Tuesday 28 May 2024

Forty Minus One


Monday May the 27th was my 39th birthday.

The family were all busy with work and other things Monday, so my official birthday celebrations started Friday and continued throughout the weekend.

Unofficially, I started things myself on Thursday by pushing my pick-up in the afternoon back by an hour and treating myself to a whistle dog and root beer at A&W downtown after work.

Friday, my mother and I went to see Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes. Great movie!

Early Saturday afternoon, my Dad and I changed things up a little from the traditional birthday burger and went to Ahora, a small Mexican restaurant in Ottawa's Byward Market that I've been meaning to try for a while. Decent burrito and nachos, and I tried horchata (sweet, rice-based drink) for the first time which was so good. As were their churros for desert!

My birthday dinner was Sunday evening. Lobster rolls, coleslaw, ceviche, and grilled shrimp with a delicious lobster roe butter made by my sister. It took about nine tries to blow out the candle on my brownie cheesecake, and got some nice gifts. 

And finally, Mother Nature paused a torrential downpour literally minutes before I was dropped off early for work yesterday morning, so I moved extra quickly and got myself an almond croissant and iced coffee for a birthday morning breakfast treat. 

A very nice, enjoyable few days. 


Tuesday 7 May 2024

Review: The Subtle Art of...


The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F#$% by Mark Manson was recommended to me last year by the counsellor I was speaking with for help with some mental health issues.

The core message of the book is: "We only have so many f#$%s to give in this life, why waste them on stuff that's not important." The author explains how we're not as important as we think we are sometimes, and relates that to getting one's priorities in order and ultimately, learning how to relax and not stress out as much.

Around the time I bought the book, I was doing a lot of worrying, especially about trivial stuff like the weather and Para Transpo being a little late/early. "Subtle Art" helped a lot with managing that, and the crassness was a welcome bonus. 

Highly recommended for anyone dealing with similar issues.


Friday 15 March 2024

Gettin' Out 2024: Semi-regular Occurrence?


A very nice afternoon of lunch, reading, and enjoying the Spring weather after an especially productive day of work, and a good end to a very wonky week. 

That makes two Thursdays in a row I've pushed back Para Transpo by an hour or so to enjoy a bit of "me" time, and I think it's something I may try and do as often as possible, so long as the weather is decent.

Glad Para Transpo's online portal allows for a little more flexibility sometimes.


Monday 4 March 2024

Spring is Sprung-ing


This time last week, I was in a large parka, toque, and boots complaining about cold, snow, and ice rain. This afternoon, it was warm enough (22 degrees Celsius on our back deck) to go for a quick walk in no coat at all!

Tomorrow is supposed to be similar, so I'll be making sure I take advantage of the weather and get in a good walk over lunch or before work.

We'll certainly get at least one more Wintery blast before May, but the Spring preview is a welcome treat.


Friday 23 February 2024

Farewell TCAF/Hello Biodome?


After some consideration, I'm ready to move on from the good, old TCAF weekend in Toronto.

I was talking with my parents the other day and decided that 1) it's a bit expensive, 2) the hotel change and occasional news about the city just aren't giving me the greatest of vibes, and 3) there's really nothing there that I couldn't take a day and do here in Ottawa (comics and junk food, mostly).

For five years, it was the absolute best experience! Being that far from family, totally on my own, occasionally meeting someone, but mostly sticking to myself, walking around the city and of course. thoroughly enjoying the hotel and train accommodations.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end. Time for some new experiences.

Planning to add another check mark to my museum travel list and visit the Biodome in Montreal some time later in the year. I've wanted to go, and it'd be a nice weekend trip.


Tuesday 20 February 2024

One Decade Old!


Ten years. That's TWO whole hands now!

This week back in 2014, I started the blog with this little introduction. I never would've thought I'd be writing for ten years. The Rare Writer, and my writing in general, have come a long way since then.

In my first year, I averaged one or two know-it-all-ish, highly literal and on-the-nose and frankly, kind of boring, posts per month, most of which read like they were likely blog-worthy versions of presentations or other articles I'd done years before.

My sophomore year, posts were more or less the same, but I nearly tripled my writing count. I wrote my first series of posts, reflecting on five years of a Joubert diagnosis, and began to include the fun and geekiness I hope the blog's become somewhat known for, with mammoths and superheroes making their first appearances just two months into the year!

Around 2017, I feel I hit a stride writing-wise. I was doing a lot more in the "real world" (JS Board/conferences, travelling, work search...) which meant more things to write about. This was the year I started Blogtober and began to get creative with my posts, writing some personal favourites.

The next couple years brought peaks and valleys, with work and volunteering taking away a little bit of writing time, but being extra creative and productive during the worst parts of the pandemic.

Over the last year, I've had moments of serious doubt and fatigue, even questioning if I should end the blog entirely. 

While I do want to find a way to do something different in regards to writing going forward(like working on that planned book!), I have considered the past ten years to have been a joy, with The Rare Writer ranking as one of my all-time best achievements, and still plan on posting.

As always, thanks to readers and followers. A special, mega-thanks to anyone who's been following since day one (I know you're still out there)!



Wednesday 7 February 2024

Review: Dispatches from Disabled Country


I recently finished this book by Catherine Frazee, a Canadian disability advocate/activist and former professor at Metro Toronto University's Disability Studies program (something I've looked into more than once). Dispatches from Disabled Country takes its name from a poem and is a collection of essays, articles, and speeches from Frazee's career, broken down into three main sections. Those related to Canada's Medical Assistance in Dying law, Disability Arts, and Vulnerability.

I'd rather not go into too much detail about Medical Assistance in Dying, since it can be a sensitive topic for some. However, I did enjoy one or two writings in this section: one that displayed Frazee's legal background, and another that was a speech given to students of a Genetic Counselling class about their field's potential impact on people with disabilities.

The book's section on Disability Arts was interesting, and much more upbeat and fun to read than the previous group of essays. Here were selections about portrayals of disabled people in the media, the opening of a Royal Ontario Museum exhibit about disability history in Canada (now at the Human Rights Museum), and a couple things about numerous disability arts showcases across Canada.

Vulnerability has a wide range of writings. Addresses about violence towards disabled people, treatment of the disabled during the SARS and H1N1 outbreaks years ago (fitting, given COVID and the "vulnerable" label), and a personal story from Frazee's youth about an unfortunate incident involving a carnival freak show while on a date.

Dispatches from Disabled Country concludes with a lengthy interview with Catherine Frazee by the book's editors.

There were a few times I found Frazee's activist nature a little intense and off-putting (activism isn't really my thing), and there was more than one opinion I vehemently disagreed with, prompting ideas for blog posts in the near future. But, overall, Dispatches from Disabled Country was very insightful and intriguing, and I enjoyed learning more about Canada's Disability Rights history and culture.