Vancouver: A Shameful Response

Picture from Edmonton Journal

That picture looks like some piece of Hell on Earth, doesn’t it?  You’d expect it to be from a war torn country, from the riots seeking freedom in the Middle East.

It’s not.  It’s people pouting after a hockey game.

Two days ago, someone told me they were worried about what would happen if the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup.  This was just before game 6.  This was the second person who had told me, and I couldn’t believe that the response to a loss would be that fierce.  I had forgotten what happened in 1994.

First of all, I don’t want to blame all of Vancouver for what happened.  Vancouver is the victim here.  It’s their property that is being damage, their cars which are being torched, their city plunged into chaos.  It’s not the city or it’s citizens who did this.

After all, can you really consider someone who throws a molotov cocktail over a hockey game a citizen?  Where does that disconnect come in?  You live in a city, and in that city is a company, because a hockey franchise is, and they have hired several talent players from all over the world.  That franchise plays incredibly well, and proves that within the league they play in, they are the second best.

“Only second best?” thinks this disconnected, inbred, asshat.  “Why, that’s unacceptable!  I need to burn down a store to show my displeasure at this result!”

Seriously?  What the fuck?  While I do not condone senseless violence, I especially don’t understand why that is what drives you to it.  There are so many terrible things in the world, so many injustices, so many wrongs, but the thing that stirs the anger in the hearts of some of the people in Vancouver, the senseless rage that burns out of control, lashing blindly at whatevers closest…

Is a group of grown fucking men who aren’t as good at chasing a piece of rubber with sticks on ice than another group of grown fucking men?  You didn’t even play the goddamn game, you just watched it!  How do you have such a fucking vested interest that you would go out and destroy your own communinty?

Is this going to happen everytime Vancouver gets close to the playoffs?  Honestly, if I was an NHL executive, I would remove Vancouver from eligibility to compete in the playoffs.  If I was an MLA or an MP representing the area, I would look at passing legislation to keep hockey franchises out of the city, as a matter of public safety.  This is completely and utterly unacceptable, and it has happened twice in my lifetime.

My heart and condolences go out to all the people who lost property, cars, businesses, and such in this riot.  For any innocent bystander who was injured, I am furious on your behalf.

For any rioter that was hurt, well, I wish you a slow and painful complete recover, so that you have time to reevaluate your life.

Published in: on June 16, 2011 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Pieces of Me

I have never had an angry break-up.  When I leave a girl, it’s always a sad affair, and it always seems to end the same way.

The choices I’ve made always seem to tear me away from some cute girl I love.  It’s never about us, it’s something I have to do.  My fragile ambition is always stronger than my fractured love.  I always hate losing her, but I have to go.  It’ll be pre-dawn, in her dark bedroom.  It’s always her room.  I always go to them, afraid of what they’ll see if they come to me.  No one says much, all the desperate, tearful goodbyes spit out in the dead of night.  We’re both emotionally exhausted, physically drained, and ready to be alone with ourselves.  It’s too hard to see each other, so the lights stay off.

I gather up the last debris I have scattered, and grab a packed bag.  I’m always going far away, too far for us to stay us.  There’s a few whispered words of regret, and a last embrace that lasts a moment too long, making me believe that I could just stay, that everything could revert, that I can still chose love over life.

But the bell’s been rung, and you can’t un-ring a bell.  Staying would make things worst.  Now, I need to go.

There’s always a song.  Maybe it’s Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel #2 playing on her radio, admitting what we had was always futile.  Maybe it’s Josh Ritter’s Last Temptation of Adam in my car as I drive away, a constant worry that if we had been comfortable, we wouldn’t have been us.  Sometimes the song isn’t something poignant, or related, but it remains forever hers.

I drive into that highway sunrise, lost in the song, lingering in the last kiss.  Some part of me always wants to turn back, instead of heading to that burning beacon of all the long lonely days without her.  Some beautiful lie, some excuse as to why I’ve returned; I left something behind.

There’s a piece of me still with her. 

And the mistake I always make, months or years later, is the belief that I could go back for it.  I dream that the memory of me is still shining in some lost corner.  Somehow, I’m always wrong.  I’ve remembered things too … too far from what they were.  I go back, and try to make reality conform to my vision of the past.

I think I can have back that piece of me.  But it wasn’t mine, not when I went out that door.  It’s hers, and she can do with it what she likes, but it’ll never be part of the me that’s come back for it.

The lesson I never seem to learn is that when you go away, you’re gone.

Quebec: Do You Really Want to Give Up Multicuturalism?

Update: I was very emotional when I originally wrote the below post, and I realize I made an important mistake.  It is not Quebec as a province, or the Quebecios as a people, who made the decision that upset me so much.  It was the Government of Quebec, which is distinct.  That being said, I feel the rest remains valid, so please understand that when I saw Quebec below, I specifically mean the government that made the decision, not the province or its residents in general.

I don’t write a lot of blogs at lunch anymore.  I like more time to do my research, to edit, and to … eat.  But today I found something that really pissed me off, and I want to talk about it while it’s fresh.

I found this article today, which is about Quebec deciding to ban kirpans in their provincial government, which they call the Quebec National Assembly, as though Quebec was a nation, not a province in the Dominion of Canada.  A kirpan is a Sihk ceremonial knife, pictured here:

Now, it is a knife, and I don’t dispute that.  However, it’s a religious item, which according to Wikipedia ” all baptised Sikhs must wear a kirpan at all times” and “is a tool to be used to prevent violence from being done to a defenseless person when all other means to do so have failed.”

This is not something a Sihk is going to use to attack someone.  It’s not a security risk, any more than a cross is in the hands of a Christian.  Sure, it could be used as a club, but that would be against the point, and however is doing that has lost the meaning of the symbols.

Canada has had a terrible history of dealing with Sihks, all the way back to the Komagata Maru.

Ship full of people with a legal right to enter Canada, but happen to wear turbans? Better send the Navy after them.

Sihks are allowed to wear the kirpan in every other provincial assembly, and the national assembly.  The rest of the country understands the religious and spiritual significance of the kirpan, at least to the point that this can’t be considered just a knife.

What happened to multiculturalism?

Well, according to Louise Beaudoin, the Parti Quebecios secular critic, as quoted in the news article linked at the top, “while multiculturalism may be the official policy in Ottawa, it has never been a Quebec value.”

Seriously?  Where does this asshole get off?

Do you think multiculturalism really came about for any other reason than to benefit Quebec?  The rest of the country decided what Quebec thought and believed was important enough to respect, and as a beautiful side effect, ethnic, religious and cultural groups all over the country benefited.  But Quebec doesn’t care for it?

They draw strength from their arguments due to the recent renouncing of multiculturalism as an ideal from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.  These nations, with longer histories than Canada, and a stricter cultural identity, are starting to ignore this noble ideal.

Well, if Quebec is no longer interested in multiculturalism, I’m no longer interested in protecting their language, their right to maintaining their culture.  The dominate culture in Canada is English Speaking.  If they don’t want to play anymore, if they aren’t willing to be part of a multicultural nation, they are done “Arret”ing at red octagons, and poutine just became cheese-gravy freedom fries.  Seriously, the worst thing for Quebec would be if multiculturalism was repealed as a Canadian ideal.

Then again, they’ve never really considered themselves Canadian.  That’s something I learned from Will Ferguson’s excellent book, “Why I hate Canadians“.  They don’t consider themselves part of the country.  They don’t seem to think they share our problems, our ideals, our responsibilities or our culture.  They can’t leave Canada, because they were never part of it.

We’ve enabled this, English-speaking Canada.  We’ve let them litter our cereal boxes with non-sense words and tie up our political system with costly referendums, all in honour of multiculturalism.

Which they don’t want anymore.  So what’s to be done?

I’ll tell you what.  French education, done.  The Quebec National Assembly can become the Quebec Legislative Assembly, and they can pass their laws in English or not at all.  The idea that something as ridiculus as the Parti Quebecios, which is now Quebec Party, well, that’ll be considered a terrorist group bent on destroying the singular nation of Canada.  And in my Quebec Legislative Assembly, I’m going to allow kirpans.

But no French.  Especially not the mangled joual that those St. Lawerence hill billies speak.

Published in: on February 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Pet Paradox

This is Bella:

She lives with my parents, and is smart, adorable, and shy.  I am obviously a dog person.  Cats piss me off because we do everything for them, feed them, keep them safe, and they think they’re doing us a favour by hanging out.  Dogs know that they owe you, and so they play with you, and come when you tell them, and do their best to keep you happy.  They want to be near you and with you, and are, in every way superior to cats.

I live with a cat right now.  I had to choose one of my many pictures of Bella, whom my parents got after I’d gone to university, so I never lived with her for more than a few months a year.  Molly, the cat who lives in my house now, well, I couldn’t be bothered to pull out my BlackBerry and snap a picture of that uppity bitch.

I would love to get a dog again.  I miss that constant companionship.  Walking a dog would get me outside when the sun is out.  When I had a bad day, I could depend on its unconditional love.

But I don’t want to be solely responsible for a dog.  I still want to travel, and if you decide to spend three weeks in Egypt, or even five days in Mexico, it’s a pain in the ass to look after the dog.  You need a kennel or a dog sitter, and when you get back Brutus is giving you that “You betrayed me” look of sorrow, and you know in your heart he’s right, you chose your pleasure over his.  You don’t get to take a day off from a dog.  You need to feed, and play, and walk, no matter what.

At least if you’re a good dog owner, which I would want to be.

Ideally, I’d want someone who was in there with me.  Someone else who shares the playing, feeding, walking, training, loving responsiblity, so that on a bad day, or a busy day, the poor guy wouldn’t get neglected.  This makes me think it’s best to wait until you have a family to get a dog.  When you’re kids beg you for one, and you make them promise to feed it and walk it everyday, I think most parents know they’ll be doing all the work.  When you hit that one bad day though, you can ask your kids why they didn’t do it, and blame them for screwing up, and you’re not off the hook, you’re teaching an important lesson.

Here’s the problem though; you know who else loved dogs?  Cute girls.

Do NOT look for an image like this without Safe Search on...

But if you get the dog when you have a family, or even just a special lady friend who’s long term enough to share dog rearing responsibilities, well, you lose out on the cute girl draw of the puppy.  There in lies the conundrum.  I don’t want a puppy until I’m ready to settle down, but a puppy’s greatest power, the ability to draw in cute girls like a magnet, is useless once I’ve met my basic puppy having requirements.

What to do, what to do…

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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Miniblog: Ground Zero Mosque

Check out the video here.

I don’t watch TV News, and I hadn’t heard of Keith Olbermann before I started playing around on Reddit.  Then I saw the video linked above.  It’s Keith Olbermann’s commentary on the proposed “Mosque” at the Ground Zero site for 9/11.

The video is everything a good argument should be.  It is informed and impassioned.  He respects the pain and suffering from all sides involved, but calls for understanding and reason.  Muslims shouldn’t suffer because it was a Muslim who flew the plane.  I mean, there are white Anglo-Saxon protestants who have committed murder.  That doesn’t make me a murderer.

Even closer to home, my father has fixed thousands of tractors in his life.  I won’t ever fix a single one.  You shouldn’t condemn or judge a group as a whole by the actions of one.

He goes on to point out that it isn’t a Mosque, it’s a Muslim cultural centre, which is a very different thing.  He points out how it can’t be seen from the Ground Zero site, and it’s going up in a building that isn’t being used, in a neighborhood that has yet to recover.

Honestly, I can’t do the things Olbermann says, or the way he says them justice.  It just makes me angry.  It makes me angry to think that the Puritans, the first Americans, crossed the ocean to escape religious persecution, and there are those among their descendants who think the most American thing to be done is to condemn Muslims for their beliefs. 

It infuriates me that there are so many people in the world who respond with a knee-jerk reaction.  They hate without thinking, condemn without considering, and think themselves in the right.  The video there is what they need to be told.

It’s worth watching to educate yourself.  I learned a lot, and I’m ready to fight anyone who’s against this Muslim cultural centre.

Miniblog: Abuse by Vancouver Police?

(link)

The above video clip shows a Vancouver Police officer pushing a woman with cerebral palsy to the ground.  He and the two officers with him walk on by without offering any assistance.

S2, one of my co-workers sent this to me.  I’m not sure when it happened, but the Youtube account this is located on had the video uploaded on July 25th of this year, and I believe it’s relatively recent.  It’s also what the media should be doing.  If there’s a problem, we need to be aware of it.  If people are interested in what happened here, and keep the pressure on the Vancouver Police Department, this becomes a lot more difficult to swept under the rug.  Something needs to be done.

One question S2 had for me is “What do you think should happen to the police officers?”  First of all, I think that an investigation is required.  The video, while important evidence, is not conclusive.  We see, but do not hear what happens.  While I doubt there is a good explanation for what happened, the officers still deserve the chance to air their side of the story.

I’m disappointed to learn that the officer who pushed the woman is still on active duty.  I believe he should be suspended without pay, pending the inquiry.  Again, we haven’t got all the facts yet, and there may be a good explanation for what happened that I, with all my brilliant detective skills, have not yet determined.

However, if the video turns out to be exactly what happened, I believe the officer in question should be suspended without pay for a considerably length of time, and the two other officers who allowed this to happen should have shorter unpaid suspensions.

But, there’s a chance that it won’t get that far.  If we let everyone forget that this happened, if we don’t pay attention, then there is a good chance this will go away quietly.  If Vancouver Police Officers regularly push disabled women, and partake in other abuses of authority, it will continue.  A lot of people interviewed in the news story seemed to think this was the status quo.

So pay attention to this.  Send it to your friends.  Mention it on your Facebooks and your Twitters.  If people are talking about it, the Vancouver Police will need to provide answers, and take action.  That’s what we want.

That’s Renegade Folk.  We make them explain themselves, and we don’t let it pass quietly.  We get to the bottom of it, and we make changes.

Superman Without a Job

Chris sent me this article a while back, and every time I try to write it, it starts getting academic.  I love applying everything I learned in university to things like comic books, movies and TV shows, so I have trouble not overwriting about Superman.

Most of you probably won’t read the article attached, so just to summarize, it’s about Superman spending a year exploring American as an unemployed Clark Kent.  Comic books usually have a year long arch, which is usually something like “Batman’s back was broken”, “Scarlet Witch wishes the world was ruled by mutants” or “Superman dies and his replacements fight until he returns.”  What kind of pitch meeting went down where it was “Clark Kent doesn’t have a job.”  They scraped the bottom of the barrel and found a lower place. 

It’s not strange that Superman is about economics.  He always has been.  I mean, you see him stopping bank robbers, and other kinds of thieves.  His main villain is Lex Luthor, a businessman.  This strikes me as strange, considering his power.  The man can stop wars single-handedly, or if his work in Kansas in Kingdom Come is any indication, he could end world hunger.  But all he does is maintain the current economic situation, and stay within America.

Will stop bank robbers but not rapists

That’s what he’s always done.  Superman has always been a symbol of the status quo.  In the thirties, when he first showed up, he believed in a system that had failed.  He came from Smallville to the Metropolis, in the mid 1930s, and he got a job.  That’s what was supposed to happen to good, hardworking Americans, and even if it wasn’t happening to you, the protector of the American way got that.  He followed the standard path, and got the standard rewards.  He made sure your money in the bank was protected, in a time when banks were failing.  He made sure everything worked the way it was supposed to.

Even Lex Luthor, who represents shady business, is allowed to continue as long as he follows enough of the rules.  Superman isn’t allowed to stop him as long as he stays within the letter of the law.  Even though he knows something worse is going on, Superman can’t move outside the system.

Superman is an outside servant of the status quo.  He comes from the stars, and he’s forbidden from interfering with the way people do things, just charged with protecting the way things are.  His Kryptonian name, Kal-el, even follows the angel naming pattern of Gabriel, Michael, Raphael.  He’s the angel of the American way, and he doesn’t step out of his bounds.  He’s what is supposed to be done, and it’s generally a lesson in being a good citizen in a capitalist society.

So now, he’s going to display what it means to be a good unemployed American.  He’s going to travel around and learn, but ultimately stay unchanged and not do anything different than he has always done.  The system will protect him, and we should follow his example.

Superman is in many ways the opposite of renegade folk.  He takes what is given to him, and stays within the boundaries set by his father and his adopted country.  He doesn’t push, doesn’t question, and trusts that something higher is looking after him, just like we should trust he’s looking after us. 

I’m actually really interested to see this arc, and see what it says about unemployment.  Of course, I generally don’t buy comics anymore.  When I do, Superman is usually the bad guy because he’s so anti-renegade folk.

Happy Wackin’ Jim McCrackin

This time, I’m not even going to pretend this is a review.  This is a straight out plug for Happy Wackin’ Jim McCrackin, a show being put on by a theatre company my sister Kim is involved in called Accidental Humour.  Remember, kids, humour has two “u”s.  

Kim is, as I understand it, one of the founding members.  Based on a long phone conversation we had in January, their basic mandate seems to be to question what is currently considered Canadian theatre.  Basically, to carry the label, a play generally needs to be about what it means to be different in Canada, and how individuals suffer for it.  It’s about what it’s like to be a hyphen Canadian, like an Asian-Canadian, or a First Nations-Canadian, or a Fill in the Blank-Canadian.  Our theatre is about guilt for how the European-Canadians have treated all the other hyphens, and how we should feel guilty about it.  

Which isn’t necessarily untrue.  I love Sharon Pollock’s  plays, which are very specifically exposures of the revisionist tendencies in Canadian history to match our perceived national identity.  If you want that translated out of “Joey is a prick with a degree”, it means she shows us we aren’t who we think we are, and Canadians have really been jerks.  Sometimes that needs brought up, but if you are a European-Canadian, and not one of the oppressed ones from Eastern European or Ireland, Canadian plays are telling you about how badly your people treated the other hyphens.

As the descendants of the British and the Swiss, it can get to be a heavy load of guilt, and it’s easier to go to Shakespeare or Improv where no one expects an apology because of something our ancestors may have been involved in.  There’s nothing wrong with telling these stories, but maybe, every once in a while, we could have a Canadian play that’s main theme isn’t about what makes us different. 

Maybe it should be about things we enjoy.  We’re Canadians, and the things we like should entertain other Canadians.  It shouldn’t be about some bigger cultural mosaic issue.  Sometimes, Canadian plays can be about Canada today, not what someone’s grandpa did to your grandpa or how it was hard to look different from the other kids growing up.  I’m as white as they come, but no one wants to watch my play about how hard it was growing up as a Geek-Canadian, with pants that were too short and an interest in science fiction and fantasy.

Accidental Humours other mandate is to include multi media in their productions.  This isn’t used in a Brechtian sense, to remind the audience that what they’re seeing isn’t real.  It’s used to show parts of the story that are difficult to put on stage or to cover up the time it takes to change sets or costumes, or other … theatre things.  I saw it in their last play, For Love of a Zombie.

It’s more like watching a movie.  Normally, when the technical demands of theatre would put a pause in the action, you’re watching more story on the screen.  It shortens the run time, packs in more of a punch, and often has really interesting transitions.

And unless you were involved in zombie romance, you weren’t asked to feel guilty.  If you were involved in a zombie romance, you should feel guilty, and ewwwww.

While I haven’t seen Happy Wackin’ Jim McCrackin, I heard a lot of the early stages.  Amos wrote it in our apartment, and it was good when the workshopping started.  It’s the story of a professional hitman on his last job, and some of the problems that arise out of it.  There was a gay cat at one point, but I think that might be gone now.  Still, it was really funny when I heard the start, and had some awesome action sequences.  It’ll be even better now, as it’ll be further down the line, with more minds increasing its brilliance.  It’s theatre for the masses, and you don’t need to know words like Brechtian to enjoy it.  If you do, you’ll enjoy it too.  It’s a smart action play. 

As opposed to all those mindless action plays….

I wish I had a chance to see it when it all came together, but I’ll be in England, and I can’t say that I’m really feeling the European guilt that leads to an apology on that.  If I wasn’t travelling intercontinentally, I’d definitely be seeing this show, and if you’re going to be at the Edmonton Fringe you should definitely check it out. 

If you’re not going to the Edmonton Fringe you should reconsider, because it’s awesome.

Unless you’re in England.  Then you get a pass.

***************************************************************

“Happy Whackin’ Jim McCrackin,” at the Fringe!  Venue #5 – King Edward School, 8530 101 Street
Show times:
August 13 @ 12:15 pm
August 14 @ 6:30 pm
August 15 @ 9:15 pm
August 20 @ 2:15 pm
August 21 @ 11:00 pm
August 22 @ 4:00 pm

If you’re there, be sure to check out to check out An Informative Guide on How to Climb the Corporate Ladder as well.

Finding Home

Nique is rarely around.  She’s in Chicago most of the time, learning to be a doctor.  When she comes home, she usually doesn’t have a lot of time.  She has too much doctor learning stuff to do, so she can’t be away for long, and it’s too expensive to come home from school often.  When she is home, she needs to see family, friends, and spend some alone time with Ren, who she’s been dating for several years.

Like the jerk I am, I always emotionally manipulate her into allocating more of her visiting time to me than is fair, or appropriate.

Ren and I have been hanging out long enough that he’s seen through my clever tricks, so for Nique’s most recent visit, he acted as her personal assistant, controlling all communication between her and I, ensuring I didn’t steal 72 of her 144 hours in Calgary.

Well played, Ren.

They decided to have dinner with me, Tall, Kodie and Shawn on a Tuesday.  They asked me where I wanted to go, and of course I told them the Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club.  It’s where I always want to go.  This isn’t a review, because that’s an excuse to go back yet again.  I mean, they’ll be getting 5 stars.  I mean, look at this –

Down there, at the bottom...

They never took down the furniture store façade.  That’s awesome!  The whole place is so Renegade Folk that it nearly puts me to shame.

But this is not the review.  That’s for later.

As usual, I had an awesome time while there.  I didn’t have enough time to get from work to the gym, home, and back to the bar in time for supper, so I brought an extra change of clothes and went to Palomino’s from the gym, getting there twenty minutes early.

I sat at the bar, enjoying a Corona.  The bartender and I chatted a bit, and we both knew every word to every song that came on the radio.  We both sang along, not loudly, not karaoke style, but it created this sense of belonging.

Kodie, Shawn, and Tall showed up just as the sun came out.  We took a seat on the patio, and Ren and Nique arrived moments later.  We talked about old times and new plans, and all the hoops Nique still needed to jump through to be a doctor.

The specifics really don’t matter.  We laughed, ate until we were stuffed, and drank to a happy buzz.  One thing I’ve found in my adult life, especially in Calgary, is I rarely have what I would call a home feeling.  There hasn’t been a consistent place where I’ve felt completely at ease, not since I left to live in Japan.

I am comfortable at my place, but there’s no sense of permanence in my apartment.  I doubt I’ll live there this time next year.  I feel like a stranger at Loubagga’s, mostly because I don’t know his girlfriend as well as I should.  Matt, Tall and Lina all have houses, but I always feel like a special guest in those places.  They’re happy to have me, but it’s a given that I’ll be leaving.

But somehow, on the back patio of a downtown bar, I felt like we could stay forever.  I was at complete ease with good friends.  There was nothing we needed that we didn’t have, nothing pressing, nothing missing.

It was so damn near perfect, I couldn’t even tell you what was missing.

Renegade Folk Heroing

I realize we are about a month into this blog, and I haven’t really defined what Renegade Folk is.  A lot of people who followed me from Livejournal, or all the way back from Myspace, before the whores took it over, have heard it before.  But it’s a living philosophy, so it changes, and I’m going to tell it differently here than I have before.  We’re going to follow it from its most distant roots. 

Let’s start with me as a kid, about 12 or 13.  At this point I was a hopeless romantic, and I’m comfortable blaming society for it.  I was starting to really take an interest in girls, and the models I had for that interaction were cultural.  I thought love was like the movies. 

Take, for example, Disney’s Aladdin. 

All smug there on his rug
All smug there on his rug…

It was released in 1992, so I was probably 10 years old when I saw it.  Aladdin meets a girl for all of five minutes, and they have an engaging conversation.  He builds a whole fake life to be perfect for her.  She finds out, feels betrayed, but then he kills a giant snake and she takes him back. 

That’s the set of expectations I was working with.  If you talk to a cute girl, and you feel any minor connection or have any interest in anything she says, that’s enough to fall in love.  You then have the right, no, the responsibility, to do whatever it takes to be near her, so she can realize she loves you back.  If she finds out you’ve been faking perfection, or is in any way not interested in you, all you really need to do is perform some over the top romantic gesture, and you are guaranteed to win her heart. 

It doesn’t matter that she doesn’t know you.  It’s fine you lied the entire time she’s known you, and pretended to be something you were not.  It doesn’t matter that you don’t fit her life, that you are completely unsuited for her, or that she’s never considered even the possibility of a romantic entanglement with you.  If you can prove you’ve loved her since that first slightly interesting conversation, as insignificant as it may have been for her, she will love you back.  She has to, because of how hard you loved her, and that you proved it.  Those are the rules. 

Now that I’m older, I know not to form my values on what Disney teaches me.  Then, it seemed reasonable.  I mean, Aladdin is friends with a monkey, and that’s cool.  I used Aladdin as an example, but any T.V. show or movie or book I saw at the time reinforced a similar model of relationships. 

Needless to say, my heart was broken a couple of times.  I would be too deeply in love with some cute girl, because I didn’t really require her involvement before the big gesture.  Then I would do something stupid, like sing her a Bryan Adams song, and be shocked she didn’t have an epiphany and come running to my arms.  Fuck, I just told her “Everything I do, I do for you.”  How could she not? 

I mean, I stole words from this guy!

I mean, I stole words from this guy!

 

After a few too many failures, I became a Cynic.  Everyone knows life is not a John Hughes movie, but I was bitter about it.  I was certain there was something wrong with the girls who rejected me.  They were the ones not following the rules.  You know, those sacred rules Hollywood taught me. 

And I was pissed at the people who told those stories.  I would drink while watching romantic comedies, and when they hit their lowest point, I would turn off the movie and announce “That’s how it works in real life.  The end.”  I would then go to bed.  My friends though it was funny and terrifying. 

I would still have one conversation with a cute girl, and fall in love with an imaginary perfect version of her.  I just wouldn’t do the big gesture.  I would be pissed off she didn’t love me back, but I no longer even tried to tell her.  You know, during my most mature phase. 

Then I was burned by eleven litres of hot deep fryer oil.  Literally.  I had second degree burns on my arms and face, and due to the constant pain, I was certain I was scarred for life.  It didn’t happen, but the constant agony and the odd texture of the healing skin made it seem like a certainty to my laboured brain. 

Assuming I was now the Phantom of the Opera,

Burn face phantom, not sexy mask phantom...

Burn face phantom, not sexy mask phantom...

and no one could love my face (because I’m seriously that shallow), I stopped caring about cute girls.  They were there, but it didn’t matter what I did, I was off the docket.  Suddenly, I relaxed around them.  I treated them like people, instead of objects of wonder.  I didn’t have complex agendas.  I didn’t try to live a perfect life before them, I just did what I felt like doing.  I stopped ensuring I never contradicted them, but called them on their bullshit and mocked them like I did with everyone else.  When I said whatever I felt like saying, suddenly they were interested in me.

Instead of returning to old patterns, I developed a new philosophy, and started calling it Renegade Folk Heroing.  While a lot of it comes out as “Follow your dreams,” and “Enjoy the little things,” being me, it’s still mostly about love.  Or at least lust, which wasn’t okay for Hopeless Romantics or Cynics, but Renegade Folk Heroes are allowed sex with no attachments, as long as everyone knows that’s what’s happening.  There’s also a lot of drinking, but it’s happy, joyful drinking, not bitter, how can this be my life drinking.  

Basically, it looks like this:

But I still lie about being able to play the guitar.

 

and it breaks down like this:

Renegade: This is the do what you feel like doing segment.  Don’t worry about what’s normal, or expected.  It’s better to be weird and happy then normal and miserable.  If everything you do is planning for tomorrow, what if you don’t make it there.  Enjoy what today has to offer too. 

Folk: Everyone is just people.  Cute girls aren’t different, except visually.  If someone hurts you in any way, it’s generally about them and their shit.  She didn’t break your heart because she hates you.  She did it because she was broken, and you should just move on.  Everyone is the same, and use that to understand why they do what they did. 

Heroing: Temper the first two with this aspect.  Don’t hurt people while doing whatever you want whenever you can avoid it.  Be honest.  If you aren’t proud of something you’re going to do, why are you doing it?  You better have a good reason.  Don’t let other people’s shit bring you down, but don’t let them drown in it either. 

Renegade Folk Heroing is for Hopeless Romantics the world broke.  When they’re done being miserable about it, and get over Cynicism, there’s still enough good left to enjoy, and if you’re lucky, protect.