Tag Archives: humor

The Yogateria Chronicles: A Sinister Danger

9 Jan
Actual unretouched photo of Yogi Nav. Credit: Deepak, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yogisculpture.JPG

Actual unretouched photo of Yogi Nav.
Credit: Deepak, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yogisculpture.JPG

There comes a time in every man’s life when he must confront his conscience. We, as men, walk through our journey of life, and in the corner of our minds we see haunting reflections of what should have been, much as one’s eyes catch glimpses of reflections walking past a shop window, ethereal ghosts a silent testament to wrong paths chosen along the way.

It is now, at a point that is near the half way point of my life, but which is not the half way point of my life, a life that has seen both sorrow and joy, defeat and triumph, and paucity of rum and a plethora thereof, that I can no longer run from the truth of my actions, actions which I told myself were justified, but that were in fact not.

I Photoshopped the above image of myself. I am not the paragon of yogic splendour that you see portrayed.

My body, which is a male body, and a large male body and not a small male body, small bodies weighing much less than large bodies as a general rule, has a shape. It is a shape which is not a typical shape, and it is a shape which does not lend itself to the practice of yoga let alone its perfection, nor does it lend itself to tying one’s shoes, nor any other activity in the realm of human affairs that has, as a fundamental attribute, the requirement to bend.

It is characterized by a large head, of a stature which does not just invite being characterized as large, but rather demands to be decreed as massive in proportion to the rest of me. At the other end are thunderous thighs that can barely hold the glorious bulk of me, beast that I am, aloft at the best of times. There is also, of course, the ponderous belly necessary to hold the great caloric reserves demanded by such a large head and struggling legs. All of which are complimented by stubby little arms that can barely reach one another, let alone any other part of me.

Actual unretouched image of my head. Human silhouettes for comparison purposes.

Actual unretouched image of my head. Human silhouettes for comparison purposes.

It is thus, having purged my soul of its uncleanliness, in much the same way as the Ancient Mariner rid himself of the albatross hung around his sun scorched neck, that I can now convey to any who stumble across these humble words the next chapter in the yogateria chronicles.

My first exposure to yoga, which nearly cost me my life, left me older, wiser, lighter by at least 50 lbs, and more flexible. Rumour has it that in Ottawa the next day, lithe 20-something’ish female business professionals were all discussing the great yoga scandal of 2014, being both scandalized AND mortified at the great transgression that had transpired. “OMG, he didn’t! He said ‘Butter chicken’ in response to namaste? That’s very bad. That’s terrible. He could be banned.”

The first yoga was candlelight hot yoga. It happened on a Sunday night. Like the fool that I am, I decided to do interval training on an elliptical machine the next day, the next day being the Monday, a day of penance for my great yogateria transgression. Penance for my penance, perhaps, as one who has uttered the blasphemous “butter chicken” cannot be penitent enough.

Thus cleansed, I could go to my second foray in the now semi-sacred yogateria on the Tuesday. I did go, but I did not go alone. Accompanying me was The Nameless One, so named as she may not be named. It again was hot yoga, but not of the candlelight variety, for such variety is to only be found during the sacred calm of the Sunday eve. This was to be of the fully lit variety, with all my fellow penitents in full view.

My suffering was of a similar nature. I need not recount the unnatural contortions to which my poor body, a body which is not small and does not bend of its own free will, was repeatedly subjected to. It goes without saying.

Despite all the suffering of the supplicant spandex-clad sinners who so densely populated the dungeon floor, suffering greater than any soul should have to bear throughout an eternity, it is not the pain and suffering of that evening which even now pervades my every waking thought.

It was when The Nameless One said, upon exiting Dante’s hot yogateria, “Did you see the one with the cute boy shorts?”

I sensed danger. Not the obvious danger of the majestic lion poised to pounce on its doomed prey, nor the less obvious danger of the frozen outstretched crocodile’s jaw about to snap shut on its hapless victim. It was a sinister danger, made even more sinister by the innocence with which it portrayed itself.

It was a trap.

For, as with the name of The Nameless One, the young lady of the conformal spandex boy shorts too had a name. She, clearly being of the line of the progeny of Helen of Troy, yet not being an ordinary descendent of said lineage, but rather a spandex clad descendent, and a scantily clad and flexible one at that, deserved a name. Her name was not a normal name, but a name of grace, of classical grace and not contemporary grace, a name that history will forever record. Her name was The Bottom that Launched a Thousand Ships.

A woman will test her man. She will test her man while seeming to not test her man. It will be a subtle test, such as innocently wondering if he had noticed The Bottom that Launched a Thousand Ships, who happened to be downward dogging directly in front of him in a brilliantly lit and sultry room for the excruciating duration of 60 minutes.

A younger man will not understand that he is being tested, and will stumble into the trap laid for his demise. Not so an older and wiser man. And so, being not young and therefore older and wiser, I did what I must do, for a man must do what he must do.

I lied.

It was not a little white lie, nor was it even a little lie. Yet is was not an outrageous lie either, as older and therefore wiser men know that such lies are just as likely to spring the cunning trap as is the ignorance of youth. It was thus an in between lie, it being between the little lie and the outrageous lie in terms of the injury caused to that most noble lady, Truth.

Thus, in fear for my life far more than for my soul, I replied, “No, I was too busy focussing on my balance.”

It is thus only by the grace of God and my own quick wit that I survived my second foray into Dante’s hot yogateria. It would not be my last. For in my next decent into Dante’s yogateria, I encountered…

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

compass rose

Nav in Dante’s Yogateria

6 Jan
Actual unretouched photo of Yogi Nav. Credit: Deepak, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yogisculpture.JPG

Actual unretouched photo of Yogi Nav.
Credit: Deepak, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Yogisculpture.JPG

Someone who shall remain nameless, and hence shall henceforth be named The Nameless One, convinced me to go with her to hot yoga. “In the middle of winter?” I guess, why not? Although I was a little confused upon learning that it was hot yoga.

When I was a kid, it only came in plain and vanilla.

Off we go in what was only a minor snowstorm. After a lovely drive, we arrived at what I thought was the yogateria. Little did I know. For some strange reason, I was bid to enter the men’s change room and don my black non-speedo swim trunks and a black tee shirt.

Black is slimming. This proved to be a good thing.

I was led to a room. It was no ordinary room. It was a sultry room, a dim room save for a few candles along a distant back wall, candles whose faint, flickering light cast haunting shadows across the bodies laying on the floor, so still in their repose that they seemed to await a quiet judgement that spoke of a pending agony, a deep agony, a complete agony.

Vanilla?

And then a man entered. Not a large man, as the largeness of men is reckoned, nor a small man, as the smallness of men is reckoned, but a man in between a large man and a small man. He spoke. He spoke in a serene voice, a voice not lacking in confidence, a voice devoid of hubris or any other human failing, a voice that seduced me into yearning for the torture that was about to be inflicted upon my unsuspecting body, a body made not small by weeks of Christmas revelry and a lifetime of practice before, a body never intended by God or nature to bend at the joints, let alone anywhere else.

But it did. Oh, how it did.

As my eyes adjusted to the sultry gloom, a gloom better suited for a grim and swarthy tropical dockyard after sunset than a New Age nordic yoga torture chamber, I could make out the penitent bodies that surrounded me on the floor, bodies contorted in a macabre synchronized ballet of unnatural pose and pain so perversely profound that they formed, in unison, a dark angelic choir exalting in unholy silent scream.

I was surrounded by these dark spandex-clad and disturbingly lithe twenty year old Luly Lemon Amazon warrior princesses of unnatural flexibility. And as we contorted ourselves in a slow and silent tribute to self-flagellation, the air filled with a thousand musks in that dark and sultry room, a room closer to Hell than to Heaven, my very sinews crying in the agony of a thousand endless deaths, I came face to face with a realization that had only ever hovered at the recesses of my awareness, a realization that could only prove to be my complete and utter undoing.

Downward dog leading to the evil cobra reveals if the body in front of you is wearing a thong. Luckily for me, I wasn’t.

Then came other insights, in rapid succession, each one striking my mind as an innocent child striking its first match, awareness erupting from the dark into a brief consuming flame. There was a wall of mirrors in the front of the dark, sultry room, an unfeeling mockery of the torturous scene displayed before it, mirrors laughing silently at the writhing of the musky, sweat-drenched damned, mirrors that could betray the innocent eyes of one who, upon completing downward dog and then the evil cobra, that cold and heartless serpent whose venom coursed along my spine, through no volition of his own, beheld the wholly unsolicited yet inescapable display of the thong so cruelly thrust upon him.

It was a good thing that the dungeon of the distorted damned into which I had been deposited was dark, lest the mirrors betray the wanderings of my innocent eyes which were innocent no longer.

Then the man, who was neither a large man nor a small man, released us from our torment with but a single word, a simple word, a spiritual word. Namaste. There may be many responses to Namaste, or there may only be one. Whatever the response or responses to this word of subtle and sublime meaning may be, there is a response that is not that response or of those responses.

One is not to reply with “butter chicken,” however good an idea it may have seemed at the time.

Despite this and everything else, I survived Dante’s yogateria. I lived to tell the tale. I am older. I am wiser. And almost certainly more flexible.

compass rose

My shopify job application

14 Dec
(c) shopify. I think. Please don't sue me.

(c) shopify. I think. Please don’t sue me.

As one whose military “best before date” expires in June 2014, I have to get off my backside and find a real job. Lo and behold, doesn’t delightful Ottawa Canada have info-age shopify, the little-known growing tech company that many are pegging to be a future Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc.

Shopify is a cool tech place where it’s a blast to work. All those young, cool techno dudes and dudettes, just having fun, being techno cool, and bringing in the techno $$$ gazigabillions.

They clearly need me. Here’s my application:

* * *

Hello youthful and exuberant shopify HR person! Where do I sign up? I’ll keep this brief:

– 30+ year Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) career ends no later than June 2014. Haven’t been charged yet. Have to get while the getting is good.

– Because of the terms of my release from the RCAF, I could work for you for free for a few months in early 2014. Kick the tires on me, if you like. To know me is to love me.

– I used to hunt things like nuclear attack submarines. Can’t put a price on experience like that. They’re pesky little critters. Think finding bugs in code is tough? Ha! Child’s play.

– My IT experience will be the envy of everyone at shopify: used to own a Commodore Vic-20 computer, an “8088”, a “286”, and a “386”; I not only know what Pacman was, I actually played it; and I coded in PASCAL, COBOL, and FORTRAN at university in the ’80s. That’s like being able to read ancient things like the Dead Sea Scrolls, Sumerian cuneiform tablets, and Egyptian hieroglyphics on temple walls. My IT cool factor is way off the charts. I am IT Zen. I live on an IT mountain top in Nepal and wear a white robe.

– I’ll be a stabilizing father figure to the younger folks. Seen a few things in my day.

– My home computer is a $50 old used clunker of a Dell. The thought of a free shopify Apple laptop might make me swoon. You can help put an end to processing poverty.

– How many people at shopify have actually used “swoon” in a sentence recently? Ever?

– I come from a culture of taking care of one another, and this means more to me than money ever will. This is what attracts me most to shopify.

– I helped create the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre. How many of shopify’s people have helped create an applied military think tank? Call of Duty and Black Ops on steroids sort of thing. Okay, you got me. Sheratons and martinis. Air Forces are such gentlemanly institutions. But we play CoD and B.Ops. When our kids aren’t looking. Assumes we took the course on how to use the PS3 or XBox controllers. My torpedo pre-setter panel was much easier to figure out. What’s with the using the thumbs thing, anyways?

– I promise not to steal from the shopify Viagra closet. Still, don’t forget to keep it locked. Can never be too safe, temptation being what it is. I’ll keep the key safe if you’d like. Never know when you’ll need an emergency compass. Navigators are trained to think ahead.

– Speaking of Viagra, young chicks dig me. That’s because I am way old and “non-threatening.” Unless I fall in a vat of Viagra or you leave the closet unlocked. Thus, I can tell the young shopify ladies that they look great, and actually mean it without trying to pick them up. Good for morale. Plus the young techno dudes can observe and learn. And for $20, I’ll even put the good word in for them. Ann Landers of shopify meets lavalife meets e-harmony, even. I’d get some of the young guys to build the internal website or app or something techie, and then write some BS about advanced algorithms that statistically Kalman filter Chinese horoscopes in a proprietary and classified way. I’d actually be in the background with my tea leaves, Doreen Virtue Angel Cards, and Hogsback Vintage Lager. Hogsback is Ottawa local, and close enough to organic so as to qualify as being spiritual in my books.

– If I didn’t know who Ann Landers was, I’d look her up on wikipedia.

– First book in my forthcoming set of two is scheduled to come out in February 2014. Goal is that they be as profound as heliocentricity. That’s Nicky Copernicus’s idea that maybe it was us going around the Sun instead of the other way around. Radical thinking at the time; have to love a heretic.

– Thus, bringing me on board would thus constitute an act of supreme philanthropy. I wouldn’t starve to death before I finished Book Two. You’d all sleep better at night. Tax deductible, even.

– I own an iPad. At 48 years of age, that has to count for something. It even has a Retina display. My Vic-20 didn’t.

– I made an iPad screen capture of your webpage for this post. I pressed the round button at the bottom while simultaneously pressing the rectangular button at the top right. A complicated procedure, but I live for a good challenge. I’m a little fuzzy on the details after this. Still, it proves that I can be trained.

– I have been blogging for over three months. Most of my 150+ followers are devoted middle-age women. That doesn’t quite make me the Tom Jones of bloggers, but nobody’s perfect. They’re all beautiful, too. Top that.

– If I didn’t know who Tom Jones was, I would look him up on wikipedia. What’s up, Pussycat?

– My mother thinks I look like actor Nathan Fillion. I think Mom is biased and has been into the sherry again, but I love her anyway.

– Vinyl and turntables are making a comeback, just like me. My tube amps are custom 300B transformer-coupled SETs, and my deck is a custom re-built Lenco idler-wheel drive. Okay, so it was used when I got it. Still, if you don’t know what this means, you also need me to be your Chief Audio Officer (CAO). Nobody else has a CAO that I know of. Not even Apple or Google or Amazon. This would make shopify a world leader in the field. Maybe I could even get to meet the guys from Rush.

– I can think big.

– If I didn’t know who the guys from Rush were, I would look Rush up on wikipedia. I likely wouldn’t need Depends adult undergarments, either.

– My Saddleback Leather XL Classic Briefcase would, without a doubt, be the coolest bag at shopify. Nothing even comes close. Can fit a yak in it. Great conversation piece / icebreaker with the guys. You’d be in awe. It’s the bag you want to have when you’re attacked by a grizzly bear. Happens a lot in Ottawa. (Wait—those were Ottawa U feminists at their latest protest, weren’t they? My bad.) It’s a man-spiritual sort of thing. Right up there with cooking meat on the BBQ. Ohmmmm.

– I hear you have good coffee. The coffee I’ve drunk at work for the last 30 years is toxic enough to kill a lesser man. It must be why my bowels are so healthy. No nasty viruses or bacteria could possibly survive the coffee “cleansing” that my system undergoes daily Monday-to-Friday. No prostate medical claims for at least three or four years. And when it did happen, I would regale the young techno dudes with my hospital adventures. They’d be eating oat bran by the bucket in no time. Lower your corporate health insurance costs in a heartbeat.

– I could do the CAO thing part time. Compensation? Used Apple anything. Remember LISA? Thought not. Monthly XLg pizza with the works. Six pack once a quarter. What’s that? No, not your abs. Put the t-shirt back down, Arnold. Victoria Secret calendar at XMAS. McDonalds gift certificates. Employee of the month now and then would be appreciated.

– If I didn’t know what an Apple LISA computer was, I would look it up on wikipedia.

– I just donated $20 to wikipedia. Thanks for reminding me.

– When I was 14, I could clear a 3″ high jump on my skateboard. I only gave it up because it wasn’t an Olympic sport. There were no pools in Newfoundland at the time that I could drain to skate in. There was the Atlantic Ocean, but it didn’t have a plug that I could find.

– I’d use my $250 shopify fitness bonus to buy Lulu Lemon spandex yoga pants. Really tight ones. Just to make my gf jealous, and maybe to gross out everyone at the hot yoga class that I’d like for sure join. Just call me Dr. Downward Dog of Delightful Derrieres. BTW, what’s the shopify policy on “muffintops” at the office? I know you don’t have a dress code, but chubby middle age men in spandex? I am a fashion trendsetter, obviously. On top of being a heretic. Hello, muttonchop sideburns.

– My cousin is presently working on his Ph.D. in math at Carleton University with a focus on number theory. This is what is done with the developmentally delayed young men in my family to get rid of them. Not me. No b-stock here. My theory on numbers is that they exist, and that you can add, subtract, multiply, AND divide with them. Didn’t need a Ph.D. program to figure that out.

– Are any of the shopify techno dudettes in the market for a guy? My cousin’s available, and I’d be willing to split my aunt’s finder fee. He’s good at adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing. No guarantees beyond this. Ever see Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man?

– If I didn’t know who… forget it. Need someone to pour the beer? Hogsback?

When do I start?

Obliviously,

“Michael” the Villainous Navigator }:-)>