Let’s Talk a Shade of Glum: Dialogues of Mental Health

Stumpf_lets_talkToday I am blue.  I’m referring to both the colour of my clothes and my current state of mood (as reflected by a button pinned upon my chest emblazoned with the word “SAD”).

Sometimes I get overcome with gloominess.  More often (nearly every waking minute of my life, in fact), I feel on edge like every set of eyes is casting judgment toward me, as though each decision right down to the most minute is overwhelmingly critical to my existence and every choice I make is probably wrong, with a sensation of the world about to cave on me in any second.  Regrets of the past and worries of the future are constantly slamming against the inside of my skull, and both together almost always win out over any efforts toward calm acceptance of the moment.  Combined with intermittent physical sensations like a racing heart, flushed face, and quivering appendages, this is a condensed description of what my doctor long ago diagnosed as generalized anxiety disorder, concurrent with possible mild depression.  It’s something I have struggled with since I was a kid, before I had any idea of the commonness of such feelings, and with which I continue to explore effective ways of dealing.
Continue reading “Let’s Talk a Shade of Glum: Dialogues of Mental Health”

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Merry Christmas, Elevator People

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It was an office ugly Christmas sweater party, tamer so far than those of the past few years. Nothing had been broken and nobody had vomited on each other. This was just a jovial night in a hotel at Sun Peaks Resort with perhaps a few too many drinks, but no disasters—until a group of us decided to take the good times of the evening to a nearby bar.

From the 4th floor we boarded the elevator, all of us upbeat as the doors closed behind us and we started our descent. There was chatter, laughter, dancing, and jumping around.

That’s when the elevator stalled.

Continue reading “Merry Christmas, Elevator People”

Together by Design

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Have a stranger take a picture of the both of you together.

What to do? When coming up with ways to fill one’s leisure hours the tendency can be to resort to default outings like a trip to the movies or a round at the bar. But with my birthday falling on a Saturday this year, it seemed obligatory that I should find some special way to celebrate. To solve the dilemma of conceiving something fresh and interesting, my wife Brittany put forth an excellent idea: get someone else to do it.

She approached the folks behind Together By Design, a Kamloops venture that puts together custom dates and events for its patrons. We were delighted by the thought of letting someone else take care of all the details of our day, along with the element of surprise this would allow for. Prior to the commencement of our date we received a bundle of envelopes that we were to open individually at specified times. Continue reading “Together by Design”

The Dirty Jersey: A Haven for Noise

Much too infrequently these days do I dive into a mosh pit with limbs thrashing, sweat streaming off my body while I and a shifting mass of grinning faces around me shout along to a band mere feet away that channels every ounce of energy into the soundtrack of our manic movement. Continue reading “The Dirty Jersey: A Haven for Noise”

O Cannabis

    Let’s recap, Canada: what’s new in the realm of marijuana as it relates to the Great White North? Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party has been leading the federal polls with a campaign that includes talks of legalization. The country’s “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery just got released from prison serving five years for selling cannabis seeds. South of the border, Washington and Colorado have become the first jurisdictions in the United States to legalize recreational cannabis use, while other states show potential to follow suit.

    With all of this going on at once, the issue of legalizing weed in Canada is more at the public forefront than ever. Most Canadian citizens have some opinion on the subject, though our viewpoints might not always be well-informed. For those looking to gain insight, there is one documentary I would recommend that provides a compelling overview of marijuana and its role in North America both past and present. That documentary is The Union: The Business Behind Getting High.

    The article below is a slightly revised version of a piece I wrote in 2009 about the film, with footnotes added to clarify information that has since become outdated. A more current outlook on the topic can be expected from the upcoming follow-up documentary, The Culture High, to be released this fall. Continue reading “O Cannabis”

The Horizon Ablaze

The horizon on fire.
I heard the sirens before I saw the smoke. In fact, I didn’t notice it at all until Brittany, my wife, started yelling at me.

“Cory! Where are you?!”

“I’m in the shed!” I called back, puzzled by the unusual degree of urgency in her voice. I stepped outside and paused when I saw her standing at our back door with tear tinged panic in her eyes. “What’s the matter?” I asked.

“Did you hear the sirens?”

“Sure.” I was not phased. With high temperatures hovering near 40 degrees Celsius, having scarcely rained in weeks, a wildfire this time of year would be no surprise in the dry hills of overgrown grass and sagebrush surrounding Kamloops. In such conditions all it takes is a single lightning strike or carelessly discarded cigarette butt to ignite an uncontrollable inferno. Anything might be burning. Continue reading “The Horizon Ablaze”

Things Reviewed: The Bennett Burger

ImageThe other night I had the pleasure of attending this hip joint up in Sahali for an evening of drinks and patio cuisine.  On special was a house favourite, the highly lauded Bennett Burger.  I decided to see if it would live up to its hype.

Despite its rather pedestrian presentation, the Bennett burger proved to be a finely grilled tasty sensation. One might even go so far as to refer to its savoury blend of flavours as scrumptious: ground beef infused with a trio of cheeses, two types of onions, a sprinkle of spice, and a special secret ingredient that lends an extra kick.  Topped with pan-fried bacon strips and paired with a wheat ale, the Bennett Burger is a barbeque delight.

Look out, Whopper.  There’s a new patty in town.

– Cory Stumpf

Man in a Box

I played in a box laImagest weekend. There it was, sitting large and empty in my living room. A childlike curiosity overcame me as I thought: “I bet I could fit inside that.” And so I, a man well into adulthood at 27 years old, climbed on in. And it was fun!

What leads a person my age to indulge in such a childish compulsion? The situation had begun with mature enough intentions. I set off with the woman I am married to, in the car that we lease, to buy a new barbeque for the home we have a mortgage on. Every aspect of the endeavour was characteristic of an adult lifestyle.

Yet, when it came time to dismantle the packaging of our new purchase, I found myself wearing it like a giant cardboard turtle shell as I chased our pets across the floor. My wife soon hopped in with me, the both of us wedged together laughing while our dog wriggled through our tangled limbs. Continue reading “Man in a Box”

Blades of Steel and Discs of Gold

1513703_10152194495890186_534170161_nThree minutes remain.  The quietness of accepted defeat has settled upon the office.  Every computer screen stays focused on Sochi, but enthusiasm is subdued and hope all but discarded.  The Canadian Olympic women’s hockey team is down 2-0 against the United States in the last minutes of the final game in the event. Expectations shift from visions of gold to those of silver.

Gasps suddenly erupt on one side of the floor, rippling across the room as the time delay catches up on the other side.  Canada got the puck in.  The score is now 2-1, with only three minutes left to go in the third period.  Our women might actually still have a chance. Continue reading “Blades of Steel and Discs of Gold”

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