Please send help, and coffee.

We started packing and moving furniture yesterday morning at around 9:00. It is now 3:30 in the morning, almost twenty-four hours later, and we are about 80% finished. The large furniture is packed, and just about every box is gone, too. We have another six hours to finish up before the moving company comes by to pick up the crate. We are exhausted. There were moments when we just wanted to walk away, change our names and disappear in a foreign country rather than face another hour of incessant packing.

I am watching Arsenal play at 9:30 AM. You're damn right I am.

Oh, thank God, we are almost finished.



Boxes and bags and tape and hammers.

Moving day. Ugh.

We started packing before Christmas, and we resumed when we returned from our brief but lovely holiday. I've already taken the bookshelves apart and now we're moving onto the bathroom and kitchen. Lisa is posting some of our furniture on Craigslist, which is remarkably efficient: most of the pieces will be gone today. It seems like people are always hovering around on that site.

It's not like we have a million things to pack, but with only two days to finish we can feel the pressure. Luckily we bought a couple bottles of wine to help with the process. Taking periodic breaks helps, too. There's nothing overly poetic about moving, but I do feel strangely satisfied to throw / give away the flotsam and jetsam we've accumulated over the years.

Sorry, this is a boring post, but really this is the only thing going on at the moment. Moving out is just a cog in the wheel that will roll us into Slovenia. I will really miss this house - the neighbourhood is near perfect and we're very close to downtown; however, I won't miss the moldy windows and drafty rooms. I'm hoping we can find another house in the same 'hood.

Okay, back to it.



It's the most wondeful time of the year.

We are now at Lisa's parent's abode. We arrived this afternoon after a frantic packing and organizing session, which included herding the poor cat into his kennel for the trip. He had to visit the vet a couple of days ago for his annual check-up and vaccinations (yes, I'm actually cat-blogging - if you're already bored skip this part), and he took a couple of days to recover from the injections. He basically slept and refused food, which worried us at first, but now that he's in a new environment the fire has promptly returned to his eyes.

The weather is chilly in the valley, and there are a few patches of snow scattered around. I think that really makes the holiday.

So, a quiet Christmas for me this year. Unfortunately, we can only have a few days off before we return to Vancouver and pack up our house. I wish I could celebrate longer, but them's the breaks.

Also, this was my dad's favourite holiday. He grew up in a Catholic family in Quebec, and Christmas was a huge celebration for that side of the family. My dad would always talk about réveillon, when families, after Mass, would be up all night on Christmas Eve to eat and drink. I'm going to miss his homemade presents and the huge, steaming pot of grog we would make on Christmas Day. I am happy and grateful, yes, but I also feel a little hollow inside, too. This year I'm just going to enjoy a restful pleasant holiday and do some writing and reading. Oh, and my homework.

I think this year I will try to replicate my dad's grog recipe, although he used another type of fruit juice rather than lime (or lemon). That's more of a punch than true grog. I suppose he just liked the word "grog."

Say it now with me: grog. Good job.

I haven't had a cigarette in awhile. Yay me. Of course, now I have this overwhelming urge to consume an entire cheesecake and a bottle of whiskey, but hey - at least I'm not smoking. I'll just gain two hundred pounds while trying to curb my cravings.

Merry Christmas!


Outer Space and Beatniks

The First Fireworks

NASA recently photographed the resonating glow from the first "things" created in the universe 13 billion years ago. Alexander Kashlinsky, the spokesperson from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, made this intriguing statement in the article:

"Imagine trying to see fireworks at night from across a crowded city," Dr. Kashlinsky said. "If you could turn off the city lights, you might get a glimpse at the fireworks. We have shut down the lights of the universe to see the outlines of its first fireworks."

Yes, please, shut off all the lights in the universe.

A Beat Comedy

Pull My Daisy, filmed by Robert Frank in 1959, is what I consider to be the quintessential "text" on the Beat movement. Narrated by Jack Kerouac and featuring such luminaries as Allen Ginsberg and Geogory Corso, this short film is important because the figures in the movement are documenting, and thus, explaining themselves, leaving out biographers and critics.

Also, check out this cut-up routine by William S. Burroughs and Antony Balch:

More on this film and other experiments later.

As I move closer to grad school I've been thinking about future projects. There's been a word bouncing around in my head for quite some time, so I'll drop it in here and listen to whatever sounds it makes when it drops: sociopoetics.

I'll leave it at that for now and rummage through my research.


I'm back.

I'm doing alright today.

We buried my dad on Friday, and I came home yesterday afternoon. The interment was brief but ceremonial: I carried his urn to his site, and everyone present helped me lower his remains into the ground. My dad's grave is under three trees standing close together, so we decorated a branch hanging over his marker with Christmas ornaments. That was his favourite holiday.

Now, I move on.

I'm leaving soon, and although I'll probably implode by New Year's, I'm confident we'll get everything finished by the end of the month. To make everything easier I tried to set up tangible goals. I took the liberty of putting up a blog for our Slovenia trip. That way, I have something to look forward to when all my obligations are fulfilled. Also, I love tinkering with websites and text.

The blog, entitled Spare Winter Hours, is here. Bear with me - it's still under construction.

Um, what else? I actually did a fair bit of writing in Victoria. Not just school-related writing but also my side projects as well. I edited some stories, reformatted a comic book script and added more material to a second script. I was quite proud of myself.

I find editing my work to be somewhat therapeutic. No one can control the random events that pummel the soft, fleshy exterior of their day-to-day lives, but to create something from nothing, and to have a degree of control over that creation, makes the world a much more comfortable place.

Also, I need to want to write 4000 words by January 9th. Ugh.

Addendum: I hope I don't sound insensitive - I'm terribly sad, but I need to return to my life if I'm going to survive the rest of the month. When dealing with a distressing situation, going back to a routine actually helps.


In Memoriam, Michael Kenneth Webb

On Friday, December 8th, at approximately 9:30 PM, my father quietly passed away.

My mom, Lisa and I left his room at around 9:00 to get food, and when we got back to my parents' place we got the phone call. I haven't cried like I did that night for a long time.

According to the nurse, it's very common for people to wait until they're alone to pass on. My dad wanted to leave with dignity, and he did.

The memorial will be held on Wednesday. I will be reading a eulogy.

I want to give a huge, heartfelt thank you to friends and family who have supported my mom and I during my dad's passing. On behalf of my family, we appreciate all you've done and said.

Take care of yourselves.


Message from the Island.

I have to be quick before my laptop's battery dies:

I rushed to Victoria Monday night, after dashing off an email to my profs explaining that I won't be around for my two exams this week, and the exam on Monday. Or, to be more exact, I won't be able to hand in my two take-home exams and my final paper.

My dad has made another turn for the worse. I'm not going to add further details - my family deserves their privacy. I can say it's only a matter of time.


Everyday Should Be Like Sunday

To wake up late and sip coffee while reading the news online as winter blows into town is, quite frankly, the best way to spend a Sunday.

So, this is what I've been up to lately:

Still writing my essay, I am. I have two take-home exams, one is 1500 words and the other is 1000 words, which is terribly easy, and three in-class exams in-between. I finish on the 19th. For one essay I'll be explicating a passage from Nietzsche's "On Truth and Lying in a Non-Moral Sense" and the other will be on Barthes' (and two or three other theorists) take on textuality.

I prefer the take-home exam. It seems unrealistic to ask someone to write down something smart in two and a half hours. Academic work is not done on the fly; the best work is done slowly and meticulously, like tending to a garden.

One of these days I should find a way to upload my successful essays so others can plagiarize enjoy them and insult me mercilessly give me feedback.

I am designing a website for myself. Lisa has iWeb on her laptop, and I've been piecing it together in my spare time. It's part vanity site and part work site, and I'll be showing off published work and hopefully some podcasts. Since I have three radio plays mapped out it might be fun to get some people together and record the rehearsals.

That's the problem with school: I find it hard to juggle creative work with school work. This has been a big dilemma for me, and I could use some heckling advice.

I've updated my links today. Friends, if you have blogs or websites I should know about, email me right away. Thanks.


No wrong could come of this.

I am drinking beer from New Zealand, watched a little of Little Miss Sunshine and I am confident about my remaining paper.

All is good. Good-night.

Connection: GO!

Some bits from the internets:

2006 Blip Festival

30 artists from all over the world gathered in New York City yesterday to put on shows, installations and workshops featuring low-tech digital music, and will be there until Sunday. Old Nintendo and Sega game systems are just some of the mediums these artists use, representing the next generation of circuit bending.

Antikythera Mechanism

An astrological computer dating from the second century B.C.E was recently reverse-engineered, and now its inner mechanisms are no longer a mystery. I discovered this news item awhile ago, and I've been sort-of following it across the internet. Here's another link to Nature.


Just a note before bed.

Here I was thinking I could write a paper in three days, since I've been behind due to all the traveling and worrying that's been going on the last couple of months. I asked my prof for an extension and he was kind enough to allow it.

According to my dad's doctor, he's getting weaker, and not eating much.

The streets are smothered in snow and school ends in two days.

Tonight I drank some chocolate stout and ate perogies, then had a snowball fight.

I'm still a little unhappy.


The weather and the water.

Even though the boil water advisory was lifted yesterday, our fair city was bombarded with another challenge: a surprise snowfall, a very rare occurrence in these here parts. Yesterday, the buses weren't running down University Boulevard, the main road into campus, and so I walked the long stretch - large branches had snapped off trees and fell across the road. Power was shut off on campus, and all the buildings were locked, and classes cancelled. The campus resembled a post-apocalyptic landscape, with a few bodies struggling against the snow on a campus rendered quiet and still. I checked out a few buildings, shrugged my shoulders and then promised myself to listen to the news more often.

The city does look pretty, though. Hopefully I can find our trusty camera and take some photos.

One essay to go! Three days to finish it! Wish me luck!


Spending Eternia at Work, or, He-Man is Cooler Than You Think

My first strip, er, strips. Again, this was made with a strip generator courtesy of Zek Advance.

Click on a strip to enlarge.

I <3 winter!

Snow has been falling since yesterday. This morning the ground, the trees and even the people are completely covered now as the flakes keep falling.

Will school be cancelled tomorrow? I doubt it, but it would be nice, yeah?

I really want to go outside and pelt people with snowballs. And maybe even go for a short hike.



I recently finished one paper, and now I'm working on another, and last night I looked at the instructions for my last paper. I haven't looked at it in a while, assuming the paper would be relatively short. I'm looking at 12 to 15 pages. I have to write this in four days.


That only means I'll be drinking more coffee and getting less sleep in my last week of school.

The comic I posted is only a quarter of the story! I have to redo three strips before I delete the previous post and upload the entire strip.


I made a comic.

Zek Advance is an art group from Slovenia, my new home for six months, and they produced a strip generator.

I want to spend more time on projects. I love school, yes, but I need to write. I received an email from someone today asking me how the writing is going. Ha. Full-time studies aren't exactly conducive to writing.


What if . . . ?

. . . Stan Lee and Jack Chick collaborated on a comic?

These aren't complaints, they're Morse Code for OH MY GOD I WANT TO RUN AWAY SCREAMING!!1!

The next month and a half is going to be crazy busy. I've been using the term "crazy busy" for three weeks now because I can't think of a more appropriate description.

First, we need to give our one month notice to move out of our current house. Then, we have to pack our belongings and get rid of furniture, clothes and other miscellaneous stuff. We then have to hunt around for storage options for six months.

Our cat needs a home, too. Andrew, our housemate, has offered to look after our little beast. We plan on giving him some cash for his troubles. The money will go to Andrew, not the cat.

We have one more document to collect to guarantee our student visas. This process has taken almost a month to get all the documentation together.

I still have three papers to write, and five exams next month. Some are take-home exams, which is not ideal. I have to make time to write them while I'm packing.

We're kinda broke at the moment.

And I'm out of coffee. Luckily, I have some espresso grounds floating around. With the turbid water supply in Vancouver, brewing coffee is problematic.

I have to make plans to travel to Victoria for the holidays.

We're attending a wedding on December 31st.

Since our flight is on January 10th, we'll be homeless for ten days. Anyone want to house a couple of soon-to-be expatriates?

Did I mention we're broke?

My dad's prognosis has changed. I don't know the changes, and I don't why it changed. There's talk of sending him to a long-term care home, but, um, that doesn't make sense. The line of communication between the hospital and my family is piss poor. My mom is going nuts.

Send help. And money.


Notes on Reproduction: Benjamin and giallo.

For years I've been interested in the kung fu movie. I really didn't know why, until I thought about it the other day. Although the action in the film can be fun to watch, I was amazed at how many of these films were made. Some were written as police thrillers or as post-apocalyptic dystopias or as supernatural parables. Much like the Saw franchise (as pointed out by Chris), once production companies have a successful formula they will just churn out the films until they reach critical mass.

Now I'm watching giallo films. I'm kind of a newcomer to the genre, which is little embarrassing since most horror fanatics have already encountered these films ages ago. Anyway, I recently watched The Black Belly of the Tarantula, and the other night I watched Twitch of the Death Nerve. Ron Kurz, screenwriter for Friday the 13th Part 2, literally lifted two scenes directly from TofDN, and perhaps the original Friday the 13th was inspired by its Italian predecessor.

TofDN had its moments. The gory murder scenes were vivid enough, but the poor editing made most of them laughable. Don't get me started on the plot - it was so convoluted I had to refer to the film's Wikipeida article to keep up with the confused story.

So, back to my original question: why am I so interested in schlocky B-movies and sequels? I'm thinking about reproduction. If, for instance, an original film is made (by original I mean innovative) and then the film is reproduced as a sequel, as though the filmmaker is trying to imitate the aura produced by the original, how is the aura maintained, or is it? If a sequel is a continuation of the narrative, does the tone or atmosphere also continue? Wouldn't the next chapter or volume in a story move in a decidedly new direction?

I just produced questions here, but that does lead me closer to Benjamin's theory than I originally surmised. Questions? Comments? Any recomendations for future giallo viewings?


I'm in Victoria.

I arrived in Victoria last night. Lisa found a café with free wireless connection this morning, so now I'm working on my Kant versus Burke essay, sipping a mint tea (my favourite) and later, we're going to head out to a noodle shop in Chinatown and later we'll visit my dad. He asked us to pick him up some noodles (they're served in the classic take-out boxes from Chinese restaurants) so I was happy to oblige.

My grandma has been here since Saturday night. It was so great to see her again, and we spent last night catching up and hearing all the news from the family back east. She's such a sweet lady!

Chelsea FC is in second place, only three points behind Man United. Now that Arsenal is quickly catching up after a slow start we'll have to hope Chelsea can keep up their momentum.

Okay, back to the books.


And also . . .

Somehow, I think my dad would approve.

Iron Man may be a NeoCon, but he looks hella awesome in office. Way better than Zod.

Happy Elections, America. We heard about the Democrats. We are pleased.

Because I love comics, and because following Canadian politics is like watching golf, this clever blog-person warmed my thinning, acidic blood with some delightful nerdage.


I have some bad news.

As some of you might know, my dad is currently in hospice. He was diagnosed with prostrate cancer three years ago, and after a long battle he was informed by his specialist that further treatment would be ineffective and possibly life-threatening.

He was admitted to hospice in August. On Friday we were told by my dad's attending doctor he will not live past Christmas.

I don't know how I'm feeling at the moment. Sad? Kind of. Angry? Yes. Exhausted? Definitely. My mom and sister are holding up, but since August we've all been crying and worrying about my dad. I'm out of sadness at the moment. All I can do is keep living.

I've made arrangements with my profs and at work. I'll be spending more time in Victoria, so my posts will be infrequent. The other day, my dad specifically told me to stay in school, and continue studying. I'll be balancing family and school.

I won't let him down.

Mint juleps, America and David Sedaris.

I had quite the tumultuous weekend. First, I went to Jess' birthday party on Friday night, which was fun. I only intended to stay a short while, considering that we were going to the States the next day and I wanted to get some more studying done. So, I bought one bottle of Maudite and tried to nurse my drink. That didn't happen. Somehow rum fell into my hands, and, well, let's just say I continued to have fun. This was the result:

With apologies to Warren Ellis, drunk people win.

I woke up with a wicked hangover. I tried to study but the text would float above the page and reconfigure themselves into eldrich hieroglyphics. We then met up with friends and got a ride to Bellingham, Washington to see Davis Sedaris read and field questions. As usual, crossing the American border always seems difficult until you reach the border guard, and then he / she quickly waves you into their country.

Sedaris was great. His prose is minimal and deliberate, so the underlying humour shines through. He started with a few . . .um . . . I guess you can call them fables, then he moved onto some of his usual work, regaling us with stories like a scandalous cab ride in New York to buying dope in a trailer in South Carolina. I think the story takes place in South Carolina. Afterwards, he had a brief dialogue with the audience as they asked questions - he's very comfortable on stage, and his relaxed candor was very charming, as though we're all hanging out in his living room sipping mint juleps. I don't know, I just image mint juleps in that scenario.

Later we went for dinner at a restaurant with the words beer and burgers in its name. I actually liked the place. The decor was odd, like a cross between a family restaurant and a frat house, as commented by one of my companions. The burgers were huge, and I was able to order a Squirt, which is hard to find in Canada. Needless to say, squirt became a favourite word around the table. After a speedy crossing back to Canada, we got home at around 1 in the morning.


SQUEEEEEE . . . oh, nevermind.

Courtesy of Mike Wieringo, cartoonist and animal lover.



Someone put out a bowl of candy here at work. May God have mercy on us all.

So, tonight, I will be showing two horror films in preparation for next year's Halloween extravaganza. If I can't go to the film festival then I'll bring the film festival to me. Tonight I'll be showing Hell House and Tale of Two Sisters. If people can swing by then by all means, come and make yourself at home.

Watch this. I loves it.

The other day I introduced myself to a classmate who's into illustrating. I had a project lined up by it's currently on hiatus - and who knows, projects tend to get rejuvenated. Anyway, the illustrator is interested in looking at some scripts I've been working on. I don't expect instant success, but the more networking I do the greater chance I have at getting a project off the ground.


Studying as it rains outside.

I'm still trying to master brewing a decent espresso. Ever since I received my beloved stovetop espresso pot, I've been experimenting with different water to coffee ratios to find the perfect balance. Most of the time I succeed, but I would love to be able to make a superb espresso blindfolded.

I want recipe ideas for Christmas. Give them to me now. Here's one.

I have another French quiz tomorrow, which I'm currently studying at the moment. How will I do? J n'ai sais pas. Je suis assez fatigué ce le soir, et je ne veux pas étudier pour mon examen demain.


The grades are just pouring in now.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a paper on Horace's dissertation (perhaps not the correct word) on the poet, and although I worked hard on it, I was worried I was missing some crucial argument. I got the paper back yesterday. An A+!

I did get a B+ on my Freud mid-term, and today I did five minute presentation, psychoanalyzing the protagonist in Neil Gaiman's Coraline. I was so nervous, I had trouble articulating my argument. I kept stammering and forgetting my lines. Ugh. I only hope my thesis came across somewhat clearly.

Slovoj Zizec is coming to Vancouver on November 1st! I will definitely be there. There should be an accent circonflexe above the two z's in his name. Stupid monolingual computer.


Linky linky loo. . .

Before I hit the books, here's some intrawubb signals I've intercepted:

I'm obsessed with invisibility. I don't know why. Probably a result of consuming far too much science fiction and comic books in my greener days. Now, my dream is being realized.

I <3 libraries. Hold your breath before clicking on the link.

Somewhere on planet Earth, a group of scientists will create a stable black hole. I'm, uh, worried.


Ode to Autumn

Last week, as I was walking to work after my last class, I was struck with a sublime moment. A thick fog had settled at the tops of the evergreen trees that surround the campus, and the afternoon light made the trees appear lush and vibrant. A slight breeze tossed the dry leaves across the street, mixing the reds and yellows and oranges. The cool air, the stillness - I found myself walking in perfect weather. At the moment, I wasn't worried about school, or money, or life. I was immersed in the present.

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cell.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,---
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats


The police station.

Today I went to the police station to get a criminal record check. Apparently, to receive a student visa for Slovenia, applicants need to exhibit no signs of criminality. Being my first time in that particular building, I was amazed at how calm and orderly the building is inside. I expected constantly ringing phones, haggard detectives getting statements from prostitutes and some seven-foot-tall man being carted off in cuffs, struggling with the attending officers.

I watch too many movies. There were three front desks, managed by friendly staff, and the occasional cop wandering around. I wanted cacophony, not this civilized pap.

Well, nonetheless, it was worth the $55. Our only concern is money at this point. Although we are currently doing okay financially, we do need to prove we have enough money in the coffers while we study there. That might be a problem. Mark this on your calendars: we are booking a flight for January 10th. So. Excited.



I submitted four poems, started an essay due on Monday, and tomorrow afternoon I will continue writing and studying. I'm also writing an article on The Parade of Lost Souls for the student paper.

Once I'm in school my blinders are definitely on. I only focus at the task at hand, and everything else ends up on the periphery. Now, I really need to call friends I've been neglecting.

I was yawning all through my last class and I could barely keep my eyes open as I was reading Freud on the bus. When I need to take time off, I do so with vigor. Like tonight. I'll be keeping a safe distance from my homework.

Over the weekend Lisa and I met Robin and Grace's new baby, Felix. He is small and cute and quiet. Well, somewhat quiet.

I'm falling asleep now.




French Post-Structuralist Showdown

Taking a quick study break. I've been reading so much lately I'm having trouble articulating my thoughts at the moment. Moving from Freud to Longinus to Gaiman then to a French textbook is like listening to four different musical genres at once and trying to distinguish one song from the other.

The other day I was writing an entry on how school has become really difficult (seeing as how I'm in upper-level courses) and I even considered dropping out. Sure, I'm behind on my readings - who isn't? On Monday everything changed. A woman in one of my lit classes quoted Bourdieu, and completely over-simplified his theory. She reduced his argument to "art appreciation is only for the bourgeois." God damn. No, everyone appreciates art. Bourdieu was pointing out that habitus is marked by what kind of art one consumed and how one discusses art. That's like saying only the bourgeois drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or read magazines or play sports.

I despise this half-assed sociology that depicts the poor as pathetic, ignorant waifs wailing in the gutters for a penny. Poor folks look at art and talk about it. They engage with the rest of society and have voices and ideas.

So, yeah, I'm staying in school. I got the love back.

I need to try quitting smoking again. I have a slight cough and my esophagus feels numb. Also, playing football becomes a challenge, too. But you know what? What really bothers me? When non-smokers list off the reasons why I shouldn't smoke. They always sound so damn condescending.

Yes, I know - smoking causes cancer. I saw the fucking movies in high school too. Thanks anyway.

The thing is, addiction overrides logic.

On a more joyful note, I'll visiting my folks this Thanksgiving weekend.



Apparently, I am not leaving for Slovenia in less than months, but rather in little over three months. Plenty of time to see individuals returning from faraway and exotic lands.

Get out of my mouth.

I'm not really a mouthwash person.

Last week I went to the dentist. The last time I sat in The Chair was roughly ten years ago. There is nothing pleasant about going to the dentist. Sure, their services are in desperate need, but so are morticians.

My visit started off with delightful news: I found out I need oral surgery to remove my wisdom teeth. The dentist won't touch one of the little bastards who has decided to grow away from the rest of my teeth, so that its roots overlap with those who have been living comfortably in my mouth for over twenty years. The newbies always ruin everything.

Anyway, I was subjected to a painful cleaning (my gums are sensitive at the moment) which involved being suspended upside down while the hygienist blasts the yellow veneer from my teeth with hot water. I remember accidentally stabbing my gums with a toothpick - getting a "cleaning" is a close approximation. I was told that I needed another cleaning this week. Wonderful.

Now I have to use mouthwash. I hate mouthwash. That shit burns.

I am bitchy today.


Saddle up, everyone. Tonight, we're taking our town back.

I'm only an hour or so away from catching a bus to the ferry that will whisk me away to Victoria. Although the trip over as a deep significance for me, traveling to The Rock always wears me out. The ferry food is awful and over-priced, and for some reason the most hideous, obnoxious members of our species have the audacity to double my torment by dragging their screaming offspring onboard. The horror.

The view is nice, though. I've almost always managed to get some writing done on the boat.

Quick school report: my two theory courses are incredible. Contemporary theory is plain enough to follow because the prof slips in pop culture references, but the classical theory class, however much I'm enjoying it, can be challenging to follow. The prof insists on teaching in a untraditional, nonlinear way, which can make a humble undergrad's head deflate very quickly. I'm not complaining, however. She really knows her stuff and encourages debate and dialogue, and I love how she relates classical theory to post-colonial critical discourse.

Twentieth century lit is fairly straightforward (we read Freud then apply his theories to literature - yes, it's not exactly rigorous) and my nineteenth century lit class is only furthering cementing my love for American literature, and I'm now really motivated to pursue my doctoral in an American university.

Did I mention I'm back to tutoring? I love it. I've only worked with a couple of students but my blood warms at the very thought of conducting essay workshops and discussing rhetorical styles with students.

I'll be in Slovenia in less than three months! Next week I will be sending my passport application to the appropriate authorities, including a student visa, and making other arrangements for our arrival. Lisa and I are terrified and excited at the same time. We still have to figure out what to do with our lovely cat. And all our stuff. And whether or not we'll be taking the Trans-Siberian Railway to China. And making quick trips back to Paris. . .

Expect another Dr. McGillicuddy story. Heh.


Where to find me.

Where have y'all been hanging out on the intrawubbs? You'll find me loitering here:

Urban Dead

I play a zombie. I'm currently in Stanbury Village with a horde of nearly a hundred zombies outside Nichols Mall. We patiently wait to slaughter helpless human survivors.


For all my obscure news.

The Beat

For all my comic news. Both popular and underground comics get the same treatment, which makes for a refreshingly balanced read. Most websites and magazines either focus only on indies and slam popular titles or vice-versa.

The Show With Ze Frank

Genuinely funny and entertaining, Ze has capitalized on the internet's social potential to make a series of rather personal videos on politics, culture and random dirty jokes. Also, he films parts of New York and I love New York.


I'm only there to watch episodes of Justice League and Robot Chicken. I am a nerd. Stop snickering.

There are more but I'm too lazy at the moment to type them all out. I've been checking out artist's blogs, but I need to return to literary-minded sites. Suggestions?


Bring it to the UEFA!


Well, you know, not much going on at the moment.

School is fun, although I have to do some serious catching up over the weekend. I return to work on Monday, reprising my role as English tutor for desperate undergrads.

I have lame music in my iTunes folder.

I have a cold.

The cat is in desperate need of a brushing. He hates being brushed, hence the dilemma.

Oh, and I'm writing. Heh. Anyone ever forget projects?



The first day of school! I was so accustomed to a relatively empty campus all summer, I almost fell over backwards when I tried to fight the hordes of students to reach the bookstore or my classroom or the bathroom.

My classes this term: English 408: History of Criticism and Theory; English 409: Modern Critical Theories; English 464: Twentieth Century Studies; English 364: Nineteenth Century Studies and French 101.

I really want autumn to arrive and shove summer into the gutter. Enough is enough.


I don't remember ordering this headache.

Last day of work. I'm fairly pleased with the progress I made in the last week, compiling everything I've written and making sure the punctuation marks are right where I left them. Unfortunately, the server is still down, so none of my work can be uploaded until the bugs are swept out. The newsletter is delayed, too. At least 95% of the copy is finished and ready for layout. I might accept another contract to finish this project, but with all that's going on with me I can't really make a decision right now.

Tonight I'm heading out to Victoria to visit my dad and the rest of the family. I'm leaving all computer-related technology at my house - all writing will be done old school.


The Casebook Of Dr. McGillicuddy, Scientist-Explorer and Moral Hygienist

When I saw these lovely antique weapons capable of unspeakable destruction, almost immediately the urge to scribble some words down was irresistible.

How The Good Doctor Tamed The Unruly Heavens

"Bloody hell."
Dr. McGillicuddy watched the skies as the clouds blackened and boiled above the city. He took a sip from an iron flask and tucked it inside his coat pocket. Autumn's fleeting breaths vanished as winter tumbled into the city, covering the streets with a thin coat of frost and brittle leaves. The doctor stood on a street corner. The gaslights along the empty street rattled from the groans emanating from beyond the clouds. Thick sooty flakes gently fell to the ground, peppering the doctor's snowy hair.
"I should have moved to the colonies," he said to himself, "but I despise dysentery. If a man must die, then he should be atomized or consumed by a mammal three times his size. Anything else is a dreadful waste of time."
A young man in a white lab coat smeared with grease ran up behind the doctor. He carried a small bundle wrapped in burlap.
Dr. McGillicuddy heard the footsteps behind him. He remembered the War, and the screams and the three-headed birds clutching pieces of men in their pointed beaks.
"Did you bring the phallus?"
The young man looked at the burlap in his hands.
"Excuse me, doctor?"
"Pardon me, Collins. I was elsewhere. What's that you have there?"
"The, um, device, doctor."
"Ah, yes. Was it where I told you?"
"Not exactly, doctor."
"Come now, Collins. We are both men here. Enough with the formalities. If must address me, 'sir' would be adequate. My last man referred to me as 'Grand Oscillator.' Charming fellow. He went mad shortly after an expedition to Greenland."
"That's a right lovely story, sir, but the sky - "
"Was it in the depository?"
"No, sir. I found it in the pantry. Under the lard."
"Indeed. Would you like me to calibrate it, sir? If I'm not mistaken, the sky will worsen and cause unfortunate side-effects."
"Calibration is for wet nurses."
Dr. McGillicuddy's eyes returned to the sky, which grew darker as an undulating howl erupted from above.
"I wasn't aware exposing those runes to galvanized hard water would have such dramatic results," said the good doctor.
"Those runes we found in that beast's belly?"
"They have names, you know."
"I refuse to think of them as Abominable Snowmen. We were mistaken. Hodgson caught sight of an orang-utan while sipping melted yak butter in Nepal. Nothing more."
Dr. McGillicuddy sighed. He held out his hand. Collins rolled his eyes and slapped the bundle into the doctor's palm.
"I sought after a weapon that could sour a woman's virtue," said Dr. McGillicuddy, "instead, I built a Disrupting Wave Emitter. Alas, I remain unlucky in love."
The doctor removed the burlap. The Emitter was heavy in his hands. The chrome device was sleek and egg-shaped, ending in a point. A vial, half-filled with blue viscous fluid, jutted out of the back.
"Do you know where to aim, sir?"
"Up, presumably."
"Very good, sir."
Pointing the weapon at the billowing clouds, Dr. McGillicuddy squinted one eye and pulled the trigger. A blue light fired out of the pointed apparatus and pierced the atmosphere. A horrible roar echoed across the city.
Suddenly, a bobby appeared from around the corner and stood before the two men. He twirled his club around a pudgy finger.
"Wot's this then, lads?"
"Good afternoon, officer."
"Fancy lights there. Mind giving an explanation as to why you're shooting the heaven above our Queen's Royal Head?"
"Of course. But, if you may, could you stand one metre behind you?"
"Certainly. Now - "
A grey-green tentacle bolted from out of the clouds. Its surface was dripping with thick, translucent mucus that reeked of oil and dead flowers. The appendage coiled around the bobby and hauled the hapless constable up into the sky. His round figure quickly disappeared.
The roaring ceased. A minute passed and the clouds dispersed, revealing a deep blue sky.
"Well," said Collins.
The doctor patted the Emitter. "I needed to get its attention. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm in desperate need of another pair of trousers."
Collins glanced at the doctor's damp anterior and then checked his pocket watch.
"Right on schedule, sir. Like clockwork, really."
The doctor jammed the Emitter into his trousers and strutted off. Collins followed. An elderly woman wearing a matted, greasy shawl approached Dr. McGillicuddy and held out her hands, asking for a penny. The good doctor smiled and promptly shoved the woman into the street.

Copyright, The Stars Have Eyes. Steal it and die.


Thank you, Gmail.

"Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom."

Walter Benjamin


Public Service Announcement

Friends, I won't be on MSN for awhile. My brain needs a serious break. Email is fine.


Testing: The Dark Does Matter.

I heard the news yesterday! Scientists at NASA found compelling evidence proving that dark matter exists. BoingBoing did a fine job covering the news release. The post has plenty of links.

I'm experimenting with a Firefox extension that allows you to write entries from a window in your browser, without having to log in directly to Blogger. This is an excellent idea, but I can't get the thing to work at the moment.

I've already signed up for email posting. Now, if I only I could send posts via cell phone or a smaller (read: portable) word processor with a wireless connection. My goal is to send posts directly from the site or event. Liveblogging! This is nothing new, but the idea gets me excited. Maybe record audio samples or even some video and upload them.


Help me intrawubbs, you're my only hope.

So here is my dilemma.

Recently, I mentioned that I was prescribed Zoloft. I haven't filled the prescription yet. Initially, I wasn't concerned about taking short-term medication. Now I have a problem.

Jess offered to help me pursue alternative methods that deal with anxiety. Attending restorative yoga classes, drinking herbal teas to counter anxious emotions and visiting an Ayurvedic doctor are just some of options I have at the moment. I'm going to explore them all.

I only had small "eruptions" since Friday. Once when I was waiting in the line to board the ferry (the crowd was suffocating me; every time someone brushed against me my throat would tighten), and really, just little moments scattered across the day. The headache is all but gone.

The crux is that I still get the occasional attack, and counseling takes an extraordinary amount of time. I'm patient, yes, but I need to live a relatively normal life, too.

What should I do, intrawubbs? Fill the prescription and fight back the anxiety until I get a handle on my messed-up, confused feelings or trudge ahead without the pills?

Now I really want to exercise that "for friends only" option for Blogger. I've written erotica and horror in the past (but not erotic horror, heavens no - my first name isn't Alabaster) and I really want to return to those genres in the future. I want to share my work with my internet friends but not all my internet friends.

Quickly, now.

I'm now on the screaming roller-coaster ride towards deadline. I've been banging out what I can today, although I had a slow start. Yesterday we got in late from visiting my parents over the weekend. We just had a casual weekend with them. We ate (quite a lot, we tend to do that together) and wandered around downtown, then had a barbecue in the sunshine under a pine tree. Victoria does have some beautiful spots, like sitting outside Murchie's to watch people or browsing through Munro's, which Lisa calls "our chapel." I agree, I have to go inside that shop everytime I visit.


You again?

Glenn Gould
comes back [returns] to life


[and?] buys a grape soda
from a corner store[.]


[Rain falls.]


[He stands under] a green aluminum
awning, over the door [counting the taps.]

Then [he calls up]
the radio station
(CBC I think)
from a phone booth[.]


Bells [ring in the grey]
air as he sips soda bending [s] the pull-top back
and forth.

And so:

Glenn Gould returns to life,

and buys a grape soda
from a corner store.

Rain falls.

He stands under a green aluminum
awning, counting the taps.

Then he calls up
the radio station
(CBC I think)
from a phone booth.

Bells ring in the grey
air as he bends the pull-top back
and forth.

There are at least six poems in the works, but this particular one has been fun to share. The process is just as rewarding as the finished product, and this piece, although not altogether a successful one, occassionally revisits me to ask for revisions. Like a stray cat who returns to your front porch, this poem will not go away, even if I chase it with a broom.

I want to return to Friday Poetry Blogging, and perhaps an "open mike," where people can contribute poems and post them in the comments or wherever.

The greatest library in the world. Thanks, Chris.

Blogger is updating? A beta version? The entire system is being streamlined with user-friendly features and new templates and everything? That is great news. I suppose the only issue is that users not already switched to the beta version won't be able to login when they comment. That sucks. Hopefully that particular bug will be fixed. Once the beta is cleaned up I reckon I will make the switch.

So, since I've been feeling better these days I can actually step outside and visit friends. Last night I had a low-key evening with Chris, chatting about comics and editing and eventually making our way to the library near his house. This library has to be one of the best branches in the city. Not only do they have an amazing DVD collection, the shelves are loaded with graphic novels and trade paperbacks. Oh, and a slim selection of bande dessinee. I picked up Marvels, 1602, The Authority Volume 2: Under New Management, Planetary Volume 1: All Over The World And Other Stories, Blankets, Paul Moves Out and The Originals. I'm totally looking forward to watching Seven Samurai and reading comics tonight.

Why doesn't Blogger accept HTML tags for accents?



Hey there.

I won't bother you all with my medical worries, but I do have some good news: my headaches and dizziness are not related to my head wound. People experience signs of brain injury from twenty-four hours to a week, and I haven't felt the other signs related to neurological damage. After taking a blood test, the doctor felt that my B12 and iron levels were a little low. So, she put me on a multivitamin and I'm to reduce my caffeine and nicotine intake. I feel a little better, but I'm still working towards a full "recovery."

She also prescribed Zoloft. I don't mind taking psychoactive drugs for a short period while I'm in counseling. Unraveling whatever tangled roots lie at the foundation of my anxiety is a long process, and I'm exhausted from being plagued by paralyzing fear, chest pains and depression. If the Zoloft can provide even a modicum of relief while I'm tackling "deeper" issues, than so be it. The medication is expensive (I'm only being prescribed 25 mg rather than 100 mg, so that might reduce the cost, yes?) but I think I have some kind of coverage that will alleviate the financial burden.

I still love the writing, though. Just give me some aspirin, a full water bottle and a cup of coffee, then put me in a darkened room with a laptop, notebooks, reading material and enough pens and pencils to build an outhouse. I would be incredibly happy, scribbling and dreaming until the world needs me again.

Lately, I've been interested in reading blogs by patients in counseling or psychiatric care. Blogs written by pyschologists or psychiatrists would be interesting too. Last semester I entered a discourse on psychology and literature, and how it relates to social forces coercing (or resisted by) agents. I've posted this essay before, related to this topic, and now here it is again.

Since I haven't been getting that many comments, I've decided to keep the option for leaving snide remarks and incoherant rants open for a short time. If no one comments, then the option will be buried. Thanks.


I actually swear in this one.

Last weekend definitely left its mark on me.

After getting off work early on Friday, I went home so I could look presentable for the public. The suit I bought for Chris' wedding was the best investment I've (grudgingly) ever made. Not only was it tailored to withstand at least another five years of sweeping fashion trends, I actually look rather dashing. Trust me, writing that last bit was harder than you think.

Whenever I'm wearing the suit I do feel like a different person, like I should be conducting Important Business or Shaking Hands or Listening Carefully.

The ceremony was outdoors, with two rows of seats facing a large tree. The makeshift aisle was sprinkled with red and white flower petals, which was really well done. I'll say this about keeping the ceremony short: if you plan on getting married in the future, do yourselves and your loved ones a favour and make sure everyone's not seated for more than fifteen minutes. Thank you.

The reception was very luxurious. A . . . four-course meal? I really don't remember. However, there was champagne with the dinner and an open bar that virtually poured a stream of wine down my parched gullet. In the drunken, hazy blur I could make out the richly decorated environs: the place was draped in thick, white apolostery, curtains and table decor, all under a massive tent under the stars. The entire scene was softly lit, lending the space a delicate texture. I had a chance to meet a fine couple who I've supposedly met years ago and, with much regret and confusion and acute chest pain, apparently forgotten over time. In short, they were charming and cured my hiccups. Later we ended up at one of the bridesmaid's condo . . . and, well, the evening kind of vanishes into an inky cloud at that point.

The groom is from France and has a passion for football. So, on Saturday I met the party for a match. The teams included people from England, France and one from Italy. I could feel the cigarettes, booze and rich food kicking and groaning as I chased after the ball in the afternoon sun. Yes, we lost. That tends to happen when you go up against Europeans who've been playing since they were four years old. I had such a great time playing though, that losing really didn't matter.

Later we saw the final fireworks show we have here in Vancouver. Please, don't ask me anything about the damn thing. I have no clue what this noise is all about. From what I can gather, thousands of drunken suburbanites overtake the streets to shout obsenities at the "fags" and watch lights in the sky. We attended a party at the top of a high-rise apartment overlooking the waterfront, where the boats launch the fireworks. The view was lovely, but the noise and the height made me anxious and exhausted, so I had to retreat to the ground floor to straighten out my nerves.

Later, as Lisa and I walked down Davie Street, in what Lisa called "a rushing stream of people," some jerks started screaming "what the fuck is that?" when a transgendered woman walked past them. We were so livid. I could only give the woman an uncomfortable look as we met eyes. She just continued walking, ignoring the insults.

Yes, I understand that identifying the "other" builds group solidarity. Yes, I know your view of gender is binary, and anyone transgressing that binary is an affront to your ideological standpoint. Yes, I realize that your idea of masculinity is strictly defined. You're still assholes.

Huh. Nice way to end a blog entry on attending someone's wedding. Oh well. Congratulations, Tala and Mathieu. I had a wonderful time.


Manifesto, revised. Thanks L.

As agents participating in a civil society, our first and foremost responsibility when faced with a person or persons who claim an authoritative position of any kind, is to react with immediate suspicion and eventual critique of their claim, the validity of their position and the consequence of having such authority.

A mediocre start to a mediocre day.

Well, at least the headaches are getting better. I made an appointment to see my doctor next week. After work I'm getting a haircut, and I'm surprisingly excited. Not only is the hairdresser cute, but she does an amazing job. I actually have good hair after she's done.

The third piece in the previous post sounds really dodgy. I'm not happy how it turned out. I think it's a good memory, something to write about, but the phrasing gets confused and clumsy when I try to write it in order.

I applied for the copy editor position at the student paper! I totally forgot to mention this earlier. I'll actually get paid, the work is part-time, and the gig will give me a touch more experience.

I found an advertisement for beginner's rugby yesterday. There's a class coming up and the game supports all levels, so I might go check it out. I played rugby once, in junior high school. I remember enjoying the running and tackling, and working together with other players to crush our opponents. Ha, no, I'm kidding. Competition was never a big motivator for me.

My favourite colour? Black.


Some observations.

A young couple eats pizza, while sitting on plastic chairs outside the shop. They are wearing t-shirts with faded logos blazoned across their chests. A panhandler sits next to them, on the sidewalk. He's eating a slice a pizza from the same shop. He says something. The couple laughs.

I make toast at one in the morning. The toaster sits next to the dish rack. I notice a brief flutter in the corner of my eye. I scan the counter, and a large insect bounces onto a plate drying in the rack. Its triangular body is a vivid green, ending at a point. Soundlessly, it leaps from plate to plate, briefly stopping to feel the air with its antennae. One final jump, and it vanishes.

Lately, I've been wearing Old Spice deodorant. I smell like my father, when he wore aftershave of the same name when I was a boy. Whenever he shaved, I would watch him in the mirror. He placed a dab of shaving cream into my hand and I smeared it across my face. Taking a small comb, I scraped off the soapy foam, imitating his movements. Our bathroom was filled with a sweet, heavy scent, like flowers in the rain.

Lying in bed, I heard a rattle rattle rattle from the bathroom, sounding like a car rolling over large stones. I walked into the room. The cat was pawing at the shower door, wanting to drink from the faucet.


It's really nothing.

Not good: Reoccurring mild headaches.

Not good: Going to a meeting for "clarificaton."

Good: Wedding on Friday.

Good: Hanging out with friends in my living room.


I was thinking this as I ate a sandwich.

Our first and foremost responsibility, as agents participating in a civil society, is to have as our first reaction to any person or persons who claim an authoritative position of any kind, be it social, cultural, moral, political, economic, religious or academic, should be immediate suspicion and eventual critique of their claim, the validity of their position and the consequence of having such authority.


Giants Invade Russia: Local Populace Entranced

Check out these amazing sculptures by Ron Mueck.


Notebooks and weddings and editors.

The Moleskine notebook has become one of my favourite tools lately. I've taken mine everywhere, from Paris to Chilliwack, and my beloved book has had phone numbers, names of composers and theorists, notes on kinship and gender for my anthropology class, notes for an amateur ethnography on the chess players outside the Vancouver Art Gallery and stories and poems and observations scribbled inside.

Our friend Tala is getting hitched soon. Normally I wouldn't have a problem with this, except for the fact the reception will have an open bar during the festivities. That could only spell doom for our intrepid debutante.

To be fair, life has gotten pretty dull lately. I work, I go home, I play football and I see my friends once in awhile. Not that I'm complaining. I understand that the working life isn't always conducive to high adventure and sensuous pleasures, especially during the first few weeks. Although I have the title, I don't feel like an editor. The routine hasn't settled into my brain yet. So far, the worse part is chasing after people for submissions and waiting for said submissions to appear in my inbox. I suppose those are parts, in the plural.


Here's the scoop.

My stomach troubles have finally skipped town. I could use a day or two of serious rest, though, since I had some trouble getting to sleep last night, and a little less noise and heat from the outside world would be kind of refreshing. The diagnosis? Probably food poisoning.

I wrote my first edit and everyone seemed happy, but not ecstatic. I'm writing one more draft to finalize how the profiles will be formatted. If what I have in mind works, then the excited squeals of gratitude and joy from the project managers will flood the halls of my esteemed university.

Time is short. Next week I'll be collecting biographies from students, or interviewing them if they're comfortable with that, and then editing their submissions for content. I'm also supposed to edit the course program abstracts, facility descriptions and eventually, the newsletter.

I'm boring myself just writing this.

But this is all I've been thinking about: my health and my work. Next week I'm seeking some counseling. I'll be rereading The Elements of Style. Every once in a while I will turn my eyes skyward and look for falling objects. The only food I'll eat will be from my kitchen. I will kiss my cat on the top of his head as he snoozes in the sunlight flickering in my hallway.


Keeping it real since 1994.

I'm writing this post outside, on a bench just outside the Student Union Building. The sky is perfectly blue.

I started the new job yesterday. I have my own office (more like a glorified storage room) with a phone and a gorgeous G5 Mac with two screens. There's even a phone. I spent the day researching faculty profiles on other university websites to get an idea on how the new website will look. Today I will take one profile and write a few samples with different "tones" and present them at a meeting on Friday. I also have to edit the FAQ list and categorize it. Friends, I am happy.

On a darker note I've been experiencing some nausea since Monday. During my orientation yesterday I nearly puked on the floor. Although I'm feeling better now and I can keep food down, my stomach feels as though someone sucker punched me. Have any of you been sneaking into my house at night and walloping on my gut in my sleep? Just asking. I may go the the clinic today to check it out. Sipping water seems to help.

Tuesday night Lisa and I went to a bike party held by Bent at the Anza Club. Man, I was loaded. Lisa had to drag me home. The music was fabulous, there were kids dressed in sexy bike gear and the DJ wore a unicorn mask. We ran into my old friends Sage and Robyn and gossiped about everyone.

That is all for now. Take care.



Does anyone else use Skype?

Since I'll be out of the country for at least four to five months, I though it would stellar to have a way to communicate with friends and family.

-------------------> JOB!

I just got the call this morning: the job is mine! I am now an Editron. An Assistant Editron. I start Wednesday morning and my contract goes until September 1st.

Unfortunately, my house is in disarray. The only solution is to have a barbeque on my front stoop and drink beer. Yes.

I'll be playing football on Tuesday (which would tell you I'm feeling better) and possibly gaming next Sunday.

Oh, yeah. The staples came out on Sunday. I felt as though I was a two-by-four and the doctor was pulling nails out of me. Afterwards I saw Pirates of the Caribbean and to be honest, I wasn't all that impressed. The action was fun and the monsters looked great, but why are indigenous people depicted as having poor hygiene and speaking a simple, childish language? Why are they always cannibals? And, I don't think there are any groups like the one in the film that live in the Caribbean. I know, that's kind of a moot point, but that inaccuracy plus the overt rascism (thanks Disney!) really bit me.

How are you all?


Kill all forms!

So I go to the British Columbia Financial Aid website to download and print an Appendix 7, or reassessment request, just a couple of weeks ago. Granted, I procrastinated a bit, but as I was filling it out today I just realized this form is for 2005 / 2006.


Yeah, I'm good.

Now I have to scramble to get forms filled out and sent and approved and blah, blah, blah. I hate filling out forms. Despise it. If I could hire a crack team of form-fillers ready to write in my vital information in rectangular boxes whenever I shine the Form Signal (which happens to be a rectangular box) into the heavens, then I'll be happy. For now, I will have to rely on Lisa. Who has done a fine job. So far.

Why the hell does academia and bureaucracy have to hang out all the time? Huh? If only they knew what they said about each other in different company. Catty, would be the word.

On a lighter note I'll be watching sword-fighting with Chris later on. Poke! Slash! Poke some more! Ah, yes.


Punctured bicycle, on a hillside, desolate.

Tomorrow I have a job interview. The art history department is looking for an assistant editor and marketing person for their website and their newsletter. I'm pretty excited to get his job - I've been wanting to get some editing experience for awhile and now I have an opportunity.

So Bell Globemedia has bought Chum Ltd., or they just made the bid? Nonetheless, this piece of news twists me out of shape. Okay, I understand that the trend in media now is to have a bunch of old, fat men own every media outlet on the globe. But c'mon, Chum? The broadcaster named after chopped fish used for bait? Does Globe really want their skewed, half-informed journalists spreading indifference and fear through MuchMusic? That's just silly!

I was a little light-headed this afternoon. I laid down and then I felt better. Stupid head wound.


My head wound.

I never had stitches or staples before, so lying face down on a hospital bed at midnight while a doctor pinches my flesh together with steel staples was rather novel.

First the doctor (I don't remember his name, he was really upbeat and yet kept clam calm through the whole procedure) administered some local anesthetic, which hurt a little, then scraped out the blood clot; it was about the width of a quarter and really thick. Then he scrubbed the area to wash out the remaining blood and dirt. I told him I had a birthday recently and a job interview the next day, so as a birthday present to me he didn't shave my head to get to the wound. Very sweet of him.

He had Kayla come in to watch as a "reward" for being such a great first aid person. She told me afterwards that he stuck his forefinger into the wound and felt my exposed skull. I couldn't feel a thing. Pressing the wound together, he stapled the gash in an impressive amount of time. I could feel the skin being squeezed and held together as the staples drove through my skin: those of you with piercings might be able to relate to the feeling. No pain whatsoever, but I felt them sliding around under my skin.

Today I'm much better. I'll be back on the streets tomorrow.


The Aftermath

I'll have to keep this short for reasons I'll explain later.

First, thanks to all who came to my party Friday night. I had an amazing time and received some wonderful gifts from friends and family. Thank you so much!

We started with four of us, Kevin, Iain, Andrew and myself kicking the football around in the park. Later, we ended up with almost twelve players, including kids, parents and the occasional dog running over to grab the ball. When we got back to the house the guests had already arrived, and Carla did a wonderful job setting up the hibachi and getting the coals nice and fiery.

The hike was amazing, but there was an accident. While I standing at the bottom of the chimney leading to the summit, a loose rock fell and landed on the back of my head. I dropped and I lost feeling in my arms and hands. Will, Kayla and Kevin scrambled to stop the bleeding and I somehow walked down the mountain, thanks to my friends. A few hours later I had six staples in my scalp and a tetanus shot courtesy of Squamish General Hospital. No concussion, and apparently no brain damage.

Okay, I have to go and rest. See you.


If I Say Good-Bye I Will Never See You Again

I sat on my stoop and smoked a cigarette.

Someone was plucking a banjo nearby. The song was faint, the notes leaping and tumbling into one another. A long-haired cat, coloured like dried flowers, slept on my neighbour's porch. Sprinklers tossed water across the lawns and sidewalks. The clouds were thick and soupy, mixing with the fading orange light.

Two men walked by. One pointed at my crooked patio and said, "water damage." The other pulled at his thick moustache and asked his companion what he said. "Water damage," he uttered as he looked at my patio, and then at me. They continued walking.

The phone rang a few times. I washed the floors, made potato salad, bought wine and paper plates. I called Lisa.

"What's up?"
"In three hours I will no longer be in my twenties."
"You sound all melancholy."
"I realized while I was cutting potatoes that my twenties will be gone."
"You had a good run. It's only going to get better."

We talked about literature. I explained the trajectory my life had taken. I congratulated myself by repeating all the wonderful things others had said about me. I got excited by the planning and the dreaming.

Night slipped into the city. Tomorrow, friends will arrive. The house was clean and the food was cooked, cooling in the fridge.

I was ready.


I invite the internets to my birthday.

My birthday is this Friday.

Would you like to come? Did you not receive an invitation? Then email inquiries to ghostofjason [at] gmail [dot] com.

There will be booze, barbeque, soccer and (hopefully) poetry, followed by a two-day climb up a gigantic mountain.

See you there.


Blargity-blarg I'm on the internets!

Last night I met some lovely people. I was given the lowdown on butchery (of animals, not people; although, I should write an entry on human butchery in the Secret Hell Blog), discussed Darwin and ecology and then compared Cezanne with Van Gogh.

Hopefully my metrosexual application will be approved.

Also, I met one of the authors of the 'zine Bleach at this wing-ding. She was the host(ess), actually. The fact that 'zines are still being made totally astounds me. The craft has diminished over time, either replaced by the internet or fizzled out due to simple apathy. So readers, please pick up a copy of Bleach at Magpie or Spartacus or wherever fine 'zines are sold.


I am embarrassed.

I was fooling around with Friendster this morning. There is a feature where you type in people's email addresses and the search engine looks for their profiles. Instead, I sent a few invites to near-strangers. I am officially a spammer.

You'll have to excuse me while I look for a hook to hang my asshat.

Untitled, or Reading, Thought and Authorship.

Woof. Not much sleep last night, and I don't have that pleasant tired buzz I get when I don't sleep.

Well, the buzz is sort of there.

Summer is reading season. I don't want to go outside that much, so I'm content to just sit and read with a cup of coffee and listen to some Mozart in the background. Not only am I reading from my self-imposed syllabus, but I'm also catching up on some other books too.

I have been thinking about the shape of twenty-first century fiction. Are we living too early in this century to predict what literature will look like? I find most fiction is widening, an acute sparseness in the prose. Nineteenth century literature really attempted to sculpt a thought and show its every contour. Now, prose races across the page by reducing and distilling the language. The colours, sounds and shapes amid the words emerge, and are given greater emphasis. The sounds between the notes.

For example, one common method used in reasoning is called modus ponens. The form is a very simple inductive argument. It looks something like this:

If P, then Q.
Therefore, Q.


If England plays against Portugal, then it is Saturday.
England plays against Portugal.
Therefore, it is Saturday.

The nineteenth century author wrote the complete, unabridged description of a thought. An immediate example that comes to mind is Poe's "The Man in the Crowd," and to look even further back, one can include Austen's work as well. One of her sentences would stretch for several lines, heavily punctuated, teasing out each possible angle and nuance the thought contains. In essence, the reader will see the entire modus ponens argument; however, the contemporary author would only write this:

If P.
Therefore, Q.

Arguably, the early twentieth century author was no different, at least prior to Modernism.

Perhaps the lack of modifiers like adjectives or adverbs, or the chronic insistence to eliminate passive sentence structures are to "blame" for contemporary literature.

More importantly, how will colonialism, imperialism and warfare be treated in global literature? I believe this will be an exciting time for authors. Just as nineteenth century novelists saw an increase in readership due to innovations in printing technology, twenty-first century authors have access to the internet. Although the medium is still somewhat exclusionary (as is literacy, cultural capital and recognition) the possiblities for new and greater dissemination are being explored.

For those who are concerned, I did, in fact, register for the French classes I needed. Thank you, insomnia.



Yes, my ribs are still bothering me. I've been annoying people with the fact and taking a small degree of satisfaction from my complaining. I hope I mend in time for the Big Day.



Woke up at 6 AM. Somehow got to Commercial Drive to watch the England game with Mr. Chris, Mr. Iain and Ms. Kayla. Drank one cafe au lait, one Americano and cheered when Beckham scored. Bought comics. Ate breakfast at Slickety Jim's with Mr. Chris. Had an anxiety attack during the walk home. Had a bath, slipped into pajamas and will go to the park later to read and buy gelato.

Weird, glorious day.


The sun has risen, and the crows settled into the cornfield.

I might as well start from the end and work my way to the beginning.

Yesterday, after waiting two hours for my paycheque, I met Iain for some football practice. We did some passes, then we tried attacking and defending. Iain also practiced his corner kicks, since I want him to be our teams' forward. On one of his last tries, I attempted to catch the ball with my sternum, but I turned and the ball slapped my ribs. They vibrated like xylophone keys when the ball bounced off me. Afterwards I went out for greasy Chinese food and swung by Iain's for a party. I'm still sore today, especially when I laugh or twist my shoulders.

But, more importantly, I finished my ten-day jaunt working for the UN World Urban Forum. At the beginning, the convention had a very energetic atmosphere. People from all over the world would come up to the registration booths, brimming with excitement at being in another country. As time wore on, the participants and the staff began to wane, as exhaustion, frustration and boredom crept up and slithered into the proceedings. Often there were long stretches of doing nothing, or the odd task involving getting more office supplies or convention kits.

I met mayors from Africa, scholars from Italy and N.G.O. directors from Mexico. I must have badged well over 200 people, possibly even more. On any given day I could be seen directing traffic (the human body kind of traffic), registering participants, answering questions and doing whatever the supervisors needed doing. I actually enjoyed traffic control for awhile there. Not many folks are given the opportunity to command a mass of people at one time, like a general leading troops into a battlefield shrouded in acrid smoke. Or something like that. I was surprised by how many people simply don't listen. A person in a semi-formal uniform is politely asking them to walk somewhere that will help make the process of entering a crowded building efficient and expedient. But, no: they would much rather wander haplessly into doors and other pedestrians, or enter a restricted area and be reprimanded by security.

During the slow periods some of us would enter the convention and sample some of the free food (the pecan tarts were the best, I described them as "angels with jet-black wings brandishing swords and spears wreathed in blue flame") or sit in on the talks and events. Or, we would just chat with one another to pass the time. Most of the other temps were recent graduates from UBC so there was plenty to talk about. I was surprised by the number of political science majors working there, and there were a couple of artists working to make ends meet, so to speak.

Working 8 to 10 hour shifts for ten days straight was very much like living a monastic existence. I hardly saw anyone I know, or even went out. I would wake up at around 6 AM (completely uncivilized, yes), work, come home, eat, sleep then repeat the process the next day. I did have some time to read poetry and the odd article, but any writing was done entirely in my head. Which means I have to remember as much as possible and transcribe everything soon.

So yeah, that's about it.


Monday afternoon.

Today is my last day of freedom. Tomorrow I start my temp job and that goes for ten days.

My weekend was pretty laid back, although my health fluctuated from time to time. Either I was exhausted or light-headed, or both! If I'm going to feel lousy, at least give me a choice between symptoms.

I'm feeling much better now.


Something else. . .

That's not to say that the "astronomy computer" mentioned earlier is a fantastic device, but rather the mystery behind the artifact does have fictional tones to it: discovered in a mundane fashion, hidden in a rather exotic locale (underwater no less), persisted to elude researchers as to its true nature and ended up being a sophisticated tool. However, that tangible feeling of mystery underlies both mythology and nature. But mythology was used to explain the world around us, which was partially replaced by science. So one explanatory discourse is being used to understand the previous one, and then discovers that ancient people weren't that far off the track.

As "L" pointed out, my extended holiday precluded any freelancing. I guess I'm not as ambitious as I thought I was earlier. When my temp job is over I'm going to take a more active role by tossing out a few articles along with finishing up my first draft.

Which I'll stop mentioning anytime soon.


Artifacts as fandom?

Just a couple of interesting items.

Researchers find hidden Greek text on "world's oldest astronomy computer."

This story has a cinematic feel, doesn't it? The artifact is found in a shipwreck and baffles scholars for over a hundred years.

The science behind Raiders of the Lost Ark.

My problem with this story is the fanboy subtext going on here. Everyone loves Indiana Jones, but I'm not convinced that the Ark of the Covenant was an ancient super-weapon of some kind. That type of technology requires a particular ideological and epistemological framework; that is, a working knowledge of natural laws and the intellectual tools to harness said power and design such a device.

These two stories have divergent yet similar themes: the quest for fantastic or mythological features in human history, and an explanation of those features using scientific methodology. The language of science is the language of explanation, a cool, measured and reasonable voice. So it's interesting that scientific discourse is employed to explain the esotoric.


Drinking coffee, writing.

I received my contract for the UN gig this morning. Now all I have to do is fill in the blanks and fax it off.

Iain and I signed up for soccer (henceforth referred to as football) at the community centre yesterday. I'll be playing once a week starting July. If anyone is also interested in throwing in for a match or two then by all means sign up. We'll also be catching the first England match this Saturday at, like, six in the morning.

There's a meeting for Discorder tonight, but I don't know if I can make it out for that.

One of my goals is to start an organization of some kind. Not a non-profit kind, but one centered on activities. Whenever I want to join a group I always find they lack something or they simply don't exist. So, here's what an afternoon of brainstorming produced:

East Vancouver Football Brigade

Pretty easy to figure out. We get together, play football then go out for drinks later. I was thinking of hosting a gear swap now and then.

Eastside Reading Society

My friend Tania once suggested we start a book club. Although I liked the idea, I never acted on it. Basically the group meets once or twice a month, reading from a selection of literature that is anti-imperial, post-colonial, feminist and critical. Of course, lighter material would be included too. Members can also present books they enjoyed, and we can have local authors or scholars come in and speak on various topics.

East Vancouver Tactical Squad

A gaming group that caters to tabletop and video games of all kinds. Although I'm aware of the Vancouver Gaming Guild (a fine organization), I would like to see more groups out there. Somehow we can have a central "headquarters" where players can meet regularly. Folks can connect with each other, swap, sell or buy gaming gear and host events on occasion. I know, this one seems the least realistic, but a man can dream, yes?