Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Have a Holly Jolly Anti-Capitalist Christmas

If you're anything like me, you spend the holiday season doing your best to avoid participating in the annual orgy of consumerism known as Christmas. The simple strategy to achieve this is to avoid buying presents for anyone at all. However, issues tend to arise when you apply this principle to close family members who have truly bought into the 'presents=love' mentality. Here are three things you can do with your family this year to avoid feeding the insatiable greed beast that is capitalism:
  1. Have an anti-capitalist gift exchange. Everyone in the family either makes a gift to give or gives away something they already own. You can distribute the presents any way you want (ex. secret Santa). This ritual will hopefully inspire your family with creativity and give them a lot more joy and bring you closer together than exchanging store bought presents ever could.

  2. Another cheap or free way to have your family give each other something meaningful is to put together a family mix CD. I know that mix CDs are a little out of date in 2010, but your parents still haven't figured out how cassette tapes work, so they won't mind. Divide the 80 minutes that make up a CD-R into as many parts as you have family members. For example, if you have five family members, that's 16 minutes each. Then have each person pick enough songs to fill up their allotment and write a short description for each song and an explanation of why it is meaningful to them. Collect all the song choices and burn them onto a CD, collect all the write ups and make a booklet, and then make enough copies for every family member.

  3. Deliver Christmas hampers for the Christmas Cheer Board (or equivalent organization). Driving around with your family delivering hampers is the perfect opportunity to listen to that mix CD you all made together!

I will being doing all three of the above activities this Xmas and Jacquie gets full credit for coming up with the first two.

What rituals do you engage in during the yuletide with your family and friends?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Vasecotmy Saga: The Quest...Ends?

In my last vasectomy-related post, I talked about why I wanted to get a vasectomy and my experience of trying to obtain one from one Dr. Jason. He turned out to be a bust, but I was not demoralized and moved on to the next vasectomy doctor on my list: Dr. Billinkoff.

Billinkoff is the king of vasectomies in Winnipeg. His website is relatively modern and professional looking and it even includes a very informative and unintentionally hilarious pre-appointment video (the password is "patient"). I thought that he would be so slick and focused on getting patients in and out of his clinic as fast as possible that he would look past my young age and lack of children and give me the vasectomy of my dreams.

Unfortunately, this was not the case. Billinkoff managed to be even more patronizing and dismissive than Dr. Jason was. He didn't care that I had done a ton of research or that I had made the decision not to have children many years ago. He told me to come back when I was 28. He also said that he only performs vasectomies on men of my age who had demonstrated a severe lack of responsibility by fathering several children by several different women. And therefore, because I had demonstrated that I am a mature and responsible cock owner, I am ineligible to make the responsible and mature decision to get a vasectomy (I'm paraphrasing slightly). Pointing out the illogical nature of Billinkoff's arguments did nothing to sway him. I left his office that September afternoon feeling very frustrated indeed.

After Billinkoff, there was only one vasectomy doctor left in the entire city: Dr. Milner at the Assiniboine Clinic. I was completely stunned when as soon as Milner started talking he seemed to be speaking to me as if I was an adult. He understood that I had done the research necessary and that I had been rejected by two other doctors but had remained steadfast. What may have been the deciding factor, though, was that Milner will soon be retiring so there's almost no chance that he'll be the one to perform the reversal surgery if I have a post-op change of heart. Now, all I have to do is wait until March when the actual surgery takes place.

Although I'm elated that my quest was a success and I'm happy to share the good news with you that if you'd like to get a vasectomy and are youngish you can go to Milner, I'm on some level disappointed that I won't be able to use the restriction on male reproductive rights to start a public awareness campaign or a claim of human rights violation. Oh well, it's not like human rights violations are hard to come by.