Perusing bookstores – a dying art form

I am reading a real book – a paperback. I haven’t read a real book for quite a while. The book feels good between my fingers. As I turn each page, listening to the page flip, smelling the tangy, slightly mildew scent of the paper bring me back to those younger days of yesteryear when I would shop in second-hand bookstores.

cat on book

Once, a long time ago, I spent many an hour perusing old bookstores sometimes I still do. There was never any particular book I was searching for. I went there simply because I happened to walk by the old bookstore.

I will miss them when they are no more.
—Robert Confiant 4 June 2018

I could ride transit all day

I must be strange, but I could ride transit all day., so that I may write.

translink bus

I can write on transit. It doesn’t matter how loud, or how crowded it gets. I can still write. I am not too sure how I accomplish this feat. One would think that transit would be the worst place to try to write.
When I wrote my first book, I wrote the outline while travelling on transit. I also write these many blog posts, short story outlines, some poetry and verse, all while navigating the streets either on the bus, or SkyTrain.

Somehow, I get into this zone where all I concentrate on is writing in Evernote. I manage to ignore what is happening around me.

Perhaps it’s because I am stuck in one place with nothing to do. Maybe it’s because I don’t have anything else to distract me from my writing. I am sure this is the reason why I write so well on transit.

At home, there are lots of distractions: There is Terra (my cat), reading, watching the news, surfing the web on YouTube, Facebook, Google, or Mah-jongg, or Solitaire gaming.

Other Sudoku, and my headphones, there is not much to distract me from my writing. So yeah, I can write on the bus. Maybe the next few transit trips I will try to complete the outline of the next book. Yeah, maybe I will try to complete the next outline. Yes, I believe I will.

If that works out, then I think I’ll take to riding transit all day.
—Robert Confiant 9 May 2018

Every other Monday

Every fort Monday is hell. One co-worker is off and the other is out on inspections, while I am left to hold the fort: I have to answer the phones, answer questions from the clerk’s at the front, and handle email and fax (I know right) enquiries. It can get stressful.
I no longer drink alcohol at home (new rule), but this week is going to be extremely busy, and in the past, I would have a drink or two after work to help me unwind. I am not feeling too stressed out currently, so I don’t need to have a drink. It’s getting easier to leave stuff behind when I exit the building.
I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. For the most part, work isn’t too bad. We have a decent team where everyone works hard, and actually has the “team thing” down pact. It’s just an insanely busy period with special projects and the regular day-to-day chores to complete.
It could be worst.
-Robert Confiant 8 May 2018

Keep moving

Keep moving

A little over two years ago, when I was experiencing a lot of pain in my legs, I went to visit Cerebral Palsy Association of British Columbia to discuss the topic: Aging and Cerebral Palsy (there wasn’t a lot of information about growing old with CP, and there wasn’t a lot of research on the topic). I figured CPABC would probably be a good place to start.

While there, I spoke with a woman who once was mobile like myself, but who now found herself wheelchair bound (she must have been about ten years younger than myself). She gave me some advice, “Keep moving,” she said, “Always keep moving.”
At the time, I said, “I take transit; I have no other options than to ‘keep moving.’”

What I said was true to a point, but it was not the complete truth. Because of the pain I was experiencing, and because I was falling down a lot, I only walked as much as I needed to in my everyday life activities. I stopped moving regularly. I stopped working out at the gym, I stopped walking (I would hop on the bus just to go a few stops). I wasn’t moving.

This winter was no exception. I pretty much hibernated this winter. I rarely went outside other than to work and back. I never pushed myself to move more. I used the weather as an excuse to not go out. I was pathetic (and this is the truth). As a result, I gained all the weight back, which I had previously lost). It wasn’t until I got disgusted with myself that I finally acted on it.

I gave up drinking beer at home, and I am cutting down on junk food at work (and somewhat at home, if I am truly being honest). I have also started to walk more. This isn’t easy. I am terribly out of shape and I require to stop half-way to my destination just to catch my breath. It’s pathetic really, but it is a start, and this is what I need to focus on that it’s a clean start. I am not walking fast, so when friends asked to walk with me; I turn them down, because I either can’t keep pace, or I need to rest.

My goal this week, I plan on walking home from the Skytrain. I told my other half that I would be home later than usual because I plan to walk from the station. I won’t be doing my “Toronto walk.” If I did that, then the walk would kill me; New Westminster has a lot of hills and from the station most of the trip is uphill, or on a rising slant, so I will be taking things nice and easy.

It’s a new plan. It’s about change, and I am all about changing if I improve myself: Never stop learning, and never stop self-improvement.
—Robert Confiant 6 May 2018 Continue reading “Keep moving”

Gender roles and expectations (Dating for dating sake)

The last post I discussed that I always knew, or part of me did any way, I was gay. In the post, I stated that I dated. The word “date” here might be overstated.

I grew up and attended Catholic K -8 grade school in a community where it was half Italian and half ‘English’ (for want of a better word with English, Irish and Scottish ancestry mix), and where never the two shall mix.

As I stated in my previous post, I always had crushes on girls who were out of reach (I believe that was more subconscious on my part). While in grade school, I tended to have had crushes on the Italian girls; I don’t think it was reciprocal; since, they never showed any interest in me. To be honest here, I don’t know if it was just me, or the fact that I wasn’t Italian myself, or the fact I had Cerebral Palsy, or a combination of these. It doesn’t matter – they clearly were not interested. It was slightly different with the English girls.

With the English girls, I at least got a date to the dances, but there was never a follow up date. We would end up just being friends. And, this is how it continued throughout the rest of my life with girls and I just being friends.

When I finally came out, this was perfect. It was perfect because we had the topic of ‘men’ in common and the women liked it because there was no sexual tension between us. I think these women also liked the fact that they could get a perspective of a man on men. This arrangement of having female friends worked out for me because I found I could be completely myself (Straight me don’t discuss their feelings as freely; at least my generation of men do not).

On reflection at 56 yo, I believe I tried to date while younger because it was expected of me. I also think that if it wasn’t so ingrained in our culture, I wouldn’t have to have attempted dating. As I said in my previous post, my handicap hid a lot of questions.

Gender roles

I have no regrets about the past; I have no regrets at all.
—Robert Confiant 3 April 2018

Hidden Figures, the story of women in NASA (formerly the NACA)

Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures the story of women in NASA (formerly the NACA)

I am currently reading the book: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

I saw the movie first.

I would have read the book first, but I never heard of this story before, and it an important story to tell. I never knew NACA (and later NASA) hired women (never mind women of color).

These women were known as “computers,” before there were machines called, “Computers.” Their job was to handle the many calculations required by the engineers. Many of these women held Master’s and Doctorate degrees at their universities.

The story takes place in the 1950s and 1960s, so segregation was a reality of the day. For the most part the attitude was, “let’s get the job done.” I am not saying, that there weren’t barriers to overcome, on the contrary, segregation, women’s right regarding peer respect, salary and promotion issues were a reality these women faced daily. Despite these concern, the women persevered and, eventually, they succeeded.

I am glad I saw the movie (and I am currently reading the book). As books do, it goes into further depth and detail of the aerodynamics history.
Robert Confiant 10 February 2018



One more time

It’s been a while, since I last posted, and it will be a little while more. I am on the “Learn French” kick. As a result, I have been spending a lot of my energy on this task.

I have a French last name, Confiant. We have traced the family to the south of France. Our family moved to Saint Pierre et Miquelon (a French satellite off the coast of Newfoundland) many generations ago. For reasons that are lost in history, our family settled in Cape Breton N.S. (Canada). At the time assimilation was occurring. It was either assimilate, or move out, (Which is why one finds French settlement in Louisiana and surrounding areas). My family chose to stay; they chose to assimilate. In so doing, we lost the capability to speak French.

My partner and I  are planning a trip to France next year. I am attempting to learn French (again). I have a French last name, so I figured I better try ti learn the language.

Numerous times in the past, I tried to learn French for the same reason I always attempted to get in touch with my roots. All my attempts were in vain. I found I could read quite a lot of the language; I failed to speak it well. I didn’t get much practice with it, so I gave up each time. This time around, I hope to succeed.

I will try to post at least once a week. Jusque-là, souhaite-moi bonne chance.

Au revoir,
Robert Confiant 2 February 2018