Monthly Archives: December 2013

New Year’s Resolutions: why yours are shitty

As a few of you may be aware, the end of 2013 is imminent. I can’t say exactly how long, because I don’t know what time it will be when I publish this blog post. Bear with me, okay?

Let’s go on a little tirade about New Year’s. To start off, I love New Year’s. Okay, enough pleasantries.

*Disclaimer* you may not agree with some of my suggestions in this post; that’s cool, do your thang. I love saying I told you so. I don’t actually say it, I just kind of smirk slightly so you know I’m thinking it but I don’t say it so when you say “shut up” I can be like “what do you mean?” Anyways.

Any of you who have the slightest contact with society or our culture know that many people make things called New Year’s Resolutions – a list of things they want to do in the next year. And a lot of these resolutions are really dumb.

WAIT! LET ME EXPLAIN!

I too have made dumb resolutions – if only I had had something, a newspaper article or perhaps a blog post to guide me. Maybe then I wouldn’t have made those stupid resolutions. Let’s break it down shall we?

First of all, let’s acknowledge that everyone is different and everyone has different things that make them happy. Happy is the goal – the root of all resolutions is your happiness. And hell no, that’s not selfish. So let’s look at some resolutions that you’d be better off not making:

Anything too in excess

Listen, don’t get me wrong – resolving to lose weight or get in better shape is an admirable resolution. I’ve made it many times. However, there’s a correct way to do it (trust me, I write blogs on the internet). Sticking with the “getting in shape” example, many people will make the resolution to go to the gym every day – or some other unreasonable amount. If you already go to the gym six times a week and you want to make that seven, okay, fine – you’re not who this is intended for. Go away. If you’re someone who never goes to the gym, and you resolve to buy a gym membership and go every day all year until you can run an ultra marathon while carrying your mom on your back, well – you’re going to be disappointed. Let’s look at it realistically; this is a drastic life-changing resolution you’re making here. If you don’t frequent the gym already, chances are you won’t do so immediately, just because the calendar flips to January. What is more likely to happen is you’ll shell out big bucks for a membership at GoodLife, go every day for the first week of January, then lose motivation. This is not saying that EVERYONE will stop going, just the majority of people. It happened to me several years in a row. So then you’re left paying $23.60 every two weeks for a membership you barely use, feeling even shittier about yourself than before because now not only do you not exercise, but you are paying to not exercise, and you TRIED to exercise and couldn’t keep it up. You feel bad, which is in fact the opposite of happy, which is what you should be aiming for.

There are a couple alternatives to this. Make a small resolution; instead of pledging to buy a gym membership and haul ass every day, maybe think about purchasing a set of weights, and starting to exercise at home occasionally. Or get a free trial; I know gyms like GoodLife offer a free three- or seven-day trial, during which you can see if it’s right for you. Start exercising in small increments; I remember I’d get so pumped to…well, get pumped…that I’d go for three or four days in a row. Then I’d be excruciatingly sore, and use that to justify skipping a day. Then two. Then a week. Then the rest of the year. If you start small – i.e. I’ll lift weights/go to the gym once a week to start, then I can increase it – not only are you more likely to get into it, you’ll be happy doing it. Also, you won’t be clogging up the gym for us REAL go-getters – those of us who go like, TWICE a week sometimes.

This also applies for things like quitting junk food or smoking, etc. Don’t wait until January 1 and then quit cold turkey – things like this require prep. And yes I know there are undoubtedly people in the world who can quit anything cold turkey (I quit coffee on a whim for three months one time…just sayin’), but for the majority, it will be a gradual process. Wean down on the amount of junk food you eat/pop you drink/cigarettes you smoke BEFORE New Year’s Eve. Then, when the big day comes and the calendar flips to 2014, you can finish the process you started months prior.

Things out of your control

Oh god, I’m also guilty of this one. The best example I can think of this one would be something like “I resolve to find a boy/girlfriend who meets these qualities and make him/her fall in love with me” etc. etc. etc. Speaking from experience, this is just asking for trouble. Yes, making this resolution may make you more sociable, and yes, maybe that new confidence will lead to you reeling in that special someone you were always dreaming of. But more likely, it will pressure you to go into situations you may not be comfortable with – someone who hates the club going to the club in the hopes of finding a cuddle-buddy – and keep you incessantly trying to find a partner. A few things happen in this desperation mode: first, you’ll probably settle. If you’ve made a pact with yourself to find someone within 365 days, people who don’t match what you’re looking for suddenly…well, do. In the end, this may work out, but it probably won’t. You’ll also have that aura of desperation emanating from you, and no one wants to witness that.

This also applies to things like resolving to win the lottery, or to see the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Cup. Just…just don’t do it, okay?

Stupid things that make no difference

While the above text basically warns against resolving to do anything you’re too unlikely to succeed at, you also shouldn’t waste your time making shitty little resolutions that don’t result in anything. “I resolve to play X-Box 360 for only two hours a day” is an okay resolution. I mean, pretty uninspired, but maybe with that extra nine or ten hours you’ve suddenly freed up you can take your dog for a walk, or go see a movie with friends, or do a crossword or something. There’s potential. “I resolve to split my ten hours of X Box 360 time evenly between Halo 4 and Call of Duty 13” though, is just…stupid. With the possible exception of your online friends, no one cares what game you’re playing. If your significant other gets mad at you because you’ve been playing X Box 360 for six hours and ignoring them, they won’t be pacified with “oh but babe, I’ve only been play Gears of War for 25 minutes, all that other time was Pokémon Stadium!” (I assume most gamers have more than one system – I know Pokémon Stadium isn’t on X Box so shut up.) 

Stupid things that would make a difference if you did them, but you totally won’t

“Whatever do you mean, Cam? How would something that makes a difference be stupid?” No, the ACT isn’t stupid, just the thought that you could do it, or that you will do it. Resolving to give every homeless person in Toronto five dollars is noble as fuck, but unless you’re a millionaire with nothing else to do, and an excellent map of Toronto, it’s not gonna happen. Sorry. This category extends to all the super-sappy shit people say, but never do and probably don’t even ever have the intention of doing*. Good resolution: “I will pay for someone behind me in the Tim’s drive-thru on one occasion” (I did this the other day by the way. Karma what what). Bad resolution: “I will buy all the donuts and distribute them to the bums on the street.” Good resolution: “I will volunteer at the soup kitchen once a week and dole out soup to those less fortunate than me.” Bad resolution: “I will build a home single-handedly for every damn person that wants one.” Slightly hyperbolic, most likely – you never know with kids these days – but you get the idea. If you want to make a difference, go to Peru and teach them English. Or go to Costa Rica and save some turtles. Or Guatemala and – as a team – build a home for a family. Lots of options.

*People who make noble resolutions they have no intention of fulfilling, just to look good in front of the drunk people at a New Year’s Party they probably weren’t even invited to just…ugh. Just don’t.

Starting a hobby that you have no interest in, or no way to actively pursue

We all have our hobbies. Video games, laundry, passive-aggressive blog posts, the list goes on. Hobbies are fun. Hobbies keep us sane when the internet isn’t working, or we’re over our data for the month (note: this only applies to non-internet related hobbies. So no Candy Crush). But for the love of all that is holy, do not make a resolution to engage in a hobby that you a) have no interest in, or b) have no way to actively pursue. Much like the heading for this category says.  Now, people, don’t take this the wrong way; picking up new hobbies can be a good thing. But if it’s like, 11:50 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and you’re like “oh shit, I need a resolution. Okay, um, this year I will become a master of…collecting pennies?” that’s going to be one shitty year. The same goes for unattainable goals: if you turn on the TV and see Lindsey Vonn fanning a perfect sheaf of powdered snow down a gorgeous mountainside as the sun peaks over the snow-capped mountain in the background (unlikely, because she’s injured) and decide “hell, this year I’m going to become a skier!” but you live like 1000 kilometres from the nearest ski hill (in the, I dunno, desert? Southern US? Sorry I’m not a geologist and don’t know every god damn ski hill in the world), it’s probably impractical to think you’ll go skiing more than once. If at all. And it’ll be awful expensive to do it. Just sayin’. You’d be better off collecting pennies.

Holy shit this is turning into a novel – and the last thing I want you to do while finishing off a year is read. So I’ll give you a tl;dr:

Don’t just make resolutions for the sake of making resolutions. If you’re going to make one, or several, make them something you honestly think you can, and will, achieve. Resolve to pay it forward sometime in the year. Resolve to not spend so much time inside. Resolve to budget your money and not spend every pay cheque on shirts and jackets just because they’re on sale. Resolve to go on a trip somewhere, and to make and follow through with the necessary preparation for it (this might be a bit of a big one, so maybe don’t try this, nerds). Spend more time with family, don’t sweat small things, send your girlfriend Candy Crush lives when she asks, and maybe learn a song or two on the guitar/flute/instrument of your choosing. But hell, don’t resolve to buy a $1200 Fender and teach yourself to play it – small steps, child. Small steps.

Thanks to Laura “Raura” Zielinski for contributing to this list. Follow this asshole on twitter:

LZielinski73

and of course, moi:

CamMParkes

and have a happy new year. Make smart decisions.

Categories: Blog, Holiday, New Year's, Rant, Satirical | 1 Comment

Christmas Eve Musings

For all of you who need a break from hanging out with your families (since it’s Christmas Eve and all) I present to you: Christmas Eve Musings from Cam Parkes.

Today, I was sitting at my kitchen table, half asleep over a cup of coffee, as is my normal morning routine. By some chance, I happened to tilt my head slightly to the left and accidentally looked outside. The sun was shining in just the right way that the Great White outdoors – which had been hit by the recent ice storm – shone brilliantly. In fact, I shielded my eyes a bit. Before I quickly drew the curtain, I saw a light snow begin, and gently float down to coat the ground. Perhaps we’ll have a white Christmas?

Alright, now that that pristine, proverbial Christmas Eve image is burned into your brain, allow me to chronicle some of my Christmas Eve thoughts. Well, not really thoughts, actually; what I will probably do is talk about some shit that happened today, and then say something funny about it. Or I’ll try to I mean.

First off though, let’s be serious for a second – what the hell is with that ice storm, right? In St. Thomas, it was four degrees and rainy, and I just sat and watched people on twitter freak out for several hours. No joke. I got a bag of popcorn and a large soda and watched people tweet about how their power was out. Anyways, Burlington apparently got hit – not as bad as Toronto, but still badly enough that trees exploded and stuff. There are still dead and dying trees lying on the edge of the road that I had to dodge and stuff. It actually looks kind of pretty, until you realize you’re gazing on a sea of murdered trees and bushes. In fact, my family had a brief moment today to say goodbye to a fallen plant in our backyard:

Dad: “Oh yeah we lost a tree in the backyard.”

Me: *Stares into coffee, doesn’t reply*

Once I woke up, though, I actually did some stuff. For the first time ever, I don’t have a Christmas break; I have three days off, the first of which was today. Therefore, none of my presents were wrapped. Because like, normally I’d be prepared and done shopping and wrapping in like NOVEMBER. Definitely not finished shopping on December 21st and done wrapping on December 24th. Nope.

While wrapping, I came across something amazing that I’ve never seen before. I got out the good wrapping paper to wrap Kylie’s gift (I’m THAT kind of boyfriend) and, lo and behold, the back of it had lines to cut along!!

Now, everyone knows saying something like  “You ____ like a woman” is a HUGE insult to any man. A HUGE INSULT, RIGHT? But let me tell you; if someone said to me “you wrap like a woman” I would take it as the biggest compliment POSSIBLE. I think women are born good present-wrappers, and if you’re a female and can’t wrap you should feel bad.

In all seriousness though, the women in my life who I consistently see wrap gifts (my mom, aunts and grandma, mostly) are always perfect. I strive to be like them. And normally that is far from attainable.

The shitty wrapping paper, which always crinkles, shifts, and tears as I’m trying to cut it, couples with the fact that those shitty right-handed scissors (which my parents insist on getting) don’t work properly, always means that, no matter how neatly I fold the paper (read: not neatly at all), it looks like shit due to me cutting on an angle. NOT THIS YEAR, NERDS! I wrapped a total of nine gifts, and four of them were lucky enough to get this amazing, guaranteed-to-look-good paper; so almost HALF my gifts look somewhat decent.

So here’s the question – why the HELL does all wrapping paper not have these lines? Why doesn’t everything conceivable have cut lines?? I don’t know, but I do know one thing: I’d consider purchasing that wrapping paper over other, non-lined wrapping paper, if they were the same price and everything.

After wrapping, I played cribbage with my sister. I won.

The next part of my day was magical. Picture, if you will, one of those Christmas commercials – perhaps a Tim’s one – where all the friends meet up at the local coffee joint over the holidays. They’re all chatting and then another friend comes in and everyone’s all joyful and in the holiday spirit and hugging and shit. Well, that happened to me today. I got to see four friends, all of whom I haven’t seen in quite a while. It was especially good timing because it was one of their birthdays – happy birthday again, Karley! It was exactly like a commercial and it was awesome.

Before wrapping this up (HAHAHAHA) I’ll just point out that the bit about doing something like a woman being an insult was A JOKE PEOPLE, LIGHTEN UP. Learn to recognize sarcasm and satire, and you’ll enjoy life a lot more. Maybe.

Now, I’m off to play monopoly with the family, probably lose at that, and then later when Kylie gets here, give her her present; then after that I’ll be…busy for a while, probably .

😉

Follow me on twitter so you can see my awesome tweets and maybe I’ll follow you back so I can read your complaints about ice storms, etc.

CamMParkes

Merry Christmas! Enjoy your coal, jerks!

CP

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Guess who’s back? What, who? No…me. I’M back.

Oh god it’s been a while. Since Christmas is looming (is that politically incorrect to point out? Never mind, I don’t care), I thought I’d give you all the best gift I can think of.

A probably-long-awaited update on my life, via blog form. But although this post will be almost entirely about me, I guess I can kind of thank Moira for inspiring me to get back in the blogging business. She did this by creating an amusing list of pregnancy photos or something, which she gets PAID to do. I know, right?

Anyways. The goal of this post is to not only shake off the rust of writing, but to update you, loyal followers, as to what I’ve been up to since my last post seven months and eight days ago (it was a Mother’s Day post with a short story!).

So, since then, I got a new job (three, actually), a new apartment, a new girlfriend, and a new outlook on life! Well somewhat, I guess. I found out froyo isn’t as terrible as I thought, and I also did a bunch of hot yoga, got a gym membership, and basically am in the best shape of my life now.

Wait, no. Not that. I have a gym membership, but I rarely use it. Maybe in this fit of motivation I’ll drag my ass to the gym tonight? But probably not.

SO first things first: the jobs.

My former job as Managing Editor of the Western Gazette ended officially as of April 30, I think. I hope, anyways, because that’s when I stopped going in.

After this, I enjoyed my first bout of unemployment since August of ’05. A glorious two weeks of it, anyways, before I landed a gig at 94.1 myFM, St. Thomas’ best (and only) radio station. I’ll have been here seven months as of Sunday, so that’s cool I guess. It involves the typical radio stuff – going to all the local events, interviewing people, reading the news, everything I like doing.

From this stemmed the second gig, which, although relatively infrequent, is still something pretty fun. I get to be the colour commentator for the Port Stanley Junior C Sailors. I only get to call about one game a month, but it’s fun when I do.

And you know how they say it’s easier to get a job when you already have one? It’s even EASIER when you already have two, apparently. A friend (the aforementioned Motivational Moira) posted on the Facebook that a friend of hers was in dire need of a writer to write one sports article a week for a website. I jumped on the opportunity, and through a mix of timing, fortune, and I assume good looks, I landed the position as sports writer for CDN Entertainment.

So moving onto the other super exciting new things: the apartment obviously came with the job in St. Thomas, as it’s hard to get to the scene of breaking news if you live half hour away.

The good thing though is that half hour isn’t too far to go visit friends, which I did with my London buddies. I made a lot of new friends this summer too, so it was nice to be able to hang out with them. In fact, one of them, Madison, was the one who introduced me to hot yoga. Actually, tricked me into trying it would be more accurate. She told me there were lots of hot chicks wearing very little, and I fell for it. I mean, there might be, but I have no idea as it takes every bit of will I have to not pass out and sweat to death during the sessions.

That being, said, after just three classes, I was able to touch my toes – without bending my knees – for the first time since hurting my back in grade 9, so there’s that. Oh that’s cool Cam, you might say. Everyone can do that! WELL NOT EVERYONE’S LEGS ARE LIKE SIX FEET LONG OKAY?

And of course the final new thing – wait, no, not thing, I may be politically incorrect but I’m not SEXIST! – the new ADDITION to my life is a new lovely lady who I like to call Kylie. I’ll spare you all the mushy details – because there are lots – but she’s pretty cute, and pretty cool. She also likes video games like me.

Nerds.

See? I was Link and she was a video game girl for Halloween.

She plays music and stuff (apparently) and got me addicted to Candy Crush. Sometimes we sit on the phone and talk while we each play out our lives. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.

So that’s a quick sum-up of the last seven or so months – do you feel updated? Do you feel happy? No? Well that’s fine then.

I have a few things in the works that may be exciting – one novel started (started during NaNoWriMo) and another one jumbling around my head. Also I had a brilliant idea for a smartphone app – so now I just have to learn how to make apps, and I’ll be rich. Other than that, I’ll try to keep this thing a little more updated since I know you all hunger for daily updates of my oh-so-exciting life.

Follow me:

Twitter: CamMParkes

Insta: cam_parkes

PS. I am now offering workshops on inserting hyperlinks into posts.

CP

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