Just A Re-introduction

The Cast Iron Guy was my pandemic project.

I needed an optimistic moment in every day, something thru with to look out onto a crazy world and find something solid and reliable.

If you’ve come here looking for in depth cast iron cooking advice, or one of those guys who uses electrolysis to do amazing things restoring cast iron pans, or somebody who builds a raging bonfire in his backyard and slays a piece of meat to perfection… well, you might be a bit disappointed.

If you’ve come here looking for a guy who is a little disillusioned by technology and writes about some of the simpler things in life like exploring the outdoors, finding spaces in local nature, cooking real food, and trying to be a good citizen of planet Earth… well, you might be closer to the right place.

At the time I started this I was incredibly cautious about using my real name because of my job and my role supervising people and the fact that I’d been burned in the past by people twisting the things that I’d written against me, words that were genuinely innocent and largely apolitical, but honest and real and left me a bit exposed to people who use those things to their every advantage. I’ve kept my real name off this site for that reason and I write under the moniker of Bardo. The name has a couple meanings and you can look up the eastern spiritual meaning yourself, but it was also the name of a character in a book I read decades ago that stuck with me for his personal philosophy and the struggles he had abiding it. It worked for me then, and it still does now.

I haven’t written here in a while because life has been full of chaos and change.

Most notably, I burnt out my professional soul to a deep fried crisp and voluntarily left the job that had done the burning out. As I write these words I’ve been on a “career break” for almost exactly four months, in which time I’ve been on three international trips, trained for and run a marathon, started a personal journey of pursing the creative life I abandoned when I was young for more practical and “paying” jobs, and generally tried to heal that aforementioned burnt out soul.

I logged into this site again this morning and noted that while I’ve been off exploring the woods, travelling the world, and making art, people have been reading what I wrote here during those pandemic-writing years. Some of the posts, I kid you not, have over a hundred thousand clicks, and if I had comments turned on I’m sure would be filled with neglected interactions.

So, what’s a cast iron guy to do with a mature blog in which he’s not sure what to write anymore? I suppose, this reintroduction is a start, but maybe a promise that I’ll try to come back here, while not daily, routinely to post more stuff. I still cook. I still explore. I still take excellent care of a respectable cast iron collection.

If that’s worth anything, stay tuned.


Excuses Me

December 26 of 31 December-ish posts

We were driving home from the last of multiple family christmas gatherings today and, as we sped north down the highway, we passed the giant outlet mall on the outskirts of the city. Then we passed about five hundred cars driving slowly bumper to bumper in the southbound direction and queuing for the mall where the possibility of countless sales, deals, bargains, and boxing day shopping bonanzas waited therein.

We kept driving.

What did you want this year
… but not get?

As a guy who has a small category on his blog about “gear” I use and like it would be too easy to write about a “thing” that I was coveting and didn’t happen to find a way of adding to my collection this year.

On the other hand, my Christmas gifts included all manner of delicious coffee bean blends, running kit, microbrew beers, and spice mixes so I can’t really complain about my lack of holiday haul.

It has occured to me, particularly as I look at blank notebooks, missing blog posts, and a stack of unread novels on my bedside table, that I didn’t find myself with a lot of productive time this year.

I’ve been busy.

What a terrible excuse, huh?

When I did find a bit of time here or there I managed to paint many awesome sketches, upload a hearty collection of writing, and even crank out a healthy smattering of code. Not as much as I would have liked, but still… quite a bit.

But, all that said, work was consuming this year, consuming in the way that it followed me home and drained my evenings, and sapped me of motivation. I’ve been work busy. I’ve been dad busy. I’ve been family busy. I’ve been health busy. I’ve been paying the bills busy.

Also, put that all with the fact that I haven’t been for a decent run in over six months thanks to my knee injury, and the free time I did have was usually spent doing physiotherapy exercises and trying to get something resembling recovery going on down there. Not running and instead doing physiotherapy at the gym is far less exciting than running through the trails with my friends.

What I’m trying to say is that productive time was not my companion this past year.

I hope to change that up in 2023.

I hope.

Thing is, I can’t buy more time from the outlet mall, and no matter how long I queue on the highway I don’t think motivation will be waiting at the other end.

But I have started thinking about my 2023 projects: drawing comics, making videos, writing more frequently here (though still unlikely back to daily right away) and generally easing my foot off the metaphorical gas of my career in favour of some creative pursuits to balance out my life.

I didn’t get much of that in 2022, but maybe my personal boxing day deal will be to give myself this big ol’plan to put some productive time at the top my my 2023 priority list. Thanks, bud.

Across the Universe

This afternoon I was driving through a snowstorm listening to a science radio show on the CBC talking about the launch of the new James Webb space telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope is a space telescope being jointly developed by NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Canadian Space Agency. It is planned to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope as NASA’s flagship astrophysics mission.

– Wikipedia

That programme got me thinking about how a couple weeks back I looked out across the evening sky while I was out for a walk and noted that three bright “stars” were lined up right there above me. I opened my astronomy app on my phone and oriented the navigation tool to point towards them above the horizon and realized that I wasn’t looking at stars, but instead very likely and as best as I could deduce, three planets neatly aligned just over the roofs of some neighbourhood houses.

Looking at the sky makes me feel pretty small in the vast scheme of things, peering out into the universe and realizing that even our one little solar system in the backwater of our one little galaxy barely registers as anything but points of light in the vast inky blackness of the multiverse.

Describe your 2021 in politics, culture, and the universe?

I point this insignificance out because I think there are those of us who feel the reality of our smallness and rareness in the vast universe and embrace it. I also think there are others who lash out against it in ways that are indecipherable to the rest of us.

Both perspectives emerge from that mist of confusion in many different forms representing many different things.

For me, it emerges as rambling blog posts, art, occasionally music, and adventures through my little corner of this tiny planet.

For others, it seems to emerge in less constructive ways. Politics, online rage, cruelty, crime, and willfully working against the general goodness that is possible in this universe.

In the upcoming year I hope you find a way to lean into even just a little more constructiveness — for yourself, for me, for all of us — as you whirl through the incomprehensible vastness of the universe, and that you continue to enjoy my attempts at the same right here as I continue to write about cooking, travel, adventure, and filling my face with delicious foods.

Thirty one topics. Thirty one posts. Not exactly a list… but close. In December I like to look back on the year that was. My daily posts in December-ish are themed-ish and may contain spoilers set against the backdrop of some year-end-ish personal exposition.