I bought something for my computer and it will not work.

So. Christmas.

Needless to say, but I'll say it anyway: I had a really good time. We started in Chilliwack, where we were spoiled by Lisa's parents for a few days. Even Lisa's granny, visiting from Toronto, was there to celebrate the holiday with us. My gifts are too numerous to list here, but Santa was definitely paying attention this year.

We then made our way to the cabin in Sooke. Although it rained off and on while we were there, we did get to relax and not be bothered by phone calls or deadlines. The cabin in nestled along the shore of the Sooke Harbour, with a clear view of the mountains in Washington State. I did a little impromptu bird-watching, read and dreamed about my thirtieth birthday. I actually went ice skating too; I fell down only once, much to the delight of the locals. One would think being born a Canadian, we come out with a pair of skates lashed to our chubby feet. Of course, if such a phenomena existed, it would surely explain the declining birthrate in this country.

I do intend to observe some New Year's resolutions this year. I know some folks think the idea of imposing personal change on oneself just because a single day tells us to is nonsense, but some of the positive changes in my life are a direct result of resolutions. The "no eating meat" thing I got going, for instance.

If anything, I vow to treat everyone I know with a year's subscription to witty and insightful commentary. Enjoy.


Concerns and such.

This entry is more of a warm-up for more writing this afternoon. We drove into Chilliwack on Tuesday evening, and I've been taking it easy since then. Yesterday, when I stepped outside, I watched the thick fog lift itself off the mountains, revealing the tall, dark evergreens growing along the slopes.

I read somewhere that when you're editing or producing your play, you should be working on another one. I did just that. I had an idea awhile ago, and I wrote some notes months ago and last night I sketched out the first scene. As always, I'm reluctant to reveal anything over the intrawebs, except for one detail I don't mind slipping out: I'm really interested in Grand Guignol. Look it up.

I hope this whole "don't say anything in public" doesn't make me sound like a conceited jerk. I'm a nobody. I've written a little over the years, but nobody knows my name. That being said, I've heard horror stories about writers or other creators having their non-copyrighted material being swiped by less scrupulous writers and claiming it as their own. It happens. And since I'm a nobody, if one one day I actually come up with a decent idea then it'll be extraordinarily simple to plagiarize it. Have I written about this before?

So I'll be writing this afternoon and later we have to go out and do some shopping.


This may be boring, but I'm happy.

I love it when everything falls into place. Our garbage situation is under control (a raccoon tore through the garbage bag outside and we keep forgetting to take the garbage and recycling outside in the morning. The trash strewn around on our back porch is cleaned up and everything was taken away by our friendly neighbourhood sanitation engineers), our Gmail accounts are back up and our internet connection has returned. Christmas shopping is done, banking is done and now I'm ready to take the rest of the day off, because I'm done. Oh, and I discovered The Engine. Happy days.

I'll be updating now and again.


Working towards something here.

We finished up our Christmas shopping today - yeah, exciting. I'll be shopping for Lisa tomorrow while the aforementioned lady will be hunting out small gifts to fill out the bigger items.

The script is going well, but I might've been too ambitious thinking I could get it workshopped over the holiday. I'll be happy just to have finished another edit. Funny thing, writing a script. Every line has to count, I can't toss in a flat-sounding line just to provoke a character to say something interesting. There are always opportunities to sustain tension throughout a scene, and I pointed out some scenes that really need that kind of treatment. There are some books in my library related to my play I'm going to dig through.

I feel like reviewing.

Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan

Tasty. That is the word I use to describe Seth Fisher's artwork. His work on the Legends of the Dark Knight story was a tremendous feat, including half-page panels crammed with pain-staking details without the cluster and confusion. Think Geoff Darrow but with a rounder, fuller linework and a softer palette. Very cartoony. Big in Japan is no exception, only this time the colours are lush and bright, and Fisher takes advantage of some of manga's conventions, like exaggerated features and so forth. The artwork works well with a story that is crafted like a classic FF story - a sci-fi parable that twists around like an eggnog-induced hallucination.

B.P.R.D.: The Black Flame

When I first saw Paul Pope's upcoming work on a Batman story, I totally mistook him for Guy Davis. That's actually a good thing - they may be similar, so that means they have the same strengths, right? Mike Mignola wrote, and it's great, etc. No, no, it's good. "The Black Flame" reminds me of, uh, I don't know, Doctor Doom? Some classic Marvel villain? Stephen Harper? Who knows. The funny thing is, I kind of like him. His menacing appearance suits the wide panels throughout the comic, but I would like to see some variety now and then, like smaller panels highlighting details during conversations. Anyhoo, it's kind of an epic story, so having a larger-than-life villain is fine, just fine.


A poem comes alive, part five.

Glenn Gould
comes back to life,
buys a grape soda
from a corner store,
one with a green aluminum
awning over the door.

he calls up the radio
station (CBC I think)
from a phone booth, bells
ring in the grey air as
he sips soda, bending
the pull-top back
and forth.

Hm. I don't know about this one.

Anyway, I'm about to check out an art show featuring a performance from Jason. I only have an inkling of what to except, although I've been told it involves an arrow.

I'm setting deadlines and continuing to edit. I think having time off is a crime.


What is knowledge?

Looking back on my first semester of university, I finally see that academia has its pitfalls. The irritating, convoluted bureaucracy, the Machiavellian politics and lackluster professors still plague universities. To be honest, there are times when I'm not entirely looking forward to being a teaching assistant in the future, but the bright spots in my academic career totally negates that feeling. Whenever I chat with the TA's or the profs about fascinating topics, or read something that forces me to pause and ponder over the text for days or simply wandering around the campus and admiring the buildings choked with ivy, I remember why I write and think and tutor. I'm connecting with over 500 years of tradition, of the basic human desire to understand ourselves and the world around us, because once we know ourselves we open the door to the rest of world, even the universe.

Sorry, I didn't exactly answer the question I posed.

PS: My English exam went really well! I'm proud of myself for remembering the fancy-shmancy terms and using then appropriately, but most of all, I'm really proud that I tackled metrical structure in the essay.

Oh, hey, check this out: if you Google (since when is Google a verb?) "Mr. Body Massage Machine Go," and you must include the quotation marks, my blog entry from last year is the first hit. It's the title for the post. Creeeepy.


Short, like daylight in winter.

So, not much to say. The linguistics final went well - I flubbed a couple of lines but my esteemed colleague filled in the details I missed. It's funny watching profs be themselves when they're not wearing the teacher face, joking around and flailing about like a frightened fish at the bottom of a rowboat. Our poster had a clean design to it: uncluttered text and strong visuals.

Not bad for a presentation at 8:30 in the morning.

I'm putting my house in order for the rest of the day. Try to get some more editing done, prepare my notes for the English exam and watch some Firefly. I really want to get some more gaming in and snowshoe as much as possible. Lisa wants to cross-country ski, which I'm terrible at, but I'm willing to re-learn walking up and down hills in skis.

With the federal government in a small degree of turmoil, the atmosphere seems a little electric, doesn't it?

Above, the view from my office in late autumn.


The first X-mas expedition, some drama.

We just got back from doing some Christmas shopping. We did really well on our first expedition, keeping within our budget and cruising the stores for something that might stand out for us. For years, I was terrible at giving gifts. Either they were, well, inadequate to say the least, or I simply didn't buy anything at all. Nowadays I'm more than happy (although at times reluctant) to cut a swath through the belligerent, salivating Christmas shoppers to pluck holiday gifts from perfumed stores. There is something about being immersed in a crowd, as though I'm part of something much grander than my own mundane concerns.

Yes, I know, Christmas is overly commericalized, blah, blah, etc. When I'm eating Christmas dinner with my family then settling into the couch with some eggnog, the last thing on my mind is how miserable the world is. I know the world sucks sometimes, but my heart needs a break. Just seeing families being together means more to me than people's childish posturing.

Looked over the play yesterday and started editing today. Yeah, a bit of work this one. I really need to establish the characters' motivations, and untangle some condensed dialogue. At times, the character's leap from one topic to the next like rabbits, with no logic behind the shifts. I'll keep working.

Keepin' on, keepin' on.


This I know.

I forgot to include this - some ideas for future research.

1. Doing a in-depth analysis of Marx's position on poverty and how the poor fit into his theory. I already know a quick and fast answer, but I want to collect all I can and go over the text myself.

2. Reevaluating Marx's quantitative data and overall methodology.

3. A research question: why is anarchist literature not discussed in conjunction with Marxist theory, especially those written prior to or during Marx's time? Historically, Marx's debates with notable anarchists like Bakunin (Marx's rival, actually) should be addressed. I'm not arguing that anarchist literature should be included, I only want to know why it is not included.

Relating Simmel to this question: our task is not to condone or condemn, but to understand.

I don't know anymore.

So the study group meeting was a success. After four hours of preparation - that included a trip to the Oversized Office Supply Depot - the poster, which will be used as a visual guide when we present the article, is trimmed and pasted as though it were forged by Galactus himself.

Besides that, I checked out daypacks at MEC and I wasn't impressed.

I'll be writing all week.


For the record, Julia was also a member of our snowshoe expedition.

Management apologizes for this oversight. These things happen.


Stuff to keep me busy.

Did I tell you all I had fun yesterday?

Lisa, Jess, Julianna and I drove (courtesy of Julianna, thanks again!) out to Cypress to get some snowshoeing done. When I woke up that morning the snow was coming down in thick, soft flakes - just the sight of them got me stoked to climb up a mountain. I haven't used my gear in awhile, so finding things like a compass or a headlamp or whatever else was a chore.

The hill was getting crowded when we got there, but luckily it was mostly cross-country skiing folks, leaving the snowshoe trails relatively empty. The tall trees were coated with snow, and parts of the trails were bookended by large snow banks. There were times when I had to run up the trail or march into a snowbank. We visited the hut and Lisa and I had coffee, chili and a muffin while we watched the falling snowflakes get thicker.

Hauling out my gear, driving out to a mountain and fooling around in the snow has ignited my love of hiking and climbing. I was thinking of heading over to Mountain Equipment Coop to get a new daypack (I know X-mas is coming, but I asked for a new backpack for school - okay, I'm a little greedy, I know) today after I do some dishes and return movies. Lisa and I will be taking in a matinee.

This is my first day off school. It is lovely. I will have to meet my linguistics study group tomorrow and study for my English exam (open book, wOOt!) but that's about it. I do have some writing chores, though. Submit some stuff to magazines, get the play workshopped (finally!) and find out if the student journal is taking any of my two short stories.



I'm currently at a cafe trying to finish up this critique for linguistics. It's only one, well-developed paragraph, but I'm a little sick of writing for school.

And, time permitted, I will try to make it a classmate's performance at the Chan Centre on campus. I really want to go, but my life is becoming exceedingly complex with school work and the burning desire to take it easy after my first semester of university.

Last night I was at a house party in the middle of the nowhere. That's not fair. The house is situated on the border between New Westminster and Burnaby - technically on the cusp of nowhere.

I'm waiting for Lisa and Jess to show up. The paragraph will be done.

Here's my plans for the holidays: do some snowshoeing and hiking, catch up on my reading, prepare a budget for next semester, do some Christmas shopping with Lisa and see some friends. We might be hosting a holiday potluck, kind of like what we had last year but with more food (potluck, see?) and more people.

Lisa is here. Later


It's hard to talk.

Another hour before the workshop. I have to admit, I'm getting a little nervous. Probably because I'm afraid of looking nervous in front of the students and no one wants to listen to a facilitator trying to keep vomit from rising up his throat. It's hard to talk with throw-up in your mouth.

Hand-outs? Check.
Prepared notes? Check.
A loose structure for the hour? Check.
Whiskey? With ice, please.

I will be Voltron for the next two hours. Oh, I may look vunerable with just five robotic lions. But when the eleventh hour comes creeping up, I will combine my mechanical felines and form an unstoppable force of paragraph structure and time management. Somewhere in the back row an inhuman growl fills the room. I draw an oversized sword from out of thin air. Silence strikes the room. A hideous, tentacled monstrosity leaps into the air. In one grand motion, I sever test anxiety in half - the two putrid chunks fall to the floor with a heavy thump.


My foot.

My ankle is fine. There doesn't seem to be any sprain in the area, but my foot has a gigantic bruise along the metatarsal bones.

The exam went really well! I wrote a brief essay on how Weber's definition of sociology (an interpretative understanding of social action) applies to Simmel's thesis on mental life and the city.

Now I have to prepare for my workshop and write a paragraph for linguistics. I have it easy; next semester I'm taking four courses. I was on the waitlist for Introduction to Literary Theory, but I found out yesterday that I'm now in the class.

Two more days, people. Two more days.


Some news.

I'm totally self-absorbed today. I have a sociology exam on Wednesday, so I've been studying for quite some time. But while I was submerged in turn of the century social theory, the Canadian government was dissolved today. The vote of no confidence went through. I figured the Tories were all over this scheme, but apparently the NDP were also instrumental in spearheading this maneuver. I will continue to follow these events, without a doubt.

I sprained my foot on the way home today. As I was exiting the bus, the man in front of me suddenly stopped, with one foot on the curb and the other firmly planted on the bottom step. He was chatting on his cell phone. I had to halt, and in the process my left foot (my favourite one!) slipped and bent at an acute angle, folding over like a thick wad of paper. I shrieked and hobbled over to a bench to examine the poor appendage. Nothing broken. I spent the last two hours with my foot elevated on a stool, nestled next to an icepack. My left foot and sociology: the reasons I would probably miss our first contact with extra-terrestrial life.

On the last poem: I don't know why I separated the poem into two stanzas. It seemed to contain two distinct scenes. I pondered over the new line for awhile ("grey air") in an attempt to draw a correlation between church bells and a ringing phone. I think another draft is due.

<. .>

While I was standing on the sidewalk outside our house, the cat who lives downstairs came peeking put of the alley down the street. He looked at me, then crossed the street. He walked along the edge of the sidewalk, skirting the parked cars. When he passed me and was at a fair distance, he crossed back across the street, stepped onto the corner and sauntered towards his door, which is on the side of the house. The cat avoided me. I was offended.


A poem comes alive, part three.

Glenn Gould
comes back to life,
buys a grape soda
from a corner store,
one with a green aluminum
awning over the door.

he calls up the radio
station (CBC I think)
from a phone booth, bells
ring in the grey air as
he sips soda, bending
the pull-top
back and forth, back
and forth.

Go here.

Chris has renovated his website to continue writing his insightful commentary on comics and games. If you read funny books or watch Veronia Mars, then make yourself a pot of tea and enjoy his site.

Click on The G33k on the links bar, just to your right.

I'm about a quarter of the way into my English paper. I want to write on lineation in Stephanie Bolster's White Stone, but one of the paragraphs is leaning towards stanza structure. The other two are strictly about lineation. Or not. I'm giving one of her prose poems a run down, which involves stanza structuring as much as lineation. Things can change. It's just that lineation seems to be a more sophisticated topic. I can be sophisticated.

Cheese and fleas and other awful domestic concerns.

I can't sleep.

After reading my book and browsing the internets for half an hour I couldn't get my eyelids to slip over the two orbs in my head. I might as well update. Let's see, what's going in my head at 2:30 in the morning?

We had some lovely cheese a few days ago.

The story goes like this: Lisa rented a car so we can get our cat to the vet. He was fine in the waiting room, but once he got out of his kennel (or, the vet pulling him out and Lisa sliding the kennel off the cat as though it were a sweater) he growled, hissed and bit anyone who dared to get too close. We found out that he is mostly likely asthmatic (science types have invented an asthma puffer for cats, which is way too easy to make fun of) and of course, a flea infestation. Lisa treated the little beast this evening. So, we had a car. This is a commodity we normally don't have access to, so we decided to pretend we were fabulously wealthy and shopped at Friends of Cheese. We picked up some Stilton, Guinness cheddar and the Red Dragon: a Welsh cheddar imbued with a liberal dose of mustard seeds, lending the cheese an intriguing peppery snap. There you go. Cheese. And, I picked up some creme fraiche and mixed it with a raspberry reduction, making a kind of fool - fruit and whipped cream tossed together like a salad.

All the things I mentioned a few posts ago, like meeting Iain and going out for breakfast with Margo, all happened according to plan. All that, and a healthy dose of Chris. A satisfying Friday night and Saturday. When Iain and I were escaping Richmond Friday night we stopped at a shop called the "Liquor Depot." With a name like that, we had to go in and buy booze. When we got to the counter, there was a couple of posters of guys who presumably lifted merchandise from the shop. One of the pictures, which was a dodgy looking guy wearing a white hoodie, had a name scrawled along the bottom: Johnny Blaze. Freakin' Ghost Rider lifted booze from the Liquor Depot.


A cat, an umbrella and pulling an all-nighter.

A poem comes to life, part two.

Glenn Gould
comes back to life,
buys a grape soda
from a corner store,
one with a green aluminum
awning over the door.
he calls up the radio station,
CBC I think,
standing in the phone booth,
sipping soda, bending
the pull-top back and forth, back
and forth.

I altered the lineation in this version, and included punctuation where I thought is would be appropriate.

Some news: I'm going out Friday afternoon/evening with Iain for good times, then having breakfast at quite possibly my favourite breakfast place in this city with the lovely Margo. Maybe other lovely people would like to join us? Margo and I both worked at the Learning Centre, and now she's at SFU. On December 1st, I'll be holding a workshop on exam essays for the UBC Writing Centre. It'll be an hour long (like an actual class!) and I have some fun ideas, courtesy of Jess (thanks again) so the students don't drift off to sleep. I'll be planning it out over the weekend, as I finish my English paper and study for my sociology exam. Oh, and the cat will be visiting the vet today. Heaven help us all. Coffee awaits.


Notes Towards an Understanding of Common Sense.

In these last few days I've wandered the damp, foggy streets around my neighbourhood thinking about common sense. What is it exactly?

Initially I attempted to deconstruct the semantic implications. The word "common" refers to something "commonly held," or public property. A sense that belongs to us all. "Sense" is a slippery word. It is not exactly knowledge, or knowledge at all. To "sense" something and to "know" something are two different experiences. When I know something I am recalling a fact, and when I sense something I have an understanding which guides my actions. If there is common sense, is there a sense specific to a time, a place or a person? A police officer and a pastry chef would require different kinds of senses in order to perform properly. Furthermore, to possess any sense, one must rely on accumulated knowledge to inform this sense. Knowledge is the foundation of sense; collected fragments from the immediate, perceivable world builds and sharpens sense. Just so I can get my head around the word, I looked up sense in the dictionary.

sense |sens| noun
1 a faculty by which the body perceives an external stimulus; one of the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch : the bear has a keen sense of smell that enables it to hunt at dusk.
2 a feeling that something is the case : she had the sense of being a political outsider.
• an awareness or feeling that one is in a specified state : you can improve your general health and sense of well-being.
• ( sense of) a keen intuitive awareness of or sensitivity to the presence or importance of something : she had a fine sense of comic timing.
3 a sane and realistic attitude to situations and problems : he earned respect by the good sense he showed at meetings.
• a reasonable or comprehensible rationale : I can't see the sense in leaving all the work to you.
4 a way in which an expression or a situation can be interpreted; a meaning : it is not clear which sense of the word “characters” is intended in this passage.
5 chiefly Mathematics Physics a property, e.g., direction of motion, distinguishing a pair of objects, quantities, effects, etc., that differ only in that each is the reverse of the other.
• [with clause ] be aware that something is the case without being able to define exactly how one knows : he could sense that he wasn't liked.
• cause someone to (or start to) think and behave reasonably after a period of folly or irrationality. in a (or one) sense used to indicate a particular interpretation of a statement or situation : in a sense, behavior cannot develop independently of the environment. in one's senses fully aware and in control of one's thoughts and words; sane: would any man in his senses invent so absurd a story? make sense be intelligible, justifiable, or practicable. make sense of find meaning or coherence in: she must try to make sense of what was going on. out of one's senses in or into a state of insanity. a sense of direction a person's ability to know without explicit guidance the direction in which they are or should be moving. take leave of one's senses (in hyperbolic use) go insane.
ORIGIN late Middle English (as a noun in the sense [meaning] ): from Latin sensus ‘faculty of feeling, thought, meaning,’ from sentire ‘feel.’ The verb dates from the mid 16th cent.

I've eliminated some definitions that pertain to fibre optics and genetics. These definitions don't relate to this topic. Some important words that I'm pulling out of this text are "perceives," "feeling," "interpreted," "awareness" and "attitude." For the purpose of my study, I'm going to rely on these words as I embark on this subject.

So if I make the distinction between knowledge and sense then I can, with some confidence, say that common sense is a shared understanding of the world. Also, it is a way of doing things, a way of presenting oneself, a way of thinking about a subject and a way of responding to events - a way, a methodology. More later.

On video games.

Saturday was fun. I hung out with Chris for awhile, discussing comics and all things geeky, then I swung by Iain's for drinks and video games. We played Star Wars: Battlefronts 2, which has its flaws, but is still a fun game to play. If you're a Star Wars fan and want to relive the action from the films, then this game will definitely satisfy one's urge to pick off Rebels with a sniper rifle.

I grew up with video games. I played Atari when it was around, then I received the Sega Master System for Christmas many moons ago and probably spent (read: wasted) a king's ransom in video arcades. I'm thinking of investing in the Xbox 360, since Sony has decided to install lockware (software that "locks" games to specific consoles, so users cannot install games on other consoles - but if your console is stolen or breaks down, the games you have will be useless) and are involved with other shady dealings around copyright and privacy issues. Boing Boing has some great coverage on the whole debacle.

Lately I've become a casual "gamer" - I hate that word - playing real-time strategy games (Rise of Nations is my current vice) and first/third person shooters (Halo is fun, but I'm more into historic games such as Battlefield 1942) like Battlefronts. I'm a sucker for Star Wars games. By casual I mean I (a) don't join clans (b) don't spend hundreds of dollars on gaming-specific PCs or the upgrades (c) don't (or at least try to) spend most of my waking hours playing them or discussing them. Lisa and I discussed my gaming habit, and she makes a good point: hanging out and being active is much more rewarding than sitting in my office for hours. My plan is to build a kind of schedule than limits my gaming time. Yeah, I don't mind the verb/adjective "gaming." It's a good word.

Getting some school work done. I want to post more later.


My favourite quote, so far.

"Nature is a haunted house—but Art—is a house that tries to be haunted."

Emily Dickinson


Look at us now.

The problem I'm having with Blogger these days is the fact that the "Interests" and "Favourite Books" sections don't give enough room for all the stuff I want to brag about. I cut and pasted my profile from Friendster, but only a third of my favourite things appear. I should look into editing the old profile page.

I'm just doing up a short paper on W.E.B. DuBois and then I'm slinking off to bed. Lisa is staying up late so I figured I'd hang out with her for awhile and finish this thing off. No, not because I procrastinated. Well, a little.

Oh, last weekend. A brief summary: last Thursday I made the trek over to New Westminster to celebrate Iain's birthday and hang out with the Other Press crew, the student paper I wrote for when I was attending Douglas. Lots of booze. I played pool - I'm totally rusty, like an "iron nail immersed in a rain barrel for a century" kind of rusty - and I taught two people how to hold a pool cue. I received some compliments on past work and condolences for Terminal City. I ended up crashing at Iain's, and the resident cat snoozed on my lap. Friday night was the Terminal City get-together. Kind of sad, it was. Honestly, I don't remember much. I had the linguine (too much butter), several glasses of beer, aged whiskey, flourless chocolate cake (which was rich, but needed another dimension), creme brulee (now, that was fine) and some bites of other dishes. I remember walking home happy, but feeling a little empty. There should be accents for "creme brulee," but I don't know how to HTML that kind of thing.

Just two more assignments, then I'm free. My plans so far? Hang out with Chris and play video games with Iain. I've been invited to see Harry Potter - I'm not a huge fan, but it's wonderful to have kids reading and getting excited about stories and characters, so it's fun to keep track of the narrative. I don't have time to read the books so the movies shed some light for me. But, like I heard recently, Rowlings can't write a sentence without bogging it down with adjectives and adverbs. I agree. That kind of turns me off her prose.


Halloween 2005

The squash in question in broad daylight. This year's theme was "oversized goods."
Creepy evening photo. The labotomy will commence.
I get fuzzy when I carve. Luckily, I stay away from turkey.
The little pumpkin is ready for its journey into the afterlife.
The final product(s).
I was accosted by a man-sized chicken outside my house. A chicken, I might add, wearing a cape and a belt. At first, I thought this peculiar poultry wanted to hand me a leaflet for the neighbourhood fried chicken restaurant - then I realized no such place existed in my neighbourhood. My doubts were verified when the chicken tackled me to the ground. Happy Halloween, Kevin.


The silver lining.

I have some things to look forward to these days.

I'm still writing. I got the jump on my freelancing career; there's an interview with Seth to sell (anyone out there interested?) plus some connections elsewhere. School is almost over, thankfully.

That's it for now.



I just wrote my linguistics exam, and let me tell you: that was one of the most disastrous exams I ever wrote. I did well on about sixty percent of it, the rest were either left incomplete or incorrect.

What the hell am I going to do?

There is still a group project due at the end of the semester. I know we'll do well. No, we have to do well.

On the bright side, I seem to be doing great in my other courses. I missed my classes on Monday, somehow fell into an erratic sleeping/eating routine, and I'm behind on a couple of readings. I'm getting good grades in these other classes, despite my rotten habits.

I said it over the weekend. Now I'm saying it here.

I'm burned out on school.

The daily grind of going to classes, the constant critizing, the bureaucracy, the lack of money, reading texts after texts after texts and not having time to read what I want; I've about had it. I'm sick of writing papers on topics I don't care about. I'm tired of being in classes where almost everyone is at least a decade younger than me. I feel like a fraud. I don't belong here at all.

Most of all, I'm starting to suffocate in the closet. I feel as though I need to conceal my history and my politics, like if I "came out" no one would take me seriously. It's like I'm minority. People see me and they think, "another white male." It's funny how ethnicity and gender not only act as signifers, but also as a facade that conceals indentity. Identity is rooted in the historical relations that underline social relations in day-to-day life.

Thanks, Dorothy Smith. I feel better.



That stuff at the very bottom of the page? The very bottom? That's supposed to be in the sidebar, directly to your right. Under the links. How the hell did it get there? Did it drink some bleach and fall down?

Must improve HTML skills.

I would like a new liver for Christmas. And a pony. But not a pony's liver.

Here is my itinerary for the next few days. Does this entry sound a little downtempo? That's because it's raining and I'm (attempting) to study for my linguistics exam tomorrow. Oh, and the paper went well. I stayed up late Sunday night finishing it off, and I even included coloured copies of the prints and analyzed in the text, then related the analysis to the three theories (Baudrillard and Smith, and I'm hesitant to call Klein a "theorist" but her book, while a refreshingly light read, wasn't the usual postulating I'm accustomed to in sociology) throughout the paper.

So, I'm going to Iain's birthday party on Thursday. It's in New Westminster at some bar, where I hear offers one dollar shooters. If you really want to get blotto, and quickly, then buck-a-shots are fine. But I bet the cheap booze employed to concoct these "drinks" would make the palate "shrivel up like a spider with a pin in it." (Ellis, 2005: p. 3). On Friday, the Terminal City get-together. One thousand dollars. A handful a people. The handful of people will be eating and drinking an entire one grand.

MENACING, GRAVELLY VOICE: Ten strangers, locked in a comfortable bistro, must somehow survive the evening as they are subjected to a grisly test: one that will twist their wills, shatter their nerves and inflate their buttocks. They must blow one thousand dollars. Or they die. (The voice trails off, replaced with the dim hum and clatter from inside a restaurant.)


Check this out.

Andrew sent this my way.

Report back, if you like.


A poem comes to life, part one.

Glenn Gould comes back to life
buys a grape soda from a corner store
one with a green aluminum awning over the door
he calls up the radio station, CBC I think
standing in a phone booth, sipping soda
bending the pull-top back and forth, back
and forth.


The End and the Future.

I want to return to a exercise regiment again, but school keeps me glued to the seat. Sometimes, I start to get worried if I'm not reading or writing school related stuff. I will return to the gym and the dojo soon.

Just to let you guys know, Terminal City has officially folded as of Monday. The publisher released a press statement yesterday after a meeting with the editors. My section editor sent me an email with her work number so she could relay the bad news to me. Ugh. There's going to be a food and booze session this Friday, with whatever backpay owed to writers and editors. This sucks. TC was one of the few independent media outlets in the city, and was kind of an institution for awhile there. I know the newspaper folded a few years ago and then was sparked back to life, but I'm skeptical such a rejuvenation would occur again. I get paid, I get fed then I get booze. A nice way to end, I suppose. I was thinking of cutting my ties with them in the future; I guess this is a sign, of sorts. I have my eye on the Tyee, Quill and Quire and, uh, well, I reckon that's it for now.

An essay due next Monday. Another exam next week.



The Alice Munro event was okay. She was handed an award, read for twenty minutes then scooted off stage. No question and answer stuff, which is what I was looking forward to hearing. I wasn't very prepared, so luckily Michael, Lisa's dad, had a good question so he rolled with that and I eavesdropped. I got my quotes. All in all, a successful evening.

We decided to carve Darth Vader's portrait into the gigantic pumpkin.

I've been meaning to write about my Great Aunt Margaret for some time. From what I know, she was the youngest in my grandfather's family (on my dad's side) and was elected to be the one who would go to school and be the family breadwinner. So, the family worked so Margaret could attend university, which she eventually did. However, when she graduated, instead of returning to the family and working as a teacher, she "abandoned" them and fled to New York. There, she would eventually become the head librarian for Columbia University, where some of the Beat poets and writers attended. I don't know if she was working there when Ginsberg and them were taking classes; something worth investigating though. She never married and hardly kept in touch with her family. She did give my dad a book when he was young, but I forgot the conversation that was relayed to me. When she passed away - only a few years ago - she left behind a huge chunk of change because she simply hoarded it all and kept her money tied up in different accounts. The money was slowly dispersed among the family over time. But what is interesting is that she was something of a scholar. Not only did she leave behind some money, she also left behind her notebooks, which contain her ideas on language and other subjects. Two of my uncles are in possession of them. There is going to be a huge family reunion in August, so maybe I can gain access to her notebooks then. Who knows. I was thinking of making copies to evaluate their originality. I'm interested in all this because it raises some questions: why did she leave the family? Why New York? What else did she do there, where did she live? What are in her notebooks? So many questions.

Titles are like women, they. . .oh, never mind.

I started my day on the wrong foot, or, to be more precise, I rolled off the wrong side of the bed at a very late hour. That's what you (meaning me) get for drinking Guinness until the wee hours. I used to think drinking Guinness was a cliche, but my position recently changed. As soon as I got old enough to stop caring what other people thought, I resumed sipping a deep, dark pint during my leisure hours. Mental note: buy some quality beer glasses. No, not goggles.

I have 2000 words due by Monday. So gentlemen, boot up your laptops. The situation is controllable and is easily accomplished as soon as I sit down and bang it out. Lisa is kind enough to fry up some breakfast and brew a pot of coffee.

Besides that, I don't have much to report. That's the problem of being in a rut, either a good or bad one; your day-to-day may have brief moments of joyous triumphs or crushing defeats, but no one within earshot of you really wants to listen. No, they'd rather fling their helpless bodies over a tall bridge than listen to another anecdote.

I did go to the Buffy Sing-Along. And so, here's a quick rundown.
1. Before the films, or shows, we were treated to a collection of corny commercials and bad cable television, and an indie vampire film. I felt like I returned home.
2. We watched "Hush," and the audience had to keep quiet during the silent periods until the end. Then, we could scream our lungs out at the climax.
3. Some folks volunteered to play Buffy trivia. Winners took away some free DVD's.
4. There were two drunk idiots yelling at the MC, who is also the organizer, and one of them ended up tossing a brick bottle through one of the theatre's windows doors when they were escorted out. This is kind of a generalization, but that's the gist of the situation. So, you two like independent film? Is that why you vandalized the only art house theatre in this city? Idiots.
5. There was also Buffy karaoke. Let me explain. First, an episode is played without any sound, but the dialogue is displayed on the bottom of the screen. Couples had to read the dialogue and act out the scene the best they can. Wouldn't you know it, the drunk idiots were one of the contenders. They did not win.
6. They played "Once More with Feeling," and the audience sang along all throughout it. We blew bubbles during the Willow and Tara song, wore plastic fangs as we sang along with Spike, and underwear was thrown in the air whenever someone said "I'm not wearing underwear" on screen. The event was like the Rocky Horror Picture Show, only for a younger set and it had vampires and relatively recent pop culture references. Yeah, and during the song "Walk Through the Fire" people lifted their cell phones into the air. The plan was to use lighters, which were in the gift bags attendees received, but lighting them is a fire code violation and would set off the sprinklers. Still, the cell phones were fun.

And that's it for me.



Hey. I'm looking at my linguistics homework, which is due tomorrow, and I'm thinking "this is a five page homework assignment from the very depths of Hell." I've been to all the lectures, I tried keeping up with the readings and thought about the infromation, but this assignment is hard.

So much to do. So much to write about. I'm not complaining, but having a few days where I don't have to feel the pressure from deadlines and obligations would be a treat. And, Cinemuerte has reared its ugly head at last. Tonight we are going to the Buffy sing-along and a showing of "Hush," the silent episode with no dialogue at all. I think that's a first for television.

Trying. To. Get. Things. Done.


Weather: Cloudy and bright. Music: Cat Power. Drink: Coffee.

I just finished my breakfast (scrambled eggs fried with white onions, on two slices of toast topped with fresh tomatoes and chili peppers, and accompanied by homefries) and now I can take a breath and enjoy my hot, sweet coffee and write an actual update.

Okay, for starters, there's a pumpkin the size of car tire in our kitchen, courtesy of Lisa. I really have no idea what to do with this sucker. Suggestions have been tossed around: carve it up for Halloween, make something tasty out of it, smash it to oblivion - we have a lot to work with here.

Writing is still keeping me busy. I co-authored two articles on boxing with Lisa, plus I finished a food review. On Thursday I interviewed Seth (he's published by Drawn and Quarterly) to coincide with his arrival in November. He was really nice and cordial, and had lots to say about comics and illustrating. The two short stories have been sent out, and I await the editors' (who, in fact, are the creative writing department) decision. Tomorrow evening I'm covering Alice Munro's reading and Q and A for the Vancouver Writer's Festival and I have a few ideas for the future. Oh, and the two plays I'm working on! The radio play is on the back burner for now, but I wrote some preliminary notes and "sketches" to get me started. The stage play will be workshopped after my two essays are finished. I also have to get in touch with a dramaturgist who provides feedback for amateur playwrights.

My two essays are very exciting. No, really. For my sociology essay we need to pick a topic of our choice and somehow apply social theory. I'm thinking of looking at texts by either Jean Cocteau or Charles Baudelaire and discussing Dorothy Smith's "The Everyday World as Problematic" in relation to those texts. This is just a foggy, ambiguous idea for now, but it will solidify after I meet my prof. My English paper is a kind of "poetry contest" where we have to choose one poem from a list - one that includes Shelley, Pope and others - and explain why the poem you chose deserves to "win." I picked Sylvia Plath's "Daddy" because I tend to lean towards modernist works, even though I adore Donne. I've read Don McKay's work and I really enjoyed his poem "Softball," and I also read some Wallace Stevens; his poetry is extraordinarily subtle and downtempo, but the poems don't become too delicate, or else they fall into the saccharine trap.

Who knows. Everything seems to be the same: people are getting married, people are breaking up and people are falling in love. We lost Nicky the farm dog awhile ago (her picture is here) and it was a sombre day when we got the news. She was found in the open barn, lying on the ground. She may have died from kidney failure, so her passing was rather quiet and she didn't suffer. It won't be the same when she isn't there to greet us with her bright eyes and wagging tail when we arrive at the farm. Poor Nicky. We miss her terribly.

Tonight we are going over to Chris and Carla's potluck Turkey Day. Minus the turkey, of course. Well, for me and Lisa anyway. I have to head out and pick up some ingredients for our contribution. Ciao.


I am so sorry.

Charles Baudelaire: The Flowers of Evil. You are
one of the most loved and hated poetic works.
Death and decadence are important themes for
you, but none should overlook your impressive
aesthetics, either. Deep down youre not evil at
all, you just like to play the tough guy on the

Which literature classic are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


More later.

I haven't had a chance to post anything, so yeah, I'm busy. Thanksgiving was brief but fun, and I'm getting back a ton of assignments this week, the last story is almost finished (the first one was sent out the other day) and now I'm getting onto the rest of my homework. More later.


There are Men on My Roof

It's true, I'm not being cryptic. As I write this, there's at least two gentlemen climbing up and down ladders outside my office, and the occassional banging on the roof follows suit. It's currently raining, so that must suck having to work up there. I've been told that roofers prefer working in the rain so they can see where the leak is. Who knows.

But, uh, other than that it's kind of dull around here. Going to classes, going to work, writing whenever I can. I spent last night goofing off and crashing really early; now I feel as though I can actually Get Things Done. Yesterday I did that mid-term. It went well. There was one section that got me: identifying the similarities and differences between two phonemes. I have no idea if I actually answered any of them correctly. But that's always the case. Whenever I think I did badly, I end up doing great.

Now I have to edit. I should make a list of all the possible topics I want to blog about, then write them up like chapters.


A message from management.

Due to an increase of spam appearing in the comments, I've activated the word verification option for future commenters. It should only take three seconds to fill it out. Sorry for any inconvenience.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

The end of the week.

Here I am. I still have a lot of work to do here, and all my deadlines are coming up fast. Wish me luck.

I wrote my English mid-term on Friday (crazy, yes? The mid-terms at UBC are in October. Do other universities have such early dates?) and I think I did okay. Hard to say at this point. I was the second person to finish, and I glanced at the first exam handed in. Someone analyzed the same poem as me, "The Silken Tent" by Robert Frost. However, this person's analysis focused on the "power of feminine strength" whereas I narrowed it down to a celebration of the self, and how faith relates to the self. You know how, if you read the paper just below yours when you hand things in, and you read their answers to reassure yourself? I did that. I wasn't reassured. My problem is that Frost uses the feminine pronoun once, in the first line and as the first word. Having such a small presence in the poem, the pronoun is relinquished of any prominence in the overall piece. Now I have something to think about.

After the mid-term I met up with the Poetry Society, a new club at the university. There was, like, two people there, but we went ahead with an ice-breaker. There was a brief overview of what the club will be doing - lectures on poets, poems or literary devices, then a workshop on members' poems who want feedback on their work, and possible involvement in poetry slams and open mike nights. Then there was a poetry trivia game, and I won by a whopping two points! The prize? Werther's Originals. Oh, yes. And, a strange coincidence. The other person at the ice-breaker was the same person who finished her exam first in my English class. Strange.

Last night Lisa and I attended a Sikh pre-wedding reception. Guggin, a classmate of Lisa's . . .okay, I don't know how to phrase this. There's just way too many possessives. Let's try it this way: Guggin: Lisa's classmate. Guggin's sister: the one getting married. We got a lift to Guggin's parent's house, courtesy of Lisa's folks. Yesterday was market day for their farm, so they were in town. When we got there we noticed a group hanging around in the front lawn, so we walked into house. We removed our shoes at the entrance, covered our heads with scarves provided in the foyer, and sat upstairs where the priest was reading from scripture. Apparently, the book is read in its entirety without stopping. It takes about two days. Of course, there's more than one priest at the house, and they read in shifts. Listeners are obliged to leave a small donation to the temple, so we gently placed our humble donations at the alter where the priest was reading. This was in the living room, which was as bright as day. A small, red canopy was strung over the priest, and the alter was draped in the same, bright red material. I was really curious to see the book, but I couldn't see it from where I was sitting. We then met up with Guggin and had some food downstairs. Food needs to be in the house twenty-four hours while the book is being read. So, we enjoyed some delicious dal and this cheese dessert (forgive me, I don't remember the name) that is very difficult to make. It was like a thin pudding, with small bits of cheese within it. The dessert was very creamy, and a sweetness reminiscent of condensed milk. Needless to say, with my love of condensed milk, this was one of the most exceptional desserts I've tasted in recent memory.

Lisa made crepes. I will eat them now.


From http://www.etymonline.com/

"It is often forgotten that (dictionaries) are artificial
repositories, put together well after the languages they
define. The roots of language are irrational and of a
magical nature."

-Jorge Luis Borges, Prologue to "El otro, el mismo."


The beginning of the week.

Sorry. This week is will be a busy one, so if I don't call or seem absent-minded it's because I have a thousand deadlines jabbing me in the ribs with a rusty fork. A fork found in the bottom of a greasy dumpster.


1. Finish my readings. That means goofing off must be kept to a minimum.
2. Complete a two-part article on boxing. Part one will be done tonight.
3. Fish out some articles for the Ubyssey, if feasible.
4. A homework assignment for linguistics.
5. Study for linguistics mid-term.
6. Call friends and family.

I have some interesting news regarding my late great aunt (is the title written "Great Aunt?") plus some literature stuff to write on. Maybe on Thursday.


The picture has nothing to do with the post. It's just nice, that's all.

I don't usually do requests, but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Now, it's been brought to my attention that my "review" of Jess's fabulous breakfast was sadly lackluster. Allow me to expand on that.

There are two kinds of breakfasts in the world. The kind of breakfast we eat when we're trying to get out the door, or we're not in the mood to cook or we're just too sick to even crack an egg. Then, there's the kind of breafast we savour, as each bite is a luxury as we read the paper or listen to the radio or watch television. What was unique about Jess's breakfast is that her eggs and coffee were the result of the former kind of breakfast when we really wanted the latter. Just replace "sick" with "hung over." The coffee was rather light, which was perfect for the time of day - strong coffee in the afternoon can kill my stomach - and had a casual tone to it. It was not the complicated coffees we would get at a cafe, it was the kind with a bright, simple flavour friends drink as they gossip in the kitchen. The eggs were a treat. Fluffy, light, and unpretentious; the only problem I had was the amount. I could have eated an entire plate of them, they were that good. Accompanied by slices of chewy toast and orange juice, we enjoyed our feast on Jess's front lawn on a table draped with a colourful tablecloth. The service was exquisite, although the patronage have to make their own coffee, an innovative idea but some folks have trouble even grinding the bean, and we can't have ham-fisted philistines handling such a delicate chore. I strongly suggest taking the time to enjoy this hidden gem.

Had my first day of work yesterday. A brief but thorough orientation plus the first day of training, which was really fun. It's been awhile since I really enjoyed a grammar lecture, especially when it gets into philosophy, history and linguistics. My Wednesday was super fun, I got 20% off my comics (it would have been $60, but it came out to be $40) and I still haven't read them all. Susanna Clarke is still an excellent read.

Back to the books.

Photo by Andrew.



I'm finishing up a short paper.

Today was pretty interesting. I woke up early and helped Lisa clean up the house: the landlord was coming by with an appraiser, so you know. A tidy house is much more preferable to present than a barn-like catastrophe, especially when Old Man McLandlord comes a'callin'.

I should mention this, too. I am officially rolling in greenbacks.

So, to celebrate, we went to the Hatch for a late breakfast. The food was terrific, and I really dug the coffee refills. Why? Well, I had a job interview today for the Writing Centre on campus, and I needed that extra shove to relax my stiff, stubborn tongue. The interview went really well; it was more of a chat than a formal interview. We just went into my past experience, especially my time at the Learning Centre, but mostly I just asked a bunch of questions and discovered, much to my relief, that the centre there operates the same way as the previous one. Nothing new to learn! Well, not entirely. I'm really excited about this new gig. My first day is on Thursday, when I get the Big Tour and some orientation, then I have to observe another tutor. There's also a course offered, and it's mandatory. To be honest, the whole course was a problem for me. I already have plenty of experience, and my workload is at the breaking point. I seriously considered not taking the job if I was forced to take this course. There were some incentives though, like (A) I get paid to be trained (B) it's only a 6 week course (C) it's run by an award winning prof and (D) it's an opportunity to learn something new and listen to other perspectives. Plus it's free.

Tomorrow is new comic day, and I'm a'gonna spend, spend and spend.


Monday morning!

The articles are done, and now I have one film review to write up. It's only 500-600 words. I'm okay with this.

Started Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell last night, and I'm already entranced after the first dozen pages. Clarke's 19th century voice is very convincing, and my suspension of disbelief is firmly entrenched whenever I crack open this hefty tome. More to come, for sure.

I also owe myself a Vonnegut write-up, and this promise will be honoured as soon as I feel I'm caught up enough. I'm a little behind on my linguistics reading (although most of my class is in the same situation) and so Tuesday will be another day of sitting and working.

Robin and Grace swung by Saturday night, and their brief visit was really fun. House guests have a way of breathing life back into the house. We did some catching up Saturday night, then on Sunday morning we wandered around Chinatown sampling deep-fried pastries. I was sorry to see them go.

The Chinese donut never ceases to amaze my palate, or clog my arteries.

I just remembered I have a thousand phone calls to make. Good-bye.


Some news.

I need to blog a little to get the hamster inside my skull to start running inside his little wheel. Here is my itinerary for the next week or so, in case I neglect to post amidst the Maelstrom.

First, Lisa got back from the doctor's and she was informed that her leg is not fractured, but instead she has a major bone bruise that'll take months the heal. Poor girl. While she was out, she picked up a couple of belated birthday presents for me! A copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell and natural licorice. Oh, yes. Now, I have to finish a short paper for sociology, complete my linguistics homework, read the texts for sociology and linguistics, write an article for Terminal City, write a film review for The Ubyssey, edit the short stories and finally, apply for work study jobs. I have four lined up: English tutor, classroom assistant and assistant to the Manuscripts Curator in the library.

I also found out my last article for The Other Press was selected for the CUP (Canadian University Press) Wire, which means my article (some reviews of comics I've been reading) might appear in other school papers across Canada. And, my English prof from last term emailed me today to say I wrote an exceptional essay (on gender in the Petrarchan sonnets, and how they're countered in Shakespeare's sonnets) and I should consider using my thesis in a larger work in future classes. My wrist is sore from all this back-patting.

Robin and Grace might be staying here over the weekend, and I'll be calling Ryan on Friday plus hooking up with other friends too.


I am at school.

Everything is back to normal. I've figured out my readings, I'm doing my homework on time, and I'm writing for money rather than some fruit or a handshake. The student loan hasn't been dumped into my coffers yet, but I'm alright with it. When it does finally arrive, I decided to put some money aside and make a donation to the Red Cross, and take Lisa out for breakfast at The Hatch. Two worthy charities, for sure.


When I start to burn out, I play video games.

In the last screen shot, you'll notice a smudge on the bottom left-hand side. You see, I was crouching behind a van, and a tank had just rolled onto the street, right in the other side of that stone wall. Then, another soldier popped out from behind the wall and took a shot. That smudge was that very shot, imbedded into the van's grill. Needless to say, I had to clip'em.


There I go, rationalizing again.

Just trying to catch up here. I'm finishing up the reviews and I have some reading and note-taking lined up for tomorrow. The last play I have to review is on Monday. The Fringe administration has been awesome - the person in charge got me tickets faster than, well, something really fast. Sorry folks, I'm out of smilies.

New favourite band? The Kills.

And holy smokes do I have to buy a lot of crap. Possibly a new backpack (one that carries laptops), books, a memory upgrade (not for me, the computer, although the idea isn't exactly unappealing), more clothes, a portable coffee mug thing, comics and of course, my tuition.

It seems kind of selfish, doesn't it? Me having these little consumer woes while people, living a few thousand miles just south of here, are living in a watery, post-apocalyptic warzone. If I had the cash and fewer distractions then yeah, I would do more. But I also look at it this way: I'm broke. I'm also a full-time student who was, for the lack of a better word, blocked from entering post-secondary. Partly because I was sleeping on people's couches when other kids were packing their lunches for their first day of university. And partly because I had to overcome my self-esteem issues too. For me, going to school and writing are the most important things to me right now. If I had the cash the Red Cross would be getting a cheque from me.


I wish there are more classes like this.

An article from Boing Boing: a course offered at UoC in Berkeley covering participatory media. Page includes reading list.



So I hit a snag today. The first of many as I try to balance out my life.

I made my way to the Fringe Fest, waited awhile for the show to start, and when I arrived at the venue the women at the ticket table gave me a puzzled look when I told her I was with Terminal City. No entry for me. I didn't want to wait around for another two hours to find out my request for tickets wasn't considered. Now, I have to call the coordinator tomorrow morning and find out what's going on. Luckily, I'll have this situation sorted out and I can cover my losses.

And on top of that, I don't have all my books yet, and I need to get some reading done. I also have to find a part-time job on campus. These last few days have been a strain. I'm looking forward to ironing out my confusing, sordid life soon. Somebody, call me and tell me everything is going be okay.

I'm writing a film review for the Ubyssey in a couple of weeks, and hopefully Terminal City still wants stuff from me.


Paper and meat.

I've been home for a few hours, and I still cannot begin to describe my experiences when I first stepped onto campus as a student, rather than a reprobate who needs to be escorted off the premises. The sheer number of people numbs me - it's hard to walk in a crowd without wanting to see who's there or if you recognize someone. Just keep walking, I said to myself, and find that damn building where the class is. I'm also surprised by the amount of paper and meat this campus goes through in one week. There were more barbecues roasting dead animals than I've seen in awhile, and everywhere I went some overly tanned stick figure wearing a seashell necklace was shoving a pamphlet or coupons or (why not comics?) flyers under my nose. Note to university administration: leave the grumpy, slightly chubby guy with bad hair alone. Of course, that description isn't exactly a narrow one for a university campus.

I saw three people from the old college today. One is in my English class.

Oh yeah, the classes I'm registered in: English 225: Poetry (analyzing poetry with a technical and rigourous methodology), Linguistics 100: Memorize a Whole Bunch of Jargon and Read Difficult Texts, and Sociology 350: Social Theories. The first two classes are straightforward, but holy moley (moly?) my sociology class is rough. It is one of my majors, for sure, and I need this class for graduation, but the standards are high, dear friends. A ton of written work. Forty to eighty pages of readings a week, some of them being pretty dense. Seminars. Seminars, people. I love the class, it's true, but my knees gave out from under me when I read the syllabus.

One story. According to my schedule, my first class, linguistics, is at 10:30. When time came to get to class, I got hopelessly lost. The massive map near the student union building helped me find my way. I barreled into the classroom with four minutes to spare, sat down and listened to the prof. He had the periodic table of the elements on the overhead. Now, I was thinking, this is cool. The prof was comparing language to the periodic table. I wanted to see where he was going with this. Then he said, "when I looked up my name on rate your professor dot com, some of the complaints from disgruntled students were how I didn't write any notes for my chemistry 350 class last semester." I tried to slink out of the classroom unnoticed, but he totally saw me.


Thrilling? With the right chemical components, then yes.

Before I can do any work this afternoon, there are some chores in need of closure.

1. Clean the kitchen. I already swept the floors but, by God, the kitchen needs a serious intervention.
2. Get my student loan documents to the office post haste. I will be wealthy again soon.
3. See a hairdresser about some hair.
4. Take some shots of the bakery to accompany my food review. Email to editor(s).
5. Head out to UBC to do hand in my work study application, look for the reserve shelves in the library, get a day planner, a portable coffee cup (hopefully) and see if my books have finally arrived in the bookstore.

Then I get to finish the story, then the other one.

OMG, I start school tomorrow. Uni-freakin'-versity. I think if I ingest a pound of opium, followed by a tall glass of rubbing alcohol, I'll do just fine.


Not much to report today, the sternographer said as she stood up for another cup of coffee.

Not much to report today. I spent the day nursing a hang-over (last night we started drinking at the house, then Julia and Jason's place, then the Fountainhead and then Celebrities; the pitcher at the Fountainhead was a gallon's worth of beer) and I was seeking food and coffee for the rest the afternoon. I wanted to attend the Victory Square block Party (local bands play for free!) but the idea of noise and crowds was nauseating. We ended up having coffee and eggs with Jess. It was nice. The weather was just perfect - not too hot but still sunny. I decided I want to travel to Chile, Jamacia and Vietnam.

There was an unsuccessful culinary experiment this evening: I tried making a saffron-cream sauce for pasta, but the saffron totally overwhelmed the flavour. The dish was too flowery, with a slight, bitter aroma. The recipe called for a quarter of a teaspoon, but I think an eighth would be enough. However, the tomato and New Zealand spinach salad totally saved the day, due to the spicy peanut dressing I whipped up. I'll rinse the pasta and throw in some chili paste to cover up the taste, then chased back with a beer.

More editing tomorrow, plus a quick write-up of Slaughterhouse-Five. Oh, and I need more links!



The weather, as Kevin pointed out this afternoon, is turning. I get this slight electric tingle when autumn approaches. I get to wear my favourite clothes in my favourite colours (black, brown and gray) that are in layers! Layers! And I can wrap my hideous, pudgy neck in a scarf.

More to come later.



I've just added a list of permalinks, and if anyone wants to be included (or excluded) just comment here. More links to come.

Storms and picture-books.

Some interesting discussions (or, sometimes, what resembles a discussion on the interweb) that have caught my attention this morning.

First, a decent essay by Dirk Deppey on the emergence of shoujo in the American/Canadian comics market. The essay is well-timed, particularly to my interest in manga as a whole, because I wrote an article on women and manga from an "outsider's" perspective (someone who is new to the literary and graphic conventions of manga) a scant few months ago. Deppey's thesis was countered by Patrick Daniel O'Neill, who states that manga and comics are two distinct mediums, like Japanese kabuki and Euro-American theatre. Youse can read it here, with commentary. His argument was the equivalent of thrusting a pointed stick into a wasps' nest, as seen here. Comments? Questions?

Also, I stumbled upon a small but invigorating thread on Marlo's blog - she dated a friend for awhile, and now I read her blog on occasion. In light of the Katrina disaster, she brings up issues of racism and classism inherent in disaster planning, and the larger of issue of misappropriating federal taxes.

Image courtesy of The Beat.


Today is Edit Day.

That's right. My afternoon will be spent editing a number of projects. I slept in this morning, and as I tap this keyboard the second to last crepe will be cooked. That's the joy of owning a laptop: I can cook and write in the same room. Two short stories (for the journal), notes for another story I finished and the play (no kidding) are on today's menu. No articles until next week.

I had a very odd dream, where I was Spider-Man and some villains formed a team to finally kill me. They knew my secret identity. I spent the dream hiding in different houses, which were all renovated heritage homes, in a neighborhood that reminded me of Toronto in autumn, or Fernwood in Victoria, only more crowded-looking and worn out. My house was in the neighbourhood, and I had to hide behind fences across the street or else they would've seen me. I watched a pregnant Mary-Jane walk home with a friend. I ended up looking for new clothes in a department store and the clerks there tried to get the customers to buy stock options. I kept watching the sky.



I would like to personally thank Financial Aid at the University of British Columbia for faxing our declaration forms directly to the Ministry of Whoever Deals With Student Loans.

The word I was looking for was "declaration" rather than "confirmation."


If being a yuppie is wrong, then I don't want to be right.

So. Today was made up of long stretches of commuting, then punctuated by brief moments of excitement. First, we did end up going to American Apparel. I know exactly what you're thinking: what's that dude doing in that shop? Well, I'm sick of buying clothes that age too quickly or tear too easily once I get then out of the shop. Most stuff from department stores look like crap; the colour is a little off or there's a some crap logo blazoned across the chest. Ew. Then, the clothes at AA (not Alcoholics Anonymous, the selection there sucks) are "reasonably" priced (the black hoodie I picked up was a tad too much) and lo and behold, they're not made in sweatshops!

We made our way to Granville Island so I could drop off the media tickets form for Fringe Fest. We wandered into this office where everyone was buzzing around and ignoring us. I caught the eye of one woman, who turned out to be really awesome, took my name and the form. It's a bizarre experience stepping into a scene like that - you feel like a piece of furniture that is in everyone's way.

We picked up some food from Friends of Cheese (Brie and broccoli soup, a wedge of Stilton and some organic French toastie things) and then some browsing on Fourth Avenue. Nothing good there. After that, we made it to UBC. I had to give them workstudy form and verification form for my scholarship. We also sent Financial Aid after the Ministry for screwing up our confirmation forms.

Okay, I just used the word "form" three freakin' times there. The problem of living in a post-industrial, capitalist society? It makes your language sound like a letter from a civil servant drone.

It was raining off and on all day, which was an awesome break from the heat. So, yeah. Lisa and I finished the day at this medical center, where Lisa got an X-Ray (I repeatedly joked she might accidentally get super-powers from being exposed to those mysterious rays. Any word beginning with the letter X is kind of mysterious) and I crossed the street from the center and visited my doctor. Nothing serious.

We got home a few hours ago. I took a bath, read stuff from the internets, ate cheese and sipped soup, and now I'm ready for bed.

And - a huge congratulations to Chris and Carla! Chris proposed to Carla over the weekend, and they expect to be married this coming spring! wOOt!

Actual number of times the word "form" appears here: Five. No, wait. Six.


My God, this post is so boring.

Clothes report: Picked up two pairs of jeans, plus some ideas for future wardrobes. We will be heading out to American Apparel tomorrow for thin, cotton sweatshirts. I really need a blazer. Why the hell are they so expensive? I saw a couple in the mall, and they looked sharp. I want to look presentable when I go out in public. I'm sick of the "rough edges" applied to men's clothing. The ill-fitting jeans, the splashes of sickly pastel colours; I want to see a consistent palette that compliments each component. I usually don't have time, or funds, to keep up with style hounds. I'm also looking for socks, a scarf and maybe a hat.

Had lunch at Finches (Finch's?) with Jess. The decor was very relaxed and antique-y, which reminded me of having lunch at a friend's place. The Brie and walnut salad (I shared) had a friendly composition, but a little too much vinaigrette. The espresso was thick and rich. For me, the measure of a good espresso is whether or not I need a chaser. If I have to follow each sip of espresso with water, either mineral or plain, then what we're looking at is a good espresso. Now quit looking at it.

Cast of Characters.

We are about to step out for lunch and clothes shopping (downtown!) so just a brief note. Abbreviations are a thing of the past. The current cast is as follows:

L is Lisa: My sweetie.
C is Chris: Good friend and fellow writer.
C is Carla: Chris' charming girlfriend, has a wicked sense of humour.
A is Andrew: Lisa's brother and current housemate.
K is Kevin: Good friend, see post entitled >More Flesh For the Nest<.
T is Tania: Kevin's girlfriend and talented artist, I've known Tania for a long time.
W is Will: Good friend, reigning Bicycle King.
I is Iain: Friend and Arts Editor for the Other Press.
R is Ryan: Old friend and fellow literature lover.
J is Julia: A good friend of Lisa's, does non-profit work.
Ja is Jason: Julia's boyfriend, art, literature and cooking aficionado.
Je is Jess: Another good friend of Lisa's, also does non-profit work.

There are definetly more names to add to this cast, but I think these characters have appeared frequently in my past posts.


Breakfast of Scallions.

Get up early. Roll out of bed and take a shower. Get dressed, and begin to panic when wallet cannot be found. Remember that half of night was slept while still in clothes, so take cover off and shake vigourously. Wallet flops to the floor. Head out to store and buy orange juice, eggs, flax waffles and veggie Bavarian sausages. Go home and brew a pot of coffee (boil water in ibrik and dump freshly ground beans in water, steep for five to ten minutes) then fry up sausages. Dice two fat cloves of garlic, then when sausages are cooked, slip them into the oven and fry up three eggs. Toss in diced garlic. Put two waffles in toaster. Arrange everything on plate and enjoy. Serve with juice and java.

Damn. Fine. Breakfast. Almost as good as Bon's, and healthier.

I had the privilege of hanging out with the Terminal City crew last night for their usual get-together. We met at The Whip, and somehow, between ten people, we spent three hundred dollars on food and booze. Needless to say, after reading my posts from last night I can tell I was definitely dancing with Bacchus. I met some super friendly people, and had great conversations on writing ("the comma should be used sparingly!"), writers (Shakespeare and King, strange but true) and, well, general stuff.

Thinking of going to Bard on the Beach today, but it looks like it's not happening.


Psychology is the 21st century's most powerful weapon.



The internet is the loneliest place in the world.

Another good day.

There is something to be said about sitting in my shorts and t-shirt, wrapped in my favourite housecoat (or bathrobe or nightgown or whatever), drinking coffee and nibbling on a pineapple custard bun, and writing in my office as Edith Piaf croons in the background.

I'm thinking about Paris a lot lately. It's like those times when you meet someone for the first time. You find that someone to be charming and gorgeous (in a strange, Old World kind of way) but you're reluctant to agree on how wonderful this someone is, which is what everyone says. Then, months later, and after much deliberation, you discover you love this someone. You just didn't know it at the time. That's what happens when you're in the moment: it's really hard to see what's really going on. I miss sitting in a cafe, just sitting and drinking coffee and reading or writing. No one bothered me, no one asked me to leave or tell me I've been there too long. I could stay for as long as I like, with a full bar at my disposal. It was bliss. Things I would do differently? Go in the autumn or early - very early - spring. Bring a long, handsome scarf, or buy one while I'm Paris. Get some running shoes. A sport coat. And my laptop. Yeah, weird, huh? Why would I lug this beast around? Well, the keyboards in France are built on Bizarro World, and it's a hassle trying to find an internet cafe. There are quite a few in Paris, but some have crazy hours or they're full.

Even though I'm kind of broke now, I'd rather be poor in Paris than just getting by in Vancouver. Groan.

I have to finish an article and my resume today. I'm doing a food review, and I love writing them. I mean, c'mon, I love to freakin' eat. After reading "Fat" by Raymond Craver I was salivating, even though the food mentioned in the story wasn't exactly paramount. When I finish that I'll be looking up books I want to read online. I feel as though I'm missing out on something, is there anything going on this weekend? Need to find out. Hopefully Chris comes over, having company breaths life into a house.



Okay, so my article is in this week's paper. My bad. I was totally worried I let the folks at Terminal City down. Today is a good day.

I have been thinking about traveling.

The problem of having time off is trying to get things done. Yeah, sure, I can edit finished stories or continue writing current projects, but mostly I just want to sleep and forget I have responsibilities. As far as I'm concerned, holidays are monotonous. I'm updating my resume, sending out documents for scholarships, cleaning out my hard drive (and thinking about upgrading my laptop's memory) and organizing my life for the next six or so months. L and I have a tentative plan to go back east for Christmas, with a possible side trip to New York. That would be awesome; I've never been there, and I wrote up a list of all the sights I want to check out.

Lately, I've been wanting to remove myself from Vancouver. I don't know if it's permanent, but I really want to see more of the world. Spending ten days in Paris, regardless of how amazing it was, just wasn't enough for me. I want to see more of Europe, and possibly elsewhere. I was thinking Vietnam. Don't ask me why, I just want to visit Vietnam. Vancouver gets me down sometimes. The weather is alright, but sometimes the people give me a heartache. Either they are loud or boorish, or two-faced and conniving. I know people are generally the same everywhere else, and I'll meet people with the exact qualities I despise, but I just want something to be different. Maybe I want to be different. Sometimes I need to change too, and when I feel this way it's because I'm resenting myself for whatever reason. Well, my article wasn't picked this week, which wasn't entirely a big deal, but it kinda sucks. Oh well. I do have a food review coming up, albeit a short one, and possibly some show reviews from the Fringe Festival. Ha! It's not like this hasn't happened before. I'll solicit the article elsewhere.



What to do, what to do. I finished the article, and there's that slight twitch in my lower back again, telling me to be worried. I always loved that little gap of uncertainty. Did I do a good job? Is the piece effective? What could have I done differently? It's like I'm wrapping up a sandwich, one that I made myself, and giving it away for someone's lunch. I'm hoping that the person unwrapping the sandwich and taking the first bite will like it. Anyhoo, I'm doing a quick food review, due on Friday, plus other little projects for me.

One of my goals this year, and next year, is to add more layers of complexity to my work. Fine-tuning the craft, so to speak. A good story is well-crafted story, with all the parts interlocking and supporting each other, and dropping small details that flush out a scene and adding another layer of symbolism to the piece.

Need to check out BoingBoing more often.


Tired brain cant right

Today was interesting. I helped L at the market again, and to do that I had to get up early, like around 6:30 or so. However, I just couldn't get to sleep. I kept rolling around like a beached whale. So, I had to work the market with little sleep. The food was wonderful, though. Bries again, accompanied by the most incedible bread. It was made like a French loaf; an excellent, chewy crust and a spongy interior. The bread went really well with the cheese. I also picked up peaches that literally melted into a river of juice when I bit into them. And coffee. I got home at around 1:30 and slept for five hours. Now I'm awake and I'm ready to write. Ugh.

I think my sleep problems stem from the stress relating to my article. I'm a little behind, and I have to get some photos to accompany the article. I'm doing a piece on public art and graffiti, and it's better to have me find the graphs rather than getting someone else to hunt them down. My brain still thinks it's yesterday, like around 10:00 PM.


Who needs money? Me.

Today is new comic day. However, I probably won't be able to pick anything up, on account of being broke. I will get to go outside and enjoy the chilly, cloudy day today. I have to venture out to the "old" school, I think for the final time, and pick up my term papers. If I find I have any dough I'll probably be downtown.

The play is going, um, "well." I looked over it and did some minor revisions, but I spotted some clumsy, not-so-funny parts that need work. I wanted to write a darker comedy, but this thing is really light and sweet. L convinced me to keep the tone, but I will tighten up some scenes. If I get any good work today, then I will workshop tomorrow night. Otherwise, I have another week to finish the fourth draft. Yes, the fourth draft.

Overall, my days are slipping by pretty fast. I had lunch at Cassis yesterday, the new French restaurant on Pender Street. I ordered the thin crust pizza with wild mushrooms, truffle and goat cheese. The dish was very toothsome, with rich, earthy flavours rounded off by the creamy goat cheese. The crust was terrific, very balanced flavour-wise and texture-wise. We ordered the house wine, a French red (I don't remember the name, I should have written it down). The wine had a thick body and a nice, clean finish, but the nose was rather flat. I tried making the panna cotta, but the milk and cream didn't react to the agar, so it ended up being more of a cream pudding. The flavour was very sweet, and I think this could follow a heavy meal.

I'm enjoying my books. The problem with reading while being a full-time student (this only applies to me) is the amount of material I need to cover as I try to manage my recreational reading. Comics somewhat fulfill my craving, but I do need text. When I'm in school I have trouble finding the time to read what I want. Now that the semester is over, it's even harder to pick up a book, because I kinda need a break. Tonight, I'm going to lock myself away with books, comics (maybe) and laptop in my room and soak up some words.

I should point out that A took the shots of the market stall.


>More Flesh For The Nest<

K had a birthday recently. Tonight, I'm meeting old friends at K and T's place for a birthday party. Food, booze and movies, all wrapped up together in a warm, summer evening.

I have been friends with K for almost a decade. We meet for two reasons. First, he was going out with a friend from high school, who was still hanging out with me. Second, on our first encounter, he wandered into my bedroom without an invitation and asked me about the paintings hanging in my room. I figured, this is another guy on his way out like the others. We will meet once, then he will disappear like the rest. You know, it's funny. We bumped into each other prior to this meeting. I was in Nanaimo to see a show. I was with this Irish girl I liked. She once sent me a letter from Ireland, and at the time, it was the first letter I got from a faraway place. Anyway, I'm at this show for K's band, which involved a guy being eviscerated while sitting in a chair by a a guy in a mask and lab coat. After the show, while I was outside and smoking and arguing with a Christian (the crowd outside kind of ganged up on him), two guys were running around with Simpsons masks. They both sped past me, almost brushing against me. I believe one those masked men was K.

Since then, I've gotten high and drunk with K, but that's not all. He was gracious enough to let me crash at his place a few times when I was down and out, despite the fact I startled his mom at one in the morning. Later, we would be "roommates." After returning from Europe, he and T stayed with us for awhile. He felt guilty, but I wished they stayed longer. But K was, and is, far more than just reliable. K is a musician, DJ, activist, tech and scholar.

K will never hesitate to take the piss out of anyone. He will point out the inconsistencies the sentimental tripe that plague the way I speak and write. It's a cold, hard slap across the face, but it's one that wakes you up and let's you see what the deal really is. Sometimes, I need that. K is like the Zen master, not allowing someone to waltz through their life delusional, and subsequently, ignorant. But, K always has something new and interesting to say. His insights into art and politics, the very way he phrases his insights, are worthy of publication. It's a shame he hasn't lifted pen to paper more often. Whether you agree with him or not, he is rarely without a response.

My fondest memories are with K. Hiking up mountains or biking around Vancouver late at night, he is always up for adventure. And he lets me (occasionally, with good reason) play his guitar and drum. Yeah, it's just a snare drum, but it's fun to beat on. He wants to hear what you're thinking. He's a good friend, and always think of him when I'm need of adventure and debate.


Theatre and writing

C was just here (I know, I can stop writing my friends and families' initials and use their full name, but the habit is difficult to break so bear with me) and I am heading out in a few hours. This will give me a chance to run some errands around the house and work on the play. I still have all my notes from previous workshops, so I have something to work from rather than scratching my head and wondering what the audience will like. My telepathic powers have diminished over time, you know. The weather is actually lovely again. The breeze cools everything down, and the sun is not as bright.

Speaking of plays, I think I've figured out the logistical problems with my radio play (C, I believe, knows what I'm talking about) but that won't be until the current project has built some momentum. Apparently, I might have to wait a year or two before my first one is produced, so in the meantime I will work on the other one. That also goes for short stories and articles as well. I totally missed an opportunity to publish a poem while I was at Douglas (argh!) but I was told my short story will be nominated for the student journal. Have I mentioned this yet? I'll pretend I didn't. Being nominated doesn't mean instant publication, it just means my submission will be added to the pile and considered. It would be cool to leave the college with a bang, so to speak.


Oh my.

Do you love coffee?

As I wave, the cruise ship pulls out of the harbour. Red and white streamers gently descend to the water. A woman sobs.

I'm not entirely sure who took these pictures, so could the photographer be so kind and let me know? Last weekend I helped L at the Farmer's Market at Trout Lake. I mostly hung out in the back and took notes for my article, which was due on Monday. The scene was pretty busy, as customers came by all morning and afternoon chatting with L (she is very popular there) and asking questions. Since I was there I had to indulge in the local fare: fresh French bread, slices of creamy and delicate Bries and a rich Americano (my favourite). I loved the ambiance of the market. The bustling crowd, the sharp, delectable smells, the friendly banter among those working the stalls and the customers; there is a strong sense of activity and movement, nothing seems to be languishing. Granted, I wasn't that big of a help. I just lifted heavy items and occasionally talked to customers. My deadline was approaching quickly and I also had an exam Monday morning (which went fine) so I was little anxious. I'll be helping again on the 20th. For those interested, L works on the Yarrow Ecovillage Farm, and they have a website here. They have a stall at Nat Bailey Stadium on Wednesdays and Nelson Park on Saturdays. You get more information here.

But, yeah, I am totally stoked. Over the last I've made some new friends who are interesting and fun. I also had the opportunity to strengthen my relationships with my old friends, and you know who are! Just because I neglect to call folks doesn't mean the love isn't there, it just means I'm hibernating and I need a swift kick to the arse. I may have a spot at Terminal City, and I've been really busy with the writing. Like, a good busy. Not just writing form letters or grant applications or, potentially, porn. I've been accepted to the University of British Columbia, with compliments from profs at my current college. I received some generous scholarships. So I'm happy.

Today is my last day at Douglas College, both class-wise and work-wise. It's pretty quiet in the Learning Center. We're just cleaning up and filling in stats and just trying to get this dump up to speed. And, uh, to my lovely employers, I am currently on break. Yeah, that's it. I've written more than my fair share about his place, but I'll say one thing: I'm not going to miss trudging up that freakin' hill anytime soon.



Hey! I actually woke up kind of early this morning, which is strange for a night owl like me. If I have a day off with no pressing deadlines I just sleep. I get paid today. Nice. Oh, this is a picture of Nicky, the farm dog. I've mentioned her before so I figured, let's get her face out there. She is a really sweet dog: when you call her name and rub her belly she rolls around and snorts like a pig. Very cute.

Went out again last night with co-workers. I had a really good time, but around 11:30 I got really tired and just wanted to go home. My exam yesterday really kicked my ass (it went really well, although I got the first question completely wrong) so I guess I only needed a little booze and dope to return to normal. I'm curious how long people stuck around after I left. Now we have something to talk about while we clean the Learning Center and do up the stats, rather than just staring at people and guessing what they had for breakfast. I will itemize the rest of my life:

1. Did some sketches for a comic strip, and that was fun.

2. Scared and excited to have my script get a cold reading this month.

3. Over-population. What a crock. We don't need less people, we need people not doing stupid crap. Less stupid, please.

4. I have a long-ish list of food I want to cook, like an Italian dessert, some Mexican and Chilean dishes and some sauces I read about recently.

5. Currently reading Alice Munro's Who Do You Think You Are? and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, plus some ballads by Federico Garcia Lorca. All good reads so far.