he is a friend of my older brother (I know I'm being pathetic in trying to benefit from the very dim bit of reflected glory this tenuous connection may afford me, but I am nothing if not superficial).

To the best of my knowledge, the young Mr. Crawford is the first Chateauguay resident to hoist the Cup and for that, all of Chateauguay and its sizeable diaspora are very proud.  The Stanley Cup gets passed around from player to player during the course of the summer, and tradition has each player returning to their hometown for some public events with the Cup.  This recognizes the place where dreams of NHL greatness start and where at least the early development and support of the player began and so I hope Corey makes a trip to his hometown.

Many congratulations to Corey and his family.

The Cup Starts Here

Friday, 21 June 2013

Being Less Affected by the Self-Absorbed Sociopaths All Around Me

The other day, Kate and I were stopped at a red light and the teenager in the car next to us had his gangsta rap turned up to bone-and-teeth-rattling.  I sat there stewing, as I always do when I hear this (really, what is this doing to your hearing, kid, and why inflict your poor taste in music on the rest of us?) when I hear a thin tinny "Excuse me, excuse me" from the elderly lady two lanes over who is also flapping her hand, trying to get the miscreant's attention.  When he finally notices her, she says, with genuine sweetness, "would you mind turning that down, please?" and he says "Sure, no problem." and turns it off and looks out the windshield with what seems a genuine smile.  I think to myself, man I just stewed in a boiling cauldron of hate for the past 30 seconds only to witness this little lovefest that resolved the problem and seemed to make everyone happy.  Could this approach actually be healthier than me marinating in my own bile?

This reminded me of another case a couple of years ago.  My niece, who attends McGill University in Montreal and was then playing for the women's soccer team, was in town to play the University of Ottawa team in a pre-season friendly.  So, the family and I headed down to the campus to watch the game and parked in one of the pay-and-display garages just as a young chick got into her car a couple of spots down and turned on her techno-dance crap to ear-bleeding loudness, which, of course, got me ranting to my girls about today's self-absorbed and oblivious youth.  I got out of the car, still grumbling, when, barely audible over the thumping bass I hear, "excuse me, excuse me."  I turn to see said young chick walking towards me saying that she had paid for overnight parking, but wouldn't be needing it after all and would I like to have her receipt to display?  What a fine young woman!  And another 30 seconds of my life that was mis-spent.

This all raises two issues for me.  First, being a big flaming ball of hate is taxing (no wonder I am nearly completely incapacitated by depression) and maybe I should approach these situations with a greater degree of positivity, or at least indifference.  Second, do any of today's kids listen to good music?  I never hear rock, blues, jazz or, God forbid, classical music thudding from their cars.

Your More Mellow Correspondent signing off.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Aging Hipsters

Yesterday I had to bring the Swagger Wagon in to the tire shop because I had a slow leak in one of the tires (rear passenger, if that kind of detail excites you).  While waiting for the work to be done (turns out I had a screw lodged in the tread, which is kinda funny, because when I realized we had a problem I thought, "man, we're screwed"), a couple who each looked older than my 44 years walked in dressed like a couple of sixteen-year olds.  While they sat and waited, they even had that sulky look of teenage malaise about them, and they seemed more intent on their phones than each other, not unlike teenagers.

Pathetic?  Yes.  Smackable?  Again, yes.

PS - I remember I was in the same shop once and the guy in line ahead of me was telling an employee that the latch for his trunk was broken and that he had to stick his finger in the hole and pull.  I told them that sounded a lot like my last trip to the doctor for my annual physical.  Much hilarity ensued but that has nothing to do with aging hipsters...

Monday, 10 June 2013

One Reason Why I Love Hockey

I should say at the outset that I like soccer.  My daughter plays and two of my nieces are elite players.  But I love hockey and hockey players.  The first video is a compilation of soccer players faking or exaggerating injury and the footage speaks for itself.

The second video, though, is footage of Boston Bruins centre, Gregory Campbell in Game 3 of the NHL's Eastern Conference finals.  The video shows Campbell going down to block a 90 mph slapshot by Pittburgh Penguin Evgeni Malkin.  This clip shows all that's great about the game of hockey and so many of the players in NHL.  Campbell suffers a broken leg in blocking the shot, but he remains on the ice for 40 seconds to help kill the penalty - getting in shooting lanes to potentially block more shots, using his stick to block passes, limping off the ice (and out of the playoffs, as it turns out) only after the puck is cleared from the defensive zone and the penalty is done.  Tough.  What a warrior.  If I were one of the guys in the soccer video, I would be ashamed.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Emerging from a Dark Cave to Say Hello

I haven't written a blog post in quite a while largely because my depression and anxiety have taken a bit of a turn for the worse.  Last summer's cardiac scare, caused by side effects of the various psychiatric drugs I was on at the time, and my subsequent dismissal from the Mood Disorder Program at the Royal Ottawa Hospital - brought about by my decision to largely stay off medication following said cardiac scare - right around a very hectic Christmas season seems to have been a tipping point.  Wow, that's a run-on sentence for you.  A clear sign I am out of practice.

So, my state of mind has not been great.  Every little task, even the most trivial, requires a great amount of effort.  Getting out of bed in the morning or brushing my teeth is a daily fight with myself.  During a good week I manage to shave once.  I cling religiously to making sure I work out at least three times a week, though that often means little else gets done on those days.  However, my workouts are the rare times when I don't feel like absolute crap.  We live at risk of our abode being "that house" in the neighbourhood as I have difficulty getting around to the yard work that needs to be done.  Shrubs and grass are overgrown and weeds are taking over the lawn.  Mostly, I fight to fulfill my absolute obligations - going with Kate to her many medical appointments, getting Lena to her activities, cooking and cleaning up around the house with each activity requiring a lot of self-talk to work up the motivation and energy, and each activity, however minor, leave me feeling spent.  I find no, or on a good day little, pleasure in anything.

I live my life with my stomach in constant knots and a profound sadness clouding my mind.  This is no way to live.  Every day is an agony that is difficult to describe.  The great irony is that getting out from under the weight of depression and anxiety requires a lot of work, which, in turn, is difficult to accomplish when you are crushed by the very affliction you are trying to lift off.

Nonetheless, my therapist and I work to try to get things back on track.  Taking baby steps - doing things that I would normally enjoy or would usually be good at, even in small doses, will help light the way out of this very dark tunnel.  So, I will try to write some blog entries - blogging therapy.  Finding the time and energy to do my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and pursuing other strategies - in other words, putting in the work - may be my salvation.  I am so tired - eroded is a good adjective - of living like this that I feel a small spark of motivation to get on with it. 

Though I will try to rededicate myself somewhat to my blog-as-therapy, I promise, this will be the last post for a while about my depression.  It consumes me enough.