Tag Archives: university

How I Learned to Juggle

Let me start by saying this: juggling is easy. Nobody believes me, because if you try it you will make one catch if you are lucky, the rest of your balls flying all across the room, and you then rightly conclude that juggling is really hard, if not impossible. I suppose you are right: if you try to juggle once without ever practicing, then yes, juggling is impossible.

Witness the impossible!

If you put a little time into it, though, if you care to grease the groove and put in maybe an hour’s worth of practice, you’ll be doing the impossible, too.

Before I go further, let me add here that I’m not a good juggler. I can keep three balls in the air, that’s about it. I can throw them higher or lower, or switch from one cascade to the other in a jerky manner, and I can juggle two balls with one hand. That’s the extend of my juggling skills. Yes, compared to the average person, that puts me in the top 99.9 percentile. Compared to the juggling and flow community, though, I’m decidedly near the bottom, and that’s okay. Continue reading

The Exact Moment I Became Cleanliness Conscious

At the risk of sounding like a slob, I used to be a slob. I mean this in virtually every sense of the word. My personal hygiene wasn’t bad. It wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t bad. I didn’t comb my hair enough, and it would occasionally look greasy, but I never wore dirty clothes or smelled or anything like that. I was below average, but not decidedly so.

When it comes to my things, though, my stuff and my living space, I fall far below average. My room was a mess. My desk was a mess. My locker was a mess. My bathroom was a mess. In a nutshell, if I was responsible for something, it was a mess. This started from the beginning, from as young as I can remember, and it lasted until my mid-20s. Keeping things clean and organized just did not register for me.

Ah, my desk on a good day.

Until one day it suddenly did. I’m talking full eureka moment, a sudden and permanent conversion from being sloven to being spotless … or at least mostly spotless. Continue reading

Credit Card Fraud

Every once in awhile you see a news story about identity theft, and it chills you to the bone. Someone did nothing wrong, but a conman steals their identity and wracks up thousands of dollars in bills and credit, and it can take years to get it all sorted out, if it ever does. It can legitimately affect your life for the rest of your days. Scary. Hope it never happens to me.

And I hope I never have to watch the movie, either.

Well, in a way it has. My credit card information has been stolen. Again. For the third time. Continue reading

What is Philosophy?

I majored in philosophy at university; I am a philosopher. Most people don’t know how to react when I tell them this. The polite ones just smile and say, “Ah, that’s interesting.” The more honest ones will try to hide a confused look and then say, “What is philosophy?” or “What can you do with that?”

Both are excellent questions, and are in fact the exact type of question a philosopher would ask. The short answer is to both questions is “Not very much,” but we can dig in deeper, much deeper.

He meant that literally, as in the literal definition.

Any definition of philosophy always starts with the literal Greek definition: philos means ‘love’ and sophia is wisdom, so philosophy is the love of wisdom. Philosophers love stating this definition, even if it is quite useless from a descriptive standpoint. My very first philosophy professor defined it as, “What is X?”, where X can be literally anything. If you ask a question, then, you are a philosopher, apparently. Continue reading

Living with Anxiety

When you hear your phone ring, what do you do? You answer it, most likely. Maybe you check the caller ID first. If it’s someone you don’t feel like speaking with, maybe you’ll let it go to voicemail. In any other case, though, you simply pick up the phone and answer it. It seems like a simple question, really.

It’s not so simple for me.

When the phone rings, I completely tense up, every muscle rigid. My chest tightens, my breathing becomes shallow and rapid. My mind shuts off. I completely freeze. This doesn’t happen every time, but when it does, no force in heaven or on earth can move me. You could offer me a lifetime of riches to answer that phone, and I couldn’t do it. I’d want to, obviously, but I couldn’t do it.

Hi. My name is Jonathan, and I live with anxiety. Continue reading

The Downside of Completionism

I apologize for the following redundant definition, but a completionist is someone who needs to complete a given task. If something begins, it needs to be completed. There are different varieties and degrees of this, and I imagine most people have felt it in some sense, at least in passing.

Here’s a common example: you purchased tickets to a terrible movie. You didn’t know it was terrible until you sat through the first mind-numbing hour. There’s 45min left. Do you sit through the rest or do you walk out? I mean, you already invested time and money, why not see it through? Maybe it will get better. If you can think like that, then you are a completionist, at least in some way.

When you saw this scene, you should have left. If you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t spoil the movie for you. Just know, if you watch an old film and this scene appears, know that the movie never gets better.

If you can walk out, then I admire you greatly. I do not have this ability. Continue reading

Being the Best Person I Can Be

Do you remember being a kid? You thought completely differently, mostly because people treat you differently. Actually, maybe it’s the other way around. People treated you differently, so you thought differently. If an adult and a child spend any length of time together, sooner or later the adult will say something like, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

Just look at that question for a minute. Look at what it is saying, and what it is not saying. It is opening up an entire universe of possibilities. There is no wrong answer. The child can say literally anything and the adult will go with it. About 80% of the time the child will say something completely ridiculous, such as being a professional athlete of some sorts. Statistically, there is almost no chance of making that dream a reality, but we don’t tell the child that. We usually just smile and nod, and perhaps say something like “you will have to work hard to do that.”

Look what Michael Phelps did with a little hard work! And talent … opportunity … resources … proper training … ungodly genetics …demon magic…

Continue reading

Revisiting High School

I went back to high school today. I can’t say my high school, as it wasn’t. My high school is some four hours away, and I haven’t set foot in it in over a decade. It felt like I had, though. It may have been a different high school, but it was still high school, and I think they are the same anywhere you go across North America. It was truly eye-opening.

I should point out I didn’t go just for the fun of it. That would be insane. Who would willingly go back to high school? No, this was work. I am a martial arts instructor, and the school invited my dojo to come and give a lesson. We actually do this for several high schools in the area, generally as part of a ‘conflict resolution’ phase of the curriculum. We teach basic safety, how to deal with bullies, how to avoid escalating a situation, that sort of thing. You know, skills that are 100 times more useful than calculus or half the other things you learn in high school.

I’m so happy I learned this and not, you know, how to properly balance a budget.

Seriously, if they offered martial arts at my high school when I went, it would be the only course I would’ve taken. Continue reading

Celebrating 200 Days of Blogging!

On June 1st, 2015, I made a commitment: I said I would publish a new blog post everyday. Not write a post, not write a draft, not work on it a little bit. No, I would write and publish something new everyday.

I think I’m becoming a better writer.

This was designed to get me out of my writing funk. I originally started this blog as a way to write more. It was my New Year’s resolution, actually, to get back to writing, something I hadn’t done in far too long. A blog should be fun, and I guess it was … but I only wrote two or three times a month. If I wanted to get better at writing, I’d have to write a whole lot more than that. Continue reading

Giving In and Winter Boots

There are some inevitabilities that you will fight to the end. Death is probably the most common one. No matter how old you get, or how much you’ve lived, no one seems to want to die. I understand that, but today is not about death. No, it is about something much more sinister. Winter is coming, and today I finally gave in.

This looks nice and peaceful … until you realize that those snowbanks are actually buried cars.

I’m not a huge fan of winter. It’s cold and unpleasant and I hate it, though it can be pretty at times I suppose. I tend to fight winter in the only way I can, by not acknowledging its existence. This is much easier to do in the city, let me say, than where I grew up. In northern Ontario, it will suddenly snow 6 feet and drop 20° in temperature overnight. It’s hard to avoid that, and the area is so used to it, schools and businesses seldom them shut down due to the inclement weather. Down south, in the city, things are a tad bit better. Continue reading