Sunday, August 16, 2009

907th Post - What Hit Me?

It was a very hot day around these here parts. After getting up this morning, I wrangled breakfast for us. We decided to go to a movie during the lunch hour, so we drove to Empire in Bayer's Lake to see "District 9".

I don't usually mind graphic horror and violence and blood and guts. I'm a guy. But today, with those things I just mentioned, plus the herky jerky camera movements, I began to feel sick to my stomach. I went to the men's to freshen up and cool off. Returning to the theatre, Patricia noted that I looked flushed and my forehead was clammy to her touch. We decided to leave, going to the nearby Chapters store to browse. I'm glad we did because I didn't like that movie very much, and I didn't feel well at all whilst there.

At Chapters I ran into a couple of my friends from Toastmasters, Michael and Evelyn. We talked shop a bit, and I brought up a recent TM contest in which I didn't win, place or show. Life goes on, but I did mention that I had been congratulated afterward, and thanked them for the kind e-mail they had sent me. I mentioned something about Toastmasters that I didn't like. They agreed. I may as well share it with you now.

I joined TM a bunch of years ago, in 1991. It is designed to be an ongoing, leisurely, work-at-your-own-pace method of developing one's public speaking skills.

That's fine for what it is, but there is a pervasive aspect to TM that doesn't reward a person who takes a chance and tries something a little different. As an example, the question I was asked that morning, along with my fellow contestants, was along the lines of, "How do you find happiness in life?" I was sixth out of eight participants, and did not hear my predecessors. I am told they said things like, "I help out in the community. I try to be a good person. " That kind of thing.

What came to my mind during the 2 or 3 seconds I had to think about the 2 minute speech I had to improvise was a course I had taken in university in 1986. It was my one English course. The prof said one day that happiness is not something that you can find. It is a by-product of whatever you happen to be doing. I seized on that I talked about how, if you search for happiness, you'll never find it. You'll die alone and 4 people will go to your funeral: The minister, the grave diggers, and some guy who'd been out walking his dog. If you surround yourself with good friends, treat people as you'd be treated, try to have a job that you like, you'll still not "find" happiness. Instead, it will find you.

While well received by the audience, I didn't win, place, or show. Sucks, but life goes on.

Anyway, that is something about TM that the 3 of us don't like. It is otherwise a good organization.

Turns out that Michael is also a packrat like me. We both hate to throw anything out. I feel his pain Being in the bookstore this afternoon was like putting an alcoholic in a liquor store.

Patricia got her money back for the movies. That's good. We hung around Chapters for a bit. I more-or-less read from cover-to-cover a book that featured some low rent, semi-pornographic art by Joe Shuster, co-creator of Superman! Shuster had fallen on hard times by the 1950's. Unable to get work as an artist, he was a delivery man and took what art jobs he could get to make a few dollars. Unfortunately, one of these ongoing jobs was as an artist on 1950's-era magazines featuring his illustrations. These pics showed a lot of women getting whipped, beaten, with other women; or men being beaten alongside women. Or women not wearing much dancing and being whipped. Strange stuff indeed. I can't really recommend this book. I didn't buy it. I am not sure how I feel about having spent 30 minutes looking through it, more out of horror and curiosity than any kind of titillation. But, here's a link to the book if you want to read a bit more about it.

Watched a movie this afternoon through my video on demand: "Lakeland Terrace" was a good little film featuring Samuel L. Jackson terrorizing his neighbours. He'll take any role offered to him.



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