Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Have I ever told you all about my "Glorious Obituary" plan?
I'm not a big fan of the notion of suffering through the indignities of extreme old age. I'm already as out of shape and addled-brained as I care to be; I don't want to put up with it getting worse. Some time ago, I came up with an idea to get around that.
My plan is that when I hit 75 - or when I start to feel my health substantially weakening, no matter if that's sooner or later - I'll start to take up extreme sports (e.g. skydiving, bungee jumping, running for office) until one of them kills me.
That way, not only will I evade old age without explicit suicide, but I'll have fun doing it and I'll be left with a kick-ass obituary: "Mentok the Mindtaker passed away today at the age of 75 while base-jumping in Brasil."
But the unpleasant part that just occurred to me is that this means I'm already a full seven years past my mid-life point.
Man, I have got to get my ass in gear!
I mean, ordinarily the notion of "mid-life" is sort of fuzzy; the whole decade of one's 40s is vaguely mid-life, although these days that seems to stretch into the 50s too.
But, see, I've gone and set myself a particular "best before" date, so I can calculate mid-life with precision: after 37, it's all downhill.
It's like looking at the expiry date on a package of steaks and realizing you're not going to have time to barbecue them all before they go bad.
It's like spending the morning at work doodling on Facebook and then realizing after lunch that you've still got a monster report to write.
Planned obsolescence is not all its cracked up to be.
But happy New Year to you all anyway ;-)
posted by Mentok @ 3:26 PM, ,
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Yes, it's Christmas time again and all you regular readers know how much I love to screw with Christmas.
Last year I went on a tirade against the materialism of the Yuletide season. This year, just to demonstrate how mentally flexible I am, I'm going to take the opposite approach.
This time of year, you always hear people going on and on about the real meaning of Christmas, which usually involves trying to make us all feel warm and tingly about a Nativity scene.
But let's jump back a bit. In fact, let's jump back about 1,650 years to the establishment of Christmas in ancient Rome.
As is well known, December 25 has nothing to do with the birth of Christ. Zero. There's no Christian significance, symbolic or otherwise, about that date. Rather, it was the date of the popular Roman Saturnalia holiday which involved - whaddayaknow - feasting, merry-making and gift-giving. In fact, winter solstice-season feasting and excess is common in almost every culture on the globe.
But the ancient Christian church, crafty strategic buggers that they were, had a carefully thought out plan to co-opt all the popular cultural institutions of pagan Rome by replacing them with vaguely Christian ones.
You know that special day we observe on February 14? It used to be a Roman fertility festival. Now, when you've got the words "Roman" and "fertility" in the same sentence, you just know that it's got to be really naughty. But there sure isn't much naughty about St. Valentine's Day any more, is there?
Same deal with Christmas. The pope at that time didn't particularly care about the date of Jesus's birth per se - he just wanted to invent an excuse for a holiday big enough to swallow the Saturnalia whole.
So there you have it, the real meaning of Christmas: to put a vaguely Christian veneer on the well established human custom of partying until your eyes bleed in the dead of winter. All this time, we were all participating in the "real" Christmas and we didn't even know it.
If that's not a Christmas miracle, I don't know what is.
Merry Christmas and all the best in 2009, dear readers!
UPDATE: After some good ol' Wikipedia research, I have become quite enamoured with the traditions of the Saturnalia festival. For example, during the week of Saturnalia you were allowed to tell off your boss and get away with it. I actually started reviving the first part of that tradition this week; the New Year will tell if I've managed the second part.
posted by Mentok @ 3:29 PM, ,
Monday, December 15, 2008
posted by Mentok @ 4:08 PM, ,
Friday, December 05, 2008
You know what I hate about Canadian winters?
It's not the cold. OK, yeah, it is the cold, who am I kidding. But it's been relatively mild so far this year so that hasn't been so bad for a change.
This year, it's the lack of sun that's really getting me down. I've just figured out that, in the last 72 hours, I've experienced exactly 45 minutes of daylight (being careful not to describe that cloud-hazed glow as "sunlight"). Basically, the 15 minutes I spend driving to work in the morning is the only part of my day that's not in darkness.
And I've got another two months left to go of this vampire existence before it starts to get significantly better.
I can't handle it. I'm going to have to brave the cold and start going out for lunch more often. Even just a few more minutes of the sun's rays would help keep my Birdman powers going.
posted by Mentok @ 2:32 PM, ,